“To truly understand Doug Drexler, you have to go beyond the obvious. Sure he’s a talented illustrator and graphic designer. But the key to Doug is his eyes. Look at them closely and you’ll discover a Merlin the Magician looniness lurking beneath the surface. I’m convinced Doug knows secrets of the universe that the rest of us can’t even imagine. He’s also a big Sinatra fan, so you know the guy has taste.” – Ira Steven Behr , Show Runner and Executive Producer of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
The Cardassian-built ore processing station originally called Terok Nor, but renamed Deep Space Nine when the Federation moved in to aid the Bajorans in rebuilding their Socio/economic and cultural structure after the Cardassian occupation of their world, was destroyed at the end of the Simon and Schuster Pocket Books novel, Star Trek Typhon Pact: Plagues of Night by David R. George III. The need arose for a new station to take its place. In the novels, the station is designed by Chief O’Brien and Nog heading up the Starfleet Corps of Engineers, but in reality, it was created by Trek Veterans: Doug Drexler, Andy Probert and Douglas Graves.
When speaking to Doug, you can really sense his love for the subject. He has a wealth of knowledge about all things Trek. A major portion of his personal and professional life has been devoted to the subject. When asked whether or not he was aware that the station had been destroyed, Doug says:
“I was not aware that they destroyed the station until they approached me about the new DS9.
The publisher and writer had thoroughly described what they wanted the new DS9 to look like, so there was not a lot of room to be creative. The task was to take their design and flesh it out. To do this I enlisted Andrew Probert. Andy did all the heavy lifting. I brought in Douglas E Graves to build the CG model.”
Doug Drexler is no stranger to Star Trek. As a small child he wasn’t able to watch the original series because it was on a school night, but after seeing the episode, This Side of Paradise, he persevered in pestering his parents and they finally acquiesced and allowed him that hour every week for Star Trek. As an adult, Doug owned a Star Trek store called The Federation Trading Post. This experience led to many associations that made him the man that he is, and gave him the stellar career he has had. Doug is a BAFTA, Oscar and a 2 time Emmy Award winner, among other awards, and worked on Star Treks: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise, where he designed the NX Class Starship.
It’s no surprise that Pocket books turned to Doug when it came time to design the new station. However, his hands were tied as far as original designs go. The station had already been described in detail in the novels, and Doug and his team had to follow that lead. About the design process, Doug has this to say:
“With all due respects to Pocket Books, if Andy had been left to his own devices, would he have done it differently? Undoubtedly. Andrew is a brilliant designer. That’s what he does for a living. Ideally, Pocket would have brought us in from square one to develop the stations look. That said, and regardless, they did end up with a serviceable design that the majority of fans seem to like, and we are pleased to have helped them finalize it.”
Many, many thanks to Doug Drexler for all his help with this article! Please visit his Facebook page by clicking here, and make sure to watch the popular web series Star Trek Continues, which Doug is a Visual Effects Artist on, and the SYFY Channel Original Series Defiance, starting its second season in June 2014, which Doug is CG Supervisor on.
Next time, we continue our look at the design of the new DS9, paying particular attention to the differences between designing for the screen, and designing for the book cover.