Published on January 7th, 2014 | by Tim Piland0
Like a Phoenix From the Ashes: A Feature on Doug Drexler, and the Design of the New Deep Space Nine Part 2
Last time, we looked at the design of the new DS9, and familiarized ourselves with Mr. Doug Drexler, a Star Trek veteran that worked in different capacities on 4 different Trek series. To go back and read part one, click here. Now, we take a closer look at the new station. We will get a detailed glimpse into the design process, see fledgling illustrations of Douglas Graves digital model and Andrew Probert‘s sketches, giving us the intricate details of this new Starbase.
Designing the station for Pocket Books was very different than designing a ship for a television series. The time involved and pressure are a completely different thing. When designing the NX Class Starship for Star Trek: Enterprise, Doug spent months designing that ship. It was high pressure for no pay(because he was already a full time employee for another company) however he did go on to be hired as Senior Illustrator on Enterprise. His design for the ship, as well as his sticktuitiveness, earned accolades from the legendary Michael Okuda when he said,”That’s dedication, but that’s what Doug brings to every project.” In regards to the new station, it was a fairly straightforward task; design the station based on what has been put forth in the novels. Also, the new station had to be designed in a relatively short amount of time, a matter of weeks instead of months.
“How difficult was the design process? Compared to working on an official Star Trek series for Paramount, not all that difficult. Designing a hero ship or station for a professional Hollywood production can be quite involved. Many possibilities would have been sketched up and weighed out. Remember that many millions of dollars are on the line when creating a television show.”
The new station clearly evokes the old one. But the familiar aesthetic attributes are where the similarities end. This is a massive, state of the art, armed to the teeth fortress in space. But in amongst its defensive capabilities, lies a comfortable, sleek city in space, ready to become home for thousands. There is a huge theater, an entire hospital complex instead of just an infirmary, massive promenade area (on the new station, they call it the plaza.) and even a park huge enough to go hang gliding in. Needless to say, it’s big…
One almost feels bad about being excited about this new station. The old one felt like home for so long. Many epic stories played out in that place. However, just like each new version of the Enterprise carries on the traditions and legacies of its predecessors, so does the new DS9. There is even a memorial of sorts permanently on display in the park. It’s a segment of the old station that survived its destruction. It stands as a reminder that just because it’s gone, doesn’t mean it’s forgotten. Doug really puts it in perspective when asked about how even though we loved the old station, it just wasn’t adequate for Starfleet’s needs.
“Remember that Terok Nor was not built for comfort. It was a big Industrial complex that utilized slave labor to process ore. The new DS9 was designed from scratch by Starfleet and the Federation. It is a city in space intended to be a thriving and growing community. It was built for comfort, and quality of life. Even in 21st century cities, notably New York City, you cannot build a new skyscraper unless it has a recreational community space/arboretum. It has been established that starfleet starbases are built with parklands and arboretums. Even the Enterprise has an extensive arboretum for the crew to enjoy. The parkland in the new DS9 is huge, in fact it even has an enormous waterfall.”
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 web series Star Trek Continues, on which Doug is a Visual Effects Artist, and the SYFY Channel Original Series Defiance, starting it’s second season in June 2014, on which Doug is CG Supervisor.
To end this article, here is a quote describing the new Station in all its glory. In this excerpt, Chief O’Brien and Nog and are taking Captain Ro Lauren on a tour of the nearly completed station.
“As Rio Grande neared the station and it grew larger in the viewports, Ro took a long look at it. Peering past the lattice of hemispherical modules from which the SCE staged its construction efforts, and past the flurry of engineers in environmental suits and the support craft that moved about, the captain gazed at the new structure. Despite the radical design, it shared many characteristics with other Starfleet facilities: the gray-white surface of its hull, the curves and proportions of its components, the familiar lettering along one arc that read UNITED FEDERATION OF PLANETS. The overall, essentially spherical shape of the station, though, reminded Ro of its predecessor. The new facility would ultimately comprise three rings, oriented at right angles to one another. They would all surround an inner sphere, connecting to it via half a dozen crossover bridges. The rings would provide docking and cargo services, while the sphere would house work, commercial, and residential sections. Ro decided that she liked it—and with apologies “to Zivan Slaine, it would represent a marked improvement to the facility it would replace. “Captain,” Tenmei asked, “has Starfleet settled on a name for the station?” “They have,” Ro said. “Starfleet Command consulted with the Federation president and the Bajoran First Minister about it, and they all came to an agreement.” Ro raised her hand and pointed through the viewports toward the half-constructed station. “Welcome,” she told her crew, “to the new Deep Space Nine.” Excerpt From: David R. George, III “Star Trek: Typhon Pact – 07 – Raise the Dawn.” Pocket Books/Star Trek, 2012-06-26 This material may be protected by copyright.
Coming soon, the design of Enterprise NX-01, and the refit we never saw onscreen…