Production Designer Scott Chambliss wasn’t sure that working on a franchise with such a long history would be the best thing for him.
As reported by TrekMovie.com, from an article in Sci Fi Now, while Chambliss wanted to work with J.J. Abrams, he was leery of Star Trek‘s baggage. “My reaction was really all over the place,” he explained. “Of course I wanted to do J.J.’s next movie and I was excited that it was something we’d never done before. But at the same time, I also felt a lot of trepidation because of all of the history and baggage that the franchise has. That was a little troubling, but then we figured out how we had to approach it and moved forward. From a creative standpoint, there’s a real difference between approaching a piece of new material that doesn’t have any history and expectation based on what’s come before, and this only has history and expectation. It’s got a fervent group of believers in the material and there’s just so much that you had to be aware of beforehand in terms of what’s come before, which had to be considered before we even approached how we might want to do this newer version.”
Once he got past that and got to work on Star Trek XI, Chambliss wanted to do it right. “You wouldn’t want to go on the Enterprise and it not look anything like you remember from the TV show,” he said. “You want to make sure you have the heart and soul. We did three different passes on what this thing should be, and one of the things we focused on, of course, was the bridge. Particularly the captain’s chair and his relationship to Sulu and Chekov and their consoles in front of them. That was such a given. We wanted to keep Spock and Uhura in the places, physically, that we were so accustomed to seeing them in the old show. It was about recreating the physical relationship of these characters on the ship in a way that was familiar; we wanted similar spatial relationships and the rail that wraps around the central core of that area, without slavishly duplicating the color palettes. We wanted to update the technology in such a way that was super cool without being cheeseball.”