Friday, April 4, 2014

C is for changes!

The USS Enterprise, NCC-1701-C, is first seen in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Yesterday's Enterprise", which aired in February 1990. The date of the ship's launch is not known. However, Ilsa Bick's non-canonical 2003 novel, Star Trek: The Lost Era: Well of Souls, claims it was launched in 2332 AD. Her only known captain is Rachel Garrett (the first female captain of the Enterprise). Garrett dies in the future, and is replaced by brevet captain Richard Castillo (formerly the first officer). The ship is destroyed in a battle with Romulan ships over the planet Narendra III in the year 2344 AD. However, because the Enterprise-C was defending a Klingon outpost, the ship's sacrifice deeply impresses the Klingon High Command and a peace treaty with the Federation is signed for the first time in history.

The concept of the Enterprise-C was the idea of writer Trent Ganino. At the beginning of the third season, Paramount agreed to allow writers without agents or previous credits to submit scripts to the show. More than 5,000 scripts were submitted. Working with pre-production associate Eric Stillwell, Ganino managed to get his script read and tenatively accepted by the TNG writing supervisors. Ganino and Stillwell revised the story several times, and were eventually paid $2,400 each for their work. Actual script-writing was done by Ronald Moore, a veteran TNG writer, and then by a group of five veteran TNG writers (because time was so short before filming was to commence).

The design of the Enterprise-C came from illustrator Andrew Probert, who designed the Enterprise-D for the TV show. When the series began production in 1987, Probert designed a display of all the ships named Enterprise for display on the bridge briefing room. Probert designed a small, undetailed model that was halfway between the Enterprise-B and Enterprise-D. The "wall of ships" was never actually built (it was later created for the movie Star Trek: First Contact). Probert left TNG at the end of the first season.

Rick Sternbach took over as series illustrator in the second season. He knew of Probert's design, but believed it was a rejected version of the Enterprise-D as the sketches and model lacked notes or details as to what it was. Nonetheless, when Sternbach had to come up with an Enterprise-C in very little time, he used Probert's sketches. Probert's design had a curved engineering section hull, but Sternbach went back to a more traditional, circular design because it was easier to fabricate. Legendary model maker Greg Jein fabricated the shooting model, which cost more than $10,000.

The Enterprise-C re-enters the time rift. Here, you can see how the ship's aft section is much more like the Enteprise-B/Excelsior. You can also see the round engineering hull below the main disc.

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