Uniform Commentary, Fanboy Edition

I’m a little late getting to this party because I’ve up to my neck in classic monsters recently, but sometime last week Entertainment Weekly dropped our first look at our new captain, Jason Isaacs, on the set of Star Trek: Discovery.  It’s a good look at the new uniform, and it’s the first look of the Discovery bridge (the starship Shinzou was featured in the trailer).

On the heels of that, Trekmovie.com gave us a breakdown of the iconography of this uniform.  Extremely important for us Trekkies to know these things, so while I tend to object to the uselessness of (and typically ignore) most info graphics that make their way their way to the internet, this one was helpful in the extreme.  First time for everything.

I’m just going to say up front that I get what they’re doing.  The franchise is 50 years old, the Abrams “Kelvinverse” movies made a visual mark on the current generation, and anything I say to the contrary is going to come across as fanboy nitpicking.

But you, my loyal readers, know that won’t stop me.  I’m a fanboy… this is what I do.  After the mess of those films, I was relieved when they said Discovery would be in the Prime Universe.  Well, if they’re going to say that, they need to make it stick.  Details like these will break canon wide open for the hardcore fans, even if the story itself somehow makes sense (which some of the details already revealed don’t — looking at you, Sarek, and your human protégé).

Discovery is set “10 years before Kirk, Spock, and the Enterprise.”  That’s just dumb marketing.  10 years before Kirk was in command, sure, but Spock was on Enterprise 13 years earlier under Captain Pike’s command.  Reference the two-part episode “The Menagerie,” with reused footage from the original unaired pilot, “The Cage.”  And because of this, we know the uniforms looked like this:

Again, I get it.  They’re upgrading the blue jumpsuits used on Star Trek: Enterprise (which I love) with the aesthetics of the new movies.

New century, new Star Trek.  I still object on grounds of story continuity.  I guess even after 50 years, they’re tired of “red shirt” jokes.

An even bigger objection, again on grounds of story continuity, is the insignia.  During Kirk’s historic five-year mission and at all points previous, each starship had their own insignia design.  When Enterprise was the only Constitution-class starship to return home, Starfleet honored the ship and crew by making Enterprise‘s insignia into the Starfleet standard, branding the ship as the fleet’s flagship in the process and putting her into refit so as to give her the benefit from all of the technological advances at the time.

In other words, until Enterprise returns home from that mission, her officers and crew are the only ones in Starfleet that wear the stylized delta insignia on their uniforms.  That denotes that they serve on Enterprise.  It’s an insignia that we now know dates back to at least Captain Archer’s era.  Other ship crews and crews from different starbases would wear something else, specific to their assignment.  Cases in point:

Commodore Jose Mendez, Starbase 11 (“The Menagerie”)

Commodore Robert Wesley, USS Lexington (“The Ultimate Computer”)

Captain Ronald Tracey, USS Exeter (“The Omega Glory”)

Commodore Matthew Decker (“The Doomsday Machine”)

You get the idea.  Enterprise‘s insignia isn’t even used in the mirror universe.

Dead horse, dutifully beaten.  Take that, dead horse!  As I say, I get it.  After 50 years, the delta insignia is a recognized commodity for Star Trek.  Marketing and merchandising wins over story this time.  But do we really need it replicated in miniature a thousand times on each uniform?  It didn’t work for the S-shield in Superman Returns, why should it be acceptable now?

But to paraphrase Dr. McCoy, I’m a fanboy, not a fashion designer.  Clearly they didn’t ask my opinion.  They should.  I work far cheaper than the so-called professionals they’re hiring.  Just saying.

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