The History Of The Starship Enterprise Explained

In 2009 “Star Trek” and the Enterprise got a facelift when director JJ Abrams relaunched the franchise on the big screen in a total reboot of the series. The film brought “Trek” back to its roots — and back in time too, showing us an alternate timeline where younger versions of James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock, Uhura, and the rest first set foot on a newly remodeled starship Enterprise.

Redesigned from the ground up by concept artist Ryan Church — whose credentials include “Transformers” and “Avatar” — the ship has been dubbed the “JJ-prise” by fans. It kept the traditional silhouette, but featured bigger, smoother, curves and bold, bulbous, ample warp nacelles. Physically larger than the classic original, it’s also much more technologically advanced, explained by the new timeline being visited by a villain from the future. It also features a clear glass viewscreen on the bridge that allows the crew to look directly into space, a major departure from previous starship designs that has since become retroactively standard, carrying over into new ships in the Prime Timeline, past and future.

Though it’s initially captained by Christopher Pike, Kirk would sit in the captain’s chair by the end of the first film, and command it again in its two sequels. In service through “Star Trek Beyond,” the ship was damaged beyond repair by the villain Krall and replaced by a new Enterprise-A, which is seen only briefly in the film’s final moments.

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