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The USS Enterprise is unquestionably one of the most iconic spaceships in science-fiction history. Featured not only in movies and television shows, but also in/on every version of merchandise imaginable, the vessel is synonymous with Star Trek and recognizable to millions. Given its status in pop culture history, you'd think that we'd know absolutely everything about it, but director Justin Lin recently revealed a funny bit of trivia about the ship: official blueprints detailing its construction don't actually exist
The subject came up when I had the pleasure of sitting down with Justin Lin during the Star Trek Beyond Los Angeles press day at the end of last week. During the interview, I noted my appreciation of the way the filmmaker shot the Enterprise -- providing a sense of the geography and layout of the spaceship -- and it prompted Lin to tell me about his futile attempt to find any official blueprint of the vessel also known as the NCC-1701. Said Lin,
I thought there was some sort of official blueprint of the Enterprise. There is none. There are only ones that the fans have, through time, built just from... And so I couldn't believe it! All these years! That's my favorite spaceship, and it's been part of my family, but yet, [Gene Roddenberry] didn't know what was where. He didn't know where the turbo lift went!
As Justin Lin would go on to point out, the fact that there are no official blueprints for the USS Enterprise is kind of an amazing thing given the fact that Star Trek is now 50 years old. You'd think that at some point in the last five decades somebody high-up within the franchise creatively (such as Gene Rodenberry himself) would have sat down with all the footage, an image of the ship, and a pen to start labeling what goes where, but apparently that's never actually happened.
Continuing the subject of firsts for the franchise in its 50 year history, Justin Lin also revealed to me that Star Trek Beyond is actually the first film in the series to have the bridge of the Enterprise built on a gimbal -- allowing the production to actually shake the set and have the actors pretend to flail around. This was actually something that the director didn't reveal to his cast at first, and it led to a funny prank during their first day back at the helm of the classic ship:
Also putting the sets on shakers and rotating sets, I didn't realize they've never done that before. So it was really cool to be there after 50 years and we're still able to contribute something new... It was so much fun. I remember the whole cast got to Vancouver, and I brought them onto the bridge, and they're standing there talking, and I had the effects guys [shake the gimbal]. Just the reaction was so cool!
Hopefully there is footage of that from behind-the-scenes taping that will show up on the Blu-ray/DVD later this year.
You'll be able to see the finished results of Justin Lin's work on Star Trek Beyond very soon, as the new blockbuster will be arriving in theaters this Friday, July 22nd. Because it's a whole ton of fun, I highly recommend checking it out -- but also be sure to stay tuned for more from my interviews with the filmmakers behind the movie!