Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Star Trek: Picard's Cast Didn't Have Much Time For Nostalgia On Enterprise-D's Bridge

Given that "Star Trek: Picard" is essentially a farewell to Patrick Stewart's iconic Starfleet captain, it makes sense that the show would return viewers to the ship's bridge that made him. Season 3, Episode 9, entitled "Vox," saw not just Picard but Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Troi (Marina Sirtis), Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden), Worf (Michael Dorn), LaForge (LeVar Burton) and Data (Brent Spiner) reunited on the bridge of the Enterprise-D. This bridge was, of course, the central stage for just about everything that took place during the seven seasons of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," instantly recognized by even the most casual viewer. 

It's a moment designed to give "TNG" fans all the warm, nostalgic feelies. But from the sound of it, for as wowed as the cast members themselves likely were, for as many memories that likely came flooding back to them, they didn't have much time to indulge in them. According to showrunner Terry Matalas, the "Picard" production schedule only gave them two days to film on the recreated Enterprise. 

"It was literally, like, get everybody on, you got your four minutes of nostalgia, and then we have to boogie," Matalas told Variety. "But it was all very natural for them. It was like being back on Stage 8 at the Paramount lot."

Three months' work for two days' filming

It's not like getting one's hands on the bridge to the Enterprise-D is exactly easy. Very little of the original set was still in existence. Searching through Paramount storage yielded very little according to Denise Okuda, who had been set designer on "The Next Generation" and had been hired as a consultant on "Picard." 

"We had some original drawings and art, but large chunks of it disappeared," said Okuda. "You realize you're going to have to reconstruct a lot of this from scratch." And so they did, working from blueprints and pictures of the original set. It took three months and a crew of 50 people to finish it. And this was, of course, on top of having to construct several other sets, including the bridge to other ships, for both Seasons 2 and 3, which were shot back-to-back. 

The Variety article goes well into the details of how complex this reconstruction was. The bridge had a large, swooping, wood archway that divided it into two levels which had to be created. There were lighting and electronic considerations. There was even a hunt that had to be made for the carpeting, as the original pattern had been discontinued. 

Again, this was all for about two days of filming. But fans will probably be happy to know that, unlike the last Enterprise-D bridge, this version won't be disappearing into the abyss of studio storage. "There were lots of interested parties who wanted to save the set," said production designer Dave Blass. It now has a permanent home in the Star Trek archives.