Star Trek: Discovery Nearly Forgot One Important Detail on Its Original Series Uniforms

Captain Pike and his crew may have got some swanky new threads, but they almost weren’t quite as accurate to Trek lore as they’re meant to be.
Captain Pike and his crew may have got some swanky new threads, but they almost weren’t quite as accurate to Trek lore as they’re meant to be.
Image: CBS

And it turns out, a little bit of CG magic is what saved the day.

Speaking to, Discovery costume designer Gersha Phillips revealed that the show’s take on the classic style uniform seen in the original Star Trek almost went a bit awry. Worn in Discovery’s second season premiere by Captain Pike and the crew of the Enterprise—before the former jumped ship to take temporary command of the Discovery—the uniforms actually had something pretty major missing when they were made, and no one noticed until the uniforms were on set and ready to film...the rank insignia on the sleeves:

The only thing that we didn’t actually think about was rank at the time, because in [Discovery], the rank was done with pips on the badges. So, when we first shot the first few days of Enterprise uniforms, we forgot to put rank on.

I forgot who told us, I think it was marketing, actually, saw that we hadn’t any indication of rank on our uniform — so me and my team, we spent like a night of trying to figure out how we were going to add rank bars on their uniforms.


Now, it’s an honest mistake—especially considering that for the rest of Discovery the costume team doesn’t have to think about adding ranks into the costumes they create, as the Discovery crew uniform signifies rank on the combadge, rather than anywhere else on the costume. And as the “Constitution-Class” uniforms were pretty much a merging of the materials and style used in those uniforms with the classic colors of the original Trek, no one considered the rank insignia until it was too late.

Thankfully though, after it noticed, the fix was pretty simple—and it didn’t involve Phillips and her team staying up all night to sow the right insignia into their new uniforms, and the crew having to reshoot days of footage. Instead, the ranks you see on the costumes in that first episode? Some of them were added in post-production with CG:

So that was an interesting journey, and it all happened during one night, so we had to figure that out… Then they had to go back and CGI all the stripes on the days that we didn’t do it.

Now if you ever rewatch the premiere, you’ll have a good squint at Pike, Connolly, and Nham’s wrists and see if you can tell the difference between the fixed uniforms and the CG-enhanced ones!

[h/t TrekCore]

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James is a News Editor at io9, where you can find him delivering your morning spoilers, writing about superheroes, and having many feelings about Star Wars. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!



the Discovery crew uniform signifies rank on the combadge

***Puts on best Trekkie voice***

Actually, the Discovery badges are NOT combadges because unlike The Next Generation they’re not able to communicate. They’re just badges.

***Hides in shame of own nerd pedantry***