Save for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and—obviously—Star Trek: The Lower Decks, most of the action for Star Trek takes place upon the fabled bridge. Over the course of Star Trek’s over-five decade runtime, there have been more than one fan who has imagined themselves working under lights at their station. You can close your eyes and imagine yourself among a crew of like-minded people sharing in that optimistic hope for the future that the show was known for. Finally, there’s now a way to truly put yourself into the captain’s chair of whatever version of the show was your favorite and watch through the viewscreen at all the twinkling stars and imagine where you too might boldly go.
To commemorate the end of Star Trek: Picard’s third and final season, on Thursday the Roddenberry Archive created a new web portal that includes dozens and dozens of accurate 3D models of the famed Starship Enterprise alongside an inside look at its bridge. A timeline at the bottom of the page shows each Starship in chronological order from an early version of the Enterprise featured in early production artwork for Star Trek: The Original Series all the way to the Enterprise-G from Picard.
According to a release from the Roddenberry Archive and the cloud graphics company OTOY, the recreations were produced for the Gene Roddenberry Estate. This included input from Star Trek artists including Denise and Micheal Okuda, who created the series’ famed computer interfaces (both are also part of the Archive leadership team). The authors of The Star Trek Encyclopedia also assisted bringing the Enterprise bridges to live.
Alongside the navigable bridges, the Roddenberry Archive and OTOY also released a few videos describing the process bringing these original Star Trek sets to life in a digital format. Another video describes the development of the Enterprise over time narrated by John de Lancie who played series extra-dimensional character “Q” which first appeared in The Next Generation.
Though there’s been some amazing professional and fan-made content exploring the ins and outs of Star Trek’s spaceships, this timeline easily one of the most detailed and carefully-crafted dives into the entire breadth of Star Trek history, at least one you can actually experience.
Users can not only strut around inside each bridge, but every Enterprise rendition includes small interactable features, even a few working turbolifts. Want to sit in the captain’s chair? Absolutely. Want to feel giddy as you fold in the side consoles on The Enterprise-C from Star Trek: The Next Generation? Go right ahead, as few Star Trek fans have any reason to judge. The actual cockpits are surprisingly detailed, from the blinking screens and control consoles to the real time reflections on the glass panels.
The Star Trek timeline is a complicated web of alternate timestreams and universes. There’s the Enterprise-J from Star Trek: Enterprise season 3 episode Azati Prime and the lore-waffling mention of a U.S.S. Enterprise existing in the 32nd centuring from an episode of Star Trek: Discovery. Both of which get a biographical reference on the Archive site.
Fans can also walk through the Apple-brand white interior of the Enterprise from the recent Star Trek and Star Trek: Into Darkness movies (also known as the Kelvin Timeline). You can take a look around the bridge of the Mirror Universe I.S.S Enterprise displayed in the TOS episode Mirror, Mirror along with the bridge U.S.S Voyager for any lingering Star Trek: Voyager fans out there.
Jules Urbach, the CEO of OTOY and executive producer at the Roddenberry Archive, said the point of this attention to detail and fidelity “is an important milestone in preserving Gene Roddenberry’s vision for future generations to explore and see, through the lens of those that worked with him.”
Save the occasional glitch, the site is an amazing love letter to the series. The only thing lacking in all the set dressing and attention to detail is the people, the beating heart of the show and its ideals. Sitting in the captain’s chair, with all the stations empty beside you, is enough to make one wistful, wondering what it would truly be like to stand on the bridge of a U.S.S. starship, gazing out into the fabled horizon of stars and thinking of an endless horizon and unending possibilities.