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Theory about uniform changes (later proven wrong)

SpyOneSpyOne ✭✭
edited November 2017 in Strange New Worlds
I am curious how many people thought the same thing I did.
When DS9 began, their uniforms were different from those worn on TNG which was still going on. They were very similar to those worn by Academy cadets on TNG.
Both my brother and I thought this meant that people assigned to bases wore a different uniform from people assigned to ships.

It makes a great deal of sense to make those visually distinct. Starbases will have a lot of people in uniform who aren't assigned there, and in a crisis it would be helpful to be able to quickly seperate the people who won't know the answer to "where's the nearest fire extinguisher?" from those who do.

But Voyager and Generations showed that it was just that the Enterprise for some reason wasn't wearing the newest uniforms.

Did you think the same thing as us?
Did you have a similar misunderstanding of something else?

Comments

  • ClanofClanof ✭✭✭
    I was under the general assumption that there were several different designs and it was up to the Captain or Quartermaster which design that ship/starbase used for their crew. But you're right it would make a lot of sense to have different designs for ships and starbases.
  • I know this is old news but I've been out of the loop for a while: there's an article on StarTrek.com about how the insignia on Ben Tracy's uniform in TOS was a mistake and the delta symbol seen on Enterprise crew was supposed to be worn by all ship crew while the flower design seen on most Commodores was for anyone assigned to starbase duty.

    And the two freighter guys in Charlie X were supposed to be clearly not part of Starfleet at all, which is why they had different insignia and uniforms.

    Particularly interesting to me was the comparison of the two insignia to the two colors of astronaut "wings" awarded by NASA, where silver indicates that you have the training and gold is for those who have actually been to space. It is clear that in TOS serving on a starship was considered more prestigious than starbase duty and the two groups wore different insignia, and that may have carried forward to TNG as different uniforms as seen at Starfleet Academy.
  • Travis S McClainTravis S McClain ✭✭✭✭✭
    It's never given an explicit on-screen explanation, but it has always been implicit that the DS9 style uniforms were intended for starbases. In DS9, all characters who are in Starfleet visiting the station are seen wearing the TNG style unis. (In the pilot, "Emissary", Sisko and O'Brien both even change into TNG unis to visit the Enterprise, indicating that they're considered unfit for a starship.)

    The real answer is simply that they wanted TNG and DS9 to be immediately distinguishable from one another. The design itself originated from creating more of a sense that the crew on DS9 were regular working type people instead of the more patrician crew of the Enterprise.

    All new uniforms were planned for Generations, but abandoned before production began. Funnily enough, though, Playmates Toys made action figures based on those designs because that's what the plan was when they had to go into production in order to be on shelves when the movie opened. After seeing those action figures, I think it's for the best those uniforms fell by the wayside.

    The DS9-style unis were used in the movie partly because there weren't enough TNG costumes lying around for the main cast and the extras, especially for the Ten Forward scenes. Also, it was determined that the TNG uniforms didn't hold up as well when shown on a movie screen. They were conceived for TV, after all, where it's easier to get away with things. The DS9 style ones, being mostly black, hid more of the seams and little things they didn't want us to fixate on while watching the movie.

    They didn't just use the DS9 uniform design for the movie; they literally wore the actual costumes from the DS9 wardrobe department. If you want to know how much larger Jonathan Frakes is than Avery Brooks, just look at Riker wearing the red shouldered uniform; that's Brooks's costume that Frakes is wearing!

    The obvious question becomes, "If they made a second style uniform to set DS9 apart from TNG while running concurrently, why wasn't it a problem for DS9 and VOY to use the same design concurrently?" If I remember correctly from interviews, the reasoning basically came down to deciding that they were succinctly different enough already by virtue of their settings. I've always wondered if VOY factored into why they abandoned the revamp planned for Generations. Like, "Yeah, this might work for a movie, but are we really gonna want to also put people in this every week on the new show, too?"
  • Even as a child I didn't try to read too much into it.

    Investigating questions like this leads you to the only possible revelations. The green command tunic on TOS was introduced because Shatner was getting a bit fat and didn't really fit in his previous uniform. There's no amount of head-canonization that will hide this piece of information.

    Also TWoK used the red uniforms because Nicholas Meyer had never seen an episode of Star Trek and wasn't really bothered by the canon. He thought the creamy TMP uniforms were ugly and that was the end of the importance of pre-established canon.


    Dunno if it's just me, but it's hard to come up with grand canon explanations when the real reasons are "I had budget to spend" and "the old uniforms were old".
    "Dance with me. For science."
  • (In the pilot, "Emissary", Sisko and O'Brien both even change into TNG unis to visit the Enterprise, indicating that they're considered unfit for a starship.)
    I happen to have rewatched "Emissary" a few weeks ago. IIRC, Sisko is in the TNG uniform for most of the episode, only changing at the end (signifying his decision to stay), and I took O'Brien's changing before visiting the Enterprise one last time as trying to blend in: he seemed to be deliberately trying to avoid calling attention to himself. As if he had already said his goodbyes to the crew, but wanted the chance to say goodbye t the ship.
    I've always wondered if VOY factored into why they abandoned the revamp planned for Generations. Like, "Yeah, this might work for a movie, but are we really gonna want to also put people in this every week on the new show, too?"
    The version I heard blamed it all on money: they wanted new uniforms for everybody, they got new uniforms for Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner and nobody else.
    Also TWoK used the red uniforms because Nicholas Meyer had never seen an episode of Star Trek and wasn't really bothered by the canon. He thought the creamy TMP uniforms were ugly and that was the end of the importance of pre-established canon.
    I'm pretty sure that in an interview Nicholas Meyer said that before writing TWOK he had watched every episode of TOS in a week.
    He did also say that he had been told to discard basically everything from TMP. In fact, I have read an interesting peoce from the costumer on the problem that created, because again new uniforms for everyone wasn't in the budget.
    A lot of the cadets (extras) in TWOK are wearing TMP uniforms dyed maroon, because the tests they ran showed that worked on the grey or cream uniforms and other colors didn't.
    And then the main characters got maroon jackets to match.

    Or almost match: the TMP uniforms came out a little bit orange.
    Dunno if it's just me, but it's hard to come up with grand canon explanations when the real reasons are "I had budget to spend" and "the old uniforms were old".
    To be clear, at the time I didn't think I was making up an explanation: I thought that was the explanation. When I saw the DS9 uniforms that kinda looked like the Starfleet Academy uniforms, I thought "I guess people on Starbases wear a different style".
  • SpyOne wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure that in an interview Nicholas Meyer said that before writing TWOK he had watched every episode of TOS in a week.

    Yes, he did watch them between getting the job and starting writing.
    SpyOne wrote: »
    He did also say that he had been told to discard basically everything from TMP. In fact, I have read an interesting peoce from the costumer on the problem that created, because again new uniforms for everyone wasn't in the budget.

    Didn't know that. But that only shifts the explanation from "Meyer didn't really care" to "some producer didn't care". Hardly an improvement, as far as canon-adherence is concerned.
    SpyOne wrote: »
    To be clear, at the time I didn't think I was making up an explanation: I thought that was the explanation. When I saw the DS9 uniforms that kinda looked like the Starfleet Academy uniforms, I thought "I guess people on Starbases wear a different style".

    Oh, this makes perfect sense. It's a perfectly serviceable explanation :)
    "Dance with me. For science."
  • A bit late to the party, I know... but I found this video clip of a question Marina Sirtis was asked at a convention regarding the uniform choices in Generations (she mentions Insurrection, but you can work out that she means Generations):

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