Why Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Crossfield Looked Nothing Like Discovery

One of the worst things about Star Trek: Discovery, from the beginning, has been the ship.

By Josh Tyler | Updated

Star Trek Discovery ship fix

One of the worst things about Star Trek: Discovery, from the beginning, has been the ship. The Discovery herself is based on a design for the original Enterprise submitted by famed artist Ralph McQuarrie.

McQuarrie’s design was rejected for a reason: It’s awful. Realized as the Discovery, it continues to be awful, and the ship has always looked like some sort of triangle nightmare.

But in the season two premiere of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds they did something which may have made fans think the franchise was retconning the Discovery design. They introduced a new Crossfield class ship.

In the episode, a fake Starfleet ship appears and the Enterprise’s navigator, Jenna Mitchell, asks, “is that a Crossfield class?” The Discovery is a Crossfield class ship, supposedly one of only two ever built.

Jenna Mitchell Crossfield
Navigator Jenna Mitchell IDs the Crossfield Class

What’s interesting is that the ship Mitchell calls a Crossfield class looks nothing like the Discovery. The only similarities between Discovery and this new ship are the saucers, which both have that strange cutout in the middle.

Below is the Crossfield from Strange New Worlds

And here’s the Discovery for comparison…

Crossfield Class

So what’s going on here? Is this the show’s way of visually rebooting the ship to look less awful? It’s something they also did to the Klingons in this episode.

It’s undeniable that this new Crossfield looks a lot better than the Discovery. It’s a huge improvement on the design and if this had been used as the hero ship of Star Trek: Discovery I think everyone would have been pretty happy.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s what’s going on here. It’s more likely Mitchell was simply wrong.

The ship in question is a fake assembled from scratch by a bunch of pirates. It isn’t any particular class of ship, it’s whatever they could cobble together.

Because this new ship had the same cutout in the saucer as the Crossfield class, Mitchell misidentified it as a Crossfield class. It’s why she phrased it as a question rather than a statement, because she wasn’t sure what she was looking at.

Still, it’s nice to imagine a world where this ship is the Discovery instead of the disaster circus we got on the actual series. Someone should turn this into an official Starfleet ship class and reuse it. Those arms-dealing Klingon pirates know more about Star Trek ship design than Ralph McQuarrie.