Star Trek Just Redesigned One Of The Greatest Starships Of All Time, And It’s Glorious

By Josh Tyler | 1 hour ago

Star Trek Obena

Star Trek: Lower Decks just concluded its second season and the series continues to shine as one of the best things Star Trek has ever produced. At every step along the way they’ve made all the right choices, and they made another right choice in the final episode by resurrecting and redesigning one of the greatest Star Trek starship designs of all time with a new version of the Excelsior class.

Above is the original Excelsior and below is the new ship inspired by it, the Obena class starship Archimedes…

Star Trek Obena class
Obena class starship Archimedes

Lest you think this new ship is just an accidental look-a-like and not a redesign of the classic Excelsior, Lower Decks creator and showrunner Mike McMahan confirmed it with this tweet…

Star Trek: Lower Decks didn’t just introduce the new Obena class in the background, the ship was an integral part of the episode, with much of the action taking place on board the Archimedes (captained by returning TNG character Sonya Gomez) and around it. Along the way several of the shots they used of the ship were clear references to the best moments of the Excelsior in Star Trek movies past. Shots like this one…

Which obviously mirrors this moment from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country when the Excelsior, then Captained by Hikaru Sulu, was battered by an energy wave released by the destruction of the Klingon moon Praxis

Star Trek new Excelsior
USS Excelsior in Star Trek VI

The Excelsior was first introduced in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock as the sexy new replacement for the Constitution class. It was used to chase down the Enterprise when James T. Kirk and his crew stole it, resulting in this iconic scene…

Excelsior
Excelsior pursues the Enterprise in Star Trek III

As if in homage to those first moments of the design, much of the Lower Decks episode took place around a very similar looking Spacedock, resulting in homage moments like this…

Star Trek: Lower Decks, however, takes place in the Star Trek: The Next Generation era, roughly a hundred years after the Excelsior class was first designed. While there are still a few version of the Excelsior class still in service in that era (we got to see a lot of them blow up on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), the class is extremely outdated and so it makes sense that Starfleet might design a new version of the highly successful workhorse.

The Obena is that new version and it takes a lot of the aesthetic of the original Excelsior class and adds elements of more modern Starfleet ship design. In particular they’ve made the saucer section more oval, in keeping with the recent trend towards oval or spoon shaped saucers used on vessels like the Enterprise E and the USS Voyager’s Intrepid class…

For comparison, here’s what the Enterprise E saucer section looks like…

Star Trek
USS Enterprise NCC-1701

The Obena class also adopts similar, modernized warp nacelles…

Obena class Lower Decks

Despite those updates, the design is clearly recognizable as Excelsior inspired, with the ship’s signature thick neck and unique engineering hull design largely intact and unchanged.

As usual, Star Trek: Lower Decks has totally delivered on everything Star Trek fans have ever wanted from Star Trek. They know the franchise inside and out, and know where to take it. The new Excelsior inspired Obena class is yet another Star Trek: Lower Decks triumph. Thanks Mike McMahan. Don’t be surprised if somewhere down the road the Obena class ends up on our list of the best Star Trek starships.