star trek online (STO) offers dozens of Starfleet ships for players to command as part of the popular online role playing. But so far, nothing originating in STO had done in movies or TV shows. That changed with season two of Star Trek: Picard. Production designer Dave Blass went looking for some cool new ships to feature in the new season. He connected with STOthe associate artistic director of Thomas Marrone on Twitter. Then they started working together in July 2020. Marrone kept the secret but is now answering some questions from nerdist on the journey behind the scenes. “It was only recently that I even told most people on the STO team,” he said. “It’s such a relief and such a pleasure to be able to share this with everyone now!”
What’s in a name?
Dozens of Federation ships gather in the Season 2 premiere of picard. Among the crowd are the four STO ships: the Sutherland-class scientific research vessel, Ross-to classify exploration cruiser, Gagarian-class battlecruiser, and Dependent-class light cruiser. “Since STO is set in the 25th century, we want to create a new design appropriate for that time period but inspired by fan-favorite spaceships from the 23rd or 24th century,” says Marrone.
He continues: “The names Dependent, Sutherlandand Gagarin all previously appeared in star trek like other ships. When choosing names for these new iterations, we often look to examples of the original class of ships we are upgrading. For example, the original USS Sutherland was a Nebula-class ship presented in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode ‘Redemption Part II.’ There was a lot Nebula-class to choose from, and I landed on the Sutherland especially since it was originally a reference to the classic Horatio Hornblower novels, which are among my favorites.
When Admiral Whitley sends Picard to deal with a new anomaly in space. She makes sure she sends a lot of backup. We discover 34 Starfleet ships in “Star Gazer”, so old friends and some new ones. @gagyogi49 already made a painting so I’m going to steal his. #StarTrekPicardBTS pic.twitter.com/cRefztff2V
— Dave Blass (@DaveBlass) March 7, 2022
The ASU Ross is a tribute to Mary G. Ross. She was the first Native American woman engineer hired in the American aerospace industry. Ross worked at Lockheed during World War II. She was one of the few women to keep her job after the war ended. Ross explored the idea of interplanetary space travel as one of the founding engineers of the Skunk Works Project.
The episode paid tribute to another woman of color. Blass posted a Twitter thread explaining the origins of all Federation ships. This included a shuttle named after Mae Jemison, the first woman of color in space.
star trek online released a short documentary about Marrone’s journey from franchise fan to canon maker. “My Life At Warp Speed” is named after an autobiography he wrote in elementary school. There was a Federation spaceship drawn on the cover. Marrone signed up to play star trek online during its beta testing period. He became active on forums and created original minigames that caught the attention of game developers at Cryptic Studios. STO purchased a few of his projects and incorporated them into the game. They added the character of Commander Thomas Marrone in honor of his contributions.
Marrone then applied for a position as a graphic designer and began working at Cryptic Studios. A year later, he started drawing for star trek online. Ship design was his true passion. He taught himself how to use 3D software and qualified to join the team. Marrone then led the team. Today, he is associate artistic director. From pencil drawing ships as a kid to 3D computer graphics as a career, it’s been a long road.
star trek onlineThe legacy of
star trek online begins in the year 2409, 30 years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis. Season two of picard takes place in 2401. While STO includes scripts that are not accepted as canon, it often includes familiar voices: Leonard Nimoy, LeVar Burton, Alexander Siddig, Jeri Ryan and Sonequa Martin-Green to name a few. More recently, Kate Mulgrew provided the voice of Admiral Kathryn Janeway and her evil Mirror Universe counterpart.
star trek online was there for the fans in the difficult years between Business and Discovery and the game remains relevant even in this blessed period of star trek abundance.
Featured Image: Star Trek Online/Cryptic Studios