Mike Minor, who had provided many of the wall paintings seen in the original Star Trek and who had been responsible for designing the Melkotian in “Spectre of the Gun” as well as the Tholian web, returned to the franchise in 1977 for what was then intended to be a second television series.
His designs for the refitted Enterprise reveal an evolutionary step between the original series and The Next Generation. The bridge looks warmer and more comfortable. The transporter room combines the “psychedelic” back panels of the 1960s with a new console design of the 70s.
Phase II was meant to show more of the crew’s personal lives. Gene Roddenberry told Starlog magazine in March 1978, “I think we may also get into some questions of the intimate lives of the people aboard the Enterprise.”
Do they dry clean their costumes or are they somehow regenerated new? Do they take baths or showers or is there some sort of a sonic way of cleaning yourself? How do you get a haircut? Do you still shave in that century or have there been treatments that eliminate that? I think that we should get into those things because the more you get into the intimate details of just day by day living, the more real the people and their lives become.
The Star Trek II Writers/Directors Guide reflected Roddenberry’s wishes, promising that the new Star Trek would “take more looks into the private and off-duty lives of our characters. More realism here,” it said, “in very human areas such as when and what they eat, twenty-third century bathing, changing clothes, playing and relaxing.”
To that end, Minor came up with drawings for a recreation room, which was described as “a redress of other sets to give us a variety of mess and recreation facilities.” Here, crew members could relax and enjoy leisure time. “Various games such as three-dimensional chess can be played here.”
Roddenberry also wanted larger crew quarters, especially for the captain. Minor’s concept art influenced the set that was ultimately built for The Motion Picture. The color scheme of the waist-high wall console was lifted from his drawing.
A set for Engineering was actually built and test footage was shot there on December 22, 1977.
The scene was shot in wide-angled format, suitable for motion pictures but definately not for television. Plans to change Phase II into The Motion Picture were well underway at the point. The set followed Minor’s basic design. For the first time, the warp core was put in the center of the room, a design choice that would prove durable.