Today, we’re boldly going to the 23rd century (and beyond) with Mike and Denise Okuda. If you’ve watched and enjoyed Star Trek in nearly any of its incarnations over the years, you have the Okudas to thank for so many different aspects of the shows.
Mike was the lead graphic designer for most of the shows and has earned more Star Trek screen credits than anyone except Gene Roddenberry. Over 18 years with the show, he served as technical consultant to the writers and was also responsible for the control panels, computer readouts, and written alien languages in The Next Generation through Enterprise and all movies made during that time. His work has been honored with three primetime Emmy nominations for Best Visual Effects.
Denise served as video/computer playback supervisor and graphic artist for Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, and several movies made during that period. Together with Mike, she cowrote the Star Trek Chronology, Ships of the Line, and On Board the USS Enterprise.
Beginning in 2006, the two supervised the monumental task of remastering every episode (in all 10 seasons) of The Original Series and The Next Generation. This included creating new visual effects, fixing continuity errors, and remastering all 257 episodes in high definition.
In 2014, the two served as consultants for the Smithsonian Institution and helped oversee restoration of the original eleven-foot Enterprise studio model. The model is now on display at the National Air & Space Museum, and I highly recommend checking it out. It’s pretty awesome.
The two also authored the absolutely massive Star Trek Encyclopedia, the 4th edition of which comes out this week! The new edition of the book covers the franchise from The Original Series to the Kelvin timeline films. It’s a gorgeous two-volume set that is simply unmatched in its scope and detail.
On this episode, we chat about their work on the Star Trek Encyclopedia, remastering the show for blu-ray, Star Trek tech, how Star Trek has and continues to inspire us, the journey to Mars, and what Star Trek will look like 50 years from now.