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Command chair

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Multiple realities
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For the interactive video game, please see Star Trek: Captain's Chair.
Sovereign class Captain's chair

Captain's chair of the Sovereign-class USS Enterprise-E

The command chair, also referred to as the captain's chair or simply the chair, was the most important position on board a starship bridge. This seat, as its alternate name implies, was occupied by the captain of the vessel, or the officer who commanded the vessel in the captain's absence. The ship's duty officer sat on the command chair at all times and monitored all operations on the bridge. The chair was usually equipped with companels and other related equipment. In addition, some versions could swivel, so the commanding officer could easily turn to face any relevant station.

NX classEdit

NX Enterprise Command Chair

Aboard the NX-class Enterprise

The right arm of the command chair on the bridge of the NX-class Enterprise NX-01 included a control panel that could flip up at the touch of a control. Additionally, both arms of the chair included at least one companel. An adjustable panel built into the chair's left arm had the additional capacity of being able to fire spatial torpedoes from the starship. (ENT: "Fight or Flight", "Cold Front")

While serving aboard Enterprise in May 2151, Vulcan Subcommander T'Pol used a companel on the chair's right arm to contact an away team on board an Axanar starship, and also contacted the armory by using a companel on the chair's left arm. T'Pol later deployed the docking arm by remotely extending it from the chair's right arm. (ENT: "Fight or Flight")

When Ensign Travis Mayweather assumed temporary command of Enterprise later that year, he was slightly hesitant to accept advice, from Ensign Hoshi Sato, that he occupy the command chair rather than his typical position at the helm. Once he moved to the captain's chair, Mayweather remarked, "The bridge looks a lot different from here." (ENT: "Cold Front")

In 2152, while passing a trinary star system that was emitting a dangerous form of radiation, the entire crew of Enterprise – with the exception of T'Pol – became affected and began to obsess over trivial matters. Charles "Trip" Tucker, the starship's chief engineer, became obsessed with the command chair which, according to Captain Jonathan Archer, was not comfortable enough. Commander Tucker eventually fixed the problem by lowering the chair one centimeter. (ENT: "Singularity")

In 2154, Captain Erika Hernandez showed Captain Archer the bridge of her ship, the second NX-class starship, Columbia. Archer suggested the installation of a lumbar support in Columbia's command chair, as Hernandez would probably be spending a lot of time in the chair. (ENT: "Home") When Enterprise was refitted following the Xindi mission, one of the additions was a completely redesigned captain's chair, which Commander Tucker joked "came with everything but its own protein resequencer." (ENT: "Borderland")

The NX-class command chair was the only chair on the NX-class bridge that was not bought from an Italian showroom. Set Decorator James Mees commented, "I bought the seat itself at a boating and marine supplier. I recovered it in leathers in our colors and some different things like that, and then the rest of the chair we built from scratch; there's a retractable arm and a retractable video screen in it, and the base lights up and it completely swivels. It's quite exciting!" The chair's armrests and base were built specially. To help Mees finalize the details, Senior Illustrator John Eaves drew some sketches of the chair. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, pp. 85 & 86) Production Designer Herman Zimmerman concluded, "We made a really cool chair for Captain Archer, but it uses a lot of the same dramatic devices   like a pop-up television screen and a communications button that you can hit with your fist &mbps; that hark back to James T. Kirk's chair." (Star Trek Monthly issue 103, p. 32) Ultimately, the NX command chair featured the smallest screen of all the plasma screens on the NX-class bridge, measuring seven inches across. For ENT: "Singularity", a potential updated version of the NX-class command chair – an over-planned chair supposedly designed by the obsessive Tucker – was based on a design by John Eaves. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 144, pp. 28 & 30)
Early in the run of Star Trek: Enterprise, the opportunity to sit in the NX-class command chair proved to be a temptation to the series' regular cast. "I think pretty much everybody has [sat in it], yeah," laughed Scott Bakula, shortly after working on the first several episodes. "We joke about it. I come in and Anthony [Montgomery] will be sitting in my chair: 'What are you doing?' We're laughing about it. He jumps up." Concerning the regard that the series regulars in general had for the chair, Bakula went on to conclude, "We're having a lot of fun with it." (Star Trek Monthly issue 84, p. 32)

Constitution classEdit

Command chair, USS Exeter

Aboard the Constitution-class USS Exeter

The command chairs installed aboard ships of the Constitution-class in the 2260s featured three slightly different versions of the same command chair. Most, such as the one on the USS Enterprise, featured a backrest that only reached the mid-back. The 2250s version of this chair had a "gooseneck viewer" on the right armrest. (TOS: "The Cage") A few, such as that of the USS Lexington, had a full backrest. (TOS: "The Ultimate Computer")

The full backrest used for the Lexington helped visually distinguish between the bridges of that ship and the Enterprise. The same full backrest was used on the set re-dress of the bridge for the mirror universe ISS Enterprise in the episode TOS: "Mirror, Mirror".
Star Trek V Command Chair

Aboard the refitted Constitution-class USS Enterprise-A in 2287

During the early 2270s, Constitution-class starships went through a refit. The command chair of Captain James T. Kirk was upgraded with not only a full back support, including an automatically adjustable headrest, but also a safety restraint mechanism that allowed the armrests to hold down the occupant during turbulence and red alert. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Upon Kirk stealing the Enterprise from Earth Spacedock for a self-appointed mission in 2285, Captain Styles threatened Kirk that, if he went ahead with the theft, he would "never sit in the captain's chair again." This turned out to be partly true, as the Enterprise was self-destructed in close proximity to the Genesis Planet during Kirk's same unofficial mission, though Kirk did later assume the captain's chair of the Constitution-class USS Enterprise as well as a couple of other vessels (namely, a Klingon Bird-of-Prey named the HMS Bounty and, very briefly, the Excelsior-class USS Enterprise-B). (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek Generations) However, Kirk also admitted, while in command of the Enterprise-A in 2287, that he missed his former chair. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

For Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Set Dresser John Dwyer made sure to acquire a new command chair for the Enterprise. "The old chair was flat up the back and had two aluminum panels that locked on your leg, with buttons on them," he recalled. "It was a real hindrance to the actors. Not only did you have to remember your lines and your moves, you had to get out of this thing... so we constructed one that was easy to get out of and looked semi-comfortable." (Captain's Log: William Shatner's Personal Account of the Making of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, pp. 143-144)

Alternate Constitution classEdit

Alternate Enterprise command consoles, 2258

Kirk in the Constitution-class command chair of the USS Enterprise

In the alternate reality, the Constitution-class command chair could swivel and was equipped with an intercom. (Star Trek) The chair also had self-extending twin-shoulder seatbelts, as did other seats on the ship. (Star Trek Into Darkness)

Captain Christopher Pike was in the command chair of the USS Enterprise when the ship launched from Starbase 1 on a mission to Vulcan in 2258. Spock, as acting captain during Pike's absence, then occasionally occupied the chair, temporarily leaving it to go on a mission to rescue members of the Vulcan High Council including his mother, Amanda Grayson. After Spock returned, James T. Kirk momentarily assumed the chair. However, Spock told him to get "out of the chair", an instruction Kirk complied with. Once Kirk proved Spock was too emotionally compromised by the recent destruction of Vulcan to continue in command, the right to take the command chair became Kirk's. Using the chair's intercom for a ship-wide message was one of his first actions upon assuming command. (Star Trek)

The next year, after Kirk violated Starfleet regulations by revealing the Enterprise to a group of primitive Nibirans, Christopher Pike accused Kirk of not respecting "the chair" because Pike felt Kirk wasn't yet ready for it. The Enterprise's command chair had never been occupied by Hikaru Sulu until Kirk temporarily promoted him to the position of acting captain, while Kirk led a landing party to Qo'noS and captured Khan Noonien Singh there. Later, Kirk, recruiting Khan to help him commandeer the USS Vengeance, promoted Spock to acting captain of the Enterprise with the rationale that the person who sat in the chair needed to know what they were doing. Moments after the power grids aboard the Enterprise started failing and the ship became caught in Earth's gravity, Spock activated the chair's seat belt. Shortly before the Enterprise commenced an historic five-year mission, Kirk assumed command and the associated chair from Sulu. (Star Trek Into Darkness)

As shown in the blooper reel on the Star Trek DVD and Blu-ray, the captain's chair is not actually bolted onto the floor, as Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine accidentally knocked it over while filming Spock's attack on Kirk.

Dreadnought classEdit

When commandeering the Dreadnought-class USS Vengeance, Captain James T. Kirk ordered Admiral Alexander Marcus to vacate the command chair. Marcus refused, even after Kirk threatened him, "I could stun your ass and drag you out of that chair." Marcus hurried out of the chair in an attempt to escape when Khan, who had accompanied Kirk onto the bridge, went on the offensive. After murdering Admiral Marcus and taking control of the Vengeance himself, Khan assumed the command chair, though a detonation aboard the ship hurled him out of it. Immediately following the crash of the Vengeance in San Francisco, Khan was cowering behind the chair, though he soon left it. (Star Trek Into Darkness)

At one point, Star Trek Into Darkness Art Director Harry Otto posed for a photograph in the Dreadnought-class command chair. [1]

Excelsior classEdit

During an honorary tour of the Enterprise-B on its maiden voyage, James T. Kirk – now retired from Starfleet – gave a longing gaze towards the ship's command chair. When Captain John Harriman asked Kirk and his companion Montgomery Scott to take their designated side seats, Kirk was reluctant to leave the command chair, briefly resting an arm atop the back of it, but then did as Harriman had suggested. Kirk later glanced at the chair again, upon advising Harriman, "Risk is part of the game if you want to sit in that chair."

James T. Kirk in Enterprise-B captain's chair

Kirk occupying the Excelsior-class command chair aboard the USS Enterprise-B

When the ship subsequently became caught in a gravimetric field emanating from the Nexus, the craft shuddering caused firstly Harriman and later Kirk to cling onto the chair. After Kirk and Scott hatched a plan to enable the Enterprise-B to break away from the field, Kirk finally assumed the vessel's command chair while Harriman volunteered to go to main engineering to make modifications necessary for the plan to work. However, Kirk thereafter left the chair, swapping places with Harriman. Harriman thereafter left the chair to investigate a hull breach which had apparently cost Kirk his life.

Kirk had actually been drawn into the Nexus, in which Captain Jean-Luc Picard attempted to recruit him to help stop Tolian Soran on Veridian III. Kirk concluded that the situation he now found himself in, of whether to make a difference again, was "about that empty chair on the bridge of the Enterprise," and he proceeded to assist Picard, actually being killed in the process. (Star Trek Generations)

Galaxy classEdit

TNG First Season Command Chair

Aboard the Galaxy-class USS Enterprise-D in 2364

In 2364, Captain Jean-Luc Picard showed young Wesley Crusher the command chair aboard the USS Enterprise-D. A panel on the right arm of the chair had been designed for log entries, library computer access and retrieval, viewscreen control and intercoms. The left arm of the chair was equipped with a panel that could be flipped open to reveal backup conn and ops panels, plus armament and shield controls. (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint")

The script of "Encounter at Farpoint" does not specify that the controls on the left arm of the chair are hidden beneath a panel, although Picard opens a panel on the chair's left arm in the final version of the episode.

By 2365, the command chair on the Enterprise-D had been upgraded to a newer version with padded armrests and the replacement of the hidden control panels with permanently open ones. This chair remained on the bridge until the ship's destruction in 2371. In hindsight, Commander Riker subsequently admitted, "I always thought I'd get a shot at this chair one day," referencing his long-held desire to captain the Enterprise, a goal Picard suspected he might still attain. (TNG: "The Child"; Star Trek Generations)

In the past time-frame of TNG: "All Good Things...", the command chair on the bridge is not the same chair that was used in the first season, but rather, the upgraded chair that was introduced in the second season.
The command chair was not intended to be replaced for the film Star Trek Generations but had to be, after the production staff discovered – fifty hours before filming – that it had been stolen. With time running out, shop crews labored for a straight eighteen hours to craft a new chair. They fashioned the replacement out of fiberglass molded over foam built on an old frame from the first season. The thief had left behind, fortunately for the production crew, the chair's cast-iron base, so that was also used. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion 3rd ed., p. 312)

Kelvin typeEdit

The command chair aboard the Kelvin-type was outfitted with a control panel on the chair's right armrest. The controls available included a manual steering column and an intercom.

George Kirk on dying Kelvin

George Kirk being propelled out of the USS Kelvin's command chair

Aboard the USS Kelvin in 2233 of the alternate reality, Captain Richard Robau and Lieutenant George Kirk consecutively occupied the command chair while the Kelvin was attacked by the Romulan mining vessel Narada. Both officers used the chair's intercom but, as the Kelvin crashed into the Narada in a kamikaze maneuver, Kirk was flung out of the chair. (Star Trek)

Kobayashi Maru simulatorEdit

In the alternate reality, a command chair on a simulated bridge in the Kobayashi Maru scenario could rotate and had a control panel on each armrest.

While James T. Kirk was undergoing the Kobayashi Maru test in 2258 of the alternate reality, he ate an apple while sitting in the command chair. (Star Trek)

Gallery of command chairsEdit

Background informationEdit

The command chair of the Enterprise-E was designed by illustrator John Eaves, who placed the chair a few inches above all the others on the starship's bridge in order to accentuate the captain's position, focusing the bridge design on him. (Star Trek: Communicator issue #110, p. 22)

DeletedSceneNemesis Picard seatbelts

A deleted scene showing seatbelts on the command chair of the Enterprise-E

In a deleted scene from Star Trek Nemesis, the Enterprise-E's command chair is refitted with seatbelts. This chair design later served as the command chair for the Enterprise (NX-01) in Season 4 of Star Trek: Enterprise.

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