Phasers and Communicators on Star Trek: Discovery may resemble the Starfleet gear from the original ‘60s series, but the prop-makers specifically used real-life cell phones to make the new 23rd-century tech look legit.

What Happened

On Thursday, CBS released a new video detailing how the props of StarTrek: Discovery were physically constructed. Prop master Mario Moreira makes it clear that though they approached the phasers, communicators, and tricorders as “period pieces,” that they also “tore apart phones and radios — we really looked at the guts of the way things are beveled.” The design for the new Klingon helmets was also based on “Romand and Greek vases,” to fully explore a warrior race aesthetic.

What It Means

Despite the delightful idea that iPhones will eventually morph into the beloved Star Trek communicators, there was another nerdy Trekkie detail buried in the video. Without a doubt, the prop that comes closest to looking like it’s straight from the original series in the new phaser. And when Moreira is handling the phaser in the video, it’s clear that just like the classic version, this phaser is actually two phasers in one.

In the original series, there were two phasers: phaser I and phaser II. The first kind was tiny and you could hide it easier. But, when you combined it with the more pistol-shaped phaser II, it became more badass. So, preserving this detail on the new phaser is an unexpectedly minute detail from the classic series.

What’s Next

In spite of the uniforms on Discovery not totally fitting in with what we know about Trek canon at this point, the equipment used by Starfleet seems to perfectly align with what Trekkies and casual fans should be used to. Like Rogue One going back to 1977 to recreate aspects of the Rebel Base, Star Trek seems to continue to boldly head into its own past to mine relics to create the future.


Star Trek: Discovery hits CBS All-Access on September 24.