This season of Star Trek: Picard earned lots of love from the fans and critics alike. The third and final season of the Paramount+ series not only continued the story of beloved Star Trek character Jean-Luc Picard, played by the much-respected and talented Patrick Stewart.
Led by showrunner Terry Matalas it was a very ambitious season which marked the return of the fan favorites cast Star Trek: The Next Generation, and also some of some very familiar aspects of the Star Trek universe, both villains, legacy characters and new cast members needed to have costumes expertly handled with care.
Star Trek: Picard Costume Designer Michael Crow spoke with Awards Radar about the work he and his team put into making sure the crew of the USS Enterprise D was suited up to snuff for hardcore fans and news ones alike,
Awards Radar: You have an extensive and impressive body of work. Before joining the Picard what was your relationship with Star Trek as a fan viewer? Just as a fan was there any aspect that you most enjoyed/got a kick out of?
Michael Crow: While I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as a Trekkie, TNG and DSN were must watch television when I was younger. My interest was piqued by the return of the rest of the original cast. I had worked on the first season of PICARD in the early stages, so it was fun to return to that world.
AR: What was your relationship like with the cast when designing – especially a legend like Patrick Stewart.
Michael Crow: Working with the legacy cast of Star Trek was nothing less than amazing. These are actors that have embodied these characters for decades. We created a dialogue about who these characters are now and what their history has been both on and off screen.
The new cast members were no less interested in how their costumes could inform their character’s history.
AR: Knowing how demanding fans can be, how much pressure is there stepping onto a project like Picard?
Michael Crow: It was constantly at the back of my mind. STAR TREK is so important to the people that love it. Everyone involved had the same level of respect for the world we were gifted enough to be apart of. I can only hope that that love and respect shines through.
AR: Where/when does the process begin for you? How much collaboration?
Michael Crow: The process always begins with the story (the script). There are initial discussions about concept and character. Collaborating with all of the other departments (Hair, Make-up, Production Design, Props, etc.) is essential on a show like this. Of course, then there is the actor’s voice. I couldn’t do what I do without any of them.
Star Trek: Picard Season 3 brings back iconic characters from previous Star Trek series, including Jean-Luc Picard and his former crew. Can you tell us about the process of designing and updating their costumes to reflect the passage of time and the evolution of their characters?
Michael Crow: I really wanted to create something that honored what had come before, both in TNG and the first two seasons of PICARD. The history is important here. I wanted the strength of the characters and the legacy to be foremost in the audiences mind.
AR: Do you enjoy working with iconic characters more or creating your own original designs?
Michael Crow: Both are rewarding in their own ways. There is great reward in honoring the history of existing characters, and in a way it is easier even if it can be more perilous. Creating new characters like Jack or Vadic can be daunting since there are so many possibilities, but that is also the joy of it.
AR: How much room were you given to pave a new path for Trek costumes?
Michael Crow: There is a history to honor, but I feel like each new iteration of STAR TREK is allowed to build on what came before to create something new. The limitations were more practical than creative if at all.
AR: How does it feel as an artist to earn the opportunity to create costumes that will be replicated and adored by fans for years and years to come?
Michael Crow: I try not to think about it when designing, but it’s always an honor when the fans appreciate the work that we have all done.
AR: Worf’s costumes especially seem to have had more thought put into them. When looking at his trademark baldric, we can see that it has changed from silver to mostly black with silver accents. Was there a symbolism behind the change? (In the first season it was golden linen and then changed to silver when he was promoted.)
Michael Crow: There was much discussion between myself, Terry and Michael Dorn about Worf’s costumes going into this season. It was important to pay respect to the character’s history. It was also important that Worf had become his own man apart from the King Empire or the Federation. The adaptability of the baldric was a symbol of that for me. It was always present, but ever changing.
AR: Returning alien species get updated looks as well. The Feringi and Changelings come to mind. What were some of the inspirations for their designs? Afterall, the 47th Rule of Acquisition says, “Don’t trust a man wearing a better suit than your own.”
Michael Crow: Designing Sneed was great fun. I always loved the Ferengi on DSN. District 6 had its own aesthetic and Sneed needed to be over the top, but as seedy as that world demanded.
The changelings in PICARD are a tortured version of what came before. Vadic and her crew have chosen specific shapes. In my mind this is due to the torture that they endured. I used a specific fabric as an element in every changeling costume. It was also important that the costumes had elements moving in and out of each other.
AR: Which are your personal favorite costumes you designed?
Michael Crow: So hard to choose. Worf’s costumes were particularly rewarding. Raffi and Beverly were my guiding lights. Vox was a labor of love, and one of the most collaborative costumes I’ve ever had the pleasure to work on. They each have their story though.
AR: Easter Eggs are everywhere nowadays in every facet of production it seems. Were you able to add any Easter eggs fans will enjoy? Any favorites?
Michael Crow: The design of Beverly’s first costume was inspired by the uniforms from Wrath of Khan.
AR: Which Star Trek character (Picard or beyond) is your favorite?
Michael Crow: Much too hard to choose. From a personal standpoint I was thrilled/sad to see Ro Laren again. I’ve always identified with that character.