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(written from a Production point of view)

"To truly understand Doug Drexler, you have to go beyond the obvious. Sure he's a talented illustrator and graphic designer. But the key to Doug is his eyes. Look at them closely and you'll discover a Merlin the Magician looniness lurking beneath the surface. I'm convinced Doug knows secrets of the universe that the rest of us can’t even imagine. He's also a big Sinatra fan, so you know the guy has taste."
"Every so many years I get the urge to do something else. I went from makeup, to scenic artist, to illustrator, to VFX. (…) I find it strange that a one person can do just one thing all of their lives. I know a lot of people like that, most of the people I know are like that; be a makeup artist for 45 years. There are so many cool things out there. Life is a thrill. Get all you can."
– Doug Drexler, Production Staffer, on his many career direction changes, already during Star Trek (5 November 2015, )

Artist Douglas "Doug" Drexler (born 28 March 1953; age 71) has been creating for, or contributing to, numerous Star Trek productions and publications, both official and unofficial, since the 1970s. Starting out in fandom, Drexler has proven to be one of the most versatile production staffers in the Star Trek franchise during the Berman-era.

Beginnings as Star Trek fan[]

Born in New York City, Drexler was a first-generation Star Trek: The Original Series fan – although he was prohibited from watching television on school nights, Drexler managed to watch "This Side of Paradise", and subsequently to persuade his parents to allow him an hour's viewing a week, for Star Trek.

Drexler, a School of Visual Arts, New York, BA degree graduate, along with Ron Barlow, ran a small fan-based Star Trek store in Manhattan, New York – "The Federation Trading Post" – during the mid-1970s. [1](X) Although failing initially, the store became more well-known after advertising during Original Series syndication, eventually becoming a focus for media contact about Star Trek. Drexler and Barlow were approached by Paradise Press to edit, and write for, one of the first professional Star Trek magazines not being an fanzine, the Star Trek Giant Poster Book – which was, for all intents and purposes, Drexler's very first official contribution to the franchise. [2](X) It was through the store that Drexler met and befriended frequent collaborator Geoffrey Mandel, with whom he compiled one of the first, albeit unauthorized, technical reference works in Trek history: the USS Enterprise Officer's Manual, as well as native-Californian Anthony Fredrickson (having actually already befriended him in his high-school days), with whom he would author the Star Fleet Medical Reference Manual, originally an unauthorized fan fiction publication, later reissued as a licensed reference work. A major piece on "The Federation Trading Post" was written in 1982 for the semi-professional magazine Enterprise Incidents, issue 9.

It was during this period in time that Drexler and Mandel made up their mind that they would work for the Star Trek franchise directly one day, as Mandel recalled, "Back in 1979, Doug Drexler and I were probably the two biggest Star Trek fans in New York City. We knew that Star Trek: The Motion Picture was being filmed, and we knew we had to be a part of it, so we took time off from work and school to fly to L.A. and do our best to sneak onto the sound stages of Paramount. Of course, we had no connections, barely a place to stay, and only by sheer chutzpah did we finally manage to get onto the lot, tiptoe upstairs to the Star Trek art department (ironically, the same room I worked in for two years on Voyager), and talk to some of the designers, including Mike Minor and Lee Cole. What was probably a routine meeting for them with two Trek geeks was a decisive moment in my career, and Doug's – we suddenly realized that there was actually a PAYING JOB for people like us, who liked to design spacecraft and draw little diagrams of ray guns. I can remember coming back home to New York and telling my mother that I finally knew what I wanted to do with my life, and she had a good laugh when I said it was to work in science fiction art departments. Who could possibly make a living at that?!" [3](X) The wide-eyed fan Drexler came in a sense full circle as he was yet to work on The Motion Picture, when he, a quarter of a century later, worked as a digital artist on the 2001 Star Trek: The Motion Picture (The Director's Edition) DVD version.

Drexler also contributed as co-writer of two Gold Key TOS comics issues, "This Tree Bears Bitter Fruit" (#47) and "Murder Boards the Enterprise" (#48). On issue #47, he is credited as a story consultant.

Starting a professional career[]

Drexler began working as a makeup artist in 1983 on movies like The Hunger, and Amityville 3-D, having been invited to do so by renowned makeup artist, Dick Smith. His other early work included C.H.U.D., Starman (both, 1984), Manhunter (1986), My Demon Lover and Fatal Attraction (1987), Poltergeist III (1988), as well as 3 Men and a Little Lady (1990).

After engaging in a long correspondence with Robert H. Justman and Michael Westmore during preproduction of the new spin-off television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, only to be unable to get a position on the series due to union rules, Drexler moved to Hollywood in 1990 to work on Dick Tracy (being made a member of the LA Union by Warren Beatty), for which he later won a 1991 Academy Award (shared with John Caglione, Jr.), a BAFTA Award (also shared with Caglione), supplemented by a Saturn Award (again co-shared with Caglione) to boot. Dick Tracy featured many Star Trek alumni in the cast: Colm Meaney, John Schuck, Ian Wolfe, Seymour Cassel, Hamilton Camp, Chuck Hicks, Mike Hagerty, Robert Costanzo, Ed McCready, Bert Remsen, Walker Edmiston, and Michael J. Pollard. Though he afterwards ended up being hired on the Star Trek, he initially concurrently worked on the productions True Identity (1991), Shining Through (1992), and Running Delilah (1993) while the series was in hiatus.

Professional Star Trek affiliation[]

Doug Drexler in uniform

In uniform on the set of "Transfigurations" in 1990

Now able to work in California, Drexler again approached Westmore to reapply for a position in the Next Generation make-up department. Westmore, incredulous at first that an Academy Award nominee would want to work as a lesser paid makeup artist for a television show – even though he himself had already won one – hired him, but not before he had exclaimed, "what do you want to do that for, you're doing features!" [4] Later friend and co-worker, Michael Okuda, too, was impressed that an Academy Award winner decided to work on a television show, "(…) It was I who was honored to meet this Academy Award-winning artist. He did me – and Star Trek – a huge favor when he said he was interested in working in the Art Department. I already knew of his talent, but I was impressed that he offered to take a huge pay cut to work with us." [5](X)

The Next Generation[]

Drexler's first assignment was putting on the Shakespeare makeup on Patrick Stewart for the Next Generation's third season episode "The Defector". (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 11, p. 53; [6](X)) How eager Drexler was to work on Star Trek was exemplified by the fact that he was already working in the make-up department before Dick Tracy even received its three Oscars out of seven nominations. Actually winning one, was an unending source of glee for Next Generation actor LeVar Burton as Drexler recalled, "The cast loved it. They went crazy. LeVar Burton used to tease me constantly. I would walk on set, he would yell, "ladies and gentlemen, Academy Award winning makeup artist Doug Drexler." It didn’t matter where I was. One day I was walking down Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, and some guy comes racing around the corner and we collide. We looked at one another, and it’s LeVar! I’m like, "oh, no," because I knew it was coming. He turns to the entire crowded street and announces at the top of his lungs, "ladies and gentlemen, Academy Award winning…". Funny as hell." [7]

Drexler continued to work as a make-up artist for three years, earning him two Emmy Award nominations as such, with the first appearance of Lal make-up for the third season episode "The Offspring" becoming one of his more noticeable contributions. [8](X)

Deep Space Nine[]

Doug Drexler

Doug Drexler in 2012

Pleased as Drexler was, working on Star Trek, he did profess that, "(…)the art department was calling to me and that's really where I wanted to be." He struck up a friendship with Michael Okuda, whom he admired, and kept in touch with him and his Scenic Art Department, waiting for an opportunity to move over. That opportunity came when Star Trek: Deep Space Nine went into production and Okuda hired him, eventually becoming the lead scenic artist on the series. A grateful Drexler recalled, "Looking through the trade paper, Variety, I saw that Paramount had made up their minds and they were going to do Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I got on the phone right away to Mike Okuda, who really stuck out his neck for me, and that's how it happened!" (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 11, p. 54)

Though hired as scenic artist, usually working alongside fellow Scenic Artist Denise Okuda – wife of Michael – on an alternating episode basis, Drexler almost from the start doubled as production illustrator, designing props, albeit officially uncredited, "Mike hired me to design graphics, but as soon as Herman found out I could sketch, he had me designing hand props. Mike had an idea about hand props that would snap into walls or consoles." [9](X) At Okuda's department, Drexler learned a valuable practical lesson regarding designing, "I learned early that you don't send over just one or two designs, you send a dozen. As Mike taught me, "Be sure and send them something to hate"." [10](X) Michael Okuda himself, very much aware of the fact that producers valued a multitude of options – the more, the better – had explained the reason for doing so, "Herman Zimmerman [note: head of the Art Department, to which Okuda answered] used to remind us that there is always more than one way to solve any particular design challenge. It was his way of telling us not to get too fixated on any particular design element, because there are sooooo many factors that you can't control. Even when you think you understand all the requirements for a design, you're often surprised by a last-minute request from the director, or an unexpected budget problem, or a producer who wants a different approach, or a change in schedule, or any of a hundred things that fall into the category of what we called "oh, by the way…". You'd think that this would be frustrating, and it times it was. But the odd thing is that it sometimes inspired us to stretch ourselves in different directions, and surprisingly, it sometimes even resulted in better work." [11](X)

While employed as an artist in Okuda's Scenic Art Department, Drexler also contributed, in addition to Deep Space Nine, to three Star Trek films: Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: First Contact, and Star Trek: Insurrection. Most notable was his creation of his first, highly detailed MSD of the USS Enterprise-B, prominently seen in Generations and on which he commented, "I enjoyed laying cross sections out, and was proud that Mike thought I was the guy for the job." [12](X) Future Star Trek productions would afford him ample opportunity to indulge this passion.


Officially, Drexler never worked for the studio on Star Trek: Voyager, when that series started production in 1994. This was due to the studio's policy of contracting production staffers for one Star Trek production only, though it did not extend to the senior department staff, which in Drexler's case was Michael Okuda only. As Deep Space Nine scenic artist Drexler was therefore legally and formally forbidden to work on any of the other Star Trek television productions, a bit to his chagrin, as he once stated that as far as he was concerned, "There was no good reason for this that we could perceive." [13](X) Still, the studio condoned his input in the earliest stages of the new series' development by relaxing their own proviso when they, among others, requested Drexler to submit design propositions for the new "hero" ship, though the studio made sure Drexler was not credited for it. Actual "illegal" activities Drexler, the consummate Star Trek fan, performed for the new series were, for example, the application of the signage decals on the USS Voyager studio model (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 325) and the co-construction of the Mars Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards maquette for the second season season episode "Lifesigns", he built together with Anthony Fredrickson. [14](X) A very noticeable contribution Drexler made was the USS Voyager MSD he created together with Okuda. [15](X)

After Deep Space Nine wrapped, Drexler moved over as a production illustrator and visual effects (VFX) artist with Foundation Imaging, for whom he yet continued working on Voyager, the only time during his Star Trek years he was not directly employed by Paramount. Yet, by this time he had already gradually and increasingly been called upon to make contributions as a production illustrator – although he was never officially credited as such until Star Trek: Enterprise – even after not being formally employed by the franchise at the time. "I'm the only guy on the Voyager team at Foundation who is a sketcher. If Rick Sternbach is too busy, or the art department has left on hiatus, Rob Bonchune or [Adam] "Mojo" [Lebowitz] will ask me to bash out ideas. This was the case when I worked in the DS9 art department as well. If John Eaves was busy I would pinch-hit. I enjoy designing", adding, a bit prematurely as it would turn out not too long thereafter, "but I think that I wouldn't want to be the lead illustrator. It's a tough job. This way I get to dabble.", Drexler clarified. [16](X)

It was during his tenure at Foundation that Drexler contributed to the Director's Edition DVD of the The Motion Picture.


Doug Drexler and Enterprise NX

Drexler with a commercial model of his Enterprise (NX-01) design

While still employed at Foundation, he was asked in 2000 to break the stalemate on the design of the new "hero" ship, Enterprise NX-01, for the upcoming series Star Trek: Enterprise. Starting to design a prototype CGI model under the erroneous impression that it would just be a quick mock-up, he found himself in a months long, unpaid, high pressure workload that took up most of his spare time, as he was at the time still fully employed at Foundation, working on the aforementioned Star Trek: The Motion Picture (The Director's Edition) DVD, among others. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 10, pp. 25-26) Drexler's dogged determination to bring the project to successful fruition, which was anything but "dabbling", solicited an accolade of high praise from Michael Okuda, "That's dedication, but that's what Doug brings to every project. And it earned him a place among such luminaries as Jefferies, Probert, Sternbach, Eaves, Taylor, Zimmerman, and James." [17](X) Drexler, back in the employ of Paramount one year later, was rewarded for this stressful assignment by his subsequent position on the new series as "Senior Illustrator", finally earning him his illustrator credit. During these years, Drexler also contributed as illustrator to the last Star Trek film set in the prime universe, Star Trek Nemesis.

As an Original Series fan, Drexler became concerned with the chosen visual direction the producers had decided upon for the new prequel series, but as former co-worker Mandel stated, "Having been around then, I also know that Doug Drexler and John Eaves did exactly what the producers asked them to," [18](X) despite the fact that Drexler, while proud of "(…) the NX-01, even though it was a frustrating experience," considered himself "(…) a "canon" kind of guy. I would have liked to have seen the Daedalus style ship. You know… the sphere instead of saucer. The producers wanted it to be a saucer because they wanted it "recognizable"." [19](X) It hinted at elevated tension levels between producers and creative staffers on what a "proper" prequel visual style or starship design lineage should look like. Subsequent events however, proved that fans were in concordance with the creative staff. And while several by then former colleagues, Bonchune in particular, later vented their negative opinions on several internet blogs, Drexler, in accordance with his upbeat and diplomatic nature, kept these to himself... usually; only once did he allow himself to slip up when he made the acerbic "You'll make a fine producer!" riposte to one fan's overly criticism of his later refit NX design, speaking volumes in that respect, the succinctness of the remark notwithstanding. [20](X)


On 9 September 2021 Drexler divulged that he was invited back to the official live-action franchise to serve as a concept illustrator on the second and third seasons of Star Trek: Picard on the initiative of "Trekkie" showrunner Terry Matalas (actually a former Enterprise co-worker) and production designer Dave Blass, [21] something that was only officially confirmed on 7 November. [22]. It reunited him with his old co-worker friends Eaves, the Okuda couple, and Geoffrey Mande though none of them were to receive official credits for their contributions, but who were nonetheless extensively and repeatedly lauded for their work by Blass on the latter's X (formerly Twitter) page. Conspicuous contributions Drexler made for the second season were the Sagan-class and Excelsior II-class, he co-designed in conjuncture with Eaves. (PIC Season 2 Blu-ray/DVD-special feature, "The USS Stargazer") He also helped out on with the CGI build on the detail level of the Sagan-class. [23]

Drexler's most important contribution to the third season was the co-design/build of that season's "hero" ship, the Constitution III-class USS Titan-A/Enterprise-G.

Other official Star Trek work[]

When he started his tenure as scenic artist on Deep Space Nine, Drexler taught himself the Adobe Illustrator software which, aside for submitting his early USS Voyager design propositions in this format, served him well in providing the graphics for the Star Trek Chronology, Star Trek Encyclopedia, and the subsequent Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual. Drexler actually had to learn computer skills as one of his main responsibilities turned out to be creating the various okudagrams for Deep Space Nine in the format. Completely new to the computer phenomenon, he went about it with a fervor, admitting, "Two weeks before Mike hired me, I'd never touched one. On the day he gave me the word, I went out and bought my first. Spent the next two weeks cramming on Illustrator, and Photoshop." [24]

Drexler went on to master the CGI LightWave 3D software as well, the build of the Breen interceptor for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Penumbra" being his first contribution in this format for the franchise. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 7, p. 50) Ship designer John Eaves, whom Drexler had in the meantime befriended, noted, "Doug Drexler made a massive skills jump from graphics to CG model maker with this ship, and what fun it was to watch him learn something new. And now he’s a master of CG modeling and animation with unlimited talent!" [25](X) In effect, the fact that Drexler had been honing his skills building CGI models in LightWave while working on Voyager at Foundation Imaging, was instrumental in his invitation to participate in the design process for the NX-class for Enterprise. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 136, p. 32) As an Original Series fan, Drexler might otherwise have been a consideration for the producers not to employ him, as friend and co-worker Mandel reiterated, "When they started Enterprise, they made a conscious decision to bring in some new blood, and not just round up the usual suspects; but in practice, it meant that fans like Rick Sternbach, Tim Earls, and myself weren't asked back. However, a number of fans who had worked on DS9 and had been taking an extended leave of absence came back when Enterprise started, so the total number of Star Trek fans stayed about the same." [26](X)

Due to his intimate knowledge of The Original Series, Drexler has been deeply involved with the build of the Original Series sets for the homage episodes TNG: "Relics", DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations", and ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly", and though he has not received a "production designer" credit for any of them, his contributions to the second episode in particular were examined in detail in the 2001 reference eBook, The Magic of Tribbles: The Making of Trials and Tribble-ations. "In particular, Doug was the one responsible for going thru stacks and stacks of VHS tapes, doing video frame grabs for all of us who needed to know what the corridor door frames looked like, or where the intercoms were mounted, or how wide the stripes were on the floor, or a million other things. There is no way that this episode could have been as accurate as it was without Doug's dedication and hard work. Without Doug's efforts, a lot more things would have been guesswork, and the overall product would have been diminished," an appreciative Okuda stated in regard to the "Tribble" episode. [27](X)

While Drexler worked for the live action franchise, he co-authored and illustrated the Manual, and illustrated all editions of the Encyclopedia, its CD-ROM derivative, as well as such reference books like Star Trek Science Logs, all of them in Adobe. His subsequent mastery of the LightWave software, in addition to his regular work for televised Star Trek, also served him well when he was asked by Pocket Books to provide CGI covers for several of their novels, most notably the covers of the Star Trek: Vanguard novels. (Star Trek Magazine issue 162, pp. 82-84) In addition, from 2004 onward, he became a contributor and co-editor of the popular Star Trek: Ships of the Line calendar series, in the process managing to strike up a warm working relationship with then-chief editor of Pocket Books, Margaret Clark – unlike several other colleague Star Trek authors. [28](X) He also contributed as illustrator to the 1998 interactive CD-ROM Star Trek: Captain's Chair, for which he, most notably, created the Constitution-class operations graphic that was later elevated to canon when it was featured in the fourth season Enterprise episode "In a Mirror, Darkly". [29](X)

Drexler also contributed to the 2004 film portion of the Borg Invasion 4D ride at the Star Trek: The Experience attraction, but for a long time he was not aware of it; when he posted on his blog, in 2009, a CGI model of a shuttle he had constructed, he, after first incorrectly believing it was a rejected build for the title sequence of Enterprise, could only remember that he, "(…)was building the model in the art department when I got the word that Foundation had already begun their version, so it was never completed." This indicated that it was nevertheless built for the first season of the new series, as Foundation only worked on that season before the company went out of business. His blog participants almost immediately recognized the shuttle as having been featured in the the Borg ride, much to Drexler's glee, "That’s the great thing about blogging with you guys! It makes me remember! Yes! I do believe it was used as the Olympia. I think I turned this over to Threshold, along with a starbase model. Was there a starbase in the story?" [30](X) And indeed there was, also immediately identified by blog participants as having been featured in the ride when Drexler posted that model a short time later. [31](X)

As it turned out, Drexler was at the time requested to turn over his models to Threshold Digital Research Labs, the effects company which produced the VFX for the ride under the supervision of Drexler's former Foundation superior Adam Lebowitz. Unaware of this fact, but thinking nothing further of it, Drexler dutifully complied by handing over his, what he believed, Enterprise rejects. At Threshold the models were completed and featured as the Olympia shuttle and as the Starfleet science research facility Copernicus Station, respectively. By posting the two models, it had even helped the designer of both, John Eaves, to have his memory jogged, "I just found the art work for this one!!! I forgot what we were doing this for but so loved the modeling you did on it and that crazy tikki faced space station!!! Your the KING!!!" [32](X) This was not an unusual thing, as Eaves had clarified on another occasion, "Between Doug and I we have far more rejected pieces than approved… and you were always worried when all the ideas went to a meeting that they would choose the one you didn’t want to get approved." [33]

Doug Drexler acted as a technical consultant for the 2006 remastered Original Series, for which he was fully credited, and repeated this for the 2012 follow-up project, the remastered Next Generation, albeit uncredited, and on a more freelance, occasional base. [34] In addition, he has served as technical consultant and illustrator for the model kit companies Bandai and Polar Lights for their respective (refit) NX-class model kit outings in 2003 and 2014. In 2012, Drexler joined, on a freelance basis, the editorial staff of Ben Robinson's Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection partwork publication as CGI supervisor, consultant, and contributor, especially on those issues that sported his own starship designs. In 2013, Drexler and Andrew Probert designed the new Deep Space 9 station for the cover of the Star Trek: The Fall novel Revelation and Dust.

In November 2014 Drexler again returned to the Star Trek franchise when he was invited to become a part as consultant of a team of experts – including a host of former Star Trek alumni – to oversee a new restoration of the original eleven-foot Enterprise studio model, residing at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, for its 50th anniversary. [35] Though having accepted the prestigious assignment, Drexler was unable to attend the team's first work meeting on 13 May 2015, due to previous engagements. [36]


Doug Drexler has made two cameo appearances as a Starfleet officer. Upon starting work on Star Trek, he asked if he could appear as a background artist, in uniform, at some point. His wish was granted in the third season episode "Transfigurations", in which he appeared as a command division Enterprise-D officer in several scenes set in Ten Forward. He also appeared in "These Are the Voyages..." as I. Marquez.

Perhaps not coincidentally, his name has been used referring to two Starfleet personnel, D. Drexler and Douglas Drexler, on dedication plaques in the same time periods.

In addition, Drexler had a Klingon character named after him – Drex, the son of Martok and Sirella, appearing in "The Way of the Warrior" – and which titillated him to no end; "I got a Klingon named after me! There was a Klingon named Drex. Michael Dorn always loved my last name for a Klingon; on TNG he would yell across the stage, "Drexler, Drexler, Drexler." He'd say, "It's a great Klingon name." And I think I told Ira that. Also I had Drex on my jacket. Ira always used to see that." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 22, p. 88).

Ultimately, Drexler had also a Starfleet vessel named after him, the Pathfinder-class USS Drexler, a distinction he shared with friend Eaves.


When asked in 2013 if his fifteen-year tenure on live-action Star Trek had in any way diminished his enjoyment of the franchise as fan, Doug Drexler emphatically exclaimed, "Working behind the scenes for so many years only revved me up!" He concurrently added that The Original Series was and remained his favorite Star Trek incarnation, elaborating, "None can equal the original simply because it was the first… that show birthed everything that came after it. It certainly changed the course of my life and colored everything that I would do from then on. TNG is right up there next to TOS. It's a thoroughbred that is true to its roots. It's Star Trek grown up. It's philosophical and thoughtful. That's what makes real Star Trek. Star Trek is always about an idea. If it isn't asking questions, it's just an action movie."

It was, however, also in this light that he, on the same occasion, expressed his doubts on the re-imagined, alternate reality franchise, which started with the 2009 movie Star Trek. "Technically they are beautiful… the work is stunning… however… and I hope no one will hold this against me… I did not enjoy the last two films, and honest… I really wanted to… but for me, Star Trek has to have a philosophical, humanist bend to it… always making a point, or asking a question. It should be introspective, and self examining. That's the Roddenberry factor. The new films are devoid of Gene Roddenberry, and at the end of the day, I'm not ok with that." [37](X) Drexler has not been the only former production staffer who felt this way; Robert Meyer Burnett has publicly voiced similar concerns in a February 2017 Word Balloon podcast interview with John Siuntres, [38] as had his former colleague Roger Lay, Jr. already done in 2013 for that matter. [39]

Still, despite continuing being a fan, it has not prevented Drexler, after meeting Alec Peters, to let go of most of his collection of Star Trek production items he had accumulated over the years, in Propworx' first two 2010-2011 specialized Star Trek auctions, as he started to run out of storage space. Nevertheless, most of these he had already previously shared with fellow fans on his blog (see below).

Continuations as Star Trek fan[]

2010 Star Trek Ships of the Line calendar September spread

The ship "Max Rem" built

Outside the official franchise framework, Drexler, The Original Series fan he is, but now credited under the pseudonym "Max Rem", also volunteered to work on James Cawley's fan-made internet series Star Trek: New Voyages (2004-2007). He worked as a VFX artist, executive producer, make-up artist, casting director, and editor on the series and wrote the story for the episode "In Harms Way". As CGI VFX artist, Drexler built several CGI model versions of ships for this production, such as the Class F shuttlecraft, the Klingon D7 class, the DY-100 class, and most notably, with support from Petri Blomqvist, the Constitution-class. Most of these CGI builds for this fan production turned up later on several occasions, usually credited under his "Max Rem" pseudonym, in the licensed Ships of the Line calendar series and their book derivatives.

From 2013 until 2016, Drexler, now under his own name, continued to extend his support as co-producer and VFX artist to the later, likewise conceived Star Trek Continues fan series project, bringing along the upgraded version of the Constitution-class CG model he had created as Max Rem and had further refined with Pierre Drolet as the solicitation CG model for the 2006 remastered Original Series, but which was passed over in favor of Blomqvist's own model. [40][41](X) In the first full episode of the series, "Pilgrim of Eternity", Drexler also starred in a guest role as a holodeck character in the episode's teaser. [42] After the series sixth episode however, Drexler decided to withdraw his support. This was not because he disagreed with the concept and/or goals of the fan production, but rather because he had from the very start decided for himself only to contribute on a less involved basis than he had on New Voyages. Nonetheless, he noticed that the consummate fan in him started to become consumed by the project after all, despite his own resolution and firm intention not to ever let that happen again, prompting him to end his participation. [43](X)

The Drex Files[]

DrexFiles logo

To disseminate all the knowledge he had accumulated over the years to fellow Star Trek fans, Drexler started his internet blog, the DrexFiles(X), on 14 December 2008. For four years running, a large amount of behind-the-scenes information was posted on this blog (including most of his aforementioned collection of Star Trek production items), providing an intimate look into all production aspects of Star Trek productions set in the prime universe, with most of its contents not available anywhere else. Over the years, Drexler's blog amassed a large following; not only fans participated in his blog, but former VFX production staff colleagues did as well, such as Brandon MacDougall, Robert Bonchune, Adam Buckner, Dana White Shea, and many more. The more prominent production staff contributors to Drexler's blog were Rick Sternbach, Michael Okuda, and Andrew Probert, who all provided a considerable amount of additional information.

Noteworthy was that, on his blog, Drexler provided a platform for young and aspiring "amateur" digital modelers to showcase their work. Along with former Foundation colleague Adam "Mojo" Lebowitz, Drexler became one of the few publication editors who granted these budding artists a chance to create work for official Star Trek print publications, most notably, of course, the Drexler-edited Ship of the Line calendar series. Two of them in particular, Tobias Richter and Douglas E. Graves, were, thanks to Drexler, given the opportunity to contribute to the remastered version of The Next Generation, which marked their professional entry in the motion picture industry.

The blog was taken down in early March 2013 due to perceived copyright infringements put forward by former VFX colleagues. Drexler temporarily posted the following statement on his Facebook page: "You know how I brand all the images I post with Drex Files. Several of my VFX colleagues took exception to that. They felt I was claiming credit for it all by doing that. I received a couple of angry notes that were upsetting. I felt the best thing was to off-line it for now. My intention was never to steal credit, in fact I felt like I was promoting everyone's work. Drex Files regulars know that I note credits for work whenever I have the info, and if I don't, I appeal to the audience to speak up if they know something about it. So for now, the Drex Files is dark, at least until I have a chance to think about it and review it." [44]

Doug Drexler on the throne of Kahless

"…Quo vadis, Drex Files?…"

One of the very last pictures Drexler posted on his blog before it went dark, was one in which he was seen sitting on the throne of Kahless that was constructed for the season six Next Generation episode "Rightful Heir". In it, he emulated the signature pensive and moody pose that actor Arnold Schwarzenegger had assumed in his titular role at the end of the 1982 cult classic, Conan the Barbarian. Unwittingly and in hindsight, it was Drexler himself who had provided an apt coda for his blog; as of 2024 Drexler has opted not to revive his blog, but instead to use his Facebook page as the venue to continue disseminating his knowledge, with much of his undisputed blog contents ported over to that venue.

The "DrexFiles" proved to be an inspiration for the companion site of John Eaves, who started his likewise successful blog, Eavesdropping with Johnny, on 16 March 2009. He stated on that occasion, "I have to thank the ever and all talented master of media and VFX illusionist, Doug Drexler, for encouraging me to get off my fat butt and finally start a fun blog page!!! I have always wanted to have place to share the fun and adventures of those glorious movie and Star Trek days with friends, coworkers, and fans of the films and shows…" [45]

Post-Star Trek career[]

While employed at Foundation Imaging, Drexler was at first put to work on Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles, before being allowed to work on Voyager.

Following his official tenure on the Star Trek franchise, Drexler subsequently worked as CGI VFX supervisor on Ronald D. Moore's successful Battlestar Galactica franchise, its short-lived prequel series, Caprica, and the more recent Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome (2012) direct-to-DVD movie. His tenure on that franchise earned him no less than two "Outstanding Special Visual Effects" Emmy Awards, three additional nominations, and a 2009 VES Award (shared with close friend Gary Hutzel and Kyle Toucher).

In between, Drexler worked on productions such as Future by Design (2006), Area 57 (2007), Zeitgeist: Addendum (2008), Virtuality (2009), and Drive Angry (2011). One of Drexler's more involved engagements was his participation in the 2013 television show Adventures of Superseven, on which he not only contributed as CGI automobile modeler, but also appeared on two occasions as a recurrent guest star. Drexler's more recent employment was as a CGI supervisor for Syfy's 2013 science fiction television series Defiance, resulting in the addition of yet another 2013 VFX Emmy Award nomination (shared with Hutzel, Dave Morton, Toucher, Sean Jackson, and Douglas E. Graves) to his laurels.

Ever since Enterprise, or rather Voyager, Drexler has remained a VFX artist, and at first glance this was seemingly in contradiction with his "get all you can" life adage, quoted at the top of this entry. Yet, he has philosophically put this apparent contradiction in perspective, "[W]ith CG, which is so all encompassing, it is really, really hard to get bored. You get to be the designer, set the lights, the camera, create the mood… you do it all. Interestingly enough, though, I still get to do makeup, in the computer that is. Funny how that works." [46](X)

In 2020, Drexler joined the visual effects crew for the third season of The Orville. [47]

Drexler was married to Enterprise food stylist Dorothy Duder and his wedding in 2002 was attended by a slew of Star Trek alumni, old and new, including his personal hero, Matt Jefferies. [48](X) On 1 July 2022 Drexler lost his wife to cancer, a mere month after he himself was treated for a similar disease. [49] The by her husband co-designed Duderstadt-class was named in her honor.

Star Trek credits[]

(This list is currently incomplete.)

Emmy Award nominations[]

For his work on Star Trek, Drexler has received the following Emmy Award nominations as "Makeup Artist" in the category Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for a Series:


Star Trek interviews[]

External links[]