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Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the Tale of Darmok

"You knew there was a dangerous creature on this planet and you knew from the tale of Darmok that a danger shared might sometimes bring two people together. Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra. You and me, here, at El-Adrel." - Captain Jean-Luc Picard to the Tamarian Captain Dathon in "Darmok"

"Darmok", written by Joe Menosky, has to be the purest distillation of what STAR TREK has always been about. In it the Enterprise meets the totally alien "Children of Tama”—and despite all of the technology at their disposal, our crew finds themselves totally incapable of understanding the Tamarian's unique language. Realizing that, the noble Captain Dathon goes to extraordinary lengths to communicate with Captain Picard. In this one episode the ethos of Starfleet and STAR TREK itself is on display. It’s hard for anyone that loves The Next Generation as much as I do to pick a "favorite" episode, but this is mine.

I don't know how many people can say that they remember the first time they watched an individual episode of their favorite series, but I remember this one. At my parents’ house, after the cold open & credits, during the first commercial break, my best friend called and simultaneously we said, "DID YOU SEE PICARD'S NEW UNIFORM?!" 

We loved it instantly, and called it the PNNU-- an acronym that stands for "Picard's Nifty New Uniform." Of course, our favorite component of the new ensemble was his jacket, the PNNUJ. Not only had we been given an amazing new episode, but also a fantastic new uniform for our captain.

That uniform was an instant fan favorite and something of an icon itself. So much so that the next year, when the new line of "Next Generation" toys was launched, the first figure released was Captain Picard in his new uniform jacket (my original figure lives right here on my desk).

That uniform became something we identified with a new, "action hero" version of Captain Picard. That was the point.

 The new uniform was a perfect piece of design work on the part of Next Generation's costume designer Robert Blackman with direct input from Sir Patrick Stewart himself. Taking inspiration from World War II Submarine captains and fighter pilots - the new uniform cast the silhouette of a daring officer who was ready for anything.

As for the jacket itself, there were a few of them made and worn over the last three seasons of the show. But, it’s that first jacket that caught our attention. It was made of real leather suede and designed quite literally to be Starfleet's rendition of a fighter pilot's flight jacket.

There’s a lot of sense to that choice. After all, Captain Picard was a polymath. He was an explorer, diplomat, archaeologist, strategist, and an excellent pilot. It's the classic image of a test pilot that comes to mind when we see Picard in his new jacket, and that’s exactly what Next Gen's producers intended.


STAR TREK™: THE NEXT GENERATION Captain Picard "Darmok" Uniform Jacket

Celebrating Star Trek: The Next Generation's 30th Anniversary, the ANOVOS Star Trek design team has decided to re-release Captain Picard's Uniform Jacket, but with its original iteration as introduced in the fifth season episode, "Darmok." Shop Now!

Our "Darmok Jacket" had to be nothing less than the definitive iteration of that original coat. So we decided to make it as accurate as possible by taking reference from a screen-used jacket and following the original patterns drafted for the “Darmok” version. In fact, the only thing we added to the jacket was a couple of pockets to the interior for functionality & wearability, while retaining the visual look of the jacket. We even included the large hook & eye fasteners that Captain Picard used a few times to close the bottom of the jacket. Finally, for perfect fidelity between the original jacket and our replica, we constructed them from real leather suede.

I’m really very proud of our “Darmok” Jacket and how well it fulfills a wish I made back in 1991. We hope all of you will love it too.

“Temba, his arms open.”

John Cooley 
John Cooley is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS.  

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John Cooley June 23, 2020 0 tags (show)