Production designer John Eaves has had a major impact on the look of the Star Trek universe since 1994. He has been responsible for creating many of the props and ships for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and the Star Trek: The Next Generation films, including the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-E and Zefram Cochrane's Phoenix.
Eaves cut his teeth in Hollywood as a modelmaker on motion pictures such as "Top Gun" (1986), "Spaceballs" (1987), "Richie Rich" (1994) and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" (1991). After working as a storyboard artist on the TV series SeaQuest DSV, Eaves was hired by Production Designer Herman Zimmerman to work on "Star Trek Generations," where he was responsible for designing the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-B from which James T. Kirk would meet his (first) demise.
Eaves then joined the design staff on ST:DS9 in its fourth season. Since most of the ships on that show were in place before he arrived, Eaves was primarily involved in designing "gadgets" for the series, such as ceremonial knives and swords used by Bajorans and Klingons, as well as auxiliary space vessels such as a Cardassian freighter and the Breen warships. He served as Illustrator and then Senior Illustrator on DS9 until the end of the series, but during that stint he worked double-duty on the subsequent two TNG films. Since the Enterprise-D bit the dust (literally) in "Star Trek Generations," it was time to move up the alphabet, so Eaves and Zimmerman together designed the Sovereign-class Enterprise-E for "Star Trek: First Contact." Eaves was also responsible for designing Earth's first warp-drive vessel, the Phoenix, based on the real-life Titan missile, with the challenge of bridging the 21st century with the Star Trek future. He also designed the Vulcan ship that landed on Earth at the end of the film, and helped conceptualize the look of the Borg Queen.
The process of designing the ships, sets and other visuals for "Generations" and "First Contact" are described in Eaves' book, "Sketchbook the Movies: Generations & First Contact," which he co-authored with Jeanne M. Dillard.
Eaves went on to play a major part in "Star Trek: Insurrection." For that film he designed the captain's yacht Cousteau, Data's scout ship, a Federation shuttle and holoship, the boomerang-shaped Son'a battleship and Ru'afo's flagship, among others.
In 2001 Eaves created a lithograph entitled "To Boldly Go ..." depicting the history of space travel from the Star Trek perspective, mixing the real with the imagined. The Apollo lander, Space Shuttle and other 20th-century craft are joined by the Phoenix and two incarnations of the Enterprise. The lithograph is available through the Official Star Trek Fan Club Store.
In February 2001, Eaves was brought back into the fold as Production Illustrator on the fifth Star Trek TV series, Enterprise, again working with Zimmerman.