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Star Trek: First Contact

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Star Trek: First Contact
Release date: 22 November 1996
8th of 12 Star Trek films
441st of 728 released in all
First Contact poster.jpg
Screenplay By
Brannon Braga & Ronald D. Moore

Story By
Rick Berman & Brannon Braga & Ronald D. Moore

Directed By
Jonathan Frakes

Produced by
Rick Berman
50893.5 (2373 / April 4 - 5, 2063)
  Arc: Borg and First Contact (1 of 3)
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For additional meanings of "First Contact", please see First Contact.

"Resistance is futile."

Six years have passed since Captain Jean-Luc Picard was captured and assimilated by the Borg. Now, the Borg make a second attempt to conquer the Federation; but Starfleet believes that Picard's experience makes him an "unstable element to a critical situation" and orders him to stay behind. But, when Starfleet's fight does not go well, Picard and the crew of the new USS Enterprise disobey orders to join the fight, following the Borg three hundred years into the past just as Zefram Cochrane prepares to launch Humanity's first warp-capable engine, the Phoenix, and make first contact with an alien race.

Summary Edit

Act One Edit

24th century Edit

Picard surrounded by Borg

Picard relives his assimilation

Still haunted by memories of his assimilation, Captain Jean-Luc Picard awakes from a nightmare to a communiqué from Starfleet Command. Appearing on his desktop terminal, Starfleet Admiral Hayes relays distressing news: a Borg cube has attacked a Federation outpost and crossed into Federation space.

Picard dutifully informs his crew that they are to take the new USS Enterprise-E to the Romulan Neutral Zone, a minor threat compared to the Borg. The senior crew protest and are confused as to why the most advanced ship in the fleet is relegated to a relatively unimportant task. Picard doesn't disagree with the protests but is compelled to follow orders. He later confides to First Officer William T. Riker that the reason Starfleet is keeping the Enterprise away from the Borg is due to Picard's history with them. Riker emphatically disagrees with Starfleet's decision, saying that Picard's experience with the Borg would be a valuable asset in fighting them. They then receive word that the fleet has engaged the Borg and listen as the battle appears to go badly for the fleet. Picard announces his intention to disobey their orders and the crew vote unanimously to disobey them and set a course for Earth, where they join a fleet of vessels repelling an advancing Borg cube. Rescuing survivors from the badly-damaged warship USS Defiant, Riker reports that the fleet admiral's ship has been destroyed (It is learned later that Admiral Hayes survived). Picard takes command of the fleet and swiftly destroys the cube by ordering all vessels to target a seemingly insignificant region of the cube. As it explodes, however, the foundering Borg ship launches a sphere-shaped vessel into orbit of Earth.

USS Enterprise-E enters temporal vortex

The Enterprise-E enters the temporal vortex

Lieutenant Commander Worf, commander of the Defiant, arrives on the bridge and offers assistance. He asks about the status of the Defiant and is relieved when told it is adrift but salvageable. Picard requests he takes tactical and Riker jokingly asks if he "remembers how to fire phasers." Suddenly, the sensors detect that the Borg sphere is creating a temporal vortex; the crew all watch the viewscreen as the Borg vessel disappears through the vortex and Earth dramatically changes. Seeing that it is now populated entirely by Borg drones and has a toxic atmosphere, they determine that history has been changed, having been protected from the changes themselves by the wake of the temporal vortex. As the vortex collapses, Captain Picard orders that the Enterprise follow the Borg into the past – to repair whatever damage they've done.

21st century Edit

LilyCochrane

Lily and Cochrane spot the attackers

In the small shanty town of Bozeman, Montana, Lily Sloane and Zefram Cochrane wander out of a makeshift bar as their town is unexpectedly pulverized by a volley of disruptor fire. Lily and Cochrane run for cover but are unaware that the Borg sphere is responsible for the destruction raining down upon them. Lily suspects that they're under attack by the ECON.

The Enterprise emerges from the temporal vortex and destroys the Borg sphere with quantum torpedoes. Scanning the surface, the crew discovers that they have arrived in April of 2063 – one day before Earth's First Contact with an alien species. Picard surmises that the Borg were attempting to prevent the launch of Earth's first warp-powered craft. He gathers Lieutenant Commander Data and Doctor Beverly Crusher, leading an away team to locate the warp ship's inventor, Doctor Zefram Cochrane.

Tactile contact

Picard, Data and the Phoenix

After beaming down, Picard's away team enters Cochrane's missile silo where they find the occupants dead but the prototype warpship, the Phoenix, suffering only minor damage. Picard and Data inspect the rocket but are surprised by Lily, who fires at the Enterprise officers with a submachine gun. Impervious to bullets, however, Data intercepts the 21st century woman before she succumbs to radiation poisoning. Doctor Crusher returns to the Enterprise with Lily in her care, promising to keep her unconscious as Picard calls up to Geordi La Forge, asking the Chief Engineer to bring a repair crew to the silo.

Borg approach in dark

The Borg overrun the ship

As the damage control team departs the ship, engineers Porter and Eiger are left to deal with environmental difficulties that have mysteriously cropped up. One after the other, both officers crawl into a Jefferies tube, wherein they are quietly assimilated by unseen Borg stowaways. Sensing that something is wrong aboard the Enterprise, Picard returns with Data to the ship, leaving Commander Riker in charge.

Indeed, something is dreadfully wrong, as the Borg infiltrate the Enterprise; Picard surmises that the Borg, knowing their vessel was doomed, must have transported aboard undetected while the Enterprise's shields were down. Fleeing Borg drones in sickbay, Doctor Crusher is forced to revive Lily and escape into the Jefferies tubes where Lily quietly slips away. On the bridge, Picard orders Data to lockout the main computer with an encryption code as the Borg attempt to take command of the ship. Picard knows that, once the Borg have control of the Enterprise, they will assimilate Earth.

Act Two Edit

Cochrane and Troi toast

Troi and Cochrane share a drink

Below decks, Picard briefs Data, Worf and a team of security officers as they arm themselves with phaser rifles. As the Borg have taken control of Main Engineering, Picard explains their objective: puncture one of the warp plasma coolant tanks. Doing so will release the plasma, liquifying the Borg's organic components, without which, Picard explains, the cyborgs cannot survive. Picard also warns his officers that they should not show mercy to assimilated Enterprise crew members – indeed, killing them would be the merciful thing to do.

On Earth, Commander Riker finds a drunken Counselor Troi at the town's makeshift bar. The counselor introduces Riker to Zefram Cochrane, himself intoxicated, explaining that the scientist doesn't believe their cover story – and that, in her professional opinion as ship's counselor, she thinks he's "nuts". Riker is very amused by Troi's drunken behavior, which annoys Troi even more. As Cochrane activates a rock and roll-spouting jukebox, Troi bemoans her first experience with tequila then finally passes out.

Picard and Data hunt Borg

Picard and Data hunt Borg in the corridors of the Enterprise

Meanwhile, two teams march through the corridors of the Enterprise-E – one led by Worf, the other by Picard and Data. Rounding a corner on deck 16, the crew find that the usually pristine and immaculate bulkheads of a Federation starship have been replaced by the grotesque and mechanical equipment of a Borg vessel. In response, an anxious Data deactivates his emotion chip. Elsewhere, Worf and his men encounter Dr. Crusher as she emerges from the Jefferies tubes with her medical staff and patients. She notifies the Klingon that Lily has gone missing and Worf promises to watch out for the woman. Moving on, the two teams meet outside of engineering, in corridors crawling with Borg drones. At first ignoring the Starfleet officers' arrival, the Borg suddenly spring into action as Picard and Data attempt to gain entry to main engineering. A battle ensues, but the Borg quickly adapt to phaser fire and Picard calls for a retreat. Too late, however, for Data, who is captured by the Borg and taken into their hive.

Lily captures Picard

Lily captures Picard

Rushing to a Jefferies tube, Picard is forced to kill an assimilated crewman before escaping into a hatch. Inside the access tube, Lily catches Picard by surprise, turning the captain's phaser on him and demanding to be returned home.

Data awakes in engineering, held to a Borg operating table and surrounded by drones. He assures them that they cannot gain the Enterprise access codes stored in his neural net, speaking directly to the disembodied voice of the Borg. The Borg tell Data that breaking the code is only a matter of finding the android's weakness.

Riker La Forge and Troi convince Cochrane

Convincing Cochrane to make his flight

On the surface, Riker, Troi and La Forge attempt to convince Cochrane that the story about the Borg and their mission is true. Adjusting the scientist's telescope, La Forge gives Cochrane a glimpse of the Enterprise-E, orbiting high above Montana. The Enterprise officers urge Cochrane to continue with his plans to launch the Phoenix, telling him of the utopian society that warp travel and first contact will bring to Earth. On the same day that Cochrane makes his first warp flight, a survey ship from a neighboring alien race will be passing through Earth's solar system: upon noticing that Humans have discovered faster-than-light travel, they will decide that Humanity is advanced enough to officially make first contact. Thus, even if Cochrane's test flight is simply delayed a few days, it will drastically alter history. If Cochrane hurries to make his warp flight as scheduled, the aliens will make contact, and Humanity will put aside its differences and unite as never before, to rebuild from the world war and, within fifty years, build a utopia on Earth. Grudgingly, Cochrane agrees.

Borg assimilating Enterprise-E corridor

Enterprise undergoing assimilation

Meanwhile, the fight does not go well aboard the Enterprise. The Borg continue their assimilation of the ship and its crew, taking control of more than half of the starship. In command of the bridge, Worf is informed by Chief of Security Daniels that the Borg have halted their approach after seizing control of deck 11, which contains hydroponics, stellar cartography, and deflector control; none of which are vital Enterprise systems. Meanwhile, still crawling through the bowels of the ship, Picard leads Lily to a porthole looking out over Earth. Shocked to find herself in space, Lily surrenders her phaser and begins to trust the captain.

Borg Queen disembodied

"The beginning, the end, the one who is many..."

Down in engineering, Data continues his conversation with the Borg Queen, who finally shows herself as a head and upper torso descending to a robotic body. Reactivating Data's emotion chip, the Queen reveals a patch of Human flesh grafted onto his android skeleton. With this new skin, Data is able to feel all new sensations.

In a corridor, Picard describes the Federation and the Borg to Lily, who reacts in terror as they enter a section overrun by Borg. As they make their escape, Picard fires his phaser, provoking a response from two drones who pursue them into the holodeck. Activating a holonovel, Picard recreates a scene from The Big Good-Bye, using a holographic Tommy gun to blast the two drones in a fit of rage. He goes berserk and plans on ripping apart the dead Borg with the gun before being calmed down by Lily. Nonetheless, he starts pulling open the chest cavity of one of the drones, when Lily notices the Borg had partial remains of a Starfleet uniform on. Picard unemotionally informs her that the Borg was formerly Starfleet Ensign Lynch. The captain retrieves a Borg neural processor and proceeds to the bridge, surprising Lily at how emotionally detached he was at the thought of killing his own crew member.

On Earth, Cochrane has grown frustrated with the high esteem bestowed upon him by the 24th century officers as they repair the Phoenix. After a run in with Lieutenant Barclay, Cochrane expresses his reservations to La Forge, who admits that he too is experiencing feelings of hero worship. La Forge reveals to Cochrane that the missile silo would eventually become home to a statue in his honor. The scientist quickly escapes into the woods, attempting to flee. Riker and La Forge give chase, ultimately stunning Cochrane to prevent his escape.

Data and the Borg Queen (2063)

The Borg Queen seduces Data

In engineering, the operation to give Data flesh and blood continues. Exploiting a small window of opportunity, Data breaks free of the operating table and attempts to escape his captors. He is stopped, however, when a drone slashes at and cuts Data's new Human skin. Confused and experiencing pain for the first time in his life, the android is easily seduced by the Borg Queen and the two soon fall into a passionate embrace.

Hawk Picard and Worf in space

Picard, Worf and Hawk on the hull of the Enterprise

Elsewhere, Picard returns to the bridge to brief his crew on the situation: the Borg plan to use the ship's navigational deflector to contact reinforcements. With no way to gain access to the deflector dish, Picard, Worf and the ship's helmsman, Lieutenant Hawk, don EV suits and cross the exterior hull of the ship on foot (much to Worf's dismay, as the zero-gravity makes him sick to his stomach), finding several drones constructing a beacon. Unable to simply destroy the dish due to the risk of severe damage to the ship, Picard and company work to manually release it into space. Arousing a response from the drones, the Enterprise officers battle the Borg, who are able to injure Worf and assimilate Hawk. Hawk, now assimilated, tries to kill Picard by throwing him to a wall, cracking the glass in his helmet. Just as Hawk is about to slam his foot down on Picard's helmet, Worf shoots Hawk and he flies away into space. Recovering quickly, Picard finishes his task and releases the deflector into space. Worf allows the deflector to drift away from the ship, then destroys it with his phaser rifle.

Sensing the destruction of the beacon, the Borg Queen announces to Data – still undergoing the operation – that she has changed her plans.

Act Three Edit

Repairs to the Phoenix have finally been completed and Riker joins Cochrane in the warp ship's cockpit. Cochrane admits to the commander that he is not the hero the Enterprise crew makes him out to be, and tells Riker that his reason for building the Phoenix was not to reach out to the stars or to usher in a new era for humanity but for the money he would have made from it. Riker assures Cochrane that he is a more honorable man than even he knows.

Returning to the bridge, Picard and Worf find the situation has worsened: the Borg have continued their takeover of the ship, assimilating decks five and six, with the intent of charging their way to the bridge, and the crew's phasers no longer affect their adversaries. Worf advises Picard to evacuate the Enterprise and set the ship to self-destruct. Picard angrily balks, calling the Klingon a coward. Worf, insulted and outraged, confronts Picard, saying that, if he were any other man, he would kill him where he stood. Picard then orders him off the bridge before heading into the observation lounge. Crusher begins to coordinate the remaining crew in defense of the ship but Lily argues in favor of the self-destruct. Crusher points out that when the captain makes up his mind the discussion is over. Lily, not one of the crew, doesn't accept this and follows Picard to confront him...

Picard as Ahab

"The line must be drawn HERE! This far, NO FURTHER!"

In the observation lounge, as Picard tries to reconfigure his phaser rifle as Lily enters calling him a "son of a bitch". The captain, with little time to spare, waves her off. Lily admits that while she may not know anything about the time where the crew comes from, she knows that everyone on the bridge believes that staying aboard the ship and fighting the Borg is suicide, they just won't tell Picard. The captain dismisses her belief with the assumption that the crew will follow his orders as they always have. Lily reminds him that his orders probably make sense most of the time. Picard's temper rises and silences her by saying the crew cannot understand the Borg as he does. Lily doesn't understand what Picard means. He explains the circumstances surrounding his abduction and incorporation into the collective six years earlier and smugly tells her that his experiences gives him a unique perspective on the Borg and how to fight them. Lily begins to understand Picard's motivations - the Borg hurt him before and now he's going to pay them back. The captain sneers that in the 24th century, mankind doesn't succumb to revenge as they have a more evolved sensibility than what Lily can appreciate. "Bullshit!" she says, as she watched him murder two Borg on the holodeck in cold blood with a look of enjoyment on his face. Picard is appalled she would make such an accusation and snarls at her to get out. Lily, defiant, stands her ground and wonders if he'll kill her like he did Ensign Lynch if she refuses. Picard, his emotions running high, dismisses the incident, claiming "there was no way to save him." Lily doesn't buy it and asks where his "evolved sensibility" was then. Picard tries to ignore her claims, but Lily compares him to Captain Ahab in the novel Moby Dick. This jars Picard momentarily, but he shifts the conversation away from the accusation saying his refusal to abandon ship is more about saving the future of Humanity. Lily presses him bluntly, screaming at him to "blow up the damn ship!" Picard fires back "No!!" and in his rage, he smashes his phaser into the display case containing models of previous starship Enterprises. As he watches the shattered model of the Enterprise-D fall and break in half, he is momentarily taken aback. He tells her that sacrificing the Enterprise-E would be another compromise in a long line of compromises in Humanity's dealings with the Borg. No further, Picard intones, for he intends to make the Borg pay for what they've done.

Seemingly defeated, Lily examines the broken pieces of the Enterprise-D model and gently chides the captain that his little ships are broken and begins to exit the lounge. As she does, the words of Moby Dick echo from his memory...

"...and he piled upon the whale's white hump; the sum of all the rage and hate felt by his whole race. If his chest had been a cannon, he would have shot his heart upon it."

Lily confesses she never actually read the book. With a smile on his lips, Picard explains that Captain Ahab had spent years hunting the whale that had crippled him, but his quest for vengeance eventually destroyed him and his ship. Realizing that he is walking the same path, Picard sets his phaser next to the broken pieces of the Enterprise-D model and enters the bridge and gives the order...

"Prepare to evacuate the Enterprise."

At the launch site, Riker, Geordi and Cochrane begin the pre-ignition sequence to launch the Phoenix while on the Enterprise bridge, Picard, Beverly and Worf arm the auto-destruct sequence. Programming the escape pods for the isolated Gravett Island, the captain activates the destruct order: fifteen minutes with a silent countdown. Dr. Crusher laments the quick death of the Enterprise-E and wonders if Starfleet will build another one. Picard, as hopeful as he was following the destruction of the Enterprise-D, quips that there are still "plenty of letters left in the alphabet." Worf turns to exit as Picard stops him, regretting the remarks he made to him earlier. The captain adds that the Klingon is the bravest man he's ever known. Worf accepts the apology and they shake hands. Now alone on the bridge, his Starfleet career seemingly over and his command minutes away from destruction, Picard suddenly becomes very much aware that Data is still held in the clutches of the collective.

From the tight confines of the missile silo in Montana to the remarkable wonder of the stars, the Phoenix is launched, flown by Cochrane, Riker and La Forge. As the Phoenix soars above the Earth's atmosphere, the craft's occupants prepare to engage warp and Cochrane marvels at the experience.

Sovereign type escape pods

Flight of the escape pods

Escorting Lily to her escape pod, Picard hands her a PADD containing orders for Commander Riker. Lily realizes that the captain has no intention of leaving the ship and he admits that he must risk his life to save Data. Accepting his decision, Lily boards her pod as dozens of escape craft disengage from the Enterprise and fly towards Earth.

Picard fights off the Queen

Grappling with the Queen

Picard advances to engineering, where he comes face-to-face with the Borg Queen. She recalls the last time they met – during his assimilation – and presents him with a new Data, whose face is now partially Human. Picard attempts to parley for the android's release, but it is no use. After deactivating the self-destruct sequence, Data enters the encryption code into the computer, effectively giving the Borg Queen command of the Enterprise. Data stands at the Queen's side, telling her that Picard would be an "excellent drone", as Borg drones take hold of the captain. As the Phoenix prepares to jump to warp, Data targets the warp ship with quantum torpedoes. After they are launched, a delighted Borg Queen gleefully taunts the captain about the imminent death of humanity's future, not noticing Data quietly moving towards a plasma coolant tank. Strapped down on a surgical table, Picard can only watch in horror as the torpedoes bear down on the Phoenix until they finally...miss their target, and both the horrified Queen and smirking captain realize that Data has deceived the Borg, not joined them. Mockingly repeating the Borg mantra to the Queen, Data thrusts his fist into the tank, enveloping him in the deadly gas as Picard scrambles for cover. Just below him, the Queen grabs hold of his foot, impeding his climb to safety. Picard struggles against her grip until Data – his new skin dissolved – emerges from the plasma and pulls the Borg Queen into it. Screaming in pain and rage, the Borg Queen's flesh quickly disintegrates. With her control of the Borg on the Enterprise destabilized, drones all over the ship collapse and die.

Borg Queen dead

The remains of the fallen Borg Queen

As the Phoenix drops out of warp and returns to Earth, Picard vents the plasma from engineering and descends to the deck, which is littered with Borg corpses. Finding the metallic skeletal remains of the Borg Queen still clinging to life, Picard breaks her spinal column and terminates her, once and for all. The captain finds Data not far away; knowing that the melting of his Borg-given Human skin has left some of his inner circuits revealed but caused no real damage, he quips that he probably doesn't feel as bad as he might look, allowing a small chuckle at the irony. The android expresses a sense of sadness at the death of the "unique" Borg Queen and the glimpses of Humanity she brought him. He admits that he was tempted by her offer for a mere 0.68 seconds, but also notes that this involved much more deliberation than the captain might suspect.

TPlana hath in crowd

First contact

In Montana, a crowd of observers, including Cochrane, Lily, Picard and the other Human members of the Enterprise's senior staff, watch the historic landing of the first extraterrestrial craft to visit Earth. In awe and not without a little difficulty, Cochrane welcomes the ship's crew: a trio of Vulcans. Picard bids Lily a brief farewell and returns with his crew to his own ship. By recreating the temporal vortex that brought them there, the crew of the Enterprise-E departs the 21st century. A happily blitzed Cochrane is last seen unsuccessfully trying to get the Vulcans to drink and dance along to "Ooby Dooby" by Roy Orbison.

Log Entries Edit

"Captain's Log, Stardate 50893.5. The moment I have dreaded for nearly six years has finally arrived. The Borg, our most lethal enemy, have begun an invasion of the Federation, and this time, there may be no stopping them."
"Captain's Log, April 5, 2063. The voyage of the Phoenix was a success – again. The alien ship detected the warp signature, and is on its way to rendezvous with history."

Memorable Quotes Edit

"I've just received a disturbing report from Deep Space Five. Our colony on Ivor Prime was destroyed this morning. Long range sensors have picked up..."
"...Yes I know, the Borg."

- Admiral Hayes informing Picard of the Borg incursion


"We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile."

- A chilling message sent from the Borg, as the Enterprise sweeps the Neutral Zone


"Isn't it amazing? This ship used to be a nuclear missile!"
"It is an historical irony that Doctor Cochrane would use an instrument of mass destruction to inaugurate an era of peace."

- Picard and Data, on the Phoenix


"And you people, you're all astronauts on . . . some kind of star trek?"

- Cochrane, checking his understanding of the Enterprise crew members


"Who is this jerk? (slurring) And who told him he could turn off my music?"

- Cochrane, after Riker unplugs the jukebox


"You'd better find a way to make it easy, soldier, or I'm going to start pushing buttons!"

- Lily, pointing a phaser at Picard


"I am the beginning, the end, the one who is many. I am the Borg."

- Borg Queen


"Assimilate this!"

- Worf, before destroying the interplexing beacon


"I will not sacrifice the Enterprise. We've made too many compromises already. Too many retreats. They invade our space and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds and we fall back. Not again! The line must be drawn here... THIS far, NO further! And I will make them pay for what they've done."

- Picard


"Watch... your future's end."

- Borg Queen to Picard, as the quantum torpedoes head toward the Phoenix


"Resistance is futile!"

- Data, to the Borg Queen, once the torpedoes have safely missed the Phoenix, just before destroying a plasma coolant tank


"Live long and prosper."
"Thanks."

- Vulcan Captain and Cochrane, greeting each other after the T'Plana-Hath lands


"I envy you, the world you're going to."
"I envy you, taking these first steps into a new frontier."

- Lily and Picard


"Mister Data, lay in a course for the twenty-fourth century. I suspect our future is there waiting for us."
"Course laid in, sir."
"Make it so."

- Picard and Data, the film's last lines

Background Information Edit

Development Edit

ST-VIII head

The teaser poster for Star Trek: First Contact

With the success of Star Trek Generations and its worldwide gross of US$120,000,000, [1] Paramount Pictures development executives approached producer Rick Berman in February 1995 to ready the next installment in the Star Trek franchise. During an impromptu meeting with writers Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga, Berman revealed his interest in a time travel story.

"All of the Star Trek films and episodes I have been most impressed with – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, "Yesterday's Enterprise", "The City on the Edge of Forever", and I could give you half a dozen more – have all been stories that deal with time travel. In a way, Star Trek Generations dealt with time travel. Nick Meyer's wonderful movie Time After Time, dealt with time travel. The paradoxes that occur in writing, as well as in the reality of what the characters are doing and what the consequences are, have always been fascinating to me. I don't think I've ever had as much fun as being involved with "Yesterday's Enterprise," and having to tackle all the logical, paradoxical problems that we would run into and figure out ways to solve them."

The Moore/Braga writing team, however, wanted to tell a story focusing on the Borg. Moore recalled the first meeting:

"We were standing outside on the Hart Building steps. Rick had just come back from that studio meeting, and stopped us and he said, 'I really want you guys to think about it... I want to do a time travel piece.' Brannon and I added, 'We want to do something with the Borg.' And right on the spot, we said maybe we can do both, the Borg and time travel."

Brainstorming sessions began between the writer/producers day jobs on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Again, Moore recalled:

"...We started talking about the places and times that had been done on screen or had not been done on screen. Certain things we just crossed off, because they would be too hokey. We could go to the Roman Empire which would be cool in a lot of ways. But Picard in a toga? You don't want to do that. Put him in a spacesuit."

Though other time periods in history including the American Civil War were bandied about, eventually the Italian Renaissance time period was seized upon. An early story draft entitled Star Trek Renaissance expanded upon this idea. According to Moore, the story would have found Picard and company searching history for a group of time-traveling Borg. Happening upon a Renaissance village, the crew would hear stories about strange creatures taking over neighboring villages:

"We begin to realize that these horrific monsters... were the Borg. We track them down to a castle near the village where a nobleman runs a feudal society. We suspect the Borg are working in there, but no one can get in. So Data becomes our spy, impersonating an artist's apprentice... Data became friends with Leonardo da Vinci, who at the time, was working for the nobleman as a military engineer... you would have sword fights and phaser fights mixed together, in fifteenth-century Europe... it risked becoming really campy and over-the-top."

The producers realized that the time period was expensive to realize on screen, with audience knowledge of and identification with the period very low. (AOL chat, 1997)

Ultimately, a time period after modern history was selected: The birth of the Federation. According to Brannon Braga:

"The one image that I brought to the table is the image of the Vulcans coming out of the ship. I wanted to see the birth of Star Trek. We ended up coming back to that moment. That, to me, is what made the time travel story fresh. We get to see what happened when Humans shook hands with their first aliens."

A revised storyline was constructed, this time called Star Trek Resurrection. Utilizing elements laid into place by Gene Roddenberry's original concepts for the Star Trek universe and the The Original Series episode "Metamorphosis", Resurrection closely resembled the final film. In the story, the Borg attack Zefram Cochrane's Montana laboratory, severely injuring the scientist. With Doctor Crusher fighting to save Cochrane's life, Captain Picard assumes his place in history, rallying a town around reconstructing the damaged warp ship. As the action unfolded, Picard would have become romantically involved with a local photographer and X-ray technician named Ruby, who helps the captain reconstruct a key element of the ship. Aboard the Enterprise, Commander Riker would be engaged in combat with invading Borg drones. The Borg, in Resurrection would remain faceless automatons.

With a draft of Resurrection sent to studio executives, generally positive notes were returned. However, one Paramount executive pointed out the weakness of the Borg as being that they were "basically zombies." Despite the Borg's inception as a faceless swarm, the writers chose to incorporate a figurehead into the Collective. The Borg Queen was created, a logical extension of the insect-like qualities incorporated into the Borg's characterization. Having read the early script pages too, Patrick Stewart, however, was dissatisfied with the film. Stewart suggested that the Picard and Riker stories be switched. Thus, the focus of the film was transferred to the action aboard the Enterprise with a B-story on the planet's surface. Elements like Ruby the photographer and an injured Cochrane were ultimately scrapped. As was any prospect of a love affair for Picard. Ronald D. Moore described the thought process:

"Let's get simple. Bring Cochrane into the story. Let's make him an interesting fellow, and it could say something about the birth of the Federation. The future that Gene Roddenberry envisioned is born out of this very flawed man, who is not larger than life but an ordinary flawed human being."

With that adjustment in the structure of the film, Berman suggested the addition of a holodeck sequence: The "cocktail party". In August 1995 an early draft of the script, still titled Resurrection, was circulated to key members of the production staff, headed by Martin Hornstein and Peter Lauritson. Using this script, the production heads would budget the film, ultimately falling into the US$45,000,000 range. [2]

Key positions were filled as preproduction began. With several members of the cast volunteering for the director's chair, Jonathan Frakes won out. According to Frakes, the film was offered to A-list directors who had little interest in the franchise; as a result he was offered the job "a month later than would have been ideal." Frakes appointed Jerry Fleck, [3] a veteran of TNG, as first assistant director and John W. Wheeler as editor. [4] Veteran costume designer Deborah Everton was assigned the task of creating all non-Starfleet clothing, plus redesigning the Borg with Michael Westmore. Everton's credits at the time included The Abyss and The X-Files TV series; she later costumed Ronald D. Moore's Battlestar Galactica miniseries. [5] Robert Blackman returned to once again redesign the Starfleet uniforms, this time to complement Frakes' darker color palette and stand up better to big screen scrutiny.

Preproduction Edit

The New Enterprise Edit

Enterprise-E design sketch

John Eaves' infamous "chicken in a pan" design

Upon delivery of the script to production designer Herman Zimmerman, the art department's first task was the creation of a new Enterprise. Having been retained from his work on Generations, illustrator John Eaves operated in conjunction with Zimmerman to develop the Enterprise-E, based upon direction by Berman and the writers. According to Ronald D. Moore, "We described the new Enterprise in some detail. We said we want a sleeker look, with more of a muscular, almost warship kind of a look to it."

According to illustrator Eaves, the process began by reviewing what came before, specifically Bill George's Excelsior from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Over twenty or thirty sketches, the designer honed the look of the ship into an even sleeker design, rotating the oval-shaped saucer of the USS Enterprise-D to fit the new concept.

"I wanted to carry some of the Enterprise-D lines into the E – not with the saucer or body, but where the nacelles connected. At this point, the nacelles were almost a third longer than in the finished product. But I had the struts holding the nacelles up; they branched off the body and returned forward, making a little horseshoe, the way the D does. But instead of having them angled back, I had them angled forward."

By October 1995, Eaves and Zimmerman proceeded with their design with approval from Rick Berman. Featuring the same basic shape that appears in the finished film, this version of the Enterprise-E included movable warp pylons recalling the starship USS Voyager. Showing a dorsal-view sketch to a member of the production staff, Eaves received negative feedback that compared the ship to a chicken. "...From the moment he said that, the design was cursed. Every time I looked at it, I saw not a starship, but a chicken in a pan. Sadly, Herman saw it, too, so we had to (pardon the pun) scratch that one."

Over the next several months, the ship was again refined. In sketches dated January 1996, the Enterprise-E had finally been settled upon. Now distinguished by back-swept engine pylons, the ship was almost ready to be constructed. Eaves described the next steps:

Enterprise-E final design sketch

Eaves' finalized overview drawings for the Enterprise-E

"So now it's January 1996, and we're just officially starting on the feature. Things were extremely hectic, as I was splitting my time between Deep Space Nine and the movie. Herman and I started presenting the last of the Enterprise-E drawings to Mr. Berman, and he loved all our efforts. This gave Rick [Sternbach] the time he needed to do his blueprints. Just when I thought I was finished with the E, Mr. Berman told Herman, 'You know, I love the shape we've got right now – but let's make sure. Let's do some more passes on the E, some different variations.' "

With several days of sketching alternatives behind him, Eaves returned to his original design to focus on the smaller details that allowed Sternbach to complete his plans. By the spring of 1996, the ship's blueprints were turned over to Industrial Light & Magic's model building team under John Goodson. The ten-foot model was fabricated under extreme time constraint (about half the normal time period); with photographs of rooms and people inserted into the ship's windows. A computer-generated model was also constructed (with almost indistinguishable differences between the two). [6]

Interiors Edit

Working simultaneously on the exterior Enterprise-E, Eaves and Zimmerman focused inward, generating drawings of the Enterprise bridge as early as November 1995. First designing a smaller space to fit with the smaller, sleeker direction of the Enterprise, the art department eventually opened the set up, creating a space that was larger than the bridge of the Enterprise-D. Eaves described the decision:

"We thought it would be a bad thing, because we'd decided the E's bridge should be sleeker and therefore smaller. But it wound up being a great thing; it was a beautiful set, with warmth and depth, and the colors Herman chose gave the bridge a sense of ballistic beauty and great function... we left the framework, but removed the walls, so that you could see other stations beyond those walls. The major players are in the main bridge, and off in the alcoves you have secondary crew members working, which adds a lot of scope and function to the bridge."
Sovereign class bridge

The bridge of the Enterprise-E as seen on film

A collaborative process, Eaves received input from Doug Drexler regarding his new bridge:

"Doug Drexler, who is quite the Star Trek expert, took a look at one of my sketches for the bridge and said 'Hey, you've got to have a row of blinkies – blinking running lights – under the viewscreen. It's a tradition on every Enterprise, those lights simply MUST be there.' We wound up designing a detailed area on the floor that acted like a holographic projector array – and we attached the blinking lights to that. So when the viewscreen came on, the lights on the back of the bridge would go down, and an image would appear on our new, viewscreen – with, of course, Doug's running blinkies."

The final details of the bridge were honed through early 1996, alongside other new sets including new corridors and an expanded engineering. Again designed by Eaves and Zimmerman, Enterprise-E corridor sets were constructed in a basic horseshoe shape with built-in handrails, back-lit monitors and removable panels that could be easily swapped for "Borgified" parts. Two lighting schemes were created for the corridor sets for normal and "red alert" conditions, though the former was not seen until Star Trek: Insurrection. For the evacuation sequence, set decorator John Dwyer created vacuum-formed pieces molded from the hood of a Camaro, to be used as escape pod hatches. Paramount's Stages 14 and 15 housed the vast corridor complex which connected to Herman Zimmerman's and Nancy Mickleberry's main engineering. Eaves recalled the experience:

Sovereign class corridor (set)

Corridor sets under construction

"We... wound up designing a lot of 'ends', which are pieces that you can put at the back of a particular set, to create different areas of the ship. We could take a corridor and put a Jefferies tube end piece on it, or a hatchway. And we had a lot of corridor - two full quarter-circles of it, with a couple of T-intersections and walkways. You could walk for a good five minutes from the engine room set through Jefferies tubes without ever walking out of the set. There was also this big main door to engineering that Nancy Mickleberry had come up with. She put a second level of corridor above that, and you still had another story-and-a-half of warp core going up. The set was immense! Nancy and Herman worked together for a long time designing it (after all, it had to seem "Federation-style" and "Borgified"). The set had many neat areas, many of which never made it into the finished film."

Despite the number of new sets created for the film, the production once again reused old material, including turbolift wall sections dating back to 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Sections of the starship Voyager from Star Trek: Voyager were cannibalized for the film, as filming was to take place between that series' second and third seasons. Voyager's sickbay was repainted and redressed for use as Doctor Crusher's sickbay, and the Voyager cargo bay set became the Enterprise weapons locker with relatively little modification. Having been saved from the wrecking crews following the completion of Generations, the Enterprise-D observation lounge, first built in 1987 for TNG was put into service, overhauled and expanded, then connected to the bridge set. For the first time in the Star Trek film series, the transporter room did not appear. Also omitted from the finished picture, a large, cylindrical fish tank constructed for Picard's new ready room was replaced with nondescript objet d'art before the cameras rolled.

The Borg Edit

Borg behind-the-scenes

A little less menacing: the Borg relax off camera

Assigned to refresh the Borg make up that had previously consisted of simple pale faces and cobbled together bodysuits, Deborah Everton and Michael Westmore cooperated with Herman Zimmerman and his team. As late as January of '96, pages of Borg designs flowed from the art department, with contributions by Alex Delgado of DS9. Working for Disney in addition to Star Trek, Delgado often worked on his time off, generating complex and sometimes grotesque images of the Borg, heavily influenced by insect life and ancient Egyptian culture. While many of Delgado's ideas (including exposed organs and obelisk-shaped vessels) were ultimately rejected, much of his work was integrated into Everton's and Westmore's final designs. According to Westmore:

"I wanted it to look like they were Borgified from the inside out rather than the outside in, it was very difficult. We didn't want somebody to come along and say, 'Oh that looks like Alien.'"

What resulted were eight Borg body-suits that would be combined with individually molded pieces to be swapped into various configurations representing different drones.

"Instead of having an entire helmet, now we have these individual pieces that are on the head, so you get this bald look. That way the pieces look like they're clamped into the head individually, instead of being a full cap that pulls over the top."

Electronics built into the Borg suits often included blinking lights that spelled out production members' names in Morse code. Makeup effects were achieved by airbrushing tiny "wires" that would appear to be just below the surface of the Borg drones' skin; a wide variety of humanoid and alien drones were created, including Klingons, Cardassians and Romulans, though the latter two never appeared in the theatrical cut. With days beginning as early as 2am, it took the makeup department thirty minutes to get the eight Borg actors into their costumes, another five hours to apply makeup, and ninety minutes to remove the makeup at the end of the day. According to Westmore:

"As they bettered their prep times, they were using two tubes, and then they were using three tubes, and then they were sticking tubes in the ears and up the nose. And we were using a very gooey caramel coloring, maybe using a little bit of it, but by the time we got to the end of the movie we had the stuff dripping down the side of their faces – it looked like they were leaking oil! So, at the very end, they're more ferocious."
Borg Queen behind-the-scenes

Alice Krige as the Queen's torso, lowered on a crane

As the leader of the horde of eight, Alice Krige's Borg Queen costume was unique. A tight-fitting, one piece bodysuit, combined with a large headpiece and integrated lighting systems, the first of the Queen's costumes was built out of hard rubber. After the first of Krige's ten-day shoot, the actress suffered from blisters raised by the tight rubber. A second, soft foam suit was fabricated overnight. Despite the relative comfort of the new suit, Krige was still required to wear painful silver contact lenses that could be worn for only four minutes at a time. According to Jerry Fleck, the actress never complained.

Borg vessels were handled by John Eaves, based upon script pages, referring to a "tetragon", or rectangular-shaped vessel. Eaves generated drawings in January of 1996, labeled "Borg tetragon":

"The first one I did had beveled edges and deep canyons throughout; I was trying to get away from the familiar Next Generation series cube... I did three or four passes in the rectangular shape. As time went on, Rick Berman, Ron Moore and Brannon Braga rewrote the scenes, returning to the original cube style of the Borg ship."

Unable to reuse the Borg cube built for the television series, created out of inexpensive pieces from model kits, a new cube had to be designed. Described by Eaves as "nonsensical", a distinctly new surface was designed, distinguished by interlocking shapes and angles, with a hidden hatchway for Eaves' Borg sphere. Intricate details of ILM's Borg cube model were achieved through the use of recycled paper clips.

Besides several background and stunt performers who changed into Borg, there were also a few Borg mannequins. One of these mannequins was sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. [7]

The Phoenix Edit

In their original concept of Zefram Cochrane's warp ship, the Phoenix, Moore and Braga's script referred to a space shuttle-type lander, constructed on a large, outdoor platform. Difficult to realize without the aid of extensive digital effects, the production searched for more practical methods. Rick Berman ultimately seized upon the idea of utilizing a real nuclear missile, inspiring the writers to adjust the script to accommodate the "irony" of a weapon of mass destruction used to "inaugurate an era of peace."

With the cooperation of the United States military, the production gained permission to shoot within a real missile silo in Green Valley, Arizona, near Tucson. Utilizing the real, though hollowed out Titan II missile still in its silo, the team resolved to construct a new nose to sit atop the missile, acting as the cockpit of the Phoenix. John Eaves:

Logo Kris phoenix

Eaves' approved Phoenix logo

"I started out by drawing a standard space capsule cone; I figured they had used whatever pre-existing technology they could find, then added to it whatever was needed... I wanted something that had a double window on the front and two side windows – bubbled, so that you could look out and around. However, construction-wise, a flat window was easiest, so that's what we did."

Completing his design for the full-size cockpit facade, Eaves next began conceptualizing the second-stage Phoenix, basing his drawings on designs appearing in Michael Okuda's Star Trek Chronology. Incorporating TOS-style warp nacelles into his drawings, Eaves refined the Phoenix from rough drawings to finalized designs over months. Turning over the plans to ILM and John Goodson's team, Eaves was stunned by the finished product:

"...They all worked so hard; I've never seen a drawing translate so accurately into a finished model. They came up with a beautiful color scheme for it – a gold capsule with a lot of silver framework on the rocket, with silver, white and black graphics."

Though mostly invisible on screen, a logo for Cochrane's warp ship was also designed by Eaves on the fly.

"One beautiful morning, Herman [Zimmerman] ran into my office and said, 'Stop what you're doing! We need a logo for the Phoenix, and we need it approved by eleven o'clock. This morning!' ...I'm from Phoenix [Arizona] originally, and immediately my mind was filled with images of phoenix birds. I especially remember this one beautiful large abstract sculpture of a phoenix outside the Town and Country Mall, right in the heart of the city."

Calling a number of gift shops in the area, Eaves was finally able to locate a postcard with an appropriate picture of the phoenix he remembered. Taking the postcard to a local store, the gift shop owner faxed a picture of the phoenix to the Paramount production offices where Eaves went to work. With only a single pass, the logo was approved by Rick Berman.

Production Edit

In the spring of 1996, newly-recruited director Jonathan Frakes and producer Rick Berman cast their three "guest stars". Two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks, an admitted Trekker, was slated to play Zefram Cochrane but he was busy with his directorial debut. The role went to James Cromwell, a veteran of TNG and DS9, and Oscar nominee for his role in the 1995 movie Babe. According to Jonathan Frakes: "In spite of having been nominated for an Academy Award, he actually came in and read for the part... He nailed it. He left Berman and me with our jaws in our laps." Cromwell later reprised his role as Cochrane in 2001's Enterprise pilot, "Broken Bow".

EMH in Enterprise-E sickbay

Robert Picardo cameos as another EMH

For the role of Lily, Frakes' immediate inclination after reading the script was to cast actress Alfre Woodard. Woodard, an Oscar nominee herself and multiple Emmy Award winner, was Frakes' self-proclaimed "godmother": "The first time we got through the script, I think everyone's first words were 'Alfre Woodard'." A challenge for Frakes and Berman, though, was ultimately solved in the casting of South African-born actress Alice Krige as the Borg Queen. Both Frakes and the Moore/Braga writing duo would later recall a sense of uneasy sexiness in Krige's portrayal of the Queen, aided by the application of a wet sheen to her skin by the make up department. Other guest players were added to the Resurrection call sheets as they were added to the script, including Trek vets Dwight Schultz as Barclay, Ethan Phillips as the holographic maitre'D, and Robert Picardo as the EMH of the Enterprise-E (not to be confused with The Doctor). Phillips' role went uncredited, a request made by the actor to confuse fans who may or may not recognize him from his role as Neelix.

Other cast additions included Patti Yasutake's final appearance as Nurse Alyssa Ogawa, having first appeared back in TNG's fourth season. Don Stark was cast as Nicky the Nose, most memorable in his role as Bob Pinciotti in TV's That '70s Show – he also appeared in the DS9 episode "Melora" as Ashrock the Yridian. Jack Shearer appears as Admiral Hayes, later reprising the role (apparently not dead) in Voyager episodes "Hope and Fear" and "Life Line". Michael Zaslow, who was the first person ever to be pronounced "He's dead, Jim" by Doctor McCoy in The Original Series episode ("The Man Trap"), appears as Eddy, Zefram Cochrane's bartender. Actor Eric Steinberg portrayed Paul Porter, taken early in the film but appearing throughout as a partially assimilated Borg drone in engineering.

Brannon Braga is clearly visible as an extra in the holodeck nightclub as the Borg enter the scene, though writing partner Moore's appearance was never shot – despite sixteen hours of waiting with his then wife Ruby, an anniversary present. Rumors persist that both Nichelle Nichols and Kelsey Grammer (captain of the USS Bozeman from "Cause and Effect") have uncredited "voice cameos", though these claims are unsubstantiated.

Production on Star Trek Resurrection began on 8 April 1996, but within a month, a new title had been chosen. Mere weeks prior, 20th Century Fox had announced the title of the fourth installment in their Alien film franchise: Alien Resurrection. A number of new titles were proposed for the film including Star Trek Destinies, Star Trek: Future Generations, and Star Trek Regenerations. The titles Star Trek: Borg and Star Trek Generations II were even chosen as working titles for the film until Star Trek: First Contact was finally selected, made official in a 3 May 1996 fourth draft script. (Star Trek: Borg went on to become the title of a video game, released not long after.)

Picard as Ahab

"The line must be drawn here!": A pivotal scene

Minor details in the script, even as shooting was under way, continued to evolve. Early drafts were vague regarding the fate of the Defiant, DS9's resident warship. Having read the script, Deep Space Nine producer Ira Steven Behr's only note was an objection to the apparent destruction of the Defiant. The writers added the clarification "adrift but salvageable" and no mention of the ship's near annihilation was made in the TV series. Minor details in the script's pages included the ill-fated Enterprise crew member Ensign Lynch, named after a friend of writer Brannon Braga, but thought by many named for Internet critic Timothy W. Lynch, who reviewed every episode of TNG and DS9. Gravett Island was not a real Earth location, but a fictional one named after Jacques Gravett, Ronald D. Moore's then assistant. Rumors circulated during production, even reported by some GLBT publications, that another ill-fated Enterprise crewman, Neal McDonough's Lieutenant Hawk was gay. No reference is made in the finished film to this fact; the producers have denied the rumors. [8] Regarding the film's emotional battle played out between Picard and Lily, Brannon Braga recalled: "I'd have to say that scene was nailed and perfect only about a week before it was filmed."

Location shooting dominated the early schedule for the Star Trek: First Contact production team. First up were scenes set in Bozeman, Montana, shot in the Titan Missile Museum outside Tucson, Arizona for a duration of four days. The production then moved to the Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains not far from Los Angeles. Two weeks of nighttime shooting followed, with a large village constructed by Herman Zimmerman's art department to represent exterior Bozeman. Minor details in the sets included the 52-star American flag referencing an early TNG episode, "The Royale". A full-size section of the Vulcan lander was brought to this location for the film's finale. The film then moved to Los Angeles Union Station's art deco restaurant where the Dixon Hill holonovel sequence played out, including over 120 extras in period costumes and two Borg drones.

Production finally moved to Paramount Pictures studios in Hollywood on May 3 for a half day of shooting on the three story Enterprise-E engine room set. Cameras were then moved from Stage 14 to Stage 15 where scenes were shot on the bridge, observation lounge and ready room sets. Jonathan Frakes recalled:

"It was as if we had gone back in time. It was the same sort of fantastic, cynical, fearless, take-no-prisoners abuse your fellow cast member that has kept us together all these long years."

The next two months were dubbed by the crew, "Borg Hell", with scenes shot on stages 14, 15 and 8 that included heavily made-up Borg extras, stunts, pyrotechnics and one large deflector dish. Likely the film's most labor intensive sequence to shoot was the battle on the Enterprise hull, on the film's largest set. The deflector dish itself, while massive, was shot at angles intended to exaggerate its size – the manual input computers were labeled "AE35", a subtle reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey. The sequence also required Patrick Stewart as Picard, Michael Dorn as Worf, and Neal McDonough as Hawk to wear restrictive environmental suits that incorporated internal lighting and cooling systems. With the addition of flying rigs and complex stunts, tempers on the set were pushed, as was Patrick Stewart's endurance; the actor suffered breathing problems in his spacesuit, halting production for an entire day. Problems also arose in the realism of the sequence, with smoke rising from the set, then quickly falling, contrary to the physics of real life zero-G. This required Frakes to shoot around the smoke, or shoot takes short enough to prevent the falling smoke to be seen. Writers Moore and Braga agreed that, had the film been produced only a few years later, the entire sequence was likely to have been less complicated if shot with computer-generated sets.

Despite the complications, Star Trek: First Contact wrapped production on 2 July 1996 (two days over schedule), with the flashback that opened the film. Fittingly, the sequence required Patrick Stewart to don the Starfleet uniform he had worn for at least five of the seven seasons on Star Trek: The Next Generation. According to Ronald D. Moore, everyone involved with the film knew it was going to be a hit.

Production history Edit

  • 8 January 1996 - Second draft script, titled Star Trek: Resurrection
  • 12 March 1996 - Third draft script, titled Star Trek: Borg

Post-production Edit

Visual effects Edit

As described by visual effects supervisor John Knoll, time allotted for post production visual effects and model building resulted in a "brutal effort". Not only did ILM's team have to construct the Enterprise-E, large models representing the Borg sphere, the new Borg cube, and the Phoenix were also required.

Akira and Millennium Falcon

The Millennium Falcon appears below an Akira-class starship

Even more so than the previous film, the First Contact visual effects team also utilized computer-generated imagery, lending itself to sequences that required large numbers of starships. To stand up to the Borg cube alongside the new Enterprise and the old Defiant, ILM art director Alex Jaeger designed sixteen new Starfleet vessels, four of them rendered digitally and appearing in the massive opening battle sequence. The new starships included Akira-class, Saber-class, Steamrunner-class, and Norway-class vessels; the latter starship was lost after production due to a computer glitch, never to appear in Star Trek again. Also included in the melee were a Nebula-class starship, a Miranda-class vessel, and an Oberth-class science ship in its final use. As a joke, the Millennium Falcon CG model (created for the Star Wars Special Editions) was inserted into the Borg attack, though generally indistinguishable.

Other computer-generated vessels included the John Eaves' designed Enterprise escape pods and the Vulcan lander, constructed by the VisionArt company. At that time, First Contact included more complex visual effects shots than any Star Trek film before; low-tech methods, however, were still utilized. Close-up shots of La Forge's new ocular implants were achieved through the use of a sprocket-shaped shower handle, matted against black contact lenses.

Music Edit

See also: Star Trek: First Contact (soundtrack)

Jerry Goldsmith, who composed the music for Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, returned to score First Contact and the remaining two TNG films after it. Because of his hectic schedule, Goldsmith shared much of the work with his son, Joel Goldsmith; as a result much of the music in First Contact does not appear on the commercial soundtrack.

Among the two Goldsmiths' work, a theme established in The Final Frontier, referred to as the "A Busy Man" theme, was used throughout First Contact, likely as a theme for Picard. It can be heard just after the opening fanfare at the beginning of the film. It can also be heard only briefly in Insurrection, but is used quite heavily in Star Trek Nemesis. Also repeated in First Contact was the Klingon theme, originally introduced in The Motion Picture and used in this film to represent Worf. As with all Star Trek films scored by Goldsmith, the theme from The Motion Picture was used in the end credits, and the opening fanfare from the Theme from Star Trek was used to segué into the opening and closing themes.

The opera that Picard listens to in his ready room is Berlioz' Les Troyens – "Hylas' Song" from the beginning of Act V. (Hylas is a homesick young sailor being rocked to sleep by the sea as he dreams of the homeland he will never see again.) This is the first and only Star Trek movie to have rock and roll in the soundtrack (though Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home did feature late '80s jazz by the Yellowjackets, as well as a punk song). In their joint audio commentary on the Special Edition DVD, Ron Moore and Brannon Braga credited Peter Lauritson with the selection of Steppenwolf's original recording of "Magic Carpet Ride" (and not "some cheap cover"). They criticized, however, the choice of Roy Orbison's "Ooby Dooby" as being "too goofy".

Promotion and merchandising Edit

Voyager in First Contact trailer

A shot of Voyager created for the First Contact teaser

Borg drones First Contact trailer

Borg from a cut scene appearing in the trailer

The teaser trailer for Star Trek: First Contact premiered with Paramount movies in early summer 1996. As much of the film had yet to be shot when the advertisements were assembled, footage from Star Trek Generations and episodes from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was included. Inter-cut with sequences from the film, the reused footage included snippets of "The Best of Both Worlds" and "Emissary". The trailer utilized score from "The Best of Both Worlds", Generations and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, most notably, however, from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Both the teaser and theatrical trailers included footage unique only to them, with some visual effects created specifically for the trailer. Unique shots included the USS Voyager firing phasers at a differently-designed Borg cube and an alternate version of Picard's soon-to-be infamous speech, "The line must be drawn here!" in the teaser, and cut takes of various Borg drones in the theatrical. In the UK theatrical version of the film there were two scenes that were cut from subsequent VHS and DVD releases; One taking place after Worf is transported over to the Enterprise-E, where he refuses medical treatment from Dr. Crusher and demands to be taken to the bridge, and an extended scene on Earth where Zefrane Cochrane asks Geordi La Forge about his eyes. This appears to be the only evidence of cut material; no deleted scenes have surfaced or been officially released. [9]

As with the previous film and TNG, Playmates Toys released a line of action figures and accessories in conjunction with the premiere of the film. Among the toys was a model of the Enterprise-E, apparently based upon early sketches of the ship and not the finalized version - featuring several key structural differences from the finalized design. Out of scale to their previous lines, the larger First Contact action figures were made in the likenesses of the entire Enterprise-E crew, Lily, Zefram Cochrane, Picard in an environmental suit, and a Borg drone – also based on production drawings. [10] In recent years, Art Asylum has released a detailed action figure in the likeness of Captain Picard from First Contact, complete with the skull of the Borg Queen.

Marvel Comics released both a comic adaptation of the movie, and a sequel comic book that crossed the crew with the X-Men in "Second Contact". This had a later sequel novel by Michael Jan Friedman, called Planet X.

First Contact novelizations and soundtracks were also released, as were updated version of the Star Trek Chronology and Star Trek Encyclopedia.

Reaction Edit

Star Trek: First Contact premiered in American cinemas on 22 November 1996, number one at the box office. With a budget of around US$45,000,000, it opened on 2,812 screens and went on to garner around US$150,000,000 worldwide. By comparison, Star Trek Generations, with a budget of US$35,000,000, opened at US$23,100,000 and grossed US$120,000,000 worldwide. It was the second highest grossing Star Trek film ever, falling just behind 1986's Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, until the release of 2009's Star Trek. The film, however, was considered by most to be not only a financial success, but a critical one as well.

The film review website Rotten Tomatoes calculated a 92% critic score for First Contact, with 40 of 44 reviews giving positive remarks. [11] Giving the film "Two thumbs up!", Siskel & Ebert host Roger Ebert elaborated in his Chicago Sun Times review:

"...The story gives us yet another intriguing test of the differences among humans, aliens and artificial intelligence. And the paradoxes of time travel are handled less murkily than sometimes in the past... STFC was directed by Frakes, who did some of the The Next Generation shows for television, and here achieves great energy and clarity. In all of the shuffling of timelines and plotlines, I always knew where we were. He also gets some genial humor out of Cromwell... There is such intriguing chemistry between Picard and the Woodard character that I hope a way is found to bring her on board in the next film. Star Trek movies in the past have occasionally gone where no movie had gone, or wanted to go, before. This one is on the right beam."

While often negative in his reviews of other Trek films, Ebert elaborated, "how I love the Star Trek jargon!" and even expressed his fondness for the Borg Queen:

"I also admired the interiors of the Borg probe, and the peculiar makeup work creating the Borg Queen, who looks like no notion of sexy I have ever heard of, but inspires me to keep an open mind." [12]

BBC Films' Emily Carlisle, however, was less enamored:

"While some quality dark humour comes from the dominatrix-outfitted Borg Queen's attempts to seduce android Data, other attempts at lightening the tone seem forced and stiff in comparison... Patrick Stewart believably plays Captain Picard... and he and Brent Spiner are clearly the most talented actors on display. While others try hard (Alfre Woodard in particular), their energies are dissipated in the broad storyline which switches uncomfortably between a running battle on board the Enterprise and an effort on the surface of the Earth to ensure that first contact is made on schedule. Focusing more on action sequences than characterisation, the breakneck pace gives an unsatisfying result." [13]

In his 18 November 1996 review, Daily Variety magazine writer Joe Leydon expressed his approval:

"Frakes makes an auspicious debut as a feature filmmaker, sustaining excitement and maintaining clarity as he dashes through a two-track storyline... Stewart once again comports himself with all the gravity and panache you would expect from a Shakespearean-trained actor. He is at his best playing opposite Woodard in a scene that has their characters arguing over the best way to battle the Borg... It is a credit to both actors that their emotion-charged conversation is genuinely compelling. Purists who recall Gene Roddenberry's original vision of a less blood-soaked Star Trek universe may be put off by the rough stuff. But mainstream audiences will be more approving of the greater emphasis on high-voltage shocks and action-movie heroics."

Leydon concluded, "If First Contact is indicative of what the next generation of Star Trek movies will be like, the franchise is certain to live long and prosper." [14]

Notes Edit

  • This film opened on the same day that Mark Lenard, the actor best known for portraying the character of Sarek, died at the age of 72.
  • Despite the use of the television series uniforms in the previous film, Star Trek Generations, this is the only movie starring The Next Generation cast where the television series and early DS9 combadge is seen, as visible on Picard's uniform in the "Best of Both Worlds" flashback in the opening of the film.
  • The reference that Data makes about using his "fully functional" sexual organs seemingly references the time he used them with Tasha in TNG: "The Naked Now", eight years before the Borg invasion (though that would place that episode in 2365). This would seem to indicate Data and his fourth-season "girlfriend" Jenna D'Sora were never sexually intimate during the course of their relationship.
  • The bar in Bozeman featured bar signs based on mission patches for NASA vessels, including the Molly Brown.
  • First Contact references and even explicitly quotes Moby Dick. Despite the story parallels, the producers hesitated using it, as Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was also heavy in Moby Dick references. Two years after First Contact premiered, Patrick Stewart played Captain Ahab in a 1998 TV mini-series.
  • However, Picard slightly misquotes the "Moby Dick" passage. The actual passage is: He piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart's shell upon it.
  • Early in the movie, Zefram Cochrane points out the constellation Leo, the constellation in which Wolf 359 is located.
  • First Contact marked the first time the phrase "star trek" was ever uttered in the franchise. In the TNG finale "All Good Things...", however, Q tells Picard "It's time to put an end to your trek through the stars."
  • When Picard announces to the crew his intention to break his orders and join the engagement, Data's response is "Captain, I believe I speak for everyone here sir when I say, 'To hell with our orders'." Similarly in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Spock's response to the Enterprise's orders to return to spacedock is "If I were Human, I believe my response would be, 'Go to hell'."
Holosuite program display on Enterprise E

The different holodeck programs on the Enterprise-E

  • The program menu in the holosuite depicts various holodeck programs from previous episodes. Specifically: Café des Artistes (TNG: "We'll Always Have Paris"), Charnock's Comedy Cabaret (TNG: "The Outrageous Okona"), "The Big Goodbye" (TNG: "The Big Goodbye", "Manhunt", "Clues"), Emerald Wading Pool (TNG: "Conundrum") and the "Equestrian Adventure" (TNG: "Pen Pals").
  • During the end of the Dominion War, Quark would speak, in DS9: "The Dogs of War", almost the same words ("The line has to be drawn here! This far and no further!") as Picard does during Star Trek: First Contact.
  • Riker calls the Defiant a "tough little ship." In the DS9 episode "Defiant", Thomas Riker called it the same thing.
  • According to the (apocryphal) Customizable Card Game by Decipher, the Vulcan who greeted Zefram Cochrane was named Solkar, the grandfather of Sarek and the great-grandfather of Spock. This was later supported by dialogue in ENT: "The Catwalk".
  • The events of Star Trek: First Contact were later referred to in DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow", VOY: "Year of Hell, Part II", and VOY: "Relativity", the latter using those events as an example for the Pogo paradox. The Borg sphere was recovered in ENT: "Regeneration", while a slightly different version of Earth's first contact with Vulcans – utilizing footage from the film – can be seen in ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly".
  • According to the ENT episode "Carbon Creek", though this movie records the first official contact between Earth and Vulcan, contact was actually made in 1957 in a place called Carbon Creek, Pennsylvania, nearly 110 years prior.
  • Subsequent Vulcan starships seen in Star Trek: Enterprise would be based upon the T'Plana-Hath-type lander seen in this movie.
  • Geordi La Forge, who with Riker participates in Cochrane's historic first warp flight had earlier compared being at Bilana III to view the soliton wave experiment to being present when Cochrane engaged the first warp drive in TNG: "New Ground".
  • The partial flesh in Data's face resembles the mask of the Phantom of the Opera.
  • The model of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) that was on display in the conference room was auctioned off (albeit broken) in the It's A Wrap! sale and auction.
  • Lily says that "Borg" sounds Swedish. In Swedish, "borg" actually means "castle", although it would be pronounced as "borj". "Borg" is also a Swedish surname. In addition, the word is spelled and means the same in Norwegian and Danish, and in these cases is pronounced very similar to the English word. The most well-known "Borg" is the internationally-known Swedish tennis player Björn Borg.
  • Besides making references to Moby Dick, this film is also similar to The Wrath of Khan in that they're both sequels to classic episodes of their respective series; TWOK follows "Space Seed" while FC follows "The Best of Both Worlds" parts I and II.
  • Among the items seen in this film which were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay are the Phoenix Launch Silo Missile Manual [15], a broken model of the USS Enterprise-D [16], a broken model of the USS Enterprise-C [17], a pair of boots worn by a background actor [18], a Phoenix button board [19], and an undersuit of Alice Krige. [20]
  • This movie includes one of the explicit mentions of the attributes of the New World Economy. Picard tells Lily that money (as she understands it) no longer existed in the 24th century, and that people worked not for the acquisition of wealth, but for the betterment of all Humanity.
  • Based on averaging the differences of the stardates from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's "Children of Time" and "Empok Nor", the initial events of this film should have occurred between "Blaze of Glory" and "Empok Nor". However, Sisko's mention of "the recent Borg attack" in "In Purgatory's Shadow", actually places First Contact before that episode. Furthermore, based on the stardates, the initial events of the film would have taken between the events of the Star Trek: Voyager episodes "Real Life" and "Displaced". It is unclear whether these events take place before, after or contemporaneously with the events of "Distant Origin", which was broadcast in the interim and does not feature a stardate.
  • In the ending credits, Zefram Cochrane's name is misspelled as "Zefram Cochran".
  • This is the only Star Trek movie to feature a female primary antagonist, the Borg Queen.
  • This film is the only appearance of the Defiant outside of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • It is the first Star Trek movie to be rated PG-13.
  • This was the first Star Trek film since The Motion Picture to not re-use any footage from previous films.

Apocrypha Edit

The First Contact novelization establishes that during the Battle of Sector 001 as the Defiant attacked the Borg Cube, Worf thought that by keeping the Enterprise away from the battle, Starfleet Command was doing Picard a great dishonor by not allowing him the opportunity to gain revenge against his mortal enemy.

Merchandise gallery Edit

Awards and honors Edit

Star Trek: First Contact received the following awards and honors.

Year Group Award Nominee(s) Result
1997 Academy Awards Best Makeup Michael Westmore, Scott Wheeler, Jake Garber Nominated
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Alfre Woodard
Hugo Awards Best Dramatic Presentation Screenplay by Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore, Story by Rick Berman, Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore, Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Satellite Awards Outstanding Visual Effects John Knoll
BMI Film & TV Awards BMI Film Music Award Jerry Goldsmith Won
Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actor Brent Spiner
Best Supporting Actress Alice Krige
Best Costumes Deborah Everton
Best Actor Patrick Stewart Nominated
Best Director Jonathan Frakes
Best Special Effects John Knoll (Industrial Light & Magic)
Best Music Jerry Goldsmith
Best Writer Brannon Braga, Ronald D. Moore
Best Makeup Michael Westmore, Scott Wheeler, Jake Garber
Best Science Fiction Film -
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Actor - Science Fiction Patrick Stewart
Favorite Supporting Actor - Science Fiction Jonathan Frakes

Links and references Edit

Credits Edit

All credits

Uncredited Edit

Performers Edit

Stunt performers Edit

Stand-ins and photo doubles Edit

Production staff Edit

Production companies Edit

References Edit

1940s; 2063; 2373; 21st century; 24th century; access point; Ahab; Akira-class; alien; all hands; Alpha team; ammonite; analgesic cream; antiproton; Apollo 15; Appalachia, USS; April; assimilation; atomic weapon; Australia; authorization code; auto-destruct; auto-destruct sequence; Basic Warp Design; Battle of Sector 001; battle stations; beer; Berlioz, Louis Hector; bicycle; "Big Good-Bye, The"; biohazard; Bizet, Georges; blood; blueprints; Borg; Borg Collective; Borg cube; Borg drone; Borg hive; Borg sphere; Borg Queen; Bozeman, USS; bridge; Budapest, USS; bullet; cafe; Café des Artistes; Calico M960; campfire; captain's log; carbon monoxide; cell membrane; Champs-Elysees; Charnock's Comedy Cabaret; chronometric particle; cigarette; class 2 comet; cockpit; colorful metaphor; comet; coolant tank; counselor; cubic meter; cybernetic; Deep Space 5; Defiant-class; USS Defiant; deflector control; deflector dish; Delta Quadrant; detective; Dixon Hill; dog; dollar; Dyson; Earth; ECON; economics; Emerald Wading Pool; Emergency Medical Hologram; emotion chip; Endeavour, USS; engineering tool; USS Enterprise-E; environmental control; environmental suit; EPS; EPS conduit; Equestrian Adventure; escape pod; external sensors; Federation; First Contact; fluorine; force field; fractal encryption code; French; front line; glasses; Gravett Island; high school; holodeck; holodeck safety protocol; hologram; holosuite; horse; hull; hydroponics; hypospray; intermix chamber; internal sensors; interplexing beacon; Ivor Prime; Jefferies tube; Jesus; jukebox; Kaplan (Crewman); kilopascal; kiss; Klingon; Lake Armstrong; laser; Leo; Les Troyens; Lexington, USS; lie; life support; light speed; long range sensor; Ludwig; Luna; Madison, USS; "Magic Carpet Ride"; main engineering; maglock; maximum warp; medical tricorder; mek'leth; methane; Mintakan tapestry; Miranda-class; Moby Dick; money; Montana; "Moonlight Becomes You"; monument; nanopolymer; Nebula-class; neural net; neuroprocessor; New Berlin; New Guinea; North America; Norway-class; nuclear missile; number one; Oberth-class; "Ooby Dooby"; opera; ocular implant; Orbison, Roy; Paris; particle emitter; particle weapon; patrol; phaser; phaser rifle; Phoenix; plasma coolant; plasma injector; pool; positronic net; power grid; Prime Directive; pulse emitter; quantum torpedo; radioactive isotope; ray gun; ready room; red alert; replicator; Romulan Neutral Zone; Romulan Star Empire; Saber-class; saint; satin; Schlitz; scotch; security team; sensor; sensor sweep; sexuality; shields; shuttlecraft; sickbay; skin; Skylab; Smithsonian Institution; smoking; Sol system; Solomons; Sovereign-class; Sovereign-type escape pod; space walk; spaceship; space sickness; spinal tissue; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Command; statue; Steamrunner-class; stellar cartography; Steppenwolf; structural integrity; subspace transmitter; Sumiko III; sun glasses; survey mission; Swedish; T'plana-Hath; telescope; temporal vortex; temporal wake; tent; tequila; theta radiation; Thompson submachine gun; throttle assembly; Thunderchild, USS; time travel; Titan II; titanium; train; transporter room; tricorder; truck; Tycho City; Typhon sector; ultraviolet radiation; vice admiral; Vallon Sonore; Vulcan; warp barrier; warp core; warp drive; warp field; warp plasma conduit; warp signature; warp threshold; whale; whiskey; World War III; Yeager, USS; Zefram Cochrane High School; Zefram Cochrane's statue; zero-gravity combat training; zombie

Sources Edit

External links Edit


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