Leonard Nimoy was originally asked to act in and direct this film, but he declined after reading the script and being told there was not time to fix the parts with which he had problems. According to Nimoy, there was a character named Spock in the script, but the lines were so bland they could have been spoken by anyone (those lines were given to James Doohan as Scotty; Nimoy later pointed to this as proof he was right).
The producers asked George Takei to come back and play Sulu one more time, and take the helm of the Enterprise-B. But Takei refused because if Sulu had taken the helm, it would have meant temporarily reducing Sulu's rank, so that he could serve under Captain Kirk again. He felt that Sulu had worked too hard to earn his command to allow even a temporary reduction. A new character, Demora, daughter of Sulu, was created to speak Sulu's lines.
DeForest Kelley was set to appear in this movie as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, but due to his declining health, he could not get on-set insurance (a union requirement for anyone on a film set). His lines were then given to Walter Koenig as Chekov.
In the holodeck scene, Troi (when she goes to help Picard) hands over the sailing ship's helm to an elderly man. This man is, in real life, the captain of the boat (the Lady Washington, owned by Grays Harbor Historical Seaport in Aberdeen, Washington) which was used in filming this scene. The same ship also portrayed the Interceptor in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003).
The Starfleet phaser and the dedication plaque on Captain Kirk's cabinet wall are the only surviving relics from the original USS Enterprise that was destroyed in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984).
Soran's line "They say time is the fire in which we burn." is from the Delmore Schwartz poem "Calmly We Walk Through This April's Day" from his collection entitled "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities". This book is incorrectly acknowledged in the credits as "Dreams Begin Responsibilities".
This was the first Star Trek film to be produced and filmed after the death of Gene Roddenberry. Following his death, the Star Trek creative team began using story ideas and concepts that Roddenberry was opposed to, which included the teaming up of Star Trek (1966): The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) characters.
A new set of Starfleet uniforms was intended to be introduced in the film to be worn by the Enterprise-D crew. These new uniforms would have been similar to the television ones, except the collars would have been the same department color as the rest of the tunic and the rank pips would have been worn on the shoulder with a corresponding rank braid on the wrists. The uniforms were eventually nixed by producer Rick Berman. The decision was then made to use both the uniforms from Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) as well as the uniforms from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993). However, Playmates had already made an action figure line for the film with the Enterprise-D crew wearing the aborted uniforms. It was too late to retract the figures, which is the only place the aborted uniforms can be seen.
In the film, Riker, played by Jonathan Frakes, says that he plans to live forever. In the television series Gargoyles (1994), Frakes plays David Xanatos, a ruthless billionaire who is obsessed with becoming immortal.
In the opening scenes on board the Enterprise-B, three different news networks (each with a reporter and a camera person) are represented. They are: the Federation News Network, Starfleet Broadcasting and the Earth Broadcasting Service.
Interestingly, when Picard is relating his family's history, he mentions that he was often told about the Picards who fought in the battle of Trafalgar. Picard is of French origin, and the battle of Trafalgar was a catastrophic loss for the French, and a decisive British victory. The combined French/Spanish fleet lost twenty-two of their forty-one ships in the battle, without inflicting a single loss on the British. So why the Picards should choose to brag about their presence in a battle that was such an emphatic defeat, much less their descendents doing so centuries later, is unclear.
In the movie, Soran comments on La Forge's response to his interrogation by saying "His heart just wasn't in it.". This is a reference to the form of torture used in a deleted scene in which Soran used a nanoprobe to stop and start La Forge's heart. This is also reference in a later scene in which Dr. Crusher mentions that she had removed the nanoprobe.
The Enterprise-B bridge is a redress of the Enterprise-A bridge as seen in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). After filming, it was heavily modified to become the Amargosa Observatory control center.
During the battle with Klingons, Troi, played by Marina Sirtis, takes the helm when the conn officer is injured after a computer station explodes. The director wanted this action sequence done in one take in order to fully capture the genuine reactions of the actors. However, during the filming, Sirtis burned her bottom after she sat on a burning piece of debris that had landed on the conn station chair. This was the take used for the movie, however, it cuts away right as Sirtis sits on the chair. Sirtis was not badly injured and continued filming the scene afterwards.
Sets used for the Enterprise-D bridge scenes are supposedly identical to those used in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), upon closer examination however, there are two extra crew stations in the movie, one on either side and just to the aft of the main part of the bridge.
This movie was to have started with Captain Kirk making an orbital skydive and Chekov and Scotty running to meet him when he lands on the ground to inform him that he has to be on the new Enterprise-B for its launching ceremony. This scene was shot but cut from the final film.
One of the reasons for destroying the Enterprise-D was that it was designed for the narrow aspect ratio and low resolution of televisions. Destroying the ship allowed the creation of a theater-friendly ship for subsequent movies.
James T. Kirk's final two words, "Oh, my..." are a spontaneous ad lib made by William Shatner. Shatner later explained it was Kirk's reaction to eternity and truly going where Kirk had never gone before.
Although Data is the owner of Spot, the cat, Brent Spiner who plays Data in fact hates cats and objected to the scene where Data finds Spot in the wreckage of the Enterprise, saying "Does he have to find the cat? Can't he find, like, Geordi or something?".
Most of the Enterprise sets were destroyed during filming of the crash sequence. What was not destroyed, such as crew quarters, transporter rooms, and parts of engineering was integrated into the sets of the USS Voyager from Star Trek: Voyager (1995). The frame from Data's Lab on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) can be seen among the wreckage at the Amargosa Observatory. Worf's tactical console was all that remained of the Enterprise-D Bridge after filming.
The Enterprise-B turbolift foyer, turbolift and doors were saved and became part of the Enterprise-E bridge set in Star Trek: First Contact (1996). The doors and foyer were originally built for the Enterprise bridge in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) and are the only surviving pieces of that set.
In the original version of the ending, Captain Kirk dies when Soran shoots him in the back, and Soran then dies when Captain Picard shoots him with his own disruptor pistol. The first edition of the film's novelization told the story this way, but was later edited and republished. When this ending audience was shown to a test audience, Rick Berman remembers that an ominous silence was present in the room. The Executives at Paramount told Rick and writers Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga that the ending had to be reshot. The writers considered multiple scenarios, including forcefields and tunnels, among others. They finally settled on having a bridge present that would eventually collapse and provide an action sequence with Captain Picard, Captain Kirk and Soran. In four days time, the scaffolding sets were rebuilt at the Valley of Fire (the State of Nevada had kept the metal at the park following original filming) and a 65 foot bridge was flown in by helicopter and placed at the Valley of Fire. The actors returned, the ending was reshot to what was seen in the film. Rick Berman remembers that original photography occurred during the summer months in 110 degree heat, and when they returned, it was September and October and only about 80 degrees. Braga and Moore though have expressed dissatisfaction with how the ending turned out, even though it was better than Captain Kirk being shot in the back.
Originally, there was a scene in the script for Captain Kirk's funeral. In the scene Spock was to be standing at the entrance of the church, hesitant to enter (And therefore admitting to himself that his friend was really dead). He was supposed to be overwhelmed and slightly revealing his emotional side as he was being urged into the service by Doctor McCoy (DeForest Kelley) and Scotty (James Doohan). But Leonard Nimoy ultimately passed on the film and Kelley was in declining health and couldn't get insured, so the scene was never filmed, but it does appear in the novelization.
Kirk wears a red vest in the later part of this film. In Star Trek (1966) lore, a character of Starfleet wearing a red uniform (referred to as a "red-shirt") is the one that will be killed-off throughout the course of the episode. This foreshadows Kirk's death at the end.
The Enteprise's saucer was meant to break in half during the crash sequence, which would have been the main reason why Starfleet couldn't just take the saucer and attach it to a new engineering hull. However, it was quickly determined that there would be no way to satisfactorily achieve the effect with models or CGI of that era, and the idea was abandoned.
The starship to which Captain Picard and Commander Riker transport at the end of the movie, USS Farragut, bears the same name as the ship which Captain Kirk served upon as a young lieutenant. In Star Trek: Obsession (1967), Captain Kirk recalls the details of one incident that occurred during that period of his career to the son of a former shipmate.
At the end of the movie, Picard says "We must cherish every moment, because they'll never come again.". Apparently, forgetting that "living the same moment again" is exactly how he managed to defeat Soran just a short while earlier.