Geordi tells Zefram Cochrane that by the 24th Century, the Phoenix missile complex will become a museum, and will feature a 20-meter-tall statue of Cochrane himself, with his arm reaching out towards the sky "towards the future". Although the statue itself is never shown through the length of this movie, a smaller scale model of that very statue can be seen frequently on a shelf in Captain Archer's quarters in Star Trek: Enterprise (2001).
One of the reasons Jonathan Frakes was chosen to direct was because the producers wanted someone who understood Star Trek. Indeed, amongst the cast, he was the show's most prolific director. Reportedly, Ridley Scott and John McTiernan both turned down the chance to direct.
Tom Hanks was considered for the role of Zefram Cochrane. Hanks, being an avid Star Trek fan, was receptive to the part, but had to pass due to his commitment to directing and starring in That Thing You Do! (1996).
Geordi LaForge's visor is replaced here with "ocular implants." LeVar Burton lobbied for years to have his visor replaced so people could see his eyes. He always felt it limited his acting ability. His request was finally granted here.
Robert Picardo doesn't just reprise his character from Star Trek: Voyager (1995), but there is a very subtle reference to the joke that made him earn "The Doctor" role: During his Voyager audition, he was asked to say, "Somebody forgot to turn off my program." He did that, then added, "I'm a doctor, not a light bulb," and got the part. In this movie, he says, "I'm a doctor, not a doorstop." (See Trivia Section for "Star Trek: Voyager")
The Norway-class starship is seen for the first (and only) time in this film; the CGI "model" of the ship was subsequently lost due to a computer glitch, and so the class never appeared again in any other Trek show or film.
All the scenes filmed inside the silo and of the Phoenix were taken at the Titan Missile Museum, located in Green Valley, 20 miles South of Tucson, Arizona. This site is the only Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) silo complex in the world that is open to the public. The 110 foot tall Titan II rocket has been "de-militarized" (no fuel or nuclear payload) and, per the SALT treaty and SMART (Strategic Missile Arms Reduction Treaty), one of the two silo doors must remain blocked open for Russian satellite verification.
In the early drafts, Picard was supposed to be the one helping Zefram Cochrane on Earth, with Riker fighting the Borg on the Enterprise. The main story was also focused on the happenings on Earth. After Patrick Stewart objected to that, the characters of Riker and Picard were swapped. This also resulted in making Picard more of an action hero and the story more focusing on happenings on the Enterprise.
When Dr. Crusher says "In the 21st century, the Borg are still in the Delta Quadrant", it was intended as a teaser for upcoming episodes of Star Trek: Voyager (1995), in which the Borg were featured prominently.
Alice Krige suffered much discomfort throughout the film. Her costume was too tight, causing blisters, and the silver contacts she had to wear were so painful they could only be kept in for four minutes at a time.
Whenever a scene features the Borg, the music score includes an instrument called the Blaster Beam, the instrument used in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) whenever V'ger is shown. Both films were scored by Jerry Goldsmith.
The character Zefram Cochrane was first seen in Star Trek: Metamorphosis (1967) played by Glenn Corbett. There are differences between the original Cochrane and this character, most notably Kirk's identification of "Zefram Cochrane of Alpha Centauri?" but they are both noted space flight pioneers. This Zefram Cochrane role was actually written for James Cromwell. Tom Hanks was also considered for the role, but was unavailable as he was filming That Thing You Do! (1996). Glenn Corbett could not reprise the role, as he died from lung cancer in 1993.
ILM animators created several new classes of Federation ships for the huge CGI animation sequence against the Borg. Classes include the Akira, Sabre, Steamrunner and others. In addition, the ILM animators had a little bit of fun with this by placing a shot of the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars in the battle, which can be seen in several DVD versions of the film. The scene showing it can easily be seen by going to the Star Trek fan site, Daystrom Institute Technical Library (ditl.org), and look at the 6th/last image for the Akira class Federation Ship. There, just under the Akira's port nacelle, you can see the Millennium Falcon just after she made a strafing run on the Borg Cube.
Earlier drafts of the script called for the USS Defiant to be destroyed in the battle with the Borg, but screenwriter Ronald D. Moore objected to the needless destruction of the ship from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993) in a story that didn't even involve the DS9 characters (apart from Lt. Commander Worf). It would also prove to be inconvenient for the television series, so the Defiant was eventually allowed to survive the battle.
The display cases in the Enterprise's briefing room contain gold models of all six Federation starships to bear the name Enterprise, prior to the introduction of Star Trek: Enterprise's NX-01, which debuted 5 years after the release of this film.
When Picard climbs to the bridge with Lily after getting away from the Borg, he says: "Reports of my assimilation are greatly exaggerated". This is a paraphrase of the famous quote by Mark Twain in response to a premature obituary about him: "Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated". At least, that is how his quote is most often phrased, even though a more correct quote is: "The report of my death was an exaggeration".
The Borg makeup and suits had to be constantly touched up. Several of the Borg actors lost a considerable amount of weight while in costume due to the heat of the sets and temperature in Los Angeles during the shooting.
Whoopi Goldberg was not asked to return as Guinan, a character with a long standing enmity with the Borg as shown in previous Trek projects. She only learned about the decision through the newspapers. She said, "What can I say? I wanted to do it because I didn't think you could do anything about the Borg without my character, but apparently you can, so they don't need me."
Captain Picard is likened to "Moby Dick" character Captain Ahab for his obsession with destroying the Borg, as Ahab was obsessed with killing the white whale. Patrick Stewart, who portrays Picard, later portrayed Ahab in Moby Dick (1998). Thus, Patrick Stewart became the first actor to have quoted "Moby Dick" as the Captain of a vessel in more than one series.
The titles "Star Trek: Borg" and "Star Trek: Resurrection" were considered. The Resurrection title was almost a lock until the studio realized Fox had earlier registered the name for their upcoming movie Alien: Resurrection (1997). First Contact is also the title of Star Trek: The Next Generation: First Contact (1991).
Once the creative team decided they were going to make a time travel movie, two of the time periods they considered having the Enterprise and her crew visit included the American Civil War and Medieval Europe (which gives the alternate title "Renaissance" more meaning, and would have included a castle that would have been partially assimilated by the Borg).
The stardate given for this movie is 50893.5, which roughly translates to November 22, 2373 in the current calendar format. (See Trivia Section for Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) on how this was calculated.) Coincidentally, this movie was released in theaters November 22, 1996.
Up until 2009, this movie held the record for the highest worldwide gross of all the Star Trek movies made to-date (over $150,000,000), as well as for highest first-weekend gross (over $30,000,000). This movie also had the second highest US gross of all the Star Trek movies (over $92,000,000), just behind that of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986). All of these figures were broken of course by Star Trek (2009).
In an earlier draft of the script, the character of Lily Sloane was originally named Ruby. In the theatrical version, Ruby is now a holographic character in "The Big Goodbye" holonovel. Additionally, the Enterprise-E was initially depicted as being a Nova-class starship instead of a Sovereign-class starship. The Nova-class ship was later introduced in the Star Trek: Voyager (1995) two-parter "Equinox" as the USS Equinox.
The "first contact" in this movie takes place at a "missile silo in Montana". Montana's missile base is Malmstrom AFB in Great Falls, Montana, site of many of the more famous "UFO" sightings over the past few decades.
The original 1993 edition of "The Official Star Trek Chronology" had hypothesized that the year of Zefram Cochrane's warp flight was 2061. This movie shows it as taking place in 2063. A revised updated version of the Chronology correcting this information was released shortly after the movie.
Certain USS Enterprise bridge set pieces from previous Star Trek movies were built into parts of the Enterprise-E bridge. These pieces include the turbolift foyers, which are the only surviving parts of the set from the first Star Trek movie, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), and the aft master display station, which was a piece of the Enterprise-A bridge set originally built for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989).
The opera that Picard is listening to is Hector Berlioz' "Les Troyens". The song is "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.
In this film, the Emergency Medical Hologram says "I'm a doctor, not a doorstop". This is a nod to Dr. McCoy from Star Trek (1966) the original series. Whenever McCoy was given a non-medical task, he would say "I'm a doctor, not a... (bricklayer, moon shuttle conductor, escalator, etc.)"
At the beginning of the movie, when Picard and crew are listening to the com traffic as Starfleet engages the Borg, the Defiant and Bozeman are ordered to fall back, the voice that acknowledges the order sounds like Kelsey Grammer, who played the Captain Morgan Bateson of the Bozeman in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cause and Effect (1992).
Due to budgetary restrictions, the crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) was never quite satisfied with the Borg sets and costumes as used during the series. However, the significantly bigger budget for First Contact finally allowed them to design the Borg in a way that was much closer to what they had intended. As a result, the suits and sets were re-used extensively in Star Trek: Voyager (1995)
Although the film was followed up by Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), that movie was a stand-alone installment in the film series. A more direct 'sequel' story-wise was made with the Star Trek: Enterprise (2001) episode Star Trek: Enterprise: Regeneration (2003), where scientists discover the remains of the destroyed Borg ship on Earth and inadvertently revive several Borg, almost 100 years after the events of Star Trek: First Contact.
Is the first Star Trek film in which none of the original Star Trek (1966) principal cast members appear (although Majel Barrett, who provides the voice of the Enterprise computer, was a regular as Nurse Chapel).
In an early draft of the screenplay, the character Lt. Hawk (Neal McDonough) was gay, and therefore was to have been the first openly gay character in any Star Trek series or movie; however, any reference to his sexual orientation was excised from later drafts of the screenplay. Lt. Hawk was later confirmed as having been gay in the Star Trek tie-in novel "Section 31: Rogue" by Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin.
Despite the fact that the Borg's hive mind "speaks" English with a clear American accent, they are nonetheless heard speaking their signature line - "Resistance is futile" - with "futile" pronounced in the manner of British English ("FEW-tull" in the former, "FEW-tile" in the latter). This, of course, is the accent employed by Picard, who first introduced the "FEW-tile" pronunciation when he was captured by the Borg during Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Best of Both Worlds: Part 1 (1990). It has never been explained why the Borg changed their pronunciation of that solitary word for the film. Logically they could have "assimilated" the revised pronunciation after first capturing Picard - perhaps after concluding that it was a "more perfect" phrasing - though this explanation offers no rationale for why "futile" is the only word not uttered by the Borg mind in American English. The likely explanation is simply that Picard's Borg assimilation was one of the most widely acclaimed plot threads of the entire Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) run - and possibly the reason "First Contact" was the most commercially successful Trek film featuring TNG's cast - so the producers elected to have the Borg use Patrick Stewart's own British phrasing. (Nonetheless, the non-Borg characters who use the word in the film pronounce it in American English, as it would defy logic for humanoid characters to switch to the Queen's English for a solitary word.)
The Enterprise-E Observation Lounge is a revamped version of the same Observation Lounge set used on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). It was one of the few TNG sets that was not "destroyed" when filming the Enterprise-D crash scenes in the previous film Star Trek: Generations (1994).
Playmates Toy Company produced a tie-in model of the new Sovereign-class starship USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E which was first seen in Star Trek: First Contact. But the film's producers at Paramount made changes to the ship's design after Playmates had already begun production, so the toy version retains the ship's earlier engine designs and placement not seen in the film (although they were corrected for Playmates' later Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) tie-in).
The film was released on November 22, 1996, the anniversary of the date that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the characters land on Earth on April 4, 2063, the anniversary of the date that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.
A scene filmed that did not make the final cut featured Deanna Troi attempting to communicate with the abrasive Zefram Cochrane. Fed up of his attitude she pushes him off an embankment, fully aware that he will land on a force field which breaks his fall.
The teaser trailer, included on the DVD, uses score from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) and various shots from other Star Trek movies. It also shows a different take of the shot when Picard says, "The line must be drawn here", than the one used in the movie.
Toward the beginning of the film, when Lily Sloane pointed to the sky and asked Zefram Cochrane about the newly arrived Borg ship, Zefram replied that it was the constellation Leo. Leo is in fact visible from northern Montana during evenings in April, which was when and where the story takes place.
The name "Phoenix" has been used on several US navy vessels, but possibly the most famous was the Brooklyn light cruiser class one launched in 1938. It survived the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, only to be sold in 1951 to Argentina and renamed "General Belgrano". It was sunk by the Royal Navy submarine HMS Conqueror during the 1982 Falklands War, becoming the only ship ever to be sunk by a nuclear powered submarine.
MicroProse planned to release a video game adaptation of the film in 1998. However, the game was cancelled due to the company's financial difficulties. Shortly afterwards, Activision gained the rights to produce video games based on the "Star Trek" franchise. MicroProse went out of business in 2001.
18 years later, Patrick Stewart would star in another science fiction movie about robots, a post-apocalyptic future and time travel: 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past". In that film, Professor Xavier (Stewart) sends Wolverwine back through time to 1973 to prevent the creation of Sentinal robots that take over the world in 2023 and wipes out and enslave humans and mutants.
who appeared as Crewman Darnell in Star Trek: The Man Trap (1966), makes an uncredited cameo as the barkeep. Claims that Darnell was the first actor/character/crewman to be killed in Star Trek (1966), are not really valid because the series episodes were not broadcast in the order they were made, and the original pilot - Star Trek: The Cage (1986) - is ignored completely in such arguments. In the original pilot "The Cage", the actor Mike Dugan as the Rigel VII Warrior (uncredited) was the first actor/character killed, by falling onto the broken spear point that Captain Pike was holding up as the Warrior fell. In terms of the series episodes that were aired, the first crewman killed was in Star Trek: Where No Man Has Gone Before (1966), the second pilot for the whole series which led to the show being actually approved and broadcast even if it wasn't the first episode aired. Paul Carr as Lt. Lee Kelso, was telekinetically strangled in the control room of the lithium cracking station on Delta Vega by Gary Lockwood as Lt. Commander Gary Mitchell, from the security cell where Mitchell was being held.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
When the Vulcans land on Earth and make first contact, Cochrane is unable to return the Vulcan salute. This is a reference to a very old joke about Star Trek (1966). Many fans and quite a few actors through the Star Trek franchise cannot separate their fingers the right way. The most notable actor who cannot do it is William Shatner who played Captain Kirk in the original series and the first seven movies.
When Picard smashes the display case containing the various Enterprise models, the screenplay called for the model of the Enterprise-D (NCC-1701-D, Picard's ship from the television series that was destroyed in the previous film Star Trek: Generations (1994)) to fall and break. In the film, we see the Enterprise-D model start to slide off its mount but then the camera cuts to Picard's face and we only hear the sound of the impact. Subsequent shots show the saucer section of the Enterprise-D model still hanging from its mount, and the warp-drive section on the bottom of the case along with broken pieces of the Enterprise-C (NCC-1701-C) model. Apparently the Enterprise-D model did not fall and break as planned, but the scene could not be re-shot without replacing the glass and the broken models, so the footage was edited to imply that the Enterprise-D fell and broke. Lily's line to Picard as she picks up one of the model pieces was changed from "You broke your ship" to "You broke your little ships."
As Zefram Cochrane's ship is taking off, a close-up of a button panel shows two adjacent buttons labeled TOS 3 and TOS 8. Zefram Cochrane's character was first introduced in Star Trek: Metamorphosis (1967) which was the 38th episode of Star Trek (1966): The Original Series (TOS).
Although his name is never given in the film, according to Star Trek canon, the Vulcan who salutes Zefram Cochrane is named Solkar. As mentioned in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Solkar is the grandfather of Sarek and subsequently the great-grandfather of Spock from Star Trek (1966).
The writers of the Star Trek series Star Trek: Enterprise (2001) (which debuted 5 years after First Contact) planned to address the backstory of the Borg Queen in its fifth season. However, the series got canceled before this could be realized.