Star Trek (1966–1969)
50 user 7 critic

The Cage 

Capt. Pike is held prisoner and tested by aliens who have the power to project incredibly lifelike illusions.


Robert Butler


Gene Roddenberry (created by), Gene Roddenberry

On Disc

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Episode complete credited cast:
Jeffrey Hunter ... Captain Christopher Pike
Susan Oliver ... Vina
Leonard Nimoy ... Mr. Spock
Majel Barrett ... Number One (as M. Leigh Hudec)
John Hoyt ... Dr. Phillip Boyce
Peter Duryea ... Lt. José Tyler
Laurel Goodwin Laurel Goodwin ... Yeoman J.M. Colt


This is the pilot to the series that would star William Shatner. Only in this version there is different Captain, Christopher Pike, and with the exception of Mr. Spock, an entirely different crew. Now it begins when the Enterprise receives what appears to be a distress message. But when they get to the planet where the message was sent from, they discover that the supposed survivors were nothing more than illusions created by the inhabitants of the planet, for the purpose of capturing a mate for the one genuine surviving human, and Captain Pike is the lucky winner. While Captain Pike tries to cope with the experiments and tests that the aliens are conducting on him, his crew tries to find a way to rescue him. But the aliens' illusions are too powerful and deceptive (at first). Written by <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

27 November 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Cage See more »


Box Office


$630,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Desilu Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

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Did You Know?


In his introduction for the 1986 VHS release, (which can now be seen on the DVD version in the third season set), Gene Roddenberry noted that he refused to cast his crew what the network dubbed "sensibly," which according to Roddenberry meant "all white." This was indirectly contested by Herbert F. Solow in the book Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, in which he states that Mort Werner deliberately encouraged NBC to show racial diversity and integration in its programs. See more »


The Talosians wanted to attract a mate for Vina "to perpetuate the species", but this would be impossible with only two people. A minimum of about 200 would be needed in order to have a sufficiently diverse gene pool. See more »


Captain Christopher Pike: Why would an illusion be frightened?
Vina: Because that's the way you imagined me.
See more »

Alternate Versions

All prints of the original version of "The Cage" were destroyed by Paramount sometime in the sixties...or so it was thought. For over two decades, the only surviving copy had been a 16mm black and white proof print personally owned by Gene Roddenberry. Mr. Roddenberry took this proof print with him on the college lecture circuit throughout the 70's and early 80's. As a result of many showings in dilapidated 16mm projectors, it has become badly scratched and damaged. One of the versions available on video is a re-created hybrid of the original, using the B&W proof print as a reference, reconstructed from footage used in the episode "The Menagerie" (transferred from the original color camera negatives) and the deleted footage (as originated from the B&W proof print)...this version was originally released on video in the 1980s (and most recently on DVD) with a special introduction by Gene Roddenberry. Then, a few years later, in 1988, a full-color original print of the episode was discovered in the Paramount archives and then released as a filler episode during the original syndication run of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" due to a Hollywood strike (it was later shown during the Sci-Fi Channel's first run of the original "Star Trek" series). The original soundtrack to the discovered print was missing, but the re-mixed soundtrack used for the previous hybrid B&W/color version (in which the "Menagerie" soundtrack was used wherever possible to avoid using the severely scratched and degraded optical soundtrack from the proof print) was re-synched to this restored full-color version to make it look and sound whole. In any event, the most significant difference in the existing versions of the pilot is the voice of the Keeper. In the numberous restored versions, it switches between that of actor Vic Perrin in the footage taken from "The Menagerie" and that of Malachi Throne in the restored footage. This is because, coincidentally, Malachi Throne was cast as Commodore Mendez in "The Menagerie". The producers, quite rightly, thought that it would be confusing for Commodore Mendez and The Keeper to have the same voice, so The Keeper's lines were re-dubbed. (All Thelosian characters were played by women with dubbed male voices.) Among the other addtional scenes/differences in the original version-- -Pike discovers a monster lurking in the Talosians' chambers during the Captain's imprisonment; an extended version of Pike's first illusion, set on the planet Rigel VII (referred to earlier in the film by the ship's doctor) -Spock and crew suspect that their weapons are an illusion by the Talosians -extended dialogue by the Keeper about "Number One" -an extended illusion scene set in the countryside -an extended version of the Orion Slave Girl sequence -the Enterprise loses power as they are about to escape from Talos, and the computer bank goes out of control (both a result of the Talosians' telepathic powers) -and an extended closing scene aboard the bridge. See more »


Featured in Trek Nation (2011) See more »


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User Reviews

The first and one of the best
5 December 2006 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This is a great pilot episode and it's a real shame that it wasn't seen in its entirety until the 1980s. Instead, the smart folks at Paramount didn't want to let this first incarnation of the show stay on the shelf gathering dust, so they chopped it to pieces and made it the two parter, THE MENAGERIE. As a kid, I loved THE MENAGERIE for all of it's kitschy-ness. Seeing Jeffrey Hunter and the rest of the mostly unfamiliar crew (except for Spock with his larger than normal ears compared to later shows and Majel Barret in a role other than Nurse Chapel). However, even as a kid, despite liking THE MENAGERIE, the episode just didn't make much sense. BUT, in its pilot form, it was great--very entertaining and very original. I really liked Hunter and the rest of the gang and wish that perhaps they really had picked up the show as it was originally intended. The only serious negatives of the pilot was how Spock yelled all his lines (who told him to do this?) and how dull the uniforms looked without the red we have come to love and expect. Still, for Trekkers, Trekkies and the casual watcher, this is an exciting and almost movie-like pilot episode that is more exciting, in my opinion, than most later Star Trek shows.

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