Captain Picard and the crew use the Captain's yacht to travel to the surface of the Ba'ku homeworld. This is the only instance in either Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) or the movies in which such a vessel is ever used, although at one point during Star Trek: The Next Generation: Samaritan Snare (1989), this was briefly suggested that the Captain's yacht for the Enterprise-D be used to transport Captain Picard to Starbase 515 for immediate heart surgery. On that occasion, the producers decided to use a traditional shuttlecraft instead, to cut cost.
Sir Patrick Stewart wanted his life-long friend Brian Blessed to play Admiral Dougherty. Blessed did over eight hundred hours of astronaut training at Star City in Russia, and remains the number one civilian on the wait list for the International Space Station.
Following the confirmation what the climax would be for the sixth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993), Michael Piller added a couple of lines to this film acknowledging the tragic climax, and the impact this had on Worf. Rick Berman eventually overruled this, arguing that this film would confuse film audience members who did not follow the series regularly.
On the VHS commentary (which appears at the end of the VHS copy of this movie), Jonathan Frakes says that for the scene where Ru'afo (F. Murray Abraham) has his skin folded over his head, Producer Rick Berman, and several of the make-up artists, had visited a plastic surgery clinic, and watched surgeries being performed to get ideas for that particular scene.
According to a leaked manuscript, "Fade In: The Writing of Star Trek: Insurrection" (written by Michael Piller years before his death, and never released because of studio concerns about the content of said manuscript), initial concepts for the film were far removed from the final product. The first script treatment (called "Star Trek: Stardust") involved Picard and a fellow cadet named Hugh Duffy (who were friends at Starfleet Academy) meeting up after almost three decades because of different circumstances. Duffy has become a renegade who has tried to provoke a war between the Federation and the Romulan Empire, and Picard must travel to the Neutral Zone to bring him back. Picard eventually finds Duffy and risks his career to help the other officer thwart a plan by the Romulans to take over a planet housing "the fountain of youth". At the end, Picard gets arrested (and stripped of his rank) by Starfleet due to his actions during this film. The plot was similar to Heart of Darkness, and featured numerous references to various episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987).
In one scene, Picard and Worf perform an operatic selection from Gilbert and Sullivan. When asked about the scene during an interview to promote the film, Sir Patrick Stewart admitted that he was actually more a fan of Beavis and Butt-Head (1993) and not really one of Sir W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan.
Many of the shots used in the teaser trailer, such as when the crew are grabbing the phaser rifles, and when the Enterprise-E is making a turn to engage, and when other ships are lining up to fight, the Enterprise is firing quantum torpedoes, are shots used for Star Trek: First Contact (1996). There is also a shot of the Enterprise-D from Star Trek: Generations (1994) during this trailer, from the scene in that movie when it is being attacked.
Titles considered for this ninth entry in the Star Trek franchise included "Millennium" (presumably because it was the final film of the second millennium), "Nemesis" (later co-opted for the next film in the series), "Pathfinder", "Past and Future", "Transcendance", "Rebellion", "Stardust" and just plain old "IX".
In the scene where Picard and the Admiral are in Picard's ready room, there is a cloth on the back of Picard's chair. This is the cloth given to him by the Mintakans in the episode "Who Watches the Watchers" (S3E4). An episode where Starfleet use a duck blind for anthropological purposes.
This is the first time in over ten years, since Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) (The Neutral Zone (#1.26)), that Commander Riker is without his beard. It is the first time that he is seen both with and without the beard, and the last time that he is seen beardless. Jonathan Frakes wanted to do the shaven Riker as a result of female letter requests to that effect.
Anthony Zerbe originally auditioned for the role of Ru'afo, and was considered to be the best choice for this. However, the production team decided instead to cast him in the role of Vice Admiral Dougherty. During Zerbe's audition, instead of reading the lines provided, he recited "Dante's Inferno" before seamlessly moving into the script. Jonathan Frakes and the producers unanimously decided to award him the role of Dougherty.
Joseph Ruskin has played the roles of Galt in TOS: "The Gamesters of Triskelion", Tumek in DS9: "The House of Quark" and DS9: "Looking for Par'Mach in all the Wrong Places", a Cardassian informant in DS9: "Improbable Cause", a Son'a officer in this film, a Vulcan Master in VOY: "Gravity", and a Suliban doctor in ENT: "Broken Bow".
Joseph Ruskin (Son'a officer) appeared on every Star Trek series except Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) (although he did appear in Star Trek: Insurrection). With the exception of Majel Barrett, who has appeared on every Star Trek series, he was the only actor to appear on all four of the series in question. Furthermore, given that Barrett only provided the computer voice on Star Trek: Voyager (1995) and Star Trek: Enterprise (2001), Ruskin was the only actor to appear on screen in all four series mentioned above. Along with Barrett, Clint Howard, Jack Donner and Vince Deadrick, he was one of only five actors to appear on both the original Star Trek (1966) series and "Star Trek: Enterprise". He, Barrett and Howard also appeared on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993). Jonathan Frakes also appears on four series (all except the original series). Ruskin also worked on two Star Trek video games, lending his voice to Master Si'tann in "Star Trek: Hidden Evil" (1999) and to Admiral Nolotai and Vulcan Master N'Kal in "Star Trek: Away Team" (2001).
Seven Samurai (1954) is speculated to be an influence behind the film: When Captain Picard learns of the Son'a and the Federation's plot to take the peaceful Ba'ku's planet for themselves and relocate the Ba'Ku to another planet. Captain Picard and the Enterprise crew set out to defend the Ba'ku whom are defenseless and stop the Federation and the Son'a from taking their planet.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
When Data is malfunctioning, Picard gets him to recite Sir W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan's "H.M.S. Pinafore". In the Isaac Asimov story "Runaround", a malfunctioning robot recites Gilbert and Sullivan while evading capture by his human masters. Much of Data's character is taken from Asimov's writings (such as Data's "Positronic Net", adapted from Asimov's "Positronic" brains).
Picard was originally going to kill Data in this film, a decision fully supported by Brent Spiner, who felt he was getting too old to play the character. This was vetoed by Patrick Stewart. Spiner's script came with a note reading "Better luck next time". See the next film Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).
In the original ending to this film, Ad'har Ru'afo was to escape in a craft that fell into the rings that surrounded the planet, where he would get younger and younger. After this was changed, Jonathan Frakes sent F. Murray Abraham a tape of the original ending, to see how this had turned out anyway.
In a scene of this film, Worf wakes up from a nightmare, when Picard calls him on the intercom. In the backstory, Worf had a nightmare about a tragedy he suffered on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993), which took place before this film. Worf's Trill wife Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax was murdered by Gul Dukat.
The Enterprise-E crew quarters, transporter room, and sickbay were redressed forms of the sets used on Star Trek: Voyager (1995). The quarters had originally been built for Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), and portions of sickbay date back to Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). In addition, the bay where Picard and the Baku are held by the Son'a, is a redress of Voyager's cargo bay, and the shuttlecraft used by Picard and Worf is a redress of the Runabout set from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993). Data's shuttle interior in this film is a redress of the Voyager shuttlecraft interior. The scene where the Admiral confronts the Son'a captain uses the same set as the museum scene from the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Living Witness". The only differences are the colors, railings, and the furniture.
This film bears a plot similarity to the episode Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Battle Lines (1993). In that episode, Commander Sisko, Major Kira and Dr. Bashir discover that the Ennis and the Nol-Ennis are being regenerated by an alien nanotechnology in the environment of the moon which is their penal colony. In this film, The Enterprise crew discover that on the Ba'ku homeworld, the Ba'ku can regenerate due to the planet's regenerative radiation.