Star Trek: The Next Generation 20th Anniversary

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Star Trek: The Next Generation

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TNG20: It Was Twenty Years Ago Today

September will mark the twentieth anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at key events in the production of the series, revealed as they actually occured twenty years ago. It all points out that while we celebrate anniversaries, the creative work and evolution behind such a massive project did not happen overnight.

TNG 20th Anniversary Logo with BST banner
TNG 20th Anniversary

Gene Roddenberry
Gene Roddenberry

Dorothy (D.C.) Fontana
Dorothy (D.C.) Fontana

ST:TNG Season 1 Writer's Guide
ST:TNG Season 1 Writer's Guide

Robert Justman
Robert Justman

June 25, 1987
Filming wraps on time under director Corey Allen after a 20-day shoot for the TNG premiere, "Encounter at Farpoint." The last scenes filmed are various bluescreen shots in the Main Bridge set.

June 19, 1987
The extra character scenes written to pad out "Encounter at Farpoint" because of director Corey Allen's fast pacing are filmed: Dr. Crusher's talk with Geordi in Sickbay about his VISOR and Picard's more cordial re-introduction with her a moment later — story moments suggested by new co-supervising producer "Richard K. Berman," as his pilot credit reads.

June 15, 1987
Filming begins on the first of four days in the "Q Courtroom" for the TNG pilot. The set, which was built from the redressed bones of the Bandi mall that opened the shoot, would be recreated almost seven years later for the TNG finale, "All Good Things." Even so, after all that time a few non-stock set pieces were not exact matches — such as the eagle posts on Q's chair — since the originals could not be located.

June 12, 1987
Along with scenes of Groppler Zorn suspended in midair by the angry alien he has commandeered, other scenes are shot in the living alien "ship corridor" where living tendrils reach out from the wall and grab Troi and Riker. The live effect does not film well and looks hokey, leading that footage to become the new series' first deleted scene.

June 10, 1987
Because of director Corey Allen's fast pacing, Bob Justman writes Gene Roddenberry and Rick Berman about the need for some added "pickup" scenes to pad out the needed two-hour airtime for "Encounter at Farpoint," the TNG pilot. He also writes Allen with specific notes on how to get more out of what is yet to be filmed: the "Q courtroom" scenes and Main Bridge.

June 8, 1987
Scenes on the Main Bridge of the Enterprise-D set are filmed for the first time — but for the first year the stage is located on Stage 6. It will be another year until The Colbys series is cancelled, freeing up Paramount's adjoining Stage 8 and allowing the Bridge set to move there, standing alongside all the other ship sets on Stage 9.

June 5, 1987
The Next Generation films for the first time in Main Engineering and the Conference Lounge set. In Season 1, the lounge is merely a redress of Sickbay with the large window inserts in each of the biobed alcoves. This make-do arrangement on Stage 9 lasts until Season 2 when it can be built independently, the Bridge set moved from Stage 6, and Ten-Forward and senior officers' quarters built on Stage 8 when it becomes vacant after The Colbys is cancelled and its sets cleared out.

June 2, 1987
DeForest Kelley films his scene as the aged Admiral McCoy with Data in TNG's pilot. To preserve secrecy, the role is listed simply in the script and call sheets as "Admiral" — a trick which largely works and leads to the scene as a pleasant surprise to fans on premier night. Kelley, all but retired by now, does the scene as a favor to Roddenberry and insists on only being paid the basic Screen Actor's Guild pay scale. McCoy's age of 137 is the first step in fixing the date of The Next Generation relative to the original series and movies.

June 1, 1987
The first on-set filming for TNG takes place on Stage 16 in the "Farpoint mall" and foyer sets. This set would later be converted to Q's courtroom in the latter stage of the shoot. Afterward, the first PR photos and video are shot with the producers and cast — with Worf's omission indicating that Michael Dorn's role is still not contracted as a regular. Aside from cast-only shots, they also gather with supervising producers Rick Berman and Bob Justman and creator/exec producer Gene Roddenberry on the caves set of Stage 16, soon to be dubbed "Planet Hell" for its many alien environs and late-night filming hours with stunts and explosions.

Page 2: May 1987
Page 3: March-April 1987

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All Good Things... Part I


Code of Honor

Devil's Due


Encounter at Farpoint, Part I

The Outrageous Okona

Unnatural Selection

Where No One Has Gone Before

Creative Staff:
Dorothy (D.C.) Fontana

Gene Roddenberry

Michael Westmore

Robert Justman

DeForest Kelley

Denise Crosby

Gates McFadden

John de Lancie

Marina Sirtis

Patrick Stewart


Beverly Crusher


Deanna Troi

Geordi La Forge

Groppler Zorn

Leonard H. McCoy

Natasha (Tasha) Yar



Wesley Crusher

William Riker

CBS/Paramount Television

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