Observations in TNG: "First Contact"

A joint project with TrekCore, by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider

Here are some observations about sets, props and visual effects in TNG: "First Contact" without a specific theme, and a comparison of the original TV release (TNG) with the remastered episode (TNG-R).

"First Contact" HD Screencaps @ TrekCore

Description TNG Other caps Comparison TNG to TNG-R Description TNG-R
The Malcorian gurney/biobed only appears in this episode. The control interface is remarkably low-tech in contrast to TNG's biobeds. A better look at the consoles in HD.
A Malcorian medical display showing Riker's lifesigns. The Malcorian screens were not redone for TNG-R. They remain pixelated and accordingly low-tech.

This large medical console only appears briefly in the first scene of the episode. The same console was seen two years earlier on the bridge of Captain Okona's ship, the Erstwhile, in "The Outrageous Okona".

Also, one of two types of Malcorian PADDs created for this episode, featuring Malcorian text written on paper, can nicely be seen in this screenshot.

"The Outrageous Okona"
A better look at the console in HD.

A Malcorian hand holding a medical device used to detect the heartbeat can be seen up close in this screenshot.
In Alien Hands

The medical device is later seen in Federation use in "Ethics", "Realm of Fear" (as a cardiostimulator) and VOY: "Alliances" (as a cortical stimulator).


VOY: "Alliances"
An HD close-up of the hand and the device.

"Realm of Fear"
The full extent of the medical suite in the Sikla Medical Facility can be seen in this screenshot. The ceiling of the room was originally created for the large medical lab first seen in "Transfigurations".
The set in HD.
Another look at the Malcorian medical scanner. A better look at the prop and at Jonathan Frakes's make-up in HD.
In addition to the re-use of the Angel One matte painting, seen later in the episode, a new matte painting of Malcor III was created for this episode. As can be seen, the buildings in this new matte painting are very similar to the ones seen on the Angel One painting.
Re-Uses of the Angel One Matte Painting
The matte painting remains unchanged in TNG-R.
A star map of the Malcorian star system is on display in Chancellor Durken's office. The scene in HD.

Mirasta Yale's science lab is interesting for several reasons. The consoles in the foreground display schematics of the Malcorian warp ship, seen as a model a few seconds later. In the background, Mirasta is seen working on a console seen in countless Star Trek episodes. It made its debut in Dr. Soong's lab in "Datalore".

The large cylindrical console seen on the right makes its first appearance in this episode. It will be seen in many later episodes. It appears in the Pathfinder lab in many Voyager episodes, for example.

Mirasta Yale's lab in HD close-ups.

VOY: "Inside Man"

The model of the Malcorian warp ship can be seen behind Mirasta Yale. The same model appeared two years later, in Picard's cadet quarters on Starbase Earhart in "Tapestry".
Alpha and Beta Quadrant Ships L-R

Mike Okuda: "My recollection is that I designed the Malcorian ship desktop model, but it is possible that it may have been Rick, who designed most of the ships and props... I think Ed Miarecki built it for us. Don't know what happened to it... I know I did the animated computer readouts in the lab. A big silkscreened diagram of the ship also appears on a clear acrylic display in the lab. Yes, it was specifically done for this episode, although the model did later appear as set dressing in another episode."

Rick Sternbach: "I think I did a few doodles or 3D computer model roughs of this one, based amazingly vaguely on a mashup of a Bussard ramjet and an Enzmann giant deuterium fuel tank starship. I do believe Mike added the warp nacelles and offset them from the center framework, which may have hinted at the possibility that warp physics was similarly discovered and refined by separate cultures."

A better look at the set in HD.


The glass console seen at the right of the screenshot was originally created for "Booby Trap", where it appeared in drawing room 5 at the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards. It can be seen that it clearly rests on dolly trolleys.

"Booby Trap"

The model and schematics of the Malcorian warp ship can be seen up close on these four stills.

Mirasta's science lab is a re-use of the USS Enterprise-D's battle bridge, last seen as the replicator center in "Data's Day". In the next episode, the set will appear as drafting room 5, just like it did when the room last appeared in "Booby Trap".

"Galaxy's Child"

"The Best of Both Worlds II"
The USS Enterprise-D in orbit of Malcor III. The planet was often seen on TNG. It previously appeared as Surata IV in "Shades of Gray", Risa in "Captain's Holiday" and Angosia III in "The Hunted", for example.
Re-Used Planets in TNG
In the remastered episode, Malcor III is most likely the same as Angosia in TNG-R: "The Hunted". And like in TNG-R: "Captain's Holiday", the continent looks like a flipped version of Australia.
The unnamed Bolian officer in Ten Forward is the first Bolian Starfleet officer seen aboard the USS Enterprise-D.
Races with Changing Faces - Major Races
HD close-ups of the Bolian.
Malcor III as seen through the Ten Forward windows. This shot too shows the new planet.
The second type of Malcorian PADD/clipboard created for this episode can be seen here. An HD close-up of the PADD.
Malcorians are one of the few species on Star Trek that are seen using paper. The inhabitants of Angel One, seen in the eponymous episode, also use paper.
"Angel One"
A better look at Durken's office in HD.
Another shot of the USS Enterprise-D in orbit of Malcor III. More of the new planet.
Malcor III as seen on the main viewscreen of the USS Enterprise-D. This exact shot (with different images displayed on the main viewscreen) was re-used in several later episodes, including "Redemption II", "Unification I" and "Sub Rosa".
Picard is sharing the bottle of Château Picard, given to him by his brother in "Family", with Chancellor Durken in this scene. We can't read the label in HD either, but it is the same as in "Family".
Tables, similar to the one seen here, are also seen in the lobby on Arkaria in "Starship Mine".
"Starship Mine"
No changes
Here, the unmodified Angel One matte painting is used. TNG-R still shows the same version of the matte painting.
The inside of a Malcorian hand (complete with suction cups) can be nicely seen in this shot. The Malcorian hand in HD.
The Malcorians seem to use the same medical trolleys seen in sickbay aboard the USS Enterprise-D since season 2. In real life, this is the design classic Boby Taboret.
"Who Watches the Watchers"
The cart in HD.
A close-up of the new matte painting of Malcor III, showing the building in which Chancellor Durken's office is located. We can see the same matte painting as in the original episode in this shot too.
The unnamed female Malcorian representative seen in this shot wears the costume originally worn by Tayna in "A Matter of Perspective".
"A Matter of Perspective"
The costume in HD.
The Malcorian piece of art, looking slightly like a clock, will also be seen in Spock's quarters aboard the USS Enterprise-A in "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country".
"Star Trek VI"
The "clock" in HD.
Narrow wall consoles like this one appear for the first time in this episode. Consoles like this will appear in many later episodes, including "Unification I", "True Q" and "Frame of Mind".
"Unification I"

"Frame of Mind"
No changes

"True Q"
An interesting look at a forming phaser beam. The reconstructed effect in the remastered episode. We can see that the framing is slightly off on the top and bottom of the second TNG-R capture.
Like in "Devil's Due", Livingston is still "played" by a radial firefish. In later episodes, Livingston changes species and is a red lionfish.
Spot the Difference

"Devil's Due"

An HD close-up of Livingston.
The USS Enterprise-D leaves orbit of Malcor III. A final look at the new planet in HD.


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