The Library Computer Scene of "The Cage" in TOS and TOS-R

by Gvsualan, Mike Okuda, J÷rg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider

In the first Star Trek pilot movie, "The Cage", the highly advanced Talosians access the library computer of the USS Enterprise under Captain Pike. They acquire extensive information about the human state of knowledge and about Earth's history. To illustrate the ongoing data transfer, the original episode shows a sequence of images on the main viewer. We can see various diagrams and pictures from space missions, astronomical photos, paintings of events and figures in American history, some maps of Earth and several depictions of human anatomy and of animal and plant life.

This whole sequence has become somewhat outdated by now. Above all, the depictions of satellites and probes naturally do not go beyond the year 1964 when the pilot episode was shot. Therefore, when CBS Digital was working on the remastering of The Original Series (albeit "The Cage" is not a part of TOS as it originally aired), it was the obvious choice to update the library scene to reflect the development after 1964.

While the overall composition (diagrams, maps, photos) has remained about the same, all images in TOS-R are new. Some of them are higher quality versions of essentially the same depictions in TOS and appear in a different order now, some are completely new and only have a similar theme as in the original sequence. Although all images that appear on screen are still static in TOS-R, they appear to be moving through the use of zooming and smooth transitions.

New sequence in TOS-R: "The Cage"

The NASA-related images of the old sequence can be found in our article about NASA References in Star Trek.

We have compiled a "before&after" gallery of the library computer scene, comparing the original with the changes made for TOS-R shot by shot. Note that while the left and the right column show the images in the correct order, they are not perfectly synchronized, owing to the heavy editing for TOS-R. Mike Okuda, a co-producer of TOS-R, explains some of his decisions to update the sequence.


Shot-by-Shot Comparison

First part

In the original episode this part comprises various depictions of probes and satellites of the 1960s, as well as maps of the planet Earth. It ends with a cut to JosÚ Tyler.

Rocket Unidentified part of a rocket, photo. Wright Flyer First controlled motorized flight, December 17, 1903, photo.
Mariner 2 American space probe, launched to Venus in 1962, illustration with call-outs. Vostok Soviet spacecraft program, 1960-63, model photo.
Schematic depictions of Earth These illustrations are very simplistic. They show the relation between the longitude lines on the globe and the corresponding straight lines in the Mercator projection.
Luna A photo of the Moon was already in the original sequence.
Ranger American series of space probes. The photo depicts a Ranger Block 2/3, timeframe 1962-65. Other images of the Ranger were already in the original sequence.

Mike Okuda: "I included the photo of the Ranger probe specifically as an homage to the original sequence."

Apollo CSM and Lunar Module Schematic side views and cross-sections.
Earth Maps Maps of the North Pole region and the northern Pacific Region, respectively.
Central/east Europe This map may indicate the population density or industrial productivity.
Navigator JosÚ Tyler Navigator of the Enterprise, played by Peter Duryea. Live-action scene. Apollo Moon mission, part 1 Schematic depiction, Earth part.

Second part

We can see astronomical photos, anatomical depictions and finally historical images in this part of the sequence that ends with a wide shot of the bridge crew.

Luna Photo. Apollo Moon mission, part 2 Schematic depiction, Moon part.
Astronomical photos Various photos taken by Earth observatories, showing nebulae or galaxies. The lowermost image depicts the Pleiades, the second from the bottom may be of the Andromeda or a similar galaxy. Saturn V launch Quasi-moving photo sequence.
Man on the Moon This photo shows Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, second man to set his foot on the moon, 1969.
Geological maps Clippings of two different regions, the Middle East and the Far East, probably showing geological formations. Apollo Lunar Module Schematic depiction.
Human rib cage Depiction from an anatomical reference work. Space Shuttle Orbiter Schematic depiction.
Human heart and lungs Depiction from an anatomical reference work. Soyuz Schematic depiction.
Human eye Depiction from an anatomical reference work. International Space Station Schematic depiction.
Human eye Photo. Earth Photos of the planet taken from the Moon ("Earthrise") and from space, respectively.

Mike Okuda: "That's the famous Earthrise photo, taken by the crew of Apollo 8."

Ranger 3 This probe belongs to the Block 2 of the Ranger series. It was launched in 1962 and missed the moon. Edited photo.
Human eye Depiction from an anatomical reference work. Africa Relief map.
George Washington Painting. Earth Political map. It shows the borders around the year 2000 (Soviet Union has split up, South Sudan doesn't yet exist).
Ironclads USS Monitor against CSS Virginia, painting. "Infant Stars in Nearby Galaxy" Photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Mike Okuda: "This is the Hubble Space Telescope image that we also used in the main title for 'The Cage,' as well as in the last shot in 'Turnabout Intruder.'"

Confederate generals Painting of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Andromeda Galaxy Photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.
George Washington Illustration. V838 Monocerotis Photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.
Abraham Lincoln Illustration. Jupiter Close-up photo.
Dwight D. Eisenhower Illustration. Saturn Total view.
Bridge crew Live-action scene. Human muscles Depiction from an anatomical reference work.

Third part

There are predominantly historical depictions, some animal and plant images and finally more depictions of satellites and their missions in this final part.

George Washington Once again. Human heart and lungs Source: Gray's Anatomy. This and the following anatomical images are very similar to the ones in the original sequence.
Abraham Lincoln Once again. Human rib cage Depiction from an anatomical reference work.
Ranger American series of space probes. The picture shows a Ranger Block 2/3, timeframe 1962-65. Human eye Depiction from an anatomical reference work.
Dwight D. Eisenhower Once again. Human eye This is a picture of Denise Okuda's eye, and Mike Okuda is visible in the reflection!
John F. Kennedy Illustration. Moses Painting called "Moses Smashing the Tables of the Law" by Rembrandt.

Mike Okuda: "The Rembrandt of Moses was intended to tie into the theme of humans hating captivity, which is also why I dwelt more on Lincoln than the other American presidents."

Lyndon B. Johnson Illustration. Ironclads A painting of the Battle of Fort Hindman.
Daisy Drawing.
Viola Drawing. Fat Man Atomic bomb, ignited on August 9, 1945, above Nagasaki.
Unidentified plant Drawing. Nuclear explosion Photo of a nuclear test at the Bikini atoll.
Map of Maryland, Virginia, Delaware Map highlighting Washington, D.C. George Washington Painting.
Gnu Drawing. Abraham Lincoln Photo.
Greater kudu Drawing. Emancipation Proclamation First reading of the draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, July 22, 1862. Lincoln's signature is being superimposed over the image.
Rocket tip Illustration.
Explorer S-55 American micrometeoroide satellite, illustration. Dwight D. Eisenhower 34th President of the USA, portrait photo.
Sol system Schematic depiction, showing the inner planets and the asteroid belt. John F. Kennedy 35th President of the USA. Pictured left to right: Lyndon Johnson, JFK, Sam Rayburn. Photo, see

Mike Okuda: "Note that the photo of John F. Kennedy is of him giving the speech on May 25, 1961, in which he said, 'I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.'"

Rocket launch Schematic depiction. Lyndon B. Johnson 36th President of the USA. Hastily sworn in aboard Air Force One after Kennedy's death, photo.
OGO and OSO Orbiting Geophysical Observatory (OGO) and Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO), schematic depictions. Maple twigs Photo.
Ranger This is an illustration of a Ranger spacecraft of the Block 1 from 1961. Waterfall Photo.

Mike Okuda: "The waterfall is Upper Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park."

Nimbus I observation satellite, 1966. Illustrations.
Rose Photo.
Pioneer 5 Interplanetary probe, 1960, photo. Fox squirrel Photo.
Space mission diagram Illustration, probably depicting an Atlas-Agena mission. Great egret Photo.
Ranger mission diagram Schematic depiction. Lionfish Photo.

Mike Okuda: "I didn't initially think of the lionfish as a nod to Livingston [Picard's fish]. I picked the image just because I thought it was a cool photo, but a few moments later I thought of the Livingston tie-in, which I liked a lot... I took the photo of the lionfish at the Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu."


See Also

NASA References in Star Trek - richly illustrated, with information from Mike Okuda, the creator of many of the references


Back to Observations index

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