farpoint-swsWe’re going all the way back to the beginning for this entry in our Scenes Worth Saving feature series, with footage that was removed from “Encounter at Farpoint“, the September 1987 pilot episode of The Next Generation.

This collection of scenes, taken from the Enterprise away team’s visit to the spaceborne entity orbiting Deneb IV, was a pair of two major special effect sequences which were filmed on June 12, 1987, but were later cut because of the producers’ disapproval of the filmed outcome.

The first cut portion involves Troi, Riker, and the away team passing through a wall in the living ship’s corridors, which is how they originally get to Groppler Zorn’s location – finding him trapped, floating in a forcefield.

After they free him from imprisonment, the ship begins to come to live around them… but the episode then cuts right to the bridge of the Enterprise, leaving no follow-up on the group until they are magically transported back to safety.

There is little evidence that this footage was actually shot, save for a mention on a now-offline 2007 entry on StarTrek.com. While the post can is no longer available at the official website, it is still accessible through this Internet Archive link.

We’ve posted the scripted scenes below, along with some visual evidence of the cuts made to hide the missing sequence.

*   *   *

Geordi and Worf at their positions.
Picard is in the command seat, antsy.

  Enterprise, Riker. This is turning out to be a very long
  tunnel or corridor, sir. No ship's crew in sight...

Still led and followed by the security people, they're now moving
along fairly rapidly although this tunnel is narrower here.
Otherwise, its look hasn't changed.

  No sign of mechanism or circuitry. No controls or readouts,
  this nothing at all like any vessel I've seen before.

  Groppler Zorn, sir... in great fear...
Just ahead.
Troi approches the wall first, followed by Data, Tasha, and Riker in the rear.
Troi and the team approach a wall in the passage.


  There's a different feeling here than in the tunnel. Very different.

Troi and the team arriving, standing puzzled at what seems to be only
a sharp turn where we see a strange indentation in the tunnel wall
there. Troi, intent on this, steps closer, pushes her body
against the indentation.

  It's definitely Zorn, Commander. Here!

  (stepping in)
An insert from the previous trip down the corridor (with Riker leading) is used to hide the cut.
But the tunnel wall is soft here -- it gives perceptibly, as Troi pushes
harder and then PLOP... she disappears through it. (NOTE: Or the 'wall'
opens to let her through and then closes behind her.)


Then he pushes, disappears through the same wall.

Riker sliding through the pliable opening in the tunnel wall, joining
Troi who is standing there aghast at what is suspended in the
center of this area.
Troi correctly enters the cell first, as she was the first through the wall.
Zorn is held suspended off the deck in a cylindrical forcefield.
The force field edges GLITTER SOFTLY to outline the shape.

As the other team members come through the 'wall' too,
stand, reacting at the sight of Zorn.

The FORCEFIELD SPARKLES, CLICKS, causing Zorn to writhe and twitch.

  No! Please! No more! Please, no more...

They move forward toward him, and are brought up sharply by the
leading edge of the force field. Data has already started
to scan with his tricorder. Riker calls to Zorn.

Zorn. Can you hear me?

Zorn manages to lift his head, and WE SEE his pain-filled face,
  his features twisted into a grimace of intense agony.

Make it stop the pain. Please...

Has the alien communicated... ?
(breaks off; then to Riker)
That's it, sir! It's just one alien that I'm sensing here.

(another GROAN)
Please! I don't understand what it wants.

(studying Zorn; then)
Not true. He does know.

Data interrupts by holding his tricorder so that Riker can see the
readings he's gathered. Riker registers at seeing something unique as
Data pulls out his phaser, Riker does the same and both of them
concentrate on making some exact setting on their phasers.

As Data and Riker raise their phasers toward Zorn.

(in terror)
No, no, please don't!

Data and Riker trigger their phasers and we SEE a SORT OF COLORED GLOW
FORCEFIELD. Then, suddenly the FORCEFIELD DISAPPEARS, and Zorn tumbles
out onto the floor free of restraint. The cell walls begin to glow, and
a loud rumble begins to surround the away team.
The walls begin to glow as the ship comes to life around the away team.
Where the wall seems to be "alive", undulating.
Beyond it, Tasha is assisting Zorn to his feet, supporting him.
Meanwhile, Troi looks around Zorn's "cell",
sensing something troubling. 

  Away team to Enterprise...

 swaying and moving toward Troi.

  (interrupting; warning)

But the TENDRIL is already wrapping around her.
Data tries to pull the TENDRIL from Troi, succeeds only
in getting a NEW TENDRIL wrapped around himself.

The floor of the area suddenly going soft,
away team members sinking into it while still

  Enterprise, come in. Beam us...

Interrupted as his feet are YANKED OUT FROM UNDER HIM.

  Enterprise, we need help...



  Captain... !

  Transporter chief, yank them back!
Now! Riker, acknowledge!


Toward which Lieutenant Worf is pointing.
On it the IMAGE of the mystery vessel is BEGINNING
TO CHANGE IN SHAPE. The firm, hard edges of the spaceship
are giving way to something softer, very mysterious in nature.


In which we SEE a familiar BLINDING FLASH and
"Q" appears, now wearing the uniform of a STARFLEET CAPTAIN.

  Your time is up, Captain.

*   *   *

This “Farpoint” footage might be a bit more complicated to restore than the other deleted scenes we’ve covered in this series, as CBS Digital would need to enhance the originally-filmed special effects – but we trust them to do this one right, should it be rescued from the archives.

UPDATE: With the Star Trek: TNG Blu-ray project now complete, this sequence appears destined to remain in the Paramount vaults for the foreseeable future.

Order the
Star Trek: TOS
Blu-ray Collection!

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Star Trek: TNG
Blu-ray Collection!

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  • Rob

    i’d love to see this footage, if only to see if the FX are as bad as theorized. if it seemed cheesy in 1987, one can only imagine how bad the scene would look now!

  • pittrek

    “Bride of the Enterprise” ? I hope it’s a typo 🙂 But this sounds like a very interesting scene

    • Fixed!

    • ErikEspo

      That would be the episode in season 8 that followed up on season 7’s “Emergence”

  • Ryan Stevens

    I know Corey Allen spoke of this a bit while teaching at Columbia College Hollywood.

  • Allen Williams

    I don’t see this happening unless they are greenlit to do a 4K version of the series. This is season 1 and I think they have moved on.

    • All the cut scenes we’ve been featuring have been from the first few seasons of the show.

      • Allen Williams

        You’re telling me that CBS is going to spend time and money on restoring this and putting in new effects and everything and including it on season 6 or season 7? I don’t see it happening.

        • The entire point of this SWS series is to highlight scenes we wish CBS would go back for.

  • James Michael Avalos

    I reckon it would be fascinating to view !!!

  • SpaceCadet

    I always thought the scenes of the away team traveling through the corridors of the alien ship were boring and monotonous and these cuts kind of help to explain why. The alien reacting to Zorn being rescued makes more dramatic sense and would have added some action to those scenes. It would be nice to see these scenes in their rough form just to see how they turned out.

  • Joe_Atari

    Great story TrekCore; please keep stuff like this coming! The use of stitched together frames and the animated gif did a great job illustrating how the scene was supposed to work as best possible.

    Interesting that the script says that “Zorn tumbles out onto the floor” (with suspension wires and pillows highly visible even on 1987-era televisions) because the first teaser for TNG (available on TrekCore) clearly shows an alternate shot of Riker and Data’s phasers emitting blue beams and gradually lowering him to the floor. Having never seen the original script, I had always assumed that the gradual lowering (through some new levitation functionality of the 24th century phasers) was the original intent but changed by the creators as being too far removed from their use in previous shows. Now it seems like the “Zorn tumbles out onto the floor” was the original intent after all?

    A couple of other things surprise me about this sequence:

    1. Given all of the alternate / test footage unearthed during the TNG-R project, the team apparently found nothing relating to these shots. Surely Burnett, et al. would have included anything along these lines they found in the S1 release, however incomplete VFX-wise.

    2. I would also expect at least one still from this sequence to make it out in the open. Stills from deleted scenes are inadvertantly used by publicity departments all the time (the best example I can think of are all of the “Memory Wall” stills that were released for TMP), particularly if they depict an exciting action sequence (alien plasma tendrils should qualify). Previusly unseen stills of the “Memory Wall” and “Khan’s baby” from TWOK are still turning up but with all of the work going into TNG-R, zero photographic evidence of this intricate scene can be found?

  • Mo

    I’m usually interested in restoration of lost or cut footage, but I just can’t get worked up over very much about TNG’s first season. Especially the premiere. I think it’s safe to say I’ll likely never watch “Farpoint” again.

    • Roger Birks

      Its really not that bad an episode per say. If you are are watching the series from episode 1 to 177 then I say Farpoint is a good place to start. All tje characters have good introductions. All Q scenes are quite good actually! Q at least makes this episode worth a look every now and again!

      • Mo

        “It’s really not that bad” is the new “exceptional” for both Star Trek and Star Wars fans who need to make excuses for mediocre entertainment. Per se or otherwise.

        There are good moments to be found within anything, but that doesn’t make it worth the time. Farpoint is an avalanche of embarrassingly bad writing. The fact that high-level talents involved in bringing it to us did their best to work with what they had doesn’t make it worth my time yet again.

        “If you are are watching the series from episode 1 to 177…”

        Heaven forbid. More than half of my life is over. I need to spend my remaining time repeating less crap and finding better new stuff. Most of that better new stuff won’t be Trek in any form.

        And I think the idea of Trek fans endlessly re-watching TNG season 1 is itself roughly the subject of a nightmare story that all Trek series have used.

        • SpaceCadet

          I disagree. While it’s not an especially good episode, it’s still interesting from both a production and nostalgic standpoint to see how the series began and especially as a companion piece to the series finale, All Good Things.

          • Locutus

            I think a few of the characters do get good introductions in the episode. I like Data’s introduction in the holodeck, Q’s introduction and subplot (even if it was apparently tacked on), and McCoy’s cameo. Picard, Riker, and Troi seem a bit goofy with 20-20 hindsight. There’s enough there to make it rewatchable. It’s certainly not my favorite episode, but I would not forsake it.

          • Roger Birks

            From a production standpoint, Farpoint is a fascinating watch. It is so 80’s its hilliarious at times. It has some genuine decent performances, and some awful too. It is an episode that I can tolerate every now and again if I want to rewatch the show again.

          • Locutus

            After recently watching Shatner’s “Chaos on the Bridge,” the inconsistencies are more understandable. It’s really hard to believe that the show even made it past the pilot and on to seven seasons!

          • Roger Birks

            It is Star Trek. The original show was not a success until the 1970s. The show as it aired was deemed a failure, hence it was nearly cancelled at the start of Season Two. TNG was allowed time to catch on, which it did. If Season Three had not improved on the two previous seasons I suspect it would not have gone much further than 89 episodes.

          • Charles Baxter

            OK, how do I say this nicely…. Yes it is Star Trek, NO and I mean NO when I say that you’re just plain wrong about TOS not being a success.. It in fact was a very successful show in the first run, yet the early neilson ratings didn’t take demographics into account. Those ratings really determined the life and death of a TV show because that’s what the studios were making their judgments on. THEN there were the TV Censors had to deal with that TNG and other Sci-Fi shows didn’t have to take into consideration. Honestly while TNG has plenty of good episodes most of what made it really good was Started in season 1 peaked around the first third of season 4 & gone by the middle of season 6. Season 7 was interesting (which is different than good), yet had become dependent on technobable

          • Roger Birks

            Please explain what you point is, about the demographics? Juat curious?

          • Charles Baxter

            The Demographics show if a TV program was reaching it’s intended audience in a successful manner. If it wasn’t according to those ratings it would get canceled, if it was it would get renewed. The 60’s era neilson ratings didn’t take all of the groups into account most notably the teenage and early 20’s bracket. SO if the ratings and Demographics were in line with what the studio expected it wouldn’t have been cancelled

          • Pedro Ferreira

            I think it’s the best Star Trek pilot to be honest.

        • StuUK

          “Encounter at Farpoint” could be considered mediocre entertainment by todays standards but the bar for todays standards in production and acting have never been higher. I think if you’re judging the show by the expectations of todays audience you’d be writing off a lot of shows that have been and gone that at the time served their audience and served them very well.

          I’m curious, did you see Next Gen back in 1987? Did you genuinely not enjoy it back then?? What shows were airing around that time that you’d be inclined to promote above Next Gen???

          • Mo

            Golly, that’s a lot of anxious question marks. Settle down, please.

            I saw it all first-run, and I’d already seen better writing with more believable performances in shows whose characters gave much less indicated, heightened exaggeration. I was judging TNG by 1987’s standards, which were variable but had achieved much more subtlety than GR was willing (or capable) to strive for in a genre series; his cherished only hit.

            Wil Wheaton reviewed old TNG a few years ago. Some of his biggest criticism was about the show’s boneheaded simplicity, how characters were written as credulous whenever they should’ve been skeptical, and how anything as potentially groundbreaking as Star Trek could still be mired in predictable, clichéd behaviors.

            I was happy to see new Trek in 1987, but I dimly realized a few weeks in that it might never be as intelligently presented as I’d hope for, it having been created with so much 1960s nostalgia baggage to carry, despite proclamations of how fresh and new it was.

            It took TNG years to catch up with a fraction of what grown-ups were watching on other channels. And as a longtime fan, I made lame excuses for it, similar to the ones I’m seeing here, just as science-fiction fans have been doing for decades.

            What other shows am I holding up as better examples? Let’s start with Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere, which had already been around for several years. Hill Street alone is cited as a watershed moment in tv drama that helped make later shows like The Sopranos possible. Please don’t tell me that the serialized structure of these shows invalidates the comparison. I’m talking about seeing believable human beings on a small screen .

            Add in Thirtysomething, Wiseguy, Frank’s Place, and The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd as examples of shows I recall with respect. You don’t have to have been a fan of any of them to acknowledge that they were doing something better than the prevailing average dumbness.

            And with the exception of, say, “Heart of Glory,” early TNG was pretty darned dumb.

        • Roger Birks

          I accept that Farpoint is a mediocre episode at face value. Its very rough around the edges for sure. It was the first Star Trek episode that was ‘ever made’ after Turnabout Intruder in 1969. It was introducing a new cast of characters, a new century was used to set the show, new ship. Gene Roddenberry was still also very much in the driving seat for the first season. It is a fascinating start to a show that was completely a changed entity by the time it reached the final episode seven seasons later.

    • Pedro Ferreira

      “I think it’s safe to say I’ll likely never watch “Farpoint” again.” You’re loss, our gain.”

      • Mo

        “Our gain”? That makes no sense at all.

        Enjoy your DVD collection.

        • Pedro Ferreira

          Blu-ray collection and Encounter at Farpoint has never looked so good!

          • Mo

            Of course. I was being deliberately reductive. Keep watching it over and over again, by all means. Boldly go where we’ve all gone before. 😉

          • Pedro Ferreira

            The picture quality is great so why not?

          • Mo

            Bless your heart.

          • Pedro Ferreira

            Awww thanks!

  • Tone

    I think its safe to save that these scenes and more will most likely appear in the Roddenberry Vault Vol:2

    • TrekRules

      Don’t know about that. The original series was done on film and that is how Roddenberry got this stuff – work prints, cuts, etc that he took home with him(even though he wasn’t supposed to). With TNG, all that was scanned right away and the cuts and such were done on video so there was nothing for Roddenberry to steal so unless they have a video copy handy, unlikely they would include it since it would need to be rescanned. I am sure some later TNG stuff will but it sounds like for seasons 1 and 2, only the actual episode stuff was scanned so I would be surprised to see anything.
      I am curious how the effect was done – early cgi, spandex walls so someone could push though like in Nightmare on Elm Street, etc? Given that they redid some effects for blu-ray and did all that extra work on Measure of a Man, it is a little surprising they didn’t just redo the effect and include it.