Star Trek Guide

Star Trek Generations: Why Only Some Uniforms Changed To DS9's

One of the strangest aspects of Star Trek Generations is why some crew members of the U.S.S Enterprise-D were wearing the standard Star Trek: The Next Generation uniforms while others wore the newer Starfleet jumpsuits from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Even weirder was how Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), Commander Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes), and Lt. Commanders Data (Brent Spiner) and Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) changed from the TNG uniforms to the DS9 gear during the film with no cause or explanation.

Released in 1994, Star Trek Generations marked the TNG cast's leap to the big screen. To make their first movie extra special, Generations featured appearances by Star Trek: The Original Series legends Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Montgomery Scott (James Doohan), and Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig). The big draw was Picard and Kirk finally meeting and teaming up — which resulted in Kirk's death and the original Captain of the Enterprise getting written out of the franchise. Star Trek Generations was also an extremely busy and eventful movie: Worf (Michael Dorn) was promoted to Lieutenant Commander, Picard learned that his family in Le Barre, France died in a fire, Data activated his emotion chip and had to navigate having feelings for the first time, and the U.S.S. Enterprise-D was destroyed. But the curious case of Star Trek Generations' changing uniforms is something many Trekkers are still confounded by 26 years later.

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When Star Trek: The Next Generation launched in 1987, the cast wore form-fitting, collarless, one-piece jumpsuits. At the start of TNG season 3, the costumes changed to the more popular duty uniforms, a two-piece ensemble with raised collars containing the pips denoting the Starfleet Officers' ranks. When Star Trek: Deep Space Nine debuted in 1992, that series' cast received distinctive jumpsuits, which reversed TNG's black shoulders with the Officers' division colors and featured a zippered front and a turtleneck. For Star Trek Generations, the producers decided to make some changes for the big screen: the TNG cast got new Starfleet insignias and brand new uniforms were ordered for the film, which were mostly identical to the TNG TV outfits, except the raised collars were now colored and the pips were moved to the right upper chest; however, just a few days into shooting the movie, the producers suddenly decided to scrap the new uniforms altogether. Star Trek Generations' action figures are the only place the abandoned movie uniforms can be found.

The last-minute call to dump the new movie uniforms led to the decision for Star Trek Generations' cast to wear a mix of the DS9 and Star Trek: Voyager uniforms (the Kate Mulgrew-led spinoff was in preproduction during the TNG movie's shoot). Even though only some of the main cast would be able to wear new uniforms in Generations, this ostensibly fulfilled the producers' requirement to have "new uniforms" for the film. As a result, Stewart, Frakes, Spiner, and Burton borrowed costumes from the DS9 and Voyager wardrobe departments. However, since the uniforms on loan were fitted for DS9 stars Avery Brooks and Colm Meaney and Voyager cast members Robert Duncan McNeill and Garrett Wang — not the TNG cast — it's noticeable throughout the film that the new uniforms don't quite fit.

And yet, no in-movie rationale was given as to why Picard, Data, Riker, La Forge, and some random background actors wore the DS9-style jumpsuits while everyone else remained in their TNG uniforms and it makes viewing Star Trek Generations rather odd. This incongruity does, however, give Generations the distinction as the only Star Trek movie mixing different TV series' uniforms on screen.

Starting with the next film, Star Trek: First Contact, the TNG cast finally got their new movie uniforms, which had blue-grey shoulders over colored turtlenecks — a look that was so popular, DS9 adopted it in season 5 and it became the standard Star Trek uniform for years after. But there are yet other uniforms in Generations: when the TNG crew first appears in their debut film, they're on the holodeck wearing 19th-century British naval uniforms. Amusingly, Star Trek Generations wouldn't have been significantly weirder if Picard and his crew kept wearing those togs for the whole movie instead of switching back-and-forth between the TNG and DS9 uniforms.


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