Star Trek: 10 Secrets Of The First Contact Fleet

Prepare to engage the Borg.

Star Trek 10 Secrets of the First Contact Fleet
Paramount Pictures

A quarter of a century after its release, Star Trek: First Contact is still one of the most beloved entries in the Star Trek filmography. Embraced not just by fans, but by the movie going public at large, the film was praised by critics for its engaging storyline, stylish set design, and advanced visual effects... visual effects that hold up remarkably well even today.

Brought to life by the geniuses at Industrial Light & Magic, First Contact's VFX were produced in that mid-1990s sweet spot when practical effects and miniatures were combined with computer-generated imagery to create sequences that felt tangible and real.

Not just responsible for cranking out models and rendering CGI, ILM also had a hand in the film's design, enlisted by Star Trek's producers to create an armada of brand new Federation vessels to combat the Borg in First Contact's wiz-bang opening battle.

While First Contact is of course a huge boom for starship porn lovers for its introduction of the elegant USS Enterprise-E, alongside a threatening new Borg Cube, the Borg Sphere, the Phoenix warp ship, and the one and only big screen appearance of the USS Defiant, the film also gave us the first appearances of the Akira, Steamrunner, Norway, and Saber-class starships.

Here are ten secrets of those four starship classes as well as the other, unsung vessels that comprised the fleet in Star Trek: First Contact's spectactular Battle of Sector 001.

10. Akira, Steamrunner, Norway, And Saber, Oh My

Star Trek 10 Secrets of the First Contact Fleet
Paramount Pictures

Obviously the big star of Star Trek: First Contact was the first new Starship Enterprise since the beginning of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Sovereign-class USS Enterprise-E.

Designed by John Eaves (if you've read or watched any of our starship listicles before, you know John Eaves), the Enterprise-E set the standard for ships in First Contact, dictating the look and size of every other vehicle designed for the film.

According to ILM Visual Effects Art Director, Alex Jaegar, the film's producers approached him to design a slew of new Federation ships that would be easily distinguishable from the new Enterprise:

The goal with all of those ships was to make them look completely different from the Enterprise as we were introducing the E in that film and they didn't want people going, "wait, which one's the Enterprise?" Therefore the very radical layouts on those four ships, but still keeping true to the basics of starship design...

As requested, Jaegar (only 22 at the time) produced numerous sketches for the fleet, each with a radically different configuration. Producer Rick Berman, director Jonathan Frakes, and production designer Herman Zimmerman selected four of those sketches to be fleshed out, ultimately becoming the Akira, Steamrunner, Norway, and Saber-class starships.


I played Shipyard Bar Patron (Uncredited) in Star Trek (2009).