(written from a Production point of view)
The newly commissioned starship Voyager and a Maquis raider are flung into the far reaches of the remote Delta Quadrant by a powerful entity known as the Caretaker. (Series premiere)
- Some consider them heroes, but to the governments of the Federation and Cardassia, they are outlaws.
Weapons fire streaks through space as a Cardassian warship attacks a much smaller Maquis raider with phasers. The latter ship's crew, led by Chakotay and also including B'Elanna Torres and Tuvok, are struggling to hold their spacecraft together and get the impulse engines' power steady, but as Torres frustratedly implies, the vessel is equipped with only thirty-nine-year-old rebuilt engines. The Cardassian commander, Gul Evek, hails the Maquis ship, ordering them to stand down, but Chakotay defiantly shuts off the transmission. The Maquis crew then deactivate their vessel's weapon systems in order to channel enough power to the engines to reach the Badlands, with the Cardassian warship all the while in close pursuit. Whereas Chakotay's piloting skills are sufficient to avoid the plasma storms in the Badlands, the Cardassian ship is less lucky and is severely damaged. Relieved, Chakotay sets a course for a planet where they can make repairs when a bright flash erupts through the ship; the vessel has passed through a coherent tetryon beam from an unknown source and, despite beginning to move away at full impulse, the ship is intercepted by a huge displacement wave.
In the Federation Penal Settlement in New Zealand on Earth, several inmates wearing ankle monitors are performing labor. One man's work is interrupted when an authoritative-looking woman in a Starfleet uniform approaches him and asks, "Tom Paris?" The man glances up at her and she introduces herself as Kathryn Janeway. She states that she served with his father on the USS Al-Batani and that she would like to speak with him about a job she wants him to do. He sarcastically replies that he is already doing a job for the Federation, but Janeway says that the Rehab Commission is very pleased with his work and has given her permission to discuss the matter with him. He replies, "Well, then I guess I'm yours."
As they walk together, Janeway informs Paris that she was his father's science officer on the Arias Expedition. Paris comments that she must be good, as his father only accepts the best and brightest. Janeway tells him that her mission is to track down a Maquis vessel that vanished in the Badlands a week previous. Paris advises against it, having never seen a Federation starship that could maneuver through the plasma storms; Janeway retorts by saying that he has never seen USS Voyager.
Paris infers that Janeway's motive is to have him lead the Federation to his former Maquis colleagues. Paris reminds Janeway that because he was only with them a few weeks, he didn't know many of their hiding places. Janeway replies that he knows the territory better than anyone in the Federation. Janeway informs Paris that her chief of security had infiltrated a Maquis ship and had not reported in some time. Paris muses that perhaps it was only the chief of security that disappeared. Janeway reveals that the ship was under the command of Chakotay, a former Starfleet officer.
Paris acknowledges that he knew Chakotay and that the two never got along. Paris says that the point of disagreement was that Chakotay left Starfleet "on principle," to defend his home colony, but he considered Paris a mercenary who joined "whoever would pay [his] bar bills," an accusation to which Paris admits. Paris concludes that he will help track down the Maquis, but asks what he has to gain from the venture. Janeway says that the Federation will help him at his next parole review. Janeway informs him that officially, he'd be a Starfleet observer, to which Paris replies that he's the best pilot Janeway could have. Janeway is firm about Paris' role and once the mission is over he'll be 'cut loose', causing Paris to agree with the rejoinder, "Story of my life."
Tom Paris arrives to Voyager, docked at Deep Space 9, via a shuttle, piloted by a Betazoid female pilot, Lieutenant Stadi. Now clad in a fresh Starfleet uniform, Paris walks up to her. Stadi focuses on flying the craft, but she livens up to Paris a little as he turns on the charm. He says that Stadi is changing his mind about Betazoids, because he always thought that they were warm and sensual. Stadi says that she can be warm and sensual, but Paris replies that she can, but just not to him. The conversation shifts as a sleek vessel comes into view at one of DS9's docking pylons. Stadi proudly identifies it as their ship, the Voyager. She states that the ship is of the Intrepid-class, has a new variable warp nacelle configuration, giving it a sustainable cruising speed of warp 9.975; it has fifteen decks and a crew complement of 141. It is also equipped with bio-neural circuitry. Paris inquires as to the circuitry, and as she flies around Voyager towards the shuttlebay, she informs Paris that the bio-neural circuitry speeds up response time in the ship's computer.
Meanwhile, on board Deep Space 9, Quark is trying to sell bright, rare crystals to a young Starfleet ensign seated in his bar. He tries to politely tell Quark he is not interested and says cadets were warned about Ferengi at the Academy. Upon hearing this, Quark feigns being upset that the Federation is spreading lies about the Ferengi and that he will make a formal protest to the Federation Council. Quark asks for the young ensign's name for the report, to which he replies, "Kim, Harry Kim." Kim backs downs and offers to buy the whole tray of crystals in an effort to smooth things over. As Quark brings over the crystals and begins to negotiate, Paris interrupts and tells Ensign Kim that the crystals Quark is trying to sell him can be found on virtually any planet in the system and can be bought for little or nothing. Now knowing that Quark was trying to rip him off, Ensign Kim leaves with Tom Paris who says, "Didn't they warn you about Ferengi at the Academy?"
Paris and Kim enter sickbay aboard Voyager and report to the chief medical officer. When Paris identifies himself, the doctor comments, "Ah, yes. The observer." When Paris comments that he seems to be observing some kind of problem now, the doctor says that he was a surgeon on Caldik Prime when Paris was stationed there, though they never met. He says Paris' medical records from his previous posting have arrived and that the captain had asked if he were on board, saying that he should check in with her. Kim, sensing a tense situation, says that he hasn't yet paid his respects to the captain, either. The doctor says that perhaps it would be a good thing for a new operations officer to do. After they leave sickbay, Kim asks Paris what the story is between him and the CMO. Paris responds that he's gotten tired of telling it and that he's sure someone will be happy to tell him.
Meanwhile, Captain Janeway is in her ready room talking to her fiancé, Mark Johnson, on her desktop monitor about her dog, who turns out to be pregnant. Janeway insists that the dog stays with him, leading him to reply, "Is this another 'love me, love my dog' demand?", to which Janeway quickly replies, "Yes." Janeway says they will be leaving as soon as she approves the system status reports. Johnson says he won't bother her anymore, leading Janeway to get on her knees in front of the terminal and says, "You never bother me, except the way I love to be bothered. Understand?" Saying that she'll see him in a few weeks, Janeway quickly asks Johnson to pick up her dog's doggie bed, which Johnson then says he already did – an hour ago.
After the connection closes, the door chimes. Paris and Kim enter. Janeway welcomes them aboard Voyager, to which Kim replies with a stiff, "Thank you, sir," standing at full attention, causing Paris to look at him curiously. Telling the nervous ensign to stand "at ease, before you sprain something," she lets him know that protocol aside, she doesn't like being addressed as "sir," to which Kim responds, "I'm sorry… ma'am." Janeway smiles and says that ma'am is acceptable in a crunch, but that she prefers "captain." She tells them they are getting ready to leave and she shows them to the bridge. Walking out onto the bridge, she introduces them to her first officer, Lieutenant Commander Cavit, who exchanges a hearty handshake with Kim and one with Paris reluctantly and only after Paris extends his hand first. Janeway shows Kim to the operations station and asks if he would like to take over. Kim responds, "Yes, ma'am," to which she replies, "It's not crunch time yet, Mr. Kim. I'll let you know when."
At a nod from Janeway, the first officer instructs Lt. Stadi to lay in their course and clear departure with Operations. After Stadi confirms this, they complete the pre-launch sequence and prepare for launch, which Janeway orders with "Engage." The dorsal light of the ship comes on, illuminating the ship's registration, and the ship departs.
With the ship under way, Paris heads down to the mess hall for some hot tomato soup. As he is ordering the soup from the replicator, he notices that Voyager's chief medical officer and Commander Cavit are looking at him with judgmental eyes, while talking to Kim at a nearby table. As Paris makes his way over to Kim's table, Cavit and the CMO make a hasty departure. When Paris finally sits down, he says to Kim, "There. You see, I told you it wouldn't take long." Paris then begins to tell Kim that it was true that he caused an accident which led to the deaths of three Starfleet officers and that he falsified reports. What led him to turn himself in and tell the truth despite the fact that he would have gotten away with it otherwise, Paris sarcastically remarks that it took "the three dead officers to come in the middle of the night and (teach) me the true meaning of Christmas.". Paris therefore confessed everything, and was promptly discharged from service… upon which, looking for a fight, he joined the Maquis and was arrested during his very first assignment for them. Paris gets up to leave and says that he knows that Cavit and the CMO told him to stay away from him and that he should listen to them. As Paris walks away, Kim replies "I don't need anyone to choose my friends for me." As a curious Paris regards Kim following this statement, Captain Janeway summons them both to the bridge to inform them that the ship has reached the Badlands.
Voyager enters the volatile region. Janeway, Cavit, and Ensign Rollins are crowded around the tactical station trying to ascertain where the Maquis ship would be. With some assistance from Paris, the ship begins to head in. Shortly after, Ensign Kim's sensors read that a coherent tetryon beam is scanning the ship. Janeway asks Kim if he can identify the source of the beam, but he cannot. The sensors then find out that a displacement wave is quickly moving towards the ship. Cavit suggests that they may be able to disperse the wave with a graviton particle field. Janeway orders that it be done. It is later found that the field had no effect on the wave. Janeway orders Stadi to move the ship away from the wave at full impulse. However, the ship is unable to outrun it and the wave collides with Voyager.
After the ship has been released from the wave, it has suffered heavy damage. Janeway comes to and checks Cavit's pulse, only to find that he is dead. Stadi also did not survive after Paris checks Stadi's pulse. Janeway asks where they are. Kim gets the viewscreen working, but the Badlands are gone – there's only empty space and an enormous array. Kim replies that if his sensors are working perfectly, they are over 70,000 light years from the Badlands… Voyager has been transported to the Delta Quadrant, the other side of the galaxy.
As the crew begins to make repairs, Voyager finds the Maquis ship, but scans show that there is nobody aboard it and attempts to hail the array are unsuccessful. Just then, engineering contacts the bridge and informs Janeway that the chief engineer was also killed and that the ship is facing a possible warp core breach. Janeway heads down to engineering to help and orders Kim to see what the situation is in sickbay leaving Rollins to assume command of the bridge. Paris heads down with Kim as well. Adding to the list of casualties, Paris sees that the CMO and the entire medical staff were killed. Janeway makes it to engineering and finds out that there is a microfracture in the warp core and that a breach is imminent. In order to save the ship, Janeway orders the lock down of the magnetic constrictor and Lieutenant Joseph Carey warns Janeway that they may not be able to initialize the dilithium reaction and that it would make warp drive impossible. Janeway sees that there are not many other alternatives and orders that it be done nevertheless. At the same time, Harry Kim orders the computer to activate Voyager's Emergency Medical Hologram, a holographic doctor designed as a supplement to the medical staff. The EMH appears, giving his default statement: "Please state the nature of the medical emergency." Kim replies that the ship's doctor is dead and that the hologram is the only medical officer on board the ship since the entire medical staff was killed too. The Doctor informs Kim and Paris that, as he is only intended to be used on a short-term basis, a replacement will be needed as soon as possible. Paris then informs the EMH that he will be stuck with them for a while. The EMH then begins treating crewmembers, showing himself to be very efficient but also very brusque and lacking any kind of bedside manner.
Meanwhile, down in engineering, the warp core breach appears to have been averted. Janeway then orders that the magnetic constrictor be engaged. The pressure begins to stabilize. Just then, the ship is being scanned and people begin to disappear. Eventually, everyone disappears with the exception of the Doctor. Strangely enough, the crew finds themselves on a farm, with wheat and cattle. Soon after, a middle aged woman emerges from the farmhouse named "Aunt Adah" and asks the crew to come up to the house for some lemonade and sugar cookies. Janeway says that the crew shouldn't be fooled, since they have only been transported a hundred kilometers from Voyager and that they are actually inside the array with Ensign Kim confirming that everything around them are holograms. The crew is greeted by holographic projections of lively southerners, including a man playing a banjo, who encourage them to make themselves at home.
Janeway orders that Kim and Paris find the holographic projector. As Kim scans with his tricorder, he finds strange readings coming from a barn.
A holographic projection of an attractive southern girl tries to pull Kim and Paris away from the barn, but is unsuccessful. Kim finds Vulcan and Human bio-signs in an unknown location. The southerners get a lot less friendly and start to attack Kim and Paris due to their curiosity. Janeway gets Kim's signal from his combadge and takes the crew she has with her to the barn. They arrive, to find Paris and Kim being threatened with a pitchfork by Aunt Adah. She says that she hoped the crew would do things the easy way but she sees that that will not work. A giant door opens to reveal the missing Maquis crew, all unconscious and restrained. The Voyager crew are soon subjected to the same painful genetic tests.
Three days later the Voyager crew is returned to their ship, as well as with the Maquis on the Val Jean. When Tom Paris emerges in sickbay (with the Doctor, having been left alone for the last three days, demanding to know what happened) after being returned, he notices that Harry Kim did not return with them. Janeway calls up the computer to search for Kim, but it confirms he is not on board and is the only crewmember missing. Janeway asks Rollins to hail the Val Jean to see if Kim was accidentally transported there, but Chakotay says that he was not and that they also are missing a crewman of their own, their engineer B'Elanna Torres. Janeway asks that Chakotay beam aboard the Voyager so they can discuss what to do. Chakotay turns to Tuvok and agrees. Moments later, Chakotay, Tuvok, and Maquis security guard Ayala beam on board. Janeway then reveals that Tuvok is a Federation undercover operative, and Tuvok confirms that his mission was to gain intelligence on Maquis activity before delivering the crew of the Val Jean to Starfleet. Chakotay is at once angry about this, but then he sees that Tom Paris is on the bridge. After remarking that, while Tuvok was doing his duty as a Starfleet officer, Paris only does things that benefit himself, he is ready to attack him, but Janeway asks him to treat Paris as he would with any other member of her crew. Though reluctant to do so, Chakotay agrees with her. Tuvok explains that he believes there is only a single lifeform on the array, and the testing they all went through was an examination. Janeway decides to lead a team over to the array in order to retrieve their missing people and be returned to the Alpha Quadrant. Paris requests to join the away team, promising Janeway that it has nothing to do with Chakotay; rather he doesn't want to see anything bad happen to Kim
Janeway, along with Chakotay and Paris return to the so called farm (this time armed with phaser rifles) and demand answers about their missing crewmen who are no longer on the array. The only person there is the old man playing the banjo. The man says that Janeway and the rest of the crew don't have what he needs, but Janeway isn't the least concerned about this but wants the missing officers returned and for both crews to be returned to the Alpha Quadrant. The man refuses to tell her what he's done with the crew, and although he understands why they're angry and sympathizes, he tells them that Kim and Torres might have what he needs, as he must "honor a debt that can never be repaid" but his search has not been going well. Janeway then offers to help, but the old man tells her she can't, and that there's not enough time left before he suddenly returns everyone to Voyager.
Kim and Torres awaken in what appears to be a hospital room and notice growths on their arms and neck. Torres tries to escape, but two doctors come in and sedate her.
The crew determines that the energy pulses that the array is firing towards the fifth planet of a nearby system might have been used to transport Kim and Torres there so they set a course. Tuvok later reports to Janeway in her ready room that the pulses emitted from the ray have been steadily getting faster. Meanwhile, Janeway has been studying the planet where the Array's pulses are being sent: while it meets all the other requirements of an M Class planet there are no nucleogenic particles in the atmosphere, meaning it is incapable of producing rain and has left the planet as a desert. Tuvok tells Janeway that she needs rest, as she recalls that Harry Kim's mother contacted her after he'd left Earth since he'd forgotten his clarinet and wanted to know if she had time to send it, Harry having been a member of the Juilliard Youth Symphony. After noting that she barely knew the young ensign, just as she barely knows any of her crew and that she really should take the time to, Janeway promises she'll get Kim and Torres back and get everyone home. Tuvok points out that the crew needs a captain that is not exhausted, and Janeway thanks him telling him that she's missed his counsel. She tells him that his family miss him, and tells her friend that she'll get him back to them.
While on the way to the fifth planet in the system where the energy pulses are being sent, Voyager encounters a small cargo ship inside a debris field, commanded by a Talaxian named Neelix. At first, Neelix thinks that Voyager might be wanting to take a piece of the debris field, but Captain Janeway assures him that they will do nothing of the sort, upon which the Talaxian's demeanor noticeably and immediately improves. Janeway then asks if he knows where the missing officers of Voyager and the Val Jean might have gone. Neelix suspects that they may have been taken to the Ocampan homeworld, to a city located deep beneath the planet's surface. Neelix offers to guide Voyager to the planet in exchange for water and Janeway agrees. Neelix is beamed aboard (marveling at the technology, which is new to him); Tuvok greets him and is embraced by the irrepressible Talaxian.
Torres and Kim awaken once more and are greeted by an Ocampan doctor who tells them that they were sent here to protect their own people from their "illness". He takes them to the food dispensers, which are provided by the Caretaker, who built their entire underground construct when the surface of their planet turned into a desert. He also reveals that, unfortunately, other aliens with this "disease" that were brought to the Ocampa did not survive.
Voyager finally makes its way to the planet. Upon arriving, Tuvok is sent to fetch Neelix from his quarters, where he finds the Talaxian has helped himself to a mountain of food from the replicator and is noisily enjoying a bath. After welcoming 'Mr Vulcan', Neelix prepares to head down to the planet and suggests where they might begin looking for Kim and Torres as well as recommending bringing water for barter. He then asks if the replicator makes clothes, and Tuvok replies yes… but then makes a point, when asked, of telling Neelix that it will not make him a Starfleet uniform. Janeway, Paris, Chakotay, Neelix, and Tuvok beam down and are immediately captured by a group of Kazon-Ogla, a rogue faction in the Delta Quadrant.
For some assistance and since the Kazon desperately need water, Janeway arranges for huge canisters of water to be beamed down in exchange for some answers. She asks where those Ocampa might be, and the Kazon leader, Jabin points to a battered Ocampan woman and says, "she is an Ocampa." As Jabin continues, he explains that the array is used by the Caretaker who provides the Ocampa with everything they need. Jabin has been torturing Kes to find a way into the Ocampan underground complex, but she does not give an answer. Around this time Neelix tries to barter with Jabin for the release of Kes in exchange for the water as well. Jabin refuses and Neelix grabs him and warns the surrounding Kazon to drop their weapons or he will kill him. The rest of the crew gets their weapons back and shoot at the enormous water containers. With the Kazon distracted with the water spilling out onto the ground quickly, Janeway contacts Voyager to beam them up. Soon after, the crew realizes that Neelix and Kes are lovers.
Meanwhile, Torres and Kim are still being held against their will by the Ocampa. They try to devise a way out when a young Ocampa nurse comes up to them and tells them about secret passageways to the surface. But, she says that there are meters of solid rock to get through and even with the proper tools, it may take days or even weeks to get through. Ever determined, Kim and Torres ask for her help.
While Kes is being tended to by The Doctor, Janeway asks if there is any way to get to their crew members. Kes replies that she escaped through a tunnel underground, but now, the passageway she came out of is sealed by solid rock and they won't be able to get through. Janeway assures they will be able to with their transporter technology. Kes then says that there are breaches in the tunnels which will help them get through. They beam to the surface where Kes reunites with her people, who are telepathic, but she defies them by helping the crew rescue their friends.
Kim and Torres manage to escape, meanwhile the pulses from the array stop and the array re-positions itself and begins firing weapons at the surface in order to seal the conduits leading down to the facility. This action allows Tuvok to come to a conclusion for what is going on… the Caretaker is dying. Asked to explain his reasoning, Tuvok explains that the Caretaker has given the Ocampa enough energy to last for five years before sealing the conduits meaning he will no longer be continuing as Caretaker. Chakotay suggests that he may not be dying, but just leaving but Tuvok counters this by explaining that it's doubtful the Caretaker would just leave after providing for the Ocampa for a thousand years… the "debt that can never be repaid" is a debt to them. Also his references to "not enough time" meant that he knew he was going to die. Janeway realizes that if the Caretaker dies, the crew may be stranded in the Delta Quadrant. The crew decide they need to find Torres and Kim and splits up.
Soon after, Tom Paris, Neelix and Kes find Kim and Torres. They go to the passageway to the surface, and eventually get past the barrier. Kes, Kim, and Torres beam to Voyager; Paris and Neelix remain behind to help the others. They find them, but Chakotay, who had broken a leg, nearly dies when the metal staircase he is on breaks apart. Paris goes back for him and saves his life, thus proving Paris' loyalty. Later, the crew is all beamed aboard and Janeway sets a course back to the array.
As the Kazon arrive at the array intending to take control, Janeway (who allows Paris to take the helm) and Tuvok beam over and come to realize the old man playing the banjo is, in fact, the Caretaker. The Caretaker explains that he can't send the crew home as he barely has the strength to complete his work… sealing the conduits before he dies. He knows that he has to in order to stop the Kazon from stealing the Ocampa's water and killing them. However, the Caretaker regretfully states that in a few years it won't matter as when the energy runs out the Ocampa will be forced to surface where they'll die anyway. Janeway realizes that something the Caretaker did turned the planet into a desert… that is the debt that can never be repaid. The Caretaker explains that his species were explorers from another galaxy, however their technology damaged Ocampa's atmosphere. In order to right this wrong, the Caretaker remained behind with a female counterpart, who abandoned her post in order to explore the galaxy. Before his death, he wanted to find someone who could take over from him. To that end, he has been abducting ships from across the galaxy in order to find someone he could procreate with, so the Ocampa would be taken care of. Janeway reassures him that, as explorers too, they've met species who have managed to overcome all kinds of adversity without a Caretaker; the Ocampa will manage to somehow survive without him. The Caretaker reveals that, in order to stop the Kazon from taking the array, he has activated the self-destruct despite the fact this will leave the crew stranded in the Delta Quadrant.
Meanwhile, the battle between the Kazon and the two Alpha Quadrant ships intensifies. Eventually, in order to take some of the pressure off Voyager, Chakotay transports his crew to the Starfleet vessel. He then pilots the Val Jean to ram into the main Kazon ship just before transporting to Voyager himself, destroying the fighter and sending the Kazon crashing into the array, damaging it.
Inside the array, the holographic simulation fails revealing the array's true layout. The Caretaker, now in his natural form, tells Janeway that the self-destruct system was damaged so now the array won't be destroyed. The Caretaker then finally dies, and in his final words states that if Kazon take the array, they will annihilate the Ocampa.
Janeway is now left with a difficult decision. Should she use the array to return to the Alpha Quadrant and let it fall into Kazon hands or destroy the array, as the Caretaker wanted at the cost of a way home? Tuvok reminds his captain that any action taken to protect the Ocampa will affect the balance of power in this region of space; they would have to comply with the Prime Directive. But Janeway questions the validity of the Prime Directive in this situation because, regardless of whether they chose to become involved in the affairs of the Ocampa or the Kazon, they are involved nonetheless. She and Tuvok beam back to Voyager when they discover that a Kazon fleet has arrived at the array. Janeway finally makes her decision and asks Tuvok to prepare tricobalt devices to destroy the array. B'Elanna Torres loudly argues that they will never be able to get home, but Chakotay bluntly overrules her, acknowledging Janeway as the Captain. Janeway then orders Tuvok to fire and the tricobalt devices destroy the array, leaving no debris. After this, Jabin contacts Voyager and tells them that they have made an enemy this day. The Kazon ships withdraw.
Paris is later summoned to Janeway's ready room, where she tells him that due to the circumstances she's asked the Maquis to join the crew given their own ship is destroyed. She has also asked Chakotay, given that he was previously in Starfleet, to be her first officer and ensures Paris doesn't have a problem with that, especially since he'll have to report to him given the fact he is being made conn officer permanently. Paris is surprised and grateful as Janeway gives him a field commission of lieutenant, only sorry that his father doesn't know. Paris promises he'll find out when the ship gets home. After this, Neelix and Kes ask Janeway if they could join the crew. After saying that Voyager is not a passenger ship, Neelix convinces Janeway that he will be able to be a guide for the crew through the Delta Quadrant. Kes assures Janeway that they want to be a part of the crew's journey back to Earth. Janeway agrees.
After bringing the two crews together on the bridge (the Maquis now wearing Starfleet uniforms), Janeway tells the assembled officers that, as Voyager is the only Federation ship in the Delta Quadrant, they will carry forward Starfleet's mandate of exploring new worlds and meeting new species and she also informs that both crews are going to work together in order to survive as she and Chakotay have agreed that this will be one Starfleet crew. However, she maintains that, even though the return trip would take 75 years at maximum speeds, Voyager's primary mission is to return to Federation space. They hopefully will find anomalies, wormholes, spatial rifts or technology that will shorten their journey back home to the Alpha Quadrant. With that in place, Captain Janeway orders Lieutenant Paris to "set a course… for home." Thus, Voyager's 75-year journey back home to the Alpha Quadrant begins.
- "Captain's log, stardate 48315.6. We've traced the energy pulses from the array to the fifth planet of the neighboring system and believe they may have been used in some fashion to transport Kim and Torres to the planet's surface."
- "Captain's log, supplemental. The Maquis ship and Voyager have encountered a debris field where sensors have detected a small vessel. One humanoid lifeform is on board."
- - Chakotay, with the first spoken words of the series
"How am I supposed to be creative with a thirty-nine-year-old rebuilt engine?!"
- - Chakotay and B'Elanna Torres, under fire from Gul Evek's warship
"Gul Evek must feel daring today."
- - Chakotay, remarking on Evek's willingness to pursue the Maquis fighter into the Badlands
"Officially, you'd be a Starfleet observer during the mission."
"'Observer'?! Oh, hell. I'm the best pilot you could have!"
"You'll be an observer. When it's over, you're cut loose."
"The story of my life."
- - Kathryn Janeway and Tom Paris
"Do you always fly at women at warp speed, Mister Paris?"
"Only when they're in visual range."
- - Stadi and Paris
"It's been my special pleasure to see many new officers like yourself come through these portals. Your parents must be very proud, my boy."
- - Quark, introducing himself to Harry Kim
"Quite recently, I acquired these Lobi crystals from a very strange creature called a Morn."
"We were warned about the Ferengi at the Academy."
"Warned about Ferengi, were you?"
"Slurs… about my people at Starfleet Academy!"
- - Harry Kim and Quark
"What do I get for my trouble? Scurrilous insults! Well, somebody's gonna hear about this. What's your name, son?"
"You have one, I presume?"
"Kim, Harry Kim."
- - Quark and Harry Kim
"Didn't they warn you about Ferengi at the Academy?"
- - Paris, after rescuing Harry Kim from Quark's scheme
"Oh, yes: the… 'observer.'"
"That's me. As a matter of fact, I seem to be observing some kind of problem right now… doctor."
- - Voyager's original chief medical officer and Tom Paris
"She's with child! I can't leave her in a kennel while I'm…"
"Is this another 'love me, love my dog' demand?"
"How could I ever refuse you?"
- - Kathryn Janeway and Mark Johnson
"You never bother me, except the way I love to be bothered."
- - Kathryn Janeway, to Mark Johnson
"See you in a few weeks…"
- - Kathryn Janeway, to Mark Johnson
"Mister Kim… at ease, before you sprain something."
- - Captain Janeway to Harry Kim
"'Ma'am' is acceptable in a crunch, but I prefer 'captain.'"
- - Kathryn Janeway to Harry Kim
"It's not crunch time yet, Mister Kim. I'll let you know when."
- - Harry Kim and Captain Janeway
"Hot, plain, tomato soup!"
- - Tom Paris, becoming exasperated with a food replicator
"Fourteen varieties and they can't even get hot, plain, tomato soup right!"
- - Tom Paris' reaction to tasting the soup
"The ghosts of those three dead officers came to me in the middle of the night and told me the true meaning of Christmas."
- - Tom Paris telling Harry Kim about how his own feelings of guilt led him to confess
"I don't need anyone to choose my friends for me."
- - Harry Kim to Tom Paris
"Brace for impact."
- - Captain Janeway's final words before Voyager is thrown into the Delta Quadrant
"Captain, there's something out there!"
"I need a better description than that, Mister Kim!"
- - Harry Kim and Kathryn Janeway
"Captain, if these sensors are working, we're over seventy thousand light years from where we were. We're on the other side of the galaxy."
- - Harry Kim to Captain Janeway, announcing Voyager's arrival in the Delta Quadrant
"Please state the nature of the medical emergency."
- - The Doctor's first line
"Tricorder… Medical tricorder."
- - The Doctor, requesting a medical tricorder from Harry Kim
"A replacement must be requested as soon as possible; I am programmed only as a short-term emergency supplement to the medical team."
"Well, we may be stuck with you for a while, Doc."
- - The Doctor and Tom Paris, after Voyager arrives in the Delta Quadrant
"Now just make yourselves right at home. The neighbors should be here any minute. Oh, why, here they are!"
- Aunt Adah, ignoring Janeway having introduced herself
"Corn on the cob?"
- Aunt Adah, said multiple times in her attempts to welcome the Starfleet officers from Voyager
"I'm sorry if we put you out."
- Aunt Adah, said twice in quick succession to Voyager's Starfleet contingent
"Paris, she's only a hologram."
"No reason to be rude!"
- - Harry Kim and Tom Paris, in regards to the daughter hologram
"I'm not ready for you yet!"
- - The daughter hologram, puppeteered by the Caretaker, trying to shoo Paris and Kim away from the holographic generator
"Very well. Since no-one seems to care for any corn, we'll have to proceed ahead of schedule."
- - Aunt Adah, accepting the curiosity of Voyager's Starfleet crew members
"At least the Vulcan was doing his duty as a Starfleet officer, but you, you betrayed us for what? Freedom from prison? Latinum? What was your price this time?!"
- - Chakotay to Paris
"Oh, why have you come back? You don't have what I need!"
- - The Caretaker, to the Voyager away team
"Oh, well, now. Aren't you contentious for a minor bipedal species?"
"This 'minor bipedal species' doesn't take kindly to being abducted."
- - The Caretaker and Janeway
"I don't have enough time. Not enough time!"
- - The Caretaker to the Voyager away team, discarding both them and the idea of sending their ship back to the Alpha Quadrant
"I never seem to have the chance to get to know any of them. I have to, um… I have to take more time to do that. It's a fine crew, and I've gotta get them home."
- - Janeway to Tuvok, regarding Voyager's crew
"That would not be an accurate perception, captain. Vulcans do not worry."
"They… miss you."
"As I do them."
- - Tuvok and Janeway, concerning the former's family
"Since you're not interested in my debris, well… I'm delighted to know you!"
- - Neelix
"A very impressive title! I have no idea what it means, but it sounds very impressive."
- - Neelix, in reference to Captain Janeway's credentials
"Sounds as though you've heard this story before."
"Sadly, yes, thousands of times. Well, hundreds of times. Maybe fifty times."
- - Janeway and Neelix, concerning the Caretaker's multiple crew abductions
"There's really very little that you could offer me. Unless…"
"Unless, of course… you had… water?"
"If you help us find our missing crewmembers, you can have all the water you want."
- - Neelix and Janeway, negotiating
"Astonishing! You Federations are obviously an advanced culture."
"The Federation is made up of many cultures. I am Vulcan."
"Neelix. Good to meet you!"
- - Neelix and Tuvok, as the former arrives aboard Voyager and embraces the latter in a bear hug
"Interesting… What… what exactly… (He chuckles) What exactly does all this… all this do?"
"I assure you that everything in this room has a specific function. However, it would take several hours to explain it all. I suggest we proceed to your quarters. (Pause) Perhaps you would care for a bath."
- - Tuvok and Neelix, when Neelix first boards Voyager
"Ah, Mister Vulcan. Come in, come in, please."
- - Tuvok and Neelix, while the latter enjoys a bath
"Do these, uh, replicators make clothing as well?"
"Will it make me a uniform like yours?"
"No. It most certainly will not."
- - Neelix and Tuvok
"The Kazon-Ogla? Who are the Kazon-Ogla?!"
- - Janeway, upon first hearing about the Kazon
"I must speak with your maje, the ever-wise Jabin."
- - Neelix, asking the Kazon subordinates to speak with their leader
"Dearest, didn't I promise to save you?"
- - Neelix asking a rhetorical question of Kes, revealing that they are lovers
"If I save your butt, your life belongs to me. Isn't that some kind of Indian custom?"
"I don't believe you. You'd rather die than let me be the one to rescue you?"
"Fine, be a fool. If I have to die, at least I'll get the pleasure of watching you go with me."
"Isn't there some Indian trick where you can turn yourself into a bird and fly us out of here?"
"You're too heavy."
- - Paris and Chakotay
"Is the crew always this difficult?"
"I don't know, Doc. It's my first mission."
- - The Doctor and Kim
"Doesn't anyone know how to turn off the program when they leave?"
- - The Doctor
"Well… you're nothing if not persistent."
- - The Caretaker to Janeway, laughing and seeing she has come aboard his array for the third time
"We're explorers from another galaxy, but we had no idea that our technology would be so destructive to their atmosphere. Two of us were chosen to stay behind and care for them."
"There's another like you here?"
"Not anymore. No, no. She… she went off to look for more interesting places."
- - The Caretaker and Janeway, discussing the second Caretaker and the duty of caring for the Ocampa
"Did you ever consider allowing the Ocampa to care for themselves?"
"Oh, they're children!"
"Children have to grow up."
- - Janeway and The Caretaker
"Tell one of your cracker-jack Starfleet transporter chiefs to keep a lock on me."
- - Chakotay
"Stand by to transport!"
- - Paris and Chakotay, arranging the latter's rescue from his Maquis raider in the nick of time
"Now, this installation will not be destroyed. But it must be. The Kazon must not be allowed to gain control of it. They will annihilate the Ocampa."
- - The Caretaker's final words
"Captain, any action we take to protect the Ocampa would affect the balance of power in this system. The Prime Directive would seem to apply."
"Would it? We never asked to be involved, Tuvok. But we are. We are."
- - Tuvok and Janeway
"We'll have to find another way home."
- - Janeway to Torres, deciding to destroy the Caretaker's array, Voyager's only then-evident way home
"Who is she to be making these decisions for all of us?"
"She's the captain."
- - Torres and Chakotay
"You have made an enemy today."
- - Jabin's only words to Captain Janeway when he contacts Voyager for the last time
"I've entered into the ship's log, on this date, that I'm granting a field commission of lieutenant to Thomas Eugene Paris. Congratulations."
- - Kathryn Janeway, promoting Tom Paris
"Whatever you need is what I have to offer. You need a guide? I'm your guide. You need supplies? I know where to procure them. I have friends among races you don't even know exist. You need a cook? Oh, you haven't lived until you've tasted my angla'bosque. It will be my job to anticipate your needs before you know you have them. And I anticipate your first need… will be me."
"Captain, we both want very much to be a part of your journey."
- - Neelix's and Kes' pitch to Captain Janeway
"We're alone, in an uncharted part of the galaxy. We've already made some friends here, and some enemies. We have no idea of the dangers we're going to face, but one thing is clear. Both crews are going to have to work together if we're to survive. That's why Commander Chakotay and I have agreed that this should be one crew: a Starfleet crew. And as the only Starfleet vessel assigned to the Delta Quadrant, we'll continue to follow our directive to seek out new worlds and explore space. But our primary goal is clear. Even at maximum speeds, it would take seventy-five years to reach the Federation, but I'm not willing to settle for that. There's another entity like the Caretaker out there somewhere, who has the ability to get us there a lot faster. We'll be looking for her, and we'll be looking for wormholes, spatial rifts, or new technologies to help us. Somewhere, along this journey, we'll find a way back. Mister Paris, set a course… for home."
- - Captain Kathryn Janeway's speech during their journey through the Delta Quadrant
Writing the pilot
- Brannon Braga missed the chance to be involved in the writing of this episode; he was on vacation at the time. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 5, p. 45)
- This pilot episode was a result of development lunches between Executive Producers Rick Berman, Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor about Star Trek: Voyager. ("Braving the Unknown: Season 1", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) Noted Piller, "Rick, Jeri and I ate lots of cheap lunches over several weeks to hammer out the plot." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, p. 10) The writing process – actually first concerning development of the series' concept and characters – began in July 1993. The team routinely met at noon, four days a week or so, and each of their discussions was for two or three hours. The meetings continued through July, August and September 1993. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 155 & 157-158)
- The galaxy-crossing leap which the USS Voyager and its crew make in this outing was inspired by certain installments of Star Trek: The Next Generation. "We remembered the episodes, many episodes," Michael Piller said, with a laugh, "where Q would show up and throw one of our ships or one of our people off to some strange part of the universe. And we'd have to figure out why we were there, how we were going to get back, and ultimately – by the end of an episode – we'd get back home. But as we had one of those lunches – the three of us, Jeri [Taylor], Rick [Berman] and I – we started to talk about what would happen if… we didn't get home. That appealed to us a great deal." ("Braving the Unknown: Season 1", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) The idea also came about as an effort to make the new series extremely different from its predecessors. "That led to the thought about the ship, in the pilot episode, of being tossed into the netherworld, into another quadrant," recalled Berman. (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 25) Taylor remembered, "We decided, in a very calculated way, to cut our ties with everything that was familiar." ("Braving the Unknown: Season 1", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- However, establishing the journey herein obviously wasn't the only initial goal of this outing. "We had a lot to accomplish," stated Rick Berman. "We had to introduce a whole cast of characters, and get these people over to the other side of the galaxy [….] I had a lot to do with the conception of it." (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 27) One of Michael Piller's contributions was to suggest that the characters in this pilot were "really neat," and he made it his goal to ensure that they would be. (OMNI, Vol. 17, No. 5) "I think we learned from our mistakes on Deep Space Nine and, to a lesser extent, on Next Generation," he reflected, "that we needed to immediately find these people as individuals and as a crew." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 124)
- Indeed, the development of this episode was highly influenced by the single most recent Star Trek series to have been created. "The thing about 'Caretaker' that must be remembered in all discussions," said Michael Piller, "is that it was created in the shadow of ST:DS9." (Star Trek Magazine issue 119, p. 79)
- The conception of this installment took cues, for example, from the DS9 pilot episode "Emissary", which Michael Piller had been involved in writing. Whereas "Emissary" concentrates on cerebral matters to a relatively high degree, a primary goal in the writing of this episode was to make it action-packed. Piller stated, "When we started the pilot, I felt that after all the psychological stuff we had done on Deep Space Nine, we could let loose and have a wild ride and adventure with this. My push on the pilot was to let it all hang out in a real old-fashioned adventure story." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 126) Piller believed the audience was ready for a pilot episode which highlighted action-adventure. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 235) He admitted, "As an audience member, I was ready for a real rock-'em, sock-'em adventure and I really wanted to […] spend all the studio's money in creating a really neat adventure." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134) Thus, Piller also felt, as a writer, that it was time he tried to write a fun, action-based "yarn". (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, p. 11) The other executive producers agreed to this strategy. Jeri Taylor remembered, "We had really made the choice to make this an action-adventure kind of romp." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 35) Ultimately, Piller was of the opinion that "our ambitions were a little less lofty," in contrast to the ambitions which had motivated the writing of "Emissary". (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 235 & 236)
- While working on this episode's story, Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor followed a method of hammering out the plot whereby, repeatedly, they brainstormed ideas, Taylor took notes, and Piller typed up digests of the progress they made each day. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 62) Taylor kept taking notes as Piller transcribed the evolving story to computer, and both would routinely review their notes during the next session with the group. (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 54) "It was just a process of adding and embellishing and then going back and changing," clarified Taylor. "It was a collaborative process that took quite a while." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 62) The process, in fact, seemed endless. It entailed many weeks of thinking, discussing, devising ideas, discarding them, going back to square one and repeating the entire process again. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 174)
- By the end of July 1993, some story and character elements were beginning to emerge from the regular conversations, such as the notion of having a split crew – some Starfleet and some rebels, the latter of whom were commonly referred to by the team of executive producers, at this early stage of development, as "misfits". (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 174-175) After the executive producing trio struck upon this split-crew concept, they had the idea of having the crews join forces to embark, as explorers, on the long journey home. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 12)
- Some of the earliest concepts that eventually ended up in this episode were included in a list of handwritten notes which was written by Jeri Taylor and dated 30 July 1993. The notes stated, "We get zapped to the ends of the galaxy – it will take 10 years to get home. We explore on the way. The misfits are stuck with us." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 175)
- The executive producers subsequently thought up the concept of the Starfleet crew initially hurrying after the group of renegades, a notion that was inspired by the series co-creators asking themselves what they believed might make an interesting Star Trek crew. "The answer for us was to find ourselves chasing an outlaw group," reflected Piller. "We all get tossed onto the other side of the universe and everybody has to team up [….] That seemed to be an interesting dynamic that would give us plenty of story material." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 200)
- There was a great deal of discussion and controversy as to whether the renegades should be given Starfleet uniforms. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 76) Ronald D. Moore recalled, "The initial idea for Voyager was that the Maquis who joined the crew would not put on the Starfleet uniforms." Michael Piller was a strong proponent of this idea. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 352) However, Rick Berman believed the Maquis needed to wear Starfleet uniforms. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 200) Noted Moore, "Michael lost that fight." (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 352) With hindsight, Berman explained, "We wanted to get the Maquis into Starfleet uniforms, with a captain who had to pull together diverse groups of people into a functioning, solid, effective unit." The actual reason the rebels were incorporated into the Starfleet crew, by the end of the episode, was that Berman felt having tension between the two groups in every installment of the subsequent series "would get pretty irritating, and cumbersome." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 181, 198 & 202) The fact this episode was preceded by the creation of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine also had an impact on this outcome, as DS9 had been considered a failure as far as Paramount was concerned, due to that series having significantly lower ratings than TNG. "So, the driving philosophy was to recapture the bright, optimistic, ship-driven energy of ST:TNG," explained Piller. "The most notable decision in this regard was to put the Maquis into Starfleet uniforms at the end of the pilot." (Star Trek Magazine issue 119, pp. 79-80)
- Another example of one of the compilations of notes Jeri Taylor regularly wrote up was notated on 3 August 1993 (at a time when Star Trek: Voyager was still unnamed). In a note regarding the forthcoming show's "premise," Taylor wrote, "Starfleet sends a ship and crew on a dangerous covert mission [….] To accomplish the mission, we must take along someone who has fallen from grace – a former Starfleet officer who may even be in prison. Given a chance to redeem himself, he agrees to help us. During the course of the mission we must find two other nefarious characters; our former officer may have information about them, or know them, or know the area in which they are working. The mission unfolds, and during the course of it – perhaps near the end? – we are somehow zapped to the far reaches of the galaxy, somewhere so far that, by conventional means, it will take ten years or so to get back. The Captain steels herself for this journey, and offers uniforms to the three misfits. Two of them accept and take positions on the bridge; the other won't take the uniform, but agrees to serve in Engineering. The Captain makes clear that the journey home will fulfill their Starfleet job descriptions: they will map and investigate and explore this unknown space. They will get back, and when they do they will have a wealth of information and research to bring to the Federation." Other characteristics of this episode which were included in the same notes involve mention of a short-lived alien "Mayfly" "whom we meet after we've been zapped to the ends of the galaxy," and the death of the ship's medical officer during the mission, followed by him being replaced by a self-aware holographic doctor. Meanwhile, the other characters included a total of three "misfits" – a tactical officer (who was the aforementioned former Starfleet officer), a conn officer, and an assistant engineer. Finally, a listing of "other idle thoughts" included the name "Nick Locarno" (a reference to a TNG character) and what was most likely an early allusion to the Caretaker alien, with the notes mentioning "an omnipotent being who has lost its powers." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 175-176 & 177)
- The story continued its gradual development in the regular talks between the trio of executive producers. Another series of notes written by Jeri Taylor, this time dated 8 August 1993, contained a note on the "story." Taylor simply wrote, "New ship's being commissioned – They take it for mission." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 181 & 186)
- In notes written two days later, the "Badlands" were first posited, along with the notion that "some ships have been lost" in the area. Also, by this point, an association was begun which linked the character of the former Starfleet officer with the aforementioned TNG role of Nicholas Locarno, though the character, as created for VOY, was to later be renamed "Tom Paris". After describing the Badlands, the notes went on to say, "It's a hiding place for our bad guys, who think they're invulnerable. We take Locarno along, who knows the area, having been with the baddies." Another relevant note in the same document suggested that the aforementioned "Mayfly" was "from a world that has been squatted on." The squatters were conceived as aliens temporarily known, using shorthand at this early stage of the narrative's development, as "Crips and Bloods", though later to be named "Kazon". The same notes reiterated too that "the doctor is killed going through the bubble." An ultimately unused story concept in these notes stated, "We may lose an older Mayfly and take the young one with us." A summation of the "story thoughts," up to that point, was also provided in the document. It said, "Probably 30 minutes setting up, getting Tactical [Officer Locarno] on Board, going into Badlands to chase the other two ['misfits': the conn officer and the assistant engineer]; we get caught in the phenomenon while tractored to the baddy ship, when we come through on the other side, we're still tethered but something weird has happened to the other ship – it's empty, it's six days older, it's a derelict." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 186-187, 176, 177 & 178)
- Jeri Taylor included more "story thoughts" in another summary of notes, dated 16 August 1993 and detailing the warring alien gangs. This document included the note, "The two baddies we've been hunting for are captured by the Crips and taken to the Mayfly planet." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 187) Featuring the alien planet as a setting of the story allowed for not only the introduction of a new alien species, in the form of one of the gangs, but also some location filming. (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure) Another story possibility was presented in the same document, which suggested, "We make amends with one of the gangs – but not the other, making us enemies of that gang." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 188)
- In a considerably long summary of notes dated 17 August 1993, Jeri Taylor pondered, "What is the moral issue which will be addressed in the pilot? Is it the decision to behave as Starfleet people, even though there is 'no more' Starfleet as far as our situation is concerned? Perhaps there are temptations to settle on a planet… to make a new life in this unknown territory… but ultimately we realize we have to head for home, exploring and gathering information, because that's what we, as Starfleet, do. This means there has to be conflict – those who want to remain. Who might that be? [….] It might come from the baddies, who will ultimately be redeemed and come to realize that being Starfleet is the way to go (except the assistant engineer)." An updated listing of the characters in the ultimately amalgamated crew followed, in which one of the three misfits was changed to a science officer rather than a conn officer, though the other two were still a tactical officer (who was no longer identified as Nick Locarno) and an assistant engineer. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 182, 188 & 189) In a subsection called "What We Know of the Story", the document then explained,
"There is an area of space that is like the Bermuda Triangle: ships tend to disappear there, for unknown reasons. But we learn that it's being used as the 'Badlands' – a hiding place for daring bad guys. We are sent in to capture a ship of these bad guys. To that end, we procure the services of a former, fallen Starfleet officer who jumps at the chance to redeem himself and who is made the Tactical Officer of the ship.
"We enter the Badlands and find the bad guy ship. During our efforts to tractor it, something happens in the anomaly, and we are ﬂung through an incredible array of effects and come out of it in deep deep deep space. We are still tethered to the bad guy ship – but something's weird about it. It's empty, or aged, or shot up. How did that happen? And where's the crew?
"We soon realize that we're so far from Federation space that it would take fifty years or so to fly back. What are we to do? Search for a world where we might assimilate? Keep chasing the bad guys? Why? Our orders are somewhat meaningless – there's no more 'Starfleet' as far as we're concerned. We can't even send messages. Why bother?
"Our first instinct is to try to find out how we got flung out here, and if we can get flung back again. But there's no information, no clues – except the bad guy ship, strangely deserted. We investigate it, and decide we'd better find those two guys. They might, through their experience in coming through, have some idea what's happened and how to get back.
"We're able to track them to the planet of the Mayflys, and find they've been taken prisoner by the Crips – a gang which, in conflict with two other gangs, competes for territory in this region of space. During this time we encounter our Mayfly and another of her species – an older one, near the end of a brief life span.
"Our adventure allows us to rescue the bad guys from the Crips, and we end up with them, and the Mayfly, on board. But the rescue has incurred the wrath of the Crips and we must extricate ourselves from them. One possibility: we forge a truce, or understanding with them – only to learn that in doing so we have ensured the enmity of the Bloods, who swear to eliminate us.
"Ultimately, we make the decision to head home. Some may never get there… but it's the journey, the decision, which matters. During this time the two bad guys will have shown themselves to be helpful, and are offered uniforms and positions on the ship. The Science Officer accepts; the Assistant Engineer refuses to don a uniform, but reluctantly accepts a job rather than be bored to death.
"We will continue to do what Starfleet does – explore and investigate – and whoever makes it back will arrive with a wealth of knowledge to enrich the cultural coffers of the Federation. We will live responsibly, living up to expectations, even though no one's there to make sure we do, because it's the right thing." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 190-191)
- The plot point about the Caretaker having a partner who had left him was inspired by concerns which Paramount Television President Kerry McCluggage voiced to Rick Berman regarding the slowly evolving series' premise, as presented in the 17 August 1993 document. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 188, 191-192) Paramount urged the episode's writers to retain a sense of hopefulness and optimism in the new show, which led to the plot element about the Caretaker's partner. (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 55) Berman remembered, "Frankly we made a concession to finally finish the sales job… we put the one-armed man out there – which is the other entity that we met in the pilot." The existence of the missing Caretaker's partner was conceived as a viable "out," meant as potentially a convenient method of returning the USS Voyager's crew home, if viewer response indicated the series had to make a fundamental shift in its premise and setting. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 192)
- The evolution of the narrative proceeded through September 1993. This episode was influenced by the fact that, as September began, the development talks started including more staff members, such as Senior Art Supervisor/Technical Consultant Michael Okuda and Senior Illustrator/Technical Consultant Rick Sternbach. One topic the pair was tasked with devising was finding a technical rationale for Voyager's leap to a distant part of the galaxy. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 181 & 198)
- Plot ideas for this episode continued being discussed by the three executive producers personally and in notes written by Jeri Taylor. One of these, dated 9 September 1993, regarded "Version Two: Procreation" and read, "We are the match he's looking for in DNA; he needs pieces of a strand to build a new Mayfly. 'Give me a child.' After sampling us, he discards us." The same document reveals that the creative trio were meanwhile imagining the male alien as a deity who felt it was essential for him to continue acting as parent to the Mayfly. Wrote Taylor, "We're able to say to him, 'Let go. Your children are stronger than you think.'" (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 204) She later explained, "We were thinking as speaking to our children and saying you must learn to take responsibility for yourselves. If we do too much for you, this does not prepare you to go forth into the world." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134)
- The executive producers also worked on encompassing more jeopardy and conflict into the episode. They envisioned the male alien deity as being near death and situated on an array which would be of strategic importance to the alien gangs. It was about this time, too, that the executive producers decided that, rather than have the intermixed crew become allies with one of those gangs, the episode would culminate in a battle between the alien antagonists and the combined crew. In a series of notes dated 10 September 1993, Jeri Taylor stated, "The dying goo-man is the protector of the Mayflys – sees the fragile balance of their society cracking. If it does, they'll be overrun by the Crips and Bloods. She's a curious, eager person – breaking from her culture, wanting adventure, unwilling to settle for what everyone else has settled for. The Bloods and Crips have taken over the Mayfly planet, and they are now a third world culture. Everything is given them, they're taken care of. Our girl is a heretic because she wants to work – till the land, become self-sufficient. 'Our people are stronger than he thinks.' But goo-man feels they'll be 'run into the sea' when he dies, by the Blood [sic] and Crips. At the end, there's a standoff to hold the B's and C's back; so we have to go to the array to use it (to get back) but end up destroying it to keep the B's and C's from taking control of it." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 188 & 205)
- The developing of the story progressed concurrently with conceptual refinements of the relationship between the rebels, namely the Maquis, and the Starfleet officers. Another of Jeri Taylor's notes, dated 15 September 1993, included her specifying, "Michael [Piller] introduced the notion of a 'joined by necessity' move at the end of the story, in which the raiders and SF join forces in order to survive, and the raider captain negotiates for his people to have certain key positions on the ship." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 205)
- Rick Berman and his two producing collaborators wanted to avoid this installment having some burdensome backstory for the Maquis, so the trio opted to conceptually establish the group in TNG and DS9 beforehand. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 28, p. 12) Michael Piller was grateful for this, believing a "necessary evil" of pilot episodes is exposition. He expressed, "Thankfully […] we didn't have to do a lot of work in that regard." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 133)
- Neither the story nor script for this episode was planned to be written by committee. The task of writing a draft of both fell to Michael Piller. Jeri Taylor and Rick Berman were then to give notes, either written or verbal, after which Piller would include their suggestions in the next drafts. The story and script would be based on the series bible for Star Trek: Voyager, so it made sense for that to be written first. While the first-draft bible was being written, the ship and the region it would end up in during the course of this episode were respectively identified as the "USS Voyager" on 25 September and the Delta Quadrant on 27 September. A page-and-a-half story summary for this episode was provided in the initial draft of the bible. The "Mayfly" species was now named "Ocampa", and the joint crew consisted of nine characters. Although the conn officer was by now named "Tom Paris" and the chief engineer was now simply called "B'Elanna", the main characters also included Captain "Kate Janeway", First Officer "Chakatoy", Tactical/Security Chief "Vicon", Ops/Communications Officer "Jay Osaka", Intern/Medic "Dah" (the Ocampa, or "Mayfly", female), Doctor "Zimmerman", and gofer/guide "Felux". After writing the first-draft bible, Piller set to work with expanding on its story summary, as the next step was to write a draft of the pilot story, though it was far too early to initiate work on the script for this outing. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 206, 207 & 208)
- As Michael Piller started drafting the story, he was in his office on the first floor of Paramount's Hart Building. Piller wasn't writing in a vacuum, influenced by the busy environment he was in, the experience of having worked as a writer on DS9: "Emissary", and focus groups who strongly suggested viewers wanted a female captain as the central character of the new series. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 209, 214-215)
- While trying to draft the story for this episode, Michael Piller became aware that he felt the installment should centrally feature one of the main characters undergoing an arc, much like what happens, for example, to Sisko during the course of "Emissary". In a memo he wrote Rick Berman and Jeri Taylor (on the subject of "futures"), Piller remarked, "I think we have to re-direct our thinking process. I sat down this week to start on a draft of the story as we've been discussing it and almost immediately realized, I had no through line to work with [….] All the plot elements we've come up with will be wonderful to play with after we decide what our through line is going to be. What we're looking for, I think, is the same thing that every successful Star Trek episode has (check the Top 25 if you doubt me) and that is a story that builds to a moral dilemma or crisis for one or more of our characters. Either a life-changing series of events (rare and not necessary) or at least a moment for the audience to ask themselves: Gosh, what would I do in that situation? Assuming it is our Captain that should be faced with this dilemma (and by the way, it is perfectly acceptable that this be a crisis of command a la 'Yesterday's Enterprise': do I sacrifice a few to save the many based on the word of a bartender…), we have to define who she is, what her weaknesses or strengths are, what vulnerabilities she might be to exploit, if there's an inherent moral dilemma available to explore in our theme. Until we know the beginning, middle and end to the through line, or as I always say, get our arms around the perimeter of the story, we can't begin to tell ourselves the plot." 
- The trio of executive producers wanted the narrative of this pilot episode to be told from a rather fresh perspective, employing an approach not previously used. "This is a story of how the family comes together," said Michael Piller. "We decided to tell it in a unique way… from the point of view – at least in the beginning – of one of the lesser-ranking officers, Paris, which we felt would make it different from all other Star Trek pilots. Because all the others had taken the captain's point-of-view – starting from the center [or focus, of all the cast members]. So we thought it would be interesting to introduce our captain through the eyes of one of the other characters, and we follow his development." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 218)
- As the story continued to be developed, the character of Dah was discarded from the plot, which nonetheless still incorporated an outcast from the alien "Mayfly" species, members of which lived only until they were ten years old. She, along with another female character, named "Dumas", joined the Voyager crew in the narrative. However, Michael Piller felt that a lot of exposition was established, focusing on Dumas, in the episode's sixth act. 
- Between the issuing of the first-draft series bible – which was ready by the end of September 1993 – and 4 October 1993, the name of the "gofer/guide" character was changed from "Felux" to "Felox". (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 208; ) The writing of the story was further influenced by Michael Piller considering, in early October 1993, having more sexual inferences in the plot by making the "Mayfly", her species having been named "Ocampa", a science officer whose species was instead J'naii, an androgynous alien race that had been established in TNG: "The Outcast". Piller now imagined that, rather than having the Voyager crew meet her during the course of the episode, the story began with her already aboard the ship. In a memo he sent Rick Berman and Jeri Taylor on 4 October, Piller reckoned, "The side benefits to the pilot become immediately clear. We can lose a character – no need for Dumas at all… and lose all the exposition about that character which fall into the expo hole called Act Six. There seemed to be no time for an emotional connection between Dumas and our people anyway – no real reward to the audience for bringing her along. No yays! On the other hand, we've got that 'yay' all set up and ready to go with Felox who fulfills that 'come and join us' urge. The 'Me Too' problem we would have faced by taking along two pick-ups goes away as well." However, if the alien outcast was to become a J'naii, Piller wondered what would happen to the concept of having an alien crew member whose race had only ten-year lifespans.  After contemplating the possibility of making Felox or Osaka into a Mayfly, Piller decided to resurrect a previously discarded character, Dah, and make her into the Mayfly. (; A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 208) The notion of having a J'naii science officer as a crewmember was ultimately dropped.
- Since the three executive producers had decided that Paris' character arc was to be one of The Fall and eventually Redemption, Michael Piller had to, in telling the story about the formation of a family of characters, weave in the character arc for Paris. During early October 1993, Piller was struggling with this aspect of the plot. He began a memo to Rick Berman and Jeri Taylor, dated 6 October, with the statement, "The good news is that I think once we complete Paris's arc in the second hour, most everything else will fall into place. The bad news is I still don't see the arc and that's what we need to talk about today." As the memo went on, Piller described his progress with writing the character arc, though also detailed his uncertainties and questions. "We've now set up a quest for redemption," he wrote, "for rebirth in traditional Joseph Campbell terms […] and it seems to me we will somehow need new plot elements in part two to force Paris to confront his demons and conquer them. But I'm not living well inside this character yet and I'm not sure I understand what those demons are." In a later paragraph of the memo, Piller related, "Some of the turns that pass through my mind that don't quite seem to work at first glance include: in the array, Paris doesn't follow orders and that's why we're recaptured so he ultimately blames himself for Osaka's fate… or maybe it's too early, maybe he does something the second time they go to the array that gets him in trouble with the Captain or maybe even all the way down on the planet… somewhere maybe Janeway busts him and conﬁnes him to quarters for the rest of the mission and something happens which he alone has to act upon in order to salvage their hopes of getting home or getting Osaka back. In his old pattern, he would turn his back and not take responsibility (do you sense my struggle for the character's identity? That doesn't feel right as I write it). Or is he locked in the brig and fools the holographic doctor so he can escape and do whatever he has to do? (I like that)." Berman and Taylor met with Piller later the same day, 6 October 1993, and the three talked about the points Piller was struggling with. These issues were ultimately resolved and the process continued. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 218-220)
- In the story as ultimately conceived and outlined, the Voyager crew was captured in and escaped from a hi-tech prison aboard the Caretaker's array. (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 55)
- The team of producers wanted to establish a connection between the new show and the already established parts of the Star Trek universe, much like how Captain Picard had appeared in DS9 pilot "Emissary". The end result, this time, was that they wrote Quark into "Caretaker", to give Voyager a similar send-off. (Star Trek Monthly issue 36, p. 46)
- The practice of meetings, note-taking, and further revisions allowed the pilot's story outline to develop. It grew from three to seven pages, then fifteen and finally about thirty. (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 54) When Michael Piller delivered his first draft of the episode's story, it ran thirty-six pages. He submitted the document on 18 October 1993 or thereabouts. This draft of the story reflected the name change from "Felux" to "Felox", and Chakotay was now given a tribal affiliation: Sioux. The story outline was planned to undergo multiple revisions and rewrites and was read by Rick Berman and Jeri Taylor, who each made many notes on it, with comments and suggestions. They next met and spoke with Piller, who made notes of his own. He subsequently began the second draft, which was submitted about two weeks later, on 1 November 1993. After more notes were made on the story, a third draft – in which Chakotay had become a Hopi – was completed by Piller, four days later. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 221)
- The meetings, notes and revisions continued until February 1994, with a draft of the story dated 15 February. The names of the main characters continued to change, such that, in a draft of the series bible which was also dated 15 February, the captain's name was no longer "Kate Janeway" but was "Elizabeth Janeway", "Vicon" was changed to "Nivok", "Jay Osaka" became "Harry Kim", "Dah" was replaced with "Kes", and "Felox" became "Neelix". However, the draft of the story from the same date had Neelix's name as "Neelox", whereas Kes' name was spelled "Kess", and B'Elanna's surname was "Cortez". Another draft of the story was submitted the following day, on 16 February. Among the names of the main characters, it listed "Tuvok", "B'Elanna Torres", "Neelix", and "Kes", while the same draft of the story cited no particular tribal affiliation for Chakotay, referring to him merely as being "from a colony of American Indians." Essentially, the only main characters who were still to be renamed were "Elizabeth Janeway" and the holographic doctor, "Zimmerman". (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 221)
- Each phase of the story was reviewed and approved by Paramount. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 62) The studio submitted a few small notes on the February outline, advice which the trio of executive producers accepted. (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 54)
- Although the 16 February draft was considered complete, it underwent additional changes well into March 1994. With the story drafts having finally been completed, it was now time to tackle the challenge of drafting the installment's script. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 222)
Beat outline and script
- Michael Piller was ready to start trying to draft the script for this pilot episode by early March 1994. Though hectically busy at the time, Piller, Rick Berman, and Jeri Taylor knew this episode had to be a spectacularly high-quality production. If it wasn't, it was hard to imagine how the series and the new network UPN, which was depending on Star Trek: Voyager being a success, could recover. The fact that none of the previous Star Trek pilot episodes had been weak put extra pressure on the makers of this episode, especially Piller. It was in this environment that he started writing the script for the installment, which was still untitled. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 223 & 228)
- Before a complete draft of the script could be written, the producers had to structure this feature-length episode into ten separate acts, before delineating the main scenes in each act. Breaking this story into its constituent parts involved multiple lengthy meetings over a long process which proceeded through March 1994 and into the next month. By mid-April, the consequently produced "beat outline" was more-or-less fixed. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 229) As of 13 April, the first three acts of the outline read:
"1. INT. MAQUIS SHIP
- "On the run from Cardassians. Est. Chakotay B'Elanna and Tuvok – they proceed into Badlands. Run into strange beam – white out.
"1. EXT. CONSTRUCTION SITE – PENAL COLONY
- "Paris is working as carpenter. Sex beat [i.e., a scene containing sexual overtones] with supervisor. Janeway arrives – she makes offer.
"2. EXT. PARK
- "Janeway lays out deal. Some back story on Paris he accepts.
"3. EXT. SPACE
- "Shuttle approaches DS9.
"4. INT. SHUTTLE
- "Paris and pilot see Voyager for the first time.
"5. INT. DS9
- "Paris enters Quark's – see Kim being scammed by Quark. Rescues him.
"6. INT. DS9 AIRLOCK CORRIDOR
- "Paris and Kim exit turbolift chatting about Kim's first posting, but he knows all about this class ship.
"7. INT. VOYAGER – CORRIDOR
- "Kim directs Paris.
"8. INT. SICKBAY
- "Kim and Paris meet the doctor – has attitude toward Paris.
"9. INT. READY ROOM
- "Janeway talks to boyfriend on monitor. Paris and Kim enter – she takes them to…
"10. INT. BRIDGE
- "She assigns Kim to Ops. Set a course.
"11. EXT. SPACE
- "Voyager departs.
"1. INT. PARIS' QUARTERS
- "He chats with father – exits to…
"2. INT. OFFICER'S MESS
- "Paris enters, sees Kim with doctor and others. They leave. Paris tells Kim backstory. Kim says, 'I choose my own friends.' Call from the bridge – approaching Badlands.
"3. INT. BRIDGE
- "They enter Badlands. Follow trace of Maquis – maneuver through holes. Get swept up by ion beam.
"4. EXT. SPACE
- "Big optical effect.
"5. INT. BRIDGE
- "Lots of dead and wounded – Where are we? Reveal array on viewscreen.
"6. EXT. SPACE
- "Voyager array and Maquis ship.
"1. INT. BRIDGE
- "Est. edge of galaxy. Maquis ship dead in space. Some TECH about array – call from engineering – chief dead. Core breach in progress. No response in sickbay. Paris and Kim go there to assist. Janeway heads for engineering.
"2. INT. ENGINEERING
- "Janeway coping with crisis.
"3. INT. SICKBAY
- "Paris and Kim overwhelmed – doctor is dead. They summon EMP Zimmerman [i.e., The Doctor]. As crisis ends, optical effect wipes sets. All disappear except Zimmerman.
"4. INT. ARRAY – ISOLATION CELLS
- "Old man arrives chatting greetings. Janeway demands explanation – he ignores her." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 230-232)
- In the writing of the pilot script, Michael Piller wrote, Jeri Taylor rewrote, and Rick Berman, the busiest of them all, gave notes when he had time. All three regularly met, conversed with each other, and made even more notes before Piller returned to his computer. Between early April 1994 and mid-May of the same year, the teleplay went through four drafts, with the episode's name eventually chosen to be "Caretaker". In general, the script seemed to be developing well. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 232-233) Piller and Taylor dived into writing the script, polishing it, during the one week of late May between the end of TNG and the official start-up of VOY. (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 54) Said Taylor, "Michael and I […] divided up the screenplay. He wrote the first half and I wrote the second, then we switched and he worked on the first and I worked on the second. So it was all sort of a mish-mash." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 62) Berman said, "The writing of it was mostly done by Michael and Jeri, but I was very involved in that process [too]." (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 27) As had been the case with the story, each phase of the script was reviewed and approved by Paramount. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 62)
- While he was working on the episode's teleplay, Michael Piller became bothered by something about the script. It took him a while to figure out what he felt was wrong with the story. When in bed very late at night on 23 May 1994, Piller realized that the element he thought was missing was a mysterious, surreal environment such as had been in every Star Trek pilot up to that point (for example, an illusory version of Mojave in TOS: "The Cage", Q's courtroom in TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint", and the realm of the Prophets in DS9: "Emissary"). Piller laid out his thoughts in a memo to Jeri Taylor and Rick Berman, dated 24 May 1994 and titled "The Missing Link on Voyager". The memo included Piller stating;
"Our story works, I believe, but it is all real in 24th Century terms – it never leaves the baseline universe as we know it. In fact, it never goes into the UNKNOWN. The fix may be simple. Here's the idea I came up with: what if the inside of the Array isn't test tubes and probes. What if, when we're transported off Voyager, we find ourselves suddenly on the Heather on the Hill from Brigadoon, beautiful people coming to greet us, embrace us… or on the beach of Bora Bora with naked Polynesians coming to greet us… or it's the Orientals from Shogun… or some other earth-like metaphor for voyagers who've landed on strange shores. If the entity can create himself as an old man and a bagpipe, he can create an entire environment from his data bank scans, can't he? So, it seems briefly like an idyllic environment we've come to… the entity in some appropriate guise, tells us relax, I don't mean you any harm, but Janeway knows better not to trust what she sees… Tuvok says it's a hologram… The Polynesian natives, if we go that way, are putting leis around our neck, dancing the dances to the drums and it's hard not to get caught up in this if you're Kim or Paris. It's almost like we were in an old 19th Century whaling ship thrown off course by a hurricane, says Kim. But quickly, the idyllic setting becomes dangerous… not exactly sure how… but instead of probes, some optical zapping might occur, (looking for something more subtle, indigenous to test for this DNA particle)… then one laughing native girl pulls Kim into the bushes as native girls are wont to do… but as he expects carnal delights, he winds up being grabbed by an optical beast and disappears.
"Problems occur: how do we show the entire crew of Voyager has been taken to this wondrous environment… (yes, Captain, the rest of them are just over the ridge) (matte shot on the beach maybe?) (a cast of hundreds?) How do we ﬁnd the Maquis? Maybe we never get to the test for the DNA particle in this sequence – maybe Tuvok uses a tricorder to track down the source of the holographic generator, stumbles into the real world where the Maquis are on ice… which sets off a melee and we're all zapped into unconsciousness right there on the beach. And when we wake up we're back on the ship, more confused than ever. So, the result is – we will never actually see the interior of the Array except for that Maquis on ice moment which might be a matte shot with a few close-ups of the Maquis we know. Every time we go to the Array, we go to this environment. We'd have to lose the tubes… well, let me take that back… maybe they reveal in the very last sequence as he's dying, the signal that he's dead, is the dissolution of the fantasy environment and they reveal that he's an ooze monster. This probably only adds another million to the budget. But it only affects about twenty pages or so – maybe only ten in a substantial way. Anything here, guys?" (; A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 233-235)
- The basic concept outlined in Michael Piller's memo became the setting of an illusory farmyard and the scene which introduces the alien Caretaker into the story, a scene that is key to the plot. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 235) Added as a minor change while the story evolved into script, the holographic farmyard setting replaced the Caretaker array's hi-tech prison. (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 55) The questions and difficulties Piller mentioned in the memo were eventually dealt with, either by being resolved or simply going away. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 235)
- The executive producers were careful to ensure that the illusory farmyard setting would be significantly different from a Western-themed holonovel they were developing for Janeway to involve herself in, later in the first season (the holonovel eventually developed into the Victoria-era Janeway Lambda one). Their concern about this degree of potential similarity was mentioned in a series of notes (dated 27 May 1994) from one of their many staff meetings regarding the creation of Star Trek: Voyager. 
- By mid-1994, the species which involved alien gangs had been named the "Gazon" (pronounced with an "a" sound, as opposed to an "ay" sound). (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 232)
- The first draft of this episode's script was submitted on 8 June 1994. This early version obviously elaborated extensively on what had been outlined in the beat sheet. It also introduced many elements that eventually wound up being included in the final version of the episode. The first draft of the script had Janeway's first name still as "Elizabeth" and the species of alien sects was still called the "Gazon".
- The first-draft script of "Caretaker" started with an extreme close-up of Chakotay's face, rather than with a crawl of text followed by an exterior shot of his spacecraft under attack. The malevolent Cardassian forces were established as being one Cardassian ship, under Gul Evek's command. Not only did the Maquis proceed into the Badlands but they were pursued into that hazardous area by the Cardassian vessel, though Evek's spacecraft then received so much damage in the plasma storms that it couldn't continue. The Maquis ship was now intercepted by "a massive displacement wave," rather than running into "a strange beam."
- There was now no scene involving sexual innuendo between Paris and his supervisor (with the latter not even featuring into the script at all). In the park, he and Janeway visited a "hotdog replimat" and each ordered a hotdog from a computerized hotdog vendor (Janeway's with Keladan leeks and capsicum relish, whereas, Paris, referring to himself as "a purist", had his with just mustard), which they proceeded to eat while they walked and conversed. However, there was a flirtatious aspect to Paris' conversation with the captain; a script note stated, "He's using his roguish charm to try and impress her and it almost seems like he's coming on to her with his soft eyes and tone of voice. For much of the scene, it almost seems to be working." Right after this script note, Janeway moved an inch toward Paris and, in a soft voice, threatened him that, if a member of her crew became injured because he had made a mistake, she would ensure he was committed to a full-time prison sentence, to which he laughed "an empty laugh" to himself, ending the scene. Paris, wearing a gold Starfleet uniform rather than a red one, then flirted with the newly created character of Stadi during the shuttle ride to DS9.
- Upon arriving at Quark's in the initial draft of the script, Paris ordered a Romulan ale served in a tall glass. During Harry Kim's discussion with Quark, Kim mentioned that his parents had very affectionately bid him farewell at the Mars colony, and that Starfleet officers don't carry currency. The next scene wasn't set in an airlock corridor aboard DS9 nor had Paris and Kim exiting a turbolift; instead, they entered a corridor onboard Voyager through an airlock. Although they meanwhile chatted about Kim's first posting, he didn't mention how familiar he was with Voyager's class of ship. When introducing himself to the vessel's doctor, Paris referred to himself as an ensign. Thereafter, Janeway obtained some coffee from a replicator in her ready room, prior to Kim and Paris arriving there, before the vessel left DS9.
- In the first-draft script, the episode's second act didn't start with Paris chatting with his father; it started with a shot of Voyager at warp before the mess hall scene with Paris, Kim and others. Those who briefly dined with Kim were limited to being the doctor and only one other crewmember, rather than multiple others. Instead of saying, "I choose my own friends," Kim stated, "I don't need anyone to choose my friends for me."
- Kerry McCluggage read the draft script and sent a series of his own notes on it to Rick Berman in early June 1994, expressing his concerns about the show. For instance, he felt that the script, as written, didn't make it clear enough that Janeway wouldn't end up breaking the Prime Directive. The next week, Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor responded in a memo to McCluggage, which addressed his concerns. The document explained, "We've managed to keep Janeway from a direct violation of the Prime Directive, and we believe it's important that she not cross the line and meddle overtly with the destiny of the Ocampa – or we risk sending a message to viewers that we're abandoning one of the basic principles of the Star Trek franchise. She will, however, provide the satisfying message that they are not doomed; rather, they are being given an opportunity to grow and flourish – an opportunity she will guarantee by the selfless act of destroying the Array." The same memo also indicated that the trio of writing staffers planned to further clarify, in the script, language which distinguished between the array and the Caretaker, the memo pointing out that Janeway would eschew using the array to return home in order to prevent the Kazon from employing the array to destroy the Ocampa. Furthermore, the memo reassured McCluggage that the next draft of "Caretaker" would address his concerns by incorporating appropriate changes. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 260-261)
- In drafting the script, Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor struggled with various issues, such as trying to make the viewers invest in the plot. Explained Piller, "The second hour always seemed to dog us. The biggest danger in the pilot was in creating a story that nobody cared about [….] When we got to that second hour and we started to get into the mystery of this underground planet and the Array, there was a little question mark in our minds about how to do it in such a way that the audience would care." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 235) Piller elaborated, "The most interesting aspect of writing that show was the second hour. The first hour seemed to be quite clearly what a first hour needed to be. When we got into the second hour, the story of the Ocampa, it seemed to get very odd, dry and political. It was hard to care about the Ocampa in the script stage because you couldn't get to know them very well. Why should you root for the Ocampa to be saved if they're rather foolish about the way they blindly follow the Caretaker's wishes and are willing to hold our people against their wishes. That was bothering us." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, p. 11)
- Another struggle was making the viewers care about the characters. Because the decision had been made to try to imbue a palpable sense of action-adventure in the episode, the writers spent minimal time on any single character in particular, apart from Paris. Michael Piller believed writing more character material into the installment would, in a way, have been easier to write, as writing about characters was far more comfortable to him than writing about events or technology. "Instead we played the adventure off the family," Piller pointed out. "So the only true character arc in this show is Paris's." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 235) As a result, many of those inside the series' inner circle felt the episode, even after the first draft of its script was completed, lacked what Piller later referred to as "heart". (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, p. 11) He further commented, "I remember feeling that ['Caretaker'] was passionless [….] When it was over a couple of people said, 'You know, it's got the kitchen sink in it but no heart', so we really had to get the audience to care about these people [….] I think the hardest part of the process was making anyone care about Neelix." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134)
- It was only after the script was written, by Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor, that Brannon Braga got involved in the series. When he returned from vacation, the teleplay had been written. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 5, p. 45) Braga remembered, "Me and Ron [Moore] and René [Echevarria] and the other young writers, we were as curious to see that script as anyone else. In fact […] I think we snuck into Jeri Taylor's office and stole a copy out of the drawer and read it, because it was top secret." ("The Sky's the Limit, The Eclipse of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Part One: Umbra", TNG Season 7 Blu-ray special features) Braga thereafter influenced the development process. "I really got involved with giving notes on the pilot script and providing input on that," he explained. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 5, p. 45) The show's premise of cutting a starship off from the Federation pleased him, and the executive producers were highly receptive to his advice. "They were very gracious in taking my input and notes on the pilot," Braga remarked. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 67)
- Several of those who were inside the series' inner circle felt that the lead character of Janeway, not yet cast, was written as incomplete and that no-one would finish watching the pilot episode with a sense that they knew her personality very well. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, p. 11) Extremely late in the writing process, the executive producers came to the realization that, whereas the episode featured many "brooding moments" (in Jeri Taylor's words) that demonstrated Janeway's command style, the nurturing and sensitive sides of her personality weren't sufficiently established in the script. The team wanted to highlight them in this episode so as to help differentiate her from Captain Picard. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 35) Despite therefore agreeing with the opinions that the character's depiction in this outing was incomplete and not entirely relatable, Michael Piller, Rick Berman, and Jeri Taylor were uncertain about how to address the issue without upending the structure of the installment's narrative. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, p. 11)
- To further distinguish both Captain Janeway and (by extension) the new series from their respective predecessors, the group of executive producers sought to incorporate a scene in which Janeway would reveal something of her innermost feelings. Michael Piller thought up this idea while he and others were at Kerry McCluggage's home, watching a 4 July fireworks display, televised from the Hollywood Rose Bowl. "We had written a version of the story which was pretty successful, but it was missing something," he remembered. "We were watching the fireworks at the Rose Bowl, and thinking about some of the notes that we had been given by the studio. I was sitting with Brannon Braga, and I said, 'You know, this really moves, but it doesn't have passion. Where is the passion going to come from? How do I make people understand what Janeway is feeling about what's happening to her crew and everything that is going on?' I was talking about that with Rick [Berman], and Rick's wife, Liz, said 'Yeah, I didn't really feel that I got to know Janeway during the course of the script.' So I said, 'I don't know where we're going to do this, because the structure of this thing is so tight – and it's already long – but we're going to have to find passion and explain Janeway. Somehow, we're going to have to do it in one scene. And it probably will have to be a scene in which we understand from her how she feels about her responsibilities to get this crew home.'" (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 35)
- The solution that the writers eventually hit upon was the scene in which Janeway has a private conversation with Tuvok in the captain's ready room. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, p. 11; Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, pp. 35-36) "I came in the next day after the Fourth of July weekend, and wrote that scene," noted Michael Piller. "It went through a variety of revisions." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 36)
- The second draft of the teleplay was issued on 21 July 1994.
- At some time in either June, July or August 1994, the name of the species which incorporated various sects was finally changed to "Kazon". (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 281) The reason for the name change between "Gazon" (pronounced with an "a" sound) and "Kazon" (pronounced with an "ay" sound) was that, with the Middle East's Gaza Strip being an oft-mentioned news item at the time, the producers feared that an unintended metaphor might be made between the similarly-sounding "Gazon" and "Gaza Strip". (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 55)
- The episode involved many rewrites while Jeri Taylor and Michael Piller were trying to fix the problems of how to encourage the viewers to invest in the main characters, the plot, and the mystery involving the underground Ocampa city and the Caretaker's array. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 235) "Ultimately, it was through the character of Kes […] and by limiting the time we spend on the planet far more than we originally intended, that we came to care about the Ocampa," explained Piller. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, p. 11) Kes also turned out to be the solution to motivate the viewers into caring about Neelix. "So we had to rely a great deal on the character of Kes to make us care about him," Piller said. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134)
- While the script was undergoing the revision procedure, research consultant firm Joan Pearce Research Associates submitted a seven-page list of notes and suggestions concerning the pilot script. These notes included analysis of the terms "coherent tetryon beam", "Al-Batani", "Caldik Prime", "trianoline", and "Boh-dye". Subjects addressed included the setting of the Federation penal settlement as being on "Midway Island" (despite Midway actually being a pair of islands), Harry Kim's rank of ensign while serving as Voyager's operations officer, and the absence of corpsmen aboard Voyager. Other lists of written comments on the script were issued by Jamake Highwater, Science Consultant André Bormanis, as well as by Michael Okuda and Rick Sternbach writing collaboratively with each other. These lists of notes were respectively written from the perspectives of the script's Native American aspects, real-world science, and Star Trek fictional science. Bormanis' series of notes were issued on 25 July 1994. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 287-291)
- By 31 August 1994, Janeway's first name was changed from "Elizabeth" to "Kathryn". (Information from Larry Nemecek) This was due to legal reasons, as Joan Pearce Research Associates pointed out that Elizabeth Janeway was actually a highly prominent feminine author and recommended that the script not incorporate the names of any well-known people in case it embarrassed them. However, the producers later learned, secondhand, that the real Elizabeth Janeway had been delighted by the use of her name, though the character's name had been changed by then. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 287)
- The final draft of the "Caretaker" script was dated 1 September 1994. A script revision was made the next day. ("The Sky's the Limit, The Eclipse of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Part One: Umbra", TNG Season 7 Blu-ray special features)
- On 6 September 1994, Janeway's first name was changed to "Nicole". (Information from Larry Nemecek) This change was at the request of actress Geneviève Bujold, as "Nicole" was her own birth name. Despite okaying the name change, the producers were slightly concerned how the character's new first name would be received, because Nicole Brown Simpson was concurrently in the news and they didn't want the captain to be linked to her. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 300)
- Even after principal photography began, the script for this episode kept changing. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 222) One scene that was rewritten while the filming was ongoing was the installment's teaser. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 58) Another change that was made following the start of shooting was the alteration of Janeway's first name from "Nicole" back to "Kathryn". (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 309) The teleplay's final revision was on 20 September 1994.  "The script as written didn't quite 'flesh out' to a book-length manuscript," stated Julia and Karen Rose. (Voyages of Imagination, p. 325) In the end, Michael Piller suspected that the ambitions which had driven the writing of this outing, as opposed to DS9 pilot "Emissary", would perhaps "be a little more popular." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 236)
Cast and characters
Casting the pilot
- Although many suggestions of actresses who might play Voyager's captain had been bandied about since September 1993, the casting of the main characters officially took place through the months of June, July, and August 1994. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 265, 267 & 268)
- Nan Dutton served as casting director on this episode because regular Star Trek Casting Director Junie Lowry-Johnson was away on maternity leave. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 133) Rick Berman was also "very involved" in the casting for this episode. (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 27) Others who participated in overseeing the casting sessions included Jeri Taylor, Michael Piller, Tom Mazza, and Kerry McCluggage. The process was relatively straightforward. The initial screening of actors for the pilot episode was done by the independent casting agency of Nan Dutton and Associates, together with Kathryn S. Eisenstein and Casting Assistant Libby Goldstein for Paramount. All the performers who outlasted this first round were then scheduled for a reading with Piller and Taylor, and those who made it through that step were then called back for a session which included Berman. If the performer successfully pulled through that round, there was a third callback for an audition in front of the casting personnel, the three producers, Mazza and McCluggage, as well as executives from UPN. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 267 & 268)
- Scenes from the pilot script were used to audition potential members of the main cast. Jeri Taylor commented, "Of course, there are a limited number of scenes in the script so we heard the same scenes over and over, thousands of times. I'm not sure how you keep your critical faculties honed, but we did." As there were hundreds of auditions of actresses who wanted to play Janeway, the executive producers heard the same scenes from this episode read many times. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, pp. 83 & 41) The scene in which Janeway and Tuvok have an intimate discussion in the captain's ready room served as audition material for all the actresses who tried out for the role of the captain. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, p. 11) Meanwhile, the bridge scene showing Janeway make some introductions between the crew and then issue the order for Voyager to depart from DS9 was also used to audition the part of the captain. (Star Trek Magazine issue 119, p. 79; "Voyager Time Capsule: Kathryn Janeway", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) There were so few lines said by The Doctor in the teleplay, however, that using the scenes to audition for that role turned out to be a challenge. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 83) The fact that this episode includes only a couple of sardonic scenes for The Doctor meant that virtually none of the actors who read for the part seemed to understand it. (Star Trek Magazine issue 119, p. 85)
- To audition for their respective roles of Tom Paris, Neelix and Harry Kim, actors Robert Duncan McNeill, Garrett Wang and Ethan Phillips were each given only the pages of one or two particular scenes they were asked to do – i.e., what are known as "sides" – rather than with the pilot script. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 270, 274 & 276) On the other hand, Kate Mulgrew was provided with a copy of the installment's teleplay during her audition process for the role of Captain Janeway. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 578) It was sent to Mulgrew by her agent. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 100, p. 63; Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 13)
- Ethan Phillips was living in New York but attending the Sundance Film Festival in Utah when he first received the call from his agent that informed him about the Voyager audition. After flying back to New York on a Thursday, he picked up the sides for the role of Neelix and looked over the scene that night. At a casting office the next morning, Phillips recorded his audition tape for the role of Neelix before leaving. Subsequently, there was some brief interest in the possibility of him playing The Doctor, and he actually recorded a tape of him auditioning for that part, before the producers realized they wanted him to portray Neelix. Once he learned there was serious interest in that happening, he decided to invest considerable effort into studying his scene, opting to fly to L.A. and hire an acting coach named John Kirby to work on it with him. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 275 & 276)
- A couple of the earliest casting choices were Robert Duncan McNeill and Tim Russ. Both of them were already well-liked by the producers and had previously appeared on Star Trek. Whereas the casting of Russ as Tuvok was essentially immediate, the casting of McNeill turned out to be slightly more complicated. McNeill, who had guest-starred as Nicholas Locarno in TNG: "The First Duty", was given the sides for the role of Tom Paris in late June 1994. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 268, 269 & 270) "I got part of a script faxed to me and the pages said 'Tom'," he reflected, "but when I read the scenes it sounded just like Nick Locarno." (TV Zone, issue 80, p. 36) McNeill was required to later read the dialogue on-camera, videotaped at a casting office. "Going on tape is a long shot because you usually don't get anything from tape. So I didn't really work on it very much," he explained. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 270) McNeill went to the casting director's office, on a Friday, with no idea that the audition was for the pilot episode of a new series, instead suspecting either that it would be for a one-episode guest-starring reprise of Locarno or, since he knew a TNG movie was in development, that the character was being planned to reappear in that. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 112, p. 55; TV Zone, issue 80, p. 36) "Quite honestly, I hadn't prepared the work," the actor admitted. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 112, p. 55) McNeill asked for a postponement, to give him more time to prepare his lines. "I said, […] 'Let me take this home over the weekend and really learn it, and come back in here on Monday. Can we do that?'" The casting director agreed. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 270) "They had given me some scenes from the Voyager pilot and I went home that weekend and really studied hard," McNeill recalled. "I really wanted to do something like this." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 112, p. 55) After studying the material over the weekend, he recorded it on tape when he returned to the casting office on Monday. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 270)
- Garrett Wang's initial VOY audition was on 1 July 1994. As he was not at all prepared when he arrived to read for Nan Dutton, she furiously sent him home to study his sides. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 273-274) At the second audition Wang had for the role of Harry Kim, two of the scenes from this episode were read by him. These were the scene in Quark's bar and the one with B'Elanna Torres in the stairwell near the end of the installment. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 68)
- Actor Robert Picardo first heard about Star Trek: Voyager when his agent sent him the script for this episode. (Star Trek Monthly issue 18, p. 53) He was given the teleplay from his agent in late July 1994, and it was suggested to Picardo that he audition for the part of The Doctor, who was named "Zimmerman" in the script. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 278) The audition scenes featuring the character were clipped to the script's cover. Since he was extremely busy and the audition was just the next day, there was no guarantee Picardo would be able to read over the material that night, nor that he'd manage to do the audition. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 50) "I just didn't have time to look at that script," he remembered. "I was lying in bed, learning my lines [for another project], and picked up this big, fat two-hour television pilot and said, 'I don't have time for this!'" (Star Trek Monthly issue 18, p. 53) He nevertheless read passages of the teleplay and all of the character's scenes from the installment. (Starlog, issue #216, p. 27) "So I glanced at the Doc Zimmerman audition lines and description on the front of the script, and it said 'Colorless, humorless,'" he said, with a laugh. "I read the lines and thought, 'This isn't funny.'" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 103, pp. 19-20) Moreover, the fact that this pilot episode doesn't involve The Doctor to any great degree at first dissuaded Picardo, who was largely unfamiliar with Star Trek, to try out for the part. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 278) He tossed the script to the side of his bed, expecting he would have to decline the opportunity to audition for it. (Starlog, issue #216, pp. 27-28; Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 50) "I threw it on the ground and said, 'I'm gonna pass!'" the actor recalled. Moments after discarding the teleplay, he received a call from his friend Megan Gallagher (one of the many actresses who auditioned for the role of Janeway). (Star Trek: Communicator issue 103, p. 20) "She said, 'Did you read the Star Trek script? It's great!'" Picardo continued. "I said, 'I barely had time to read it.'" Gallagher suggested he read the entire teleplay, a recommendation he accepted. Her insistence that he read the episode's script essentially began his connection with Star Trek: Voyager. (Starlog, issue #216, pp. 27-28) Picardo proceeded to stay up late at night reading the script, which impressed him. In particular, its depiction of Neelix inspired him to initially want to audition for that role instead. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 278)
- Although Ethan Phillips was nervous and had just found out Neelix would be "a prosthetic guy" rather than a Human, he read the scene for the producers in what he felt was a successful audition, but they then didn't ask him to stay or return. This audition was held on 3 August 1994. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 276-277)
- The first lead performers to actually be cast were Tim Russ and Roxann Dawson. Their roles of Tuvok and B'Elanna Torres were the only parts which had been cast by 4 August 1994. (Information from Larry Nemecek) Screen tests of Russ and Dawson (in their respective VOY roles) were shot on that date. (Star Trek Magazine issue 119, p. 85) Likewise, some initial screen tests were shot of actors who were originally considered to play Neelix, including an Englishman and another performer. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 276-277)
- A few weeks after having taped his audition at a casting office, Robert Duncan McNeill read through his scene at Paramount's Cooper Building for Rick Berman, Jeri Taylor, and Michael Piller, while waiting for the studio personnel to arrive. He felt so nervous that he believed he failed the warm-up reading, but he released his nervous energy afterwards and proceeded to audition successfully for Tom Mazza and Kerry McCluggage, receiving a call ten hours later that informed him he had gotten the Tom Paris role he'd been auditioning for. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 271-272)
- Following a long time in the auditions and callbacks procedure, Garrett Wang gave his final reading of the audition material for the Harry Kim role on 6 August 1994, when he read it the way he believed it should be done. His agent called him the next day to tell him he had the part. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 274)
- When Ethan Phillips called his agent five days after having auditioned for the producers (on Monday, 8 August 1994), he learned that the remaining contenders for the role of Neelix were himself and Robert Picardo. The two had known each other for the past twenty years. Later that day, Phillips received the news that he'd won the role. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 277)
- Although Robert Picardo didn't get the part of Neelix, the producers thereafter asked him to audition for the role of The Doctor. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 278) "By that time, I had been hooked on the script as a whole," he related. (Starlog, issue #216, p. 28) His friends having reassured him that the character would go on to be more fleshed out after this first installment, Picardo did end up auditioning for the part of The Doctor. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 278-279) At his single audition for that role, he said the prescribed audition lines, then ad-libbed a line, saying, "I'm a doctor, not a night-light!'" Picardo was unaware this statement was a McCoyism but was finally cast as The Doctor. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 103, p. 45) Upon reflection, he mused, "I […] made the same incredible mistake that many actors make with a pilot script. I've been around long enough not to make this mistake, but you often assume the relative balance in the pilot is somehow going to be the balance in the series. In other words, if your character has 10 lines in the pilot [which was the situation with the Doc], you say, 'Oh, this is a small part!' You don't realise they're going to develop all the characters, and even though you only have 10 lines, you potentially have the best character in the show." (Star Trek Monthly issue 18, p. 54)
- The bridge scene showing Janeway make some introductions between the crew and then issue the order for Voyager to depart from DS9 was filmed in a screen test of Janeway candidate Susan Gibney. (Star Trek Magazine issue 119, p. 79) Shot on the Voyager bridge set on 10 August 1994, this screen test was a relatively elaborate affair, arranged and overseen by Rick Berman, and additionally involved Roxann Dawson and Tim Russ. It wasn't long thereafter when Kate Mulgrew first arrived to audition for the part of Janeway. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 275) Berman showed her the Janeway-relevant sides shortly before she first tried out for the role. ("Voyager Time Capsule: Kathryn Janeway", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- By 12 August 1994, most of the casting was done. Only three main roles were yet to be cast. (Information from Larry Nemecek)
- The role of Chakotay was one of the last roles cast. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 279) Even the idea of this episode was inspirational for Chakotay actor Robert Beltran. "When my agent called me to tell me about the 'Caretaker' pilot," he remembered, "I thought, 'Great, I'll be happy to audition for it.'" A copy of the script was thereafter provided to Beltran, for him to audition as Chakotay. He was impressed by the document, later recalling, "I liked the script very much." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 561) Beltran read through the entire teleplay, vowing to win the role of the Native American first officer. "I read the script straight through thinking that Chakotay would be right for me," he related. (Star Trek Monthly issue 20, p. 27) Beltran found auditioning for the part was, in comparison with Garrett Wang's experience, relatively easy. He read two scenes twice for the producers before auditioning for the personnel from Paramount and UPN on 31 August 1994. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 279 & 301)
- Also on 31 August 1994, Geneviève Bujold was cast as Captain Janeway. (Information from Larry Nemecek) On account of her stature as a film actress, she was hired without a screen test. (Sci-Fi Universe, February/March 1995 issue, p. 63) Other roles were cast on the next day, 1 September 1994. (Information from Larry Nemecek)
- Two scenes from this episode were used as audition material when Kate Mulgrew was trying out for the part of Captain Janeway. These were the personal ready room scene between her and Tuvok as well as the captain's lengthy speech from the end of the installment. ("Voyager Time Capsule: Kathryn Janeway", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) During the audition that ultimately won her the role of Janeway, Mulgrew played the former scene with "high humor" as well as "a certain underlying vulnerability" and directed her performance of Janeway's monologue to the producers, speaking to them as if they were Voyager's crew. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 578) Mulgrew wasn't cast until 16 September 1994. (Star Trek Magazine issue 152, p. 24; "Cast Reflections: Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) A screen test of her first scene as the captain was shot the next day. (Star Trek Magazine issue 119, p. 85)
Creating the pilot
- The cast wasn't given much opportunity to gel prior to the filming of this episode. Noted Garrett Wang, "There wasn't much time to get together and say, 'Hey, where are you from?' That came along the way." (Starlog, issue #222, p. 79)
- Early in the making of the episode, the cast felt under a great deal of pressure because expectations for the new series were high. "Those first days were like, 'I've got to get this scene right, I've got to make it play,'" Tim Russ recalled. "The anxiety factor that was built into it for all of us was the fact that 'You've got the part,' but we also knew that in the first week of shooting, they're either going to tweak that performance or they're going to replace it. If anything was going to happen, it was going to happen in that first week. You weren't guaranteed until you got on film, someone saw you in dailies and gave you a thumbs-up. That's when you know you're home, so the anxiety factor had to do with that." Robert Beltran added, "The only real pressure came from whether or not we were going to live up to our predecessors. Over the years, the Star Trek shows have all been great successes, so we had a lot to live up to [….] So I think we were all apprehensive about whether or not we would measure up to our predecessors." (Star Trek Monthly issue 20, pp. 26-27 & 31)
- Despite the extreme pressure, the cast was determined to make this episode as good as it could be. "We all wanted the pilot to be successful," Tim Russ reflected. "We wanted the job, and certainly didn't want the show to go down, so we all knew we were going to pitch in." (Star Trek Monthly issue 20, p. 31)
- A few scenes from this episode were originally shot with Geneviève Bujold as Captain Janeway. (The First Captain: Bujold, VOY Season 1 DVD special features) During Bujold's tenure, there wasn't a lot of communication between her and the rest of the cast, because she chose to rush back to her trailer whenever she wasn't required for the filming. "There was no on-set camaraderie going on," noted Garrett Wang. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 39) Bujold's eventual departure particularly disappointed Robert Beltran, who had agreed to do the show partly because he'd been eager to work with her. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 575)
- During the filming of this episode, the cast united into a tenacious group. "This cast of characters just came together as an ensemble when Kate [Mulgrew] came on," observed Michael Piller. "It's as simple as that. Once the power, once the anchor was in place, once the chain of command, if you will, was clear, everybody knew where their positions were in relationship to this captain." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 38)
- With the role of Captain Janeway having been recast, the other series regulars grew more confident that they would be able to measure up to their predecessors. Explained Robert Beltran, "When they cast Kate [Mulgrew] as the captain, we all became very hopeful that we could keep up the tradition because we knew we had such a good cast." (Star Trek Monthly issue 20, p. 26)
- Robert Beltran was ultimately pleased by how the cast eventually joined forces to make the episode. He later enthused, "The cast came together like magic." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 585) Beltran elaborated, "The camaraderie sort of just fell into place. That's probably due to the producers, who must have been aiming for that kind of chemistry when they cast us." Beltran found that the quickness with which the cast gelled made the episode fun to do. (Star Trek Monthly issue 20, pp. 27 & 34)
- Robert Duncan McNeill and Kate Mulgrew were likewise pleased with how well the cast integrated during the episode's making. Towards the end of the installment's production, McNeill commented, "We were both amazed at the great ensemble that has been put together. We've quickly become a family and bonded with a sense of joy and fun on this set." (OMNI, Vol. 17, No. 5, pp. 39-40 & 43) In retrospect, he elaborated, "In 'The Caretaker' [sic] there was a certain chemistry that our cast had that I'd never felt before in a series. A lot of people say, 'When you're on a hit series you can feel it right away,' and I really sensed that with this cast." McNeill also referred to the integration of the cast as having given the episode a kind of "magical quality." (TV Zone, issue 80, p. 36)
- The making of this installment facilitated the start of a friendship between Kate Mulgrew and Robert Duncan McNeill. "Because our trailers were set off from everyone else's, she and I shared a lot of our own sorts of neuroses and paranoias during the filming of that first episode," stated McNeill. "We got a chance to bond in a really nice way." (TV Zone, issue 80, p. 36)
Contemplating the pilot
- Rather than thinking about the media attention she would receive due to appearing in the forthcoming series, Kate Mulgrew concentrated solely on this episode during its making. While the installment was in production, she admitted, "I'm trying to really focus on getting this pilot done, and getting it done well. There are long days and many long and complicated scenes and that requires almost all of my energy." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 100, p. 65)
- Several aspects of this episode were highlights for Kate Mulgrew. She commented about the scene in which Janeway speaks with her boyfriend Mark, "It's very visceral. You see that she loves him, that she loves their dog, that there's this terrific fun between them and a lot of gentleness, and it has its passion as well. All of these things are revealed." (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 14; Star Trek: Communicator issue 100, p. 64) Mulgrew once described the footage in which Janeway leads Paris and Kim onto Voyager's bridge and introduces them to Commander Cavit as "a nice panning shot." ("Voyager Time Capsule: Kathryn Janeway", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) In fact, she referred to the two scenes she used to audition as "very big" ones, both of which she "loved." ("Voyager Time Capsule: Kathryn Janeway", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) The actress referred to the scene featuring a conversation between Janeway and Tuvok as "a very comfortable, familiar scene, which I liked very much." ("Voyager Time Capsule: Kathryn Janeway", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) Mulgrew also described the same scene as "marvelous" and containing "great sadness." She went on to say, "I expose myself, I reveal myself completely to him, as a Human being, and they permit that, in its fullness, instead of having to kinda shuffle and pretend I'm not [….] I think that that only sharpens her, in a way, because in the next scene, you see her taking complete control of the bridge, as the Kazon ships are coming and the plasma field is exploding." (VOY Season 1 DVD special features) Mulgrew additionally approved of the conflict in command styles between Janeway and Chakotay in this episode. "That was addressed briefly in the pilot and then I felt he instantly became my first officer," Mulgrew commented. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 5, p. 21) She also described the episode-ending monologue as "wonderful." ("Voyager Time Capsule: Kathryn Janeway", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- Robert Beltran, who had never been involved in any science fiction productions before, enjoyed participating in this episode. "It was a good story and it was exciting getting into science fiction," he enthused. (Star Trek Monthly issue 20, p. 34)
- When this episode was shot, Roxann Dawson was not yet sure how to portray her role of B'Elanna Torres. "I was basically just kind of jabbing in the dark and hoping I was in the right ballpark," she said. "I was just kind of praying that when the thing finally aired and I saw it up on the screen that I would see a character. I still had no idea how to work my face under that rubber and I really wasn't sure who [Torres] was at the time, so I was just taking some jabs, and some of them were right and some of them weren't." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 135) Dawson felt neither the episode itself nor her involvement in it gave her much to go on to learn about Torres' background. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 57)
- Kes actress Jennifer Lien liked how this episode depicts her character as extremely curious. "I think the appetite for knowledge and the sense of curiosity that accompanies that is just incredible," she remarked. "So, in the pilot, once Kes realized what was above ground, she asked, 'Why? Why can't I go? It's there.'" (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 3, p. 35) Lien clarified, "I really enjoyed the story." (Star Trek Monthly issue 19, p. 91) She felt that the episode's teleplay gave her a good idea of how Kes would be established. "When I read the pilot script," the actress recollected, "it became obvious to me that Kes is a well-rounded character with a lot of potential." Lien also enjoyed her involvement in the installment's creation. "It was really overwhelming but at the same time wonderful," she related. "I was very happy and excited to be a part of the whole thing. I had a good time filming the episode and felt very comfortable in front of the cameras." (TV Zone, Special #23, p. 18)
- Robert Duncan McNeill was pleased with how this episode portrays Tom Paris, about whom the actor remarked, "They established a really interesting character in the pilot." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 11, p. 17) McNeill was thrilled with "Caretaker" in general, remarking, "My biggest memory of working on that first episode, even with all the drama going on about finding a new captain and getting started late, was the sort of magical quality it had [….] Working on the pilot was almost too good to be true. Everybody kept waiting for something to go wrong but even with all the drama going on behind the scenes it ended up being wonderful." (TV Zone, issue 80, p. 36)
- Ethan Phillips appreciated this episode's introduction of Neelix, approving of how it portrayed the character as particularly quirky, even moreso, thought Phillips, than in later installments. He enthused, "I was very happy with the pilot." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 3, p. 21) So much so, in fact, that Phillips cited this as one of his three favorite installments of VOY Season 1. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 106, p. 16)
- Even after winning the role of The Doctor, Robert Picardo was only sure, at that time, about how this episode, and not yet subsequent ones, would depict the character. He meanwhile still felt that his role in this installment was "a very small part." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 14, p. 16) "I really faked my way through the pilot!" he exclaimed. "I just didn't have a clue exactly what to do with it, aside from the basic attitude." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 103, p. 20)
- Tim Russ was generally satisfied with this outing. "It was such a great thing to see some of the other players do the scenes they did, not knowing how they did them or what they did at the time. It was such a great surprise to see some very fine performances and scenes come to life that I had only read in the script," he remarked. "Some of the opticals and special effects were very impressive. I watched the show a couple of times through and what I do notice and what I think has gotten better since the pilot is a sense of pace and story detail." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 135)
- When Garrett Wang read this episode's script after being cast as Harry Kim, he liked what he read. Even after the second season ended, this was his favorite installment of the series, despite the outing having been a trial-by-fire experience for him. "I had to just jump in and do it," he noted. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 8, p. 9) In fact, Wang deemed his participation in this episode's making the most draining experience of his life up to that point. "It was so tough for me to get into that mode of just work, work, work," he admitted, "because, as an actor you spend most of your life pursuing a job, as opposed to having a job." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 38) Wang also found some aspects of this episode to be extraordinarily strange, such as the moment when members of the two crews are shown being tested on, aboard the Caretaker's array. "Another weird thing," he said, " was after having those tests done to us, Roxann [Biggs-Dawson] and I both developed those tumors, which were prosthetics which looked like the middle was oozing with apple pie filling." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 2, p. 31) Wang did find some enjoyable elements of this episode, such as that it was filmed at a variety of locations; he commented that this fact "kept it interesting."  A part of the episode he deemed as a highlight was the climactic rescue featuring Chakotay and Paris. "The scene with Paris and Chakotay on the collapsing stairwell was by far the most entertaining scene for me," he enthused. "They're both about to fall to their deaths, and they are carrying on this little repartee. You had tension, you had drama, and you had this humor going on." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 38) Ultimately, Wang regarded the pilot as one of the high points of VOY Season 1. "'Caretaker' was about adventure and it was an adventure for me," he reminisced. "I had so much fun." (Starlog, issue #222, p. 80)
- Armin Shimerman was thrilled by how this episode involves his character of Quark. "I was very honored by having that appearance," the actor remarked. The reason he was so pleased about his participation in this episode was that Patrick Stewart had served in the same capacity upon launching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. "In that same venue, I did the same thing," Shimerman mused. "I took the baton of Deep Space Nine and handed it on to Voyager." ("Cast Reflections: Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- Jeff McCarthy, who appeared as the USS Voyager's chief medical officer that dies during this episode, also guest-starred, five years earlier, as the soldier Roga Danar in TNG: "The Hunted".
- As of this episode, Armin Shimerman (Quark), Richard Poe (Gul Evek) and Mark Allen Shepherd (Morn) played the same character on three different live-action Star Trek series. The only other actors to do so are Jonathan Frakes (Commander William T. Riker), Marina Sirtis (Counselor Deanna Troi), John de Lancie (Q), Michael Ansara (Kang) and Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard).
- Mary Meinel-Newport can be seen playing two apparently different Bolian females. One is her "regular" DS9 persona (possibly Lysia Arlin), shown in Quark's, and the other is Golwat, who can be seen in Voyager's mess hall, early in the episode.
- Tarik Ergin (Ayala) is the only actor, besides the regulars, to appear in both this episode and the series finale "Endgame".
Proceeding with pre-production
- While Michael Piller worked on the script for this episode, Voyager's staff and filming crew were beginning to form. In early March 1994, Rick Berman asked Producer Merri Howard to start spending time on the series' pre-production effort. This episode was originally budgeted at around US$6 million or US$6.5 million. Although a preliminary budget had been set, schedules now needed to be created to facilitate a buildup in staffing, set design, and construction. Significant milestones were planned for the months of April through August 1994, with principal photography scheduled to begin on 15 August. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 229, 233 & 318) Twenty-eight days were allotted for the installment's production period. (Star Trek Magazine issue 119, p. 79) Merri Howard shifted her attention full-time to Voyager in April 1994. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 229)
- At first, the only full-time member of Production Designer Richard James' art department was Andy Neskoromny, who would be art director for this episode. Both of them joined the series in its pre-production phase, on 6 April 1994. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 229 & 238)
- Richard James was thrilled to participate in the creation of this episode. "It was a tremendously exciting experience," he reminisced. "There were a few moments of anxiety, but the challenge of it definitely got the juices going." (Star Trek Monthly issue 3, p. 11)
- Richard James and his staff in the art department were challenged by the fact that the script called for the creation of many new environments and props. The installment's requirements therefore resulted in a heavy workload for the art department. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 257)
- The pre-production efforts for this installment were tied up with those for the series at large. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 229, 232-233) Richard James characterized the designing of the USS Voyager's bridge and the ship itself as "our primary areas of concern in the pilot." (Star Trek Monthly issue 3, p. 11)
- While the script was being revised from early April to mid-May 1994, enough details were clarified with each change that a few more departments could initiate their own developmental work. Meanwhile, Merri Howard continued reworking her pre-production schedules and started issuing revised production-planner calendars, projected through August. During April and May, a lot of the organizational effort and departmental coordination fell to Howard. When Unit Production Manager Brad Yacobian began working on the series on 3 June 1994, the two started to divide up the quickly increasing responsibilities. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 232)
- Suzi Shimizu and Cathy Huling collaborated with Merri Howard on the budget breakdowns for each department. Tracking all expenditures, particularly at this early stage, was critical, and, from this point forward, communication and coordination throughout the company would be highly important. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 232-233)
- Early in his search for someone to direct this pilot episode, Rick Berman called James L. Conway and asked him to helm the installment. However, Conway was unavailable, so had to turn the opportunity down.  Director Winrich Kolbe, who had directed many previous episodes of Star Trek, was thereafter selected by Berman to direct this outing. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 10) Berman chose Kolbe on the basis of his earlier Star Trek work and tried to contact him in June 1994, a few weeks prior to 27 June. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 35; The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 57) However, the director was busy on a late-night shoot in a remote, rural part of Georgia when Berman initially called. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 57; Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 56) "I got a message from one of the production assistants that Rick Berman had called and wanted a call back, that it was urgent," the director continued. "And I figured, 'Well, he's not going to ask me to dinner, or how I liked Georgia!'" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, pp. 56-57) Kolbe called Berman back later that night. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 57) "I called his office, but by that time he had left," Kolbe reflected, "so I called his home and his wife gave me his mobile number. So I called him from my mobile phone to his mobile." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 35) The two spoke while Berman was making his way home from the Paramount lot in Los Angeles. "When we finally spoke, and it wasn't a good connection, he said I would not be doing any Deep Space Nines for a long while," Kolbe recollected. "I said, 'What?!' He said, 'We want you to do the Voyager pilot for us.' That was very nice and, obviously, I remember that moment very well." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 57) Elaborating on how he responded to the offer, Kolbe reminisced, "I lifted up about 6 feet and then slowly hovered down again and said, 'Yes!'" Berman notified Kolbe he would start prepping the episode on 27 June, aiming for it to enter production on 15 August. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 35)
- After he completed the filming of his previous project on 15 June 1994 and then took a few days off, Winrich Kolbe reported to Paramount on 27 June, exactly as had been planned. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 35) The director himself noted, "I started prepping on June 27." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 63) At that point, he, Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor were hard at work on preparing to film the installment. "We were starting Voyager from scratch. The producers and writers were living with this project much longer than I have been," said Kolbe, "so they had their ideas on the characters and I had my own ideas." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, pp. 57-58)
- Complex systems of production were automatically initiated by the distribution of the completed draft script to all department heads and key staff members. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 237) It enabled Winrich Kolbe and the rest of the production personnel to commence pre-production, and they set to work on familiarizing themselves with the teleplay. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 36) Because most of the people involved had worked with one another and with Star Trek for many years, receiving the script was enough to let them immediately proceed with their work because they now knew what to do next. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 237)
- In addition to Andy Neskoromny, Richard James requested concept sketches from set designers, illustrators, and scenic artists. They included John Chichester, Louise Dorton, Doug Drexler, Jim Martin, and Gary Speckman. Some of the prospective designers – like Chichester, Dorton, and Speckman – were just finishing on TNG. Others, such as Martin and Drexler, were working on DS9. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 240)
- Costume Designer Robert Blackman began his work on this episode in June 1994, initially sketching costume designs for the Maquis, Neelix, and Kes. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 232, 260 & 261) At least in the case of designing Neelix's costume, Blackman took cues from the episode's script. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 263)
- Concept designs, by Daren Dochterman, were illustrated and submitted for a "Gazon shuttle" and a "Gazon destroyer" spacecraft (since the Kazon were, at one point, to have been called "Gazon"), as well as three different Kazon "blaster" hand-weapons. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 11, pp. 44 & 45) Other concept sketches involved the exterior of the Caretaker's array, which was illustrated in at least two series of drawings, one by Illustrator Jim Martin and the other by Visual Effects Producer Dan Curry. (The Art of Star Trek, pp. 144, 146-147) The episode featured the array to such a key extent that Rick Berman, who had final say on its look, refused to compromise on the appearance of its exterior design. Thus, more than a hundred design concepts, worked on by virtually everyone in the company and even by Image G personnel, were examined and rejected in the process of crafting the array's exterior appearance. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 257)
- Reading the pilot story was one way Make-Up Supervisor Michael Westmore researched the kinds of characters the executive producers were creating for Star Trek: Voyager (he also initially read the series bible). (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 86) The episode's make-up needs included designs for the multiple Kazon and Ocampa, as well as the make-up for Chakotay, Kes, Neelix, B'Elanna Torres, and Tuvok. (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 11) The episode's script inspired Westmore upon devising concepts for all these make-up assignments. He started by researching designs for the alien makeup for the "Gazon" (not yet renamed the "Kazon"), the Ocampa, as well as for Neelix and Kes. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 232 & 282) As he read the teleplay, Westmore wrote down such details as that B'Elanna Torres was to be a half-Klingon, that Kes would essentially be an impish kind of alien, and that Neelix would have a much more detailed make-up scheme, with about the same makeup intensity as a Ferengi. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 86) The script made it clear to Westmore that Chakotay was to have a facial tattoo but didn't exactly specify that Neelix was to have a much more elaborate make-up scheme, which was actually a design direction Westmore himself decided to take. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 2, pp. 38 & 39-40) The Ocampa (starting with Kes) were the first alien race the makeup staff worked on. (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 11) Westmore was additionally required to design a Talaxian torso for one of the scenes featuring Neelix. "It said in the script that he's sitting in the bathtub, and they said to me, 'OK, what are we going to do about it?'" Westmore recounted. For the scene, he ended up designing a large shoulder appliance, which fit over the head and went halfway down the actor's chest. "They weren't going to put him any deeper in the tub than that," noted Westmore. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 2, p. 40) The prosthetic featured a "Y"-shaped ridge over the front and most of the appliance was pre-painted, ready to be used when the time came to film with it. (Delta Quadrant, p. 9; The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 2, p. 40) Westmore needed to hire extra make-up artists and mold makers to help make the prosthetic Kazon masks, as there were so many of them. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 283)
- The Kazon headdresses incorporated heavy faux pig ears. They were woven into the wigs by Hair Designer Josée Normand. (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 11)
- The anklet props worn by Paris and other prisoners at New Zealand's Federation Penal Settlement were designed by Jim Magdaleno. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 69)
- In June 1994, all departments were working on preparing "Caretaker" for filming, whereas Michael Piller, Jeri Taylor, and Brannon Braga had just started, by then, turning more of their focus to considering how to plot the subsequent first season episodes. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 260)
- While the detailed planning for the 15 August start date continued, Winrich Kolbe's schedule became more sophisticated. "I had about four days of prep," he stated, "and then we went into a half day mode – a half day of prep then every afternoon we went into casting [sessions]. Day after day after day." As Kolbe preferred to spend a lot of time planning his shots while walking through the sets or outside, he hated having to spend half days away from doing that, even though he regarded the numerous ongoing casting sessions as "a necessary evil." "This was like coitus interruptus because the moment I was able to creatively figure out a scene, I was off to casting," he complained. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 36)
- From June 1994 onwards, the pace and the pressure kept mounting as the time until the start of principal photography decreased. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 264)
- By the start of July 1994, the production staff were holding many meetings. These included regular meetings regarding pre-production, meetings for planning the schedule, and meetings about the next meetings. Merri Howard was instrumental in organizing these meetings, and she was tasked with keeping everyone up-to-date about them. One of her main modes of communication, to this end, was the frequently circulated Memo To Distribution, whose list of recipients was fifty-one names long. Howard issued such a memo – which listed upcoming meetings, scouts, and stage walks – on 21 July 1994. Following "tech location scout"s of each of the filming locations and then a stage walk of Paramount Stages 8 and 9 on 1 and 2 August 1994 respectively, three parts of the production meeting to discuss this episode were to be held on 3, 4, and 5 August, for approximately three hours each time, from 12:30 p.m. on each day, with all three parts of the meeting to be in the Cooper Building conference room, on the Paramount lot. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 291 & 292-293)
- The process of designing the Caretaker's array stretched on for several months. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 257) Senior Illustrator Rick Sternbach, who usually took care of most of the starship designs at this point in the development of the Star Trek franchise, was extremely busy with finishing the details of that spacecraft as well as the USS Voyager. As a result, Dan Curry voluntarily ended up designing the episode's Kazon ships. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 106, p. 11) For the exterior of Chakotay's Maquis raider, the behind-the-scenes staff chose to reuse a model which had already had been designed and built for TNG, with modifications made by Greg Jein. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 28, p. 11) Ultimately, the Caretaker's array was represented with a redesign of the Amargosa observatory from Star Trek Generations. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 258) Rob Bonchune, who usually worked on visual effects, contributed to the practical miniatures for this episode. 
- By 7 August 1994, it was obvious that, with the critical role of Captain Janeway not yet cast, the scheduled 15 August start date could not be met. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 274 & 275) The date when filming would begin was delayed by a week. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, pp. 36 & 83)
- Upon walking onto the bridge set for the first time, the main cast members were awed by the environment. ("Cast Reflections: Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- Camera tests for the new cast, shot on the bridge and the other permanent (so-called "standing") sets, began on 8 August 1994. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 295) That morning, the crew call was at 10 a.m., at which time four stand-ins wearing Starfleet uniform costumes in an assortment of colors were to report to Paramount Stage 8. The performers included Simon Stotler (wearing a gold-colored uniform costume), Mike Fujimoto and B. Majimo (both of whom wore red), as well as M. Nellis (in blue). On Stage 8, the shooting call was at 10:30 a.m., in preparation for the filming of a camera test on the Voyager bridge set. After the shooting crew tested the area with various light levels, they filmed the four background performers at different positions and at different angles for the benefit of the wardrobe department, after which the set's video monitors were tested by the art department. Lunch was at 1 p.m., with the craftservice department providing food for the shooting crew. ("Caretaker" call sheets)
- The next day (Tuesday 9 August 1994), the craftservice department was to close, at 7 a.m., the big doors on Stage 8 for "A"-camera. The four background performers wearing Starfleet uniform costumes, and now with base make-up, were then to report to that soundstage between 8 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. A crew call followed, at 9 a.m., after which there was a 9:30 a.m. shooting call. The day's work involved camera tests that included more of the sets as well as a live video test, for which sound was also recorded. In the live video test, two different cameras were tested: a twenty-four-frames-per-second Betacam in the ready room set, and the "A"-camera in the bridge set. Lunch was again at 1 p.m. ("Caretaker" call sheets)
- After flying from his hometown of New York to the series' production base of Los Angeles on Tuesday 9 August, Ethan Phillips spent the rest of that week doing makeup and wardrobe tests. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 277)
- Meanwhile, Garrett Wang spent the month of August in hair, makeup, and costume tests. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 68) The first time he and Roxann Dawson met was while the former's hair, sideburns and makeup were being tested, and Wang was present when Dawson first donned her Klingon facial prosthetic. (Starlog, issue #222, p. 79) She, along with Tim Russ, was first involved in the test filming on Wednesday 10 August 1994, which was a camera/make-up test day. T-shirts for the cast were required to be ready at 7:30 a.m. on that day. Both Russ and Dawson reported to makeup at 8 a.m. Meanwhile, four stand-ins (including Nora Leonhardt, Cullen Chambers, Joseph May, and Lemuel Perry) were required to be ready for then, whereas four background performers wearing Starfleet uniforms – including K. Katsuki (wearing red), J. Moecius (in blue), and A. Williams (wearing gold) – had to be prepared for 8:30 a.m., before a crew call half an hour later. However, the day's shooting call wasn't until 10 a.m., with Russ' set call at 11 a.m. and Dawson's set call half an hour after that. Lunch was again at 1 p.m., though. The day's filming included some more tests of the sets as well as tests not only of Russ' and Dawson's make-up but also their hair and wardrobe for their respective roles of Tuvok and B'Elanna Torres, with three hair changes for each actor. ("Caretaker" call sheets)
- Roxann Dawson was again required to report to make-up at 8 a.m. the next day, Thursday 11 August 1994. In fact, the call sheet for that day needed to be revised to allow for the inclusion of a B'Elanna Torres camera test. The same day, five background performers clad in Starfleet uniform costumes were to prepare, also for 8 a.m. They included Tami Peterson (wearing blue) as well as Williams and Katsuki (again wearing yellow and red respectively). Three stand-ins for the role of Harry Kim (including John Tampoya), two stand-ins for the role of Tom Paris and one stand-in for the Torres part were to be ready for 9 a.m., at which time there was also a crew call. The set call was half an hour later. Robert Duncan McNeill and Garrett Wang were to report to make-up at 10 a.m. ("Caretaker" call sheets) The two actors met each other for the first time on this day. (Starlog, issue #222, p. 79) After the group of extras participated in the filming of camera tests for a few of the sets, the time came for Wang, McNeill and Dawson to have their camera tests shot. Dawson reported to the set at 11 a.m., whereas the two others reported there a half hour later. ("Caretaker" call sheets) This was to be Wang's first film test with full uniform and finalized hairstyle. In order to film the test, he had his first experience of visiting the Voyager bridge set and, once there, was asked to pretend that he was playing his role of Harry Kim, saying some lines he already knew from the script, while the test was being filmed. (Starlog, issue #222, p. 79) Lunch was again scheduled for 1 p.m. ("Caretaker" call sheets)
- Williams, Katsuki and Peterson were among a group of five background performers who were to prepare for 8 a.m. the next day, Friday 12 August 1994. The group additionally included G. Moose, and Jennifer Lien had to report to make-up at the same time that day. Powder and/or base make-up was to be applied to the five background performers, who were required to participate in some more camera tests for a few of the sets. Following a crew call at 9 a.m. and a set call at 9:30 a.m., three potentially recruited stand-ins were interviewed at 10 a.m. Lien was to arrive on the set at 11 a.m., ready for her make-up, wardrobe and hair to begin being tested on camera. Once again, lunch was at 1 p.m. ("Caretaker" call sheets)
- At the end of the week beginning 8 August 1994, Ethan Phillips – since the Janeway role still hadn't been cast by then – flew back to New York so he could prepare to change his home address to L.A. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 277)
- Once the previously suspended original start date of 15 August elapsed, the beginning of production was again postponed on either Thursday 18 August or Friday 19 August. This time, the start date was delayed from the following Monday, 22 August, to the next Monday after that: 29 August. (Information from Larry Nemecek) As had been the case with the previous postponement, the delay was due to the difficulty of searching for a performer who was considered the most suitable to play Captain Janeway. (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 56; Information from Larry Nemecek) Richard James commented, "There had been a major push, and by putting a great deal of work into it, we were pretty well ahead of ourselves when they pushed it back two weeks." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 67)
- On either Thursday 25 August or Friday 26 August, the start date was actually cancelled. (Information from Larry Nemecek)
- Expecting that initial Janeway casting choice Geneviève Bujold wouldn't be able to handle the rigors of episodic television, Rick Berman took her out to lunch and tried to impress on her how difficult the associated pressures would be, even when producing this episode. "I explained, 'Because of the push calls, by Thursday and Friday you'll be here until two or three in the morning,'" Berman related. (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 25) At his behest, Bujold then took the weekend to contemplate what he had told her, but, in the morning of the following Monday, she confirmed that she still wanted to participate in the series, despite Berman continuing to be extremely skeptical that she was prepared for the realities of doing so. (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., p. 214)
- Eventually, the twice-delayed start date was, on either Tuesday 30 August or Wednesday 31 August, scheduled to proceed again, with production now arranged to begin on the day after the Labor Day weekend: Tuesday 6 September 1994. (Information from Larry Nemecek) The notion of delaying the start date to 6 September came as welcome relief to everyone involved in pre-production, as it would add valuable time to their work schedules and many of the sets were not yet ready to shoot. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 274-275)
- As soon as Geneviève Bujold was cast as Janeway, she was rushed into makeup and wardrobe as her look was scrutinized and prepared for filming. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 36) Following her arrival, wardrobe fittings and makeup tests ensued as the start of production loomed. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 105) Before that deadline, there were two days of camera tests, which were conducted using Polaroids to show some of the actors sporting particular costumes, such as Torres' Maquis outfit and Neelix's trader garb. (Star Trek Magazine issue 152, p. 24)
- After considerable deliberation over what kind of costume should be used for the role of Kes, a total of four different outfits for her, to begin "Caretaker" with, were created by Bob Blackman. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 295-296)
- The wardrobe fittings, makeup and hair sessions stretched through much of August 1994 as well as the first week in September. For Geneviève Bujold, the week of 29 August was all about contracts, makeup, and wardrobe fittings. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 295 & 299) However, the actress expressed objections to Rick Berman, around this time, in regard to the preparations, such as telling him that she needed to spend some time with Winrich Kolbe discussing matters that would include what the episode was about. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 571) She got her wish; Bujold had a very brief "meet and greet" in Berman's office, where she met with not only Kolbe and, of course, Berman but also Michael Piller, Jeri Taylor and Tom Mazza, as well as Bujold's manager. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 299) Kolbe later noted, "On the day we met her, […] I guess there was a little panic to get somebody so we could get going." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 569) The director also recalled that, the first time he saw her, he had thought Bujold "was very fragile." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 57)
- After Robert Beltran received confirmation that he had been cast as Chakotay (on 1 September 1994) and Ethan Phillips returned to the Paramount lot – having made his change of home address from New York (on 30 August) – the producers hosted a luncheon for the new cast, to help everyone get acquainted with each other, although Geneviève Bujold didn't attend the event. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 277, 301 & 302) All other members of the main cast went to the luncheon, as did the producers. (Starlog, issue #222, p. 79) The luncheon was held on Thursday 1 September 1994. (Information from Larry Nemecek) The event was hosted by Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 36) "They had just cast Geneviève Bujold as Captain Janeway, and she was in the midst of the hair and makeup scrutinization, so she couldn't even make it to that luncheon," explained Garrett Wang. "Rick Berman gave a little talk to us, we met each other briefly, which was our first introduction, and it was really kind of formal. We were sitting around this large table, and everyone was really reserved, and it was new to us all, obviously, so we didn't know what was going on. We just sat there and listened and got advice from Rick and various other people developing the show [….] I had actually met three of the actors before that luncheon." (Starlog, issue #222, p. 79) The producers mainly talked about how, due to arbitrary decision-making rather than any kind of favoritism or isolationism, some members of the cast would be asked to do certain publicity things that others wouldn't. Another piece of advice which the producers gave the actors was to keep their performances considerably reserved, so as to avoid making the aliens seem unrealistic. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 36) There were merely days before filming was to start the following Tuesday. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 302)
- Before the episode entered production, the cast, including Geneviève Bujold, had a walk-through on the set, with Winrich Kolbe and the producers. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 573; Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 39) "We had a set tour […] where they brought us around and showed us all the sets," said Garrett Wang. "I remember leaning up against a wall they had just finished painting, and getting paint all over my T-shirt." (Starlog, issue #222, p. 79) The set tour was the first time the cast had a chance to meet Geneviève Bujold. However, many of the individuals there found her reserved presence unnerving. A short conversation was had between her and Garrett Wang, the latter of whom initiated it, but Bujold expressed she was experiencing difficulty with building trust as she felt the situation was so rushed. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 39)
- There was no rehearsal or read-through of this episode prior to it entering production. This was not only typical of the series in general but was also Winrich Kolbe's preferred method of working. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 36)
- The start of Robert Beltran's participation in this episode was marked with fan mail. "I hadn't done any work at all [on] the pilot. We were just beginning to shoot the pilot," Beltran recalled. "I reported to work the first day and there were, like, two boxes of fan mail. People writing, saying, 'Welcome to the Star Trek family,' and, 'Welcome. We're really looking forward to the Voyager.' I was amazed that there was that much anticipation for the show." ("Cast Reflections: Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- As the episode's filming got underway, many of the cast members (aside from Robert Duncan McNeill and Garrett Wang) were still in makeup tests to finalize their look. (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 274) For instance, Robert Beltran and Jennifer Lien, while not involved in the earliest scenes to be shot, spent the majority of the week in makeup and hair tests. This meant they would arrive for makeup and hair each day, then wait around the set until there was a break in the filming. Director of Photography Marvin V. Rush would then quickly film one of them, testing either Beltran's tattoo or Lien's hair (a blonde wig) and Ocampan ears, after which the videotape was hurriedly sent across the lot to the Cooper Building for Rick Berman's consent. The process took longer for Beltran's tattoo than for Lien's hair-and-ears combination. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 303) On 6 September 1994 (i.e., the first day of production), a Kes make-up test was organized, for which Lien reported to make-up at 12:30 p.m. and had a set call at 4:30 p.m. ("Caretaker" call sheets)
Sets and filming locations
- Prior to the start of pre-production, a methodical transition had to be scheduled to secure the earliest availability of Paramount Stages 8 and 9; as soon as Star Trek Generations wrapped production, both stages needed to be cleared to make way for construction of Voyager's standing sets. The sets on those two stages had to first be designed. Then, people like Construction Coordinator Al Smutko and construction foreman Tom Purser would need to ensure the sets were built and painted, before Chief Lighting Technician Bill Peets, Special Effects Supervisor Dick Brownfield, and key grip Randy Burgess would take over and make their own additions to the sets. Lights, video and mechanical effects all needed to be in place by the originally scheduled filming start date of 15 August 1994. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 229 & 249)
- Although designing Voyager's bridge was one of the art department's foremost areas of concern for this pilot episode, sets required specifically for this installment were also given priority. "In the pilot, we needed to concentrate our energies on what was written, so areas like shuttle bays, the cargo bays and the medical lab were tabled for the time being," explained Richard James. (Star Trek Monthly issue 3, p. 11)
- Apart from the USS Voyager's interiors, the new sets which needed to be designed and built for this episode included the underground Ocampa enclave, the Kazon settlement, a farmyard, Maquis and Kazon ship interiors, and the inside of a shuttlecraft. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 257) Concerning the set for Ocampa's underground, Robert Picardo commented, "Once again, the producers had to search for a very large and unique location, to double for this futuristic environment." (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure)
- At around the start of June 1994, Al Smutko started planning construction crew schedules based on Merri Howard's production-planner calendars and the set design concepts that Richard James was producing. Construction of the standing sets began on 9 May 1994. As Stages 8 and 9 would not be cleared of the sets for Generations until 31 May, the initial Voyager work was done in the mill (which was situated on the Paramount lot) and on Paramount Stage 16. The sets were being built and rigged during June, July, and August. One of the reasons for the stage walks which were scheduled in Merri Howard's Memo To Distribution issued on 21 July was so that everyone could keep updated on the status of set construction. By then, the bridge, of all the standing sets on Stages 8 and 9, was the closest to completion. Both stages were particularly intense sites of activity. Bill Peets, electrician Scott McKnight, and their crew were rigging for lights as quickly as they could, but it ended up taking them two whole weeks to rig the bridge, which included installing over 7,000 feet of wire and countless individual lights. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 232, 250, 281 & 293)
- When Voyager's engineering was created for this episode, some lamps that the staff had ordered for lighting the warp core were not yet available. Consequently, only about three-quarters of the core could be built for this installment. (Star Trek Monthly issue 3, p. 11)
- Instead of designing an entire underground city to represent the planet's subterranean settlement, Richard James simply found a location that would serve the purpose, which was the Los Angeles Convention Center. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 68)
- With the episode's script complete, the first pre-production efforts that Winrich Kolbe and the production staff invested in this pilot included familiarizing themselves with the new Voyager sets under construction as well as the filming locations for this installment. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 36) Kolbe discovered that the standing sets had almost been completed by the time he arrived. "I had certain ideas about the sets," he reflected, "but they were already built [for the most part] [….] It was the same thing with the lighting. I wanted the Bridge lit darker, so that it would glow with all the background lighting. It would have been a bit harder to shoot [however]." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 15, p. 10) Also decided by the time Kolbe got involved in pre-production was that the Los Angeles Convention Center would be used to depict the underground Ocampa city. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 36) On the other hand, he did manage to persuade Rick Berman that the colorisation of the swirls inside the warp core should be changed from straw yellow, white and blue to just blue. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 294)
- The interior of the array was colorfully drawn by illustrator Jim Martin, and a foamcore mock-up of the interior was created, based on blueprints. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 145)
- Winrich Kolbe was shown photographs of a farmhouse that could be used for the production. However, he decided to keep looking for somewhere else suitable to serve the same purpose. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 36)
- Choosing the site in which to film the surface shots of the Ocampa homeworld was another challenge. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134) Winrich Kolbe sought somewhere that would give the impression of an empty expanse. He was initially offered various desert locales, but he felt none of them conveyed the desolation he was looking for. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 36) Supervising Producer David Livingston wanted to shoot the scenes in Soledad Canyon, a rock quarry which was north of Los Angeles and had been used in the filming of DS9 Season 2 premiere "The Homecoming". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134) Eventually, Richard James showed Kolbe a tape of TNG: "Final Mission", in which Jean-Luc Picard, Dirgo and Wesley Crusher crash on the surface of the moon Lambda Paz. That setting had been represented with El Mirage Dry Lake Bed, and the notion of reusing the same location to portray the surface of Ocampa seemed perfect to Kolbe. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 36) "I thought it was nuts to go all the way out there," David Livingston recalled, "but Rick [Kolbe] totally insisted." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134)
- As well as making use of some of the stages on the Paramount lot, the production unit opted to select a couple of other filming locations in addition to El Mirage Dry Lake Bed and the Los Angeles Convention Center. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134) Norwalk, California, was eventually chosen for the episode's farmhouse scenes, and Griffith Park was selected to represent the New Zealand penal settlement. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 292)
- As well as the standing sets on Stages 8 and 9, there were seven interior sets specifically for use in this episode which, in July 1994, needed to be rigged for lighting. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 293 & 294) These included the set of an Ocampa enclave, which resembled a large cavern, featuring hydroponics and other accoutrements of underground life, in contrast to the "city" represented by the Los Angeles Convention Center. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 317) There was also the shaft leading from the underground of Ocampa to the planet's surface. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 135; Delta Quadrant, p. 9; A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 317) Additional sets included a barn, a chamber, and the interior of Chakotay's Maquis ship. Richard James spent a total of approximately US$2.5 million on sets for this installment. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 317) For the interior of the Maquis raider, he used a redress of the runabout set from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 70)
- The Memo To Distribution that Merri Howard issued on 21 July 1994 planned a "tech location scout" of Norwalk and the Los Angeles Convention Center on the morning of 28 July, a similar scout of El Mirage on 29 July, and finally a scout of Griffith Park on the morning of 1 August 1994. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 292)
- All the sets which were camera-tested between 8 August and 12 August 1994 were situated on Paramount Stage 8, with the Voyager bridge set on that soundstage meanwhile serving as the site for all the camera tests for the roles of Tuvok, B'Elanna Torres, Tom Paris and Harry Kim (if not also the Kes camera test on the last of those dates). As part of the camera test on 8 August 1994, the Voyager bridge set was tested with and without the red alert special effect, along with testing various light levels and the set's video monitors. The camera test the next day included the ready room, the mess hall, and a corridor. The special effects and electrical departments were again required for the testing of red alert, this time in the ready room set. The Voyager sets that were tested on 10 August included the mess hall and corridor (if they weren't already completed) as well as the turbolifts; on the same day, the camera, grip, and electrical departments initially pre-lit the bridge set for the Tuvok and Torres makeup tests, then lit and shot the three other sets. The sets which were the subjects of screen tests on 11 August were the bridge, turbolift and mess hall, with the mess hall and turbolift sets again tested the day after that, along with the ready room set. ("Caretaker" call sheets)
- Set Designer John Chichester worked on the set of the chamber inside the Caretaker's array, submitting sketches of the area's long, needle-like alien probes on 23 August 1994. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 70) According to the unofficial reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 274), the look of the chamber set's harnesses was an elaborate in-joke, as they were designed to resemble harnesses from the Geneviève Bujold movie Coma, and this was done prior to her departure from the making of "Caretaker". The set was built on Paramount Stage 16. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 70) It was constructed right up against the set for the illusory barn. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, inlay photographs) Explained Richard James, "The interior of the barn was always a set, but we did the exterior on location. I added a false front to that barn, and then the interior was shot on Stage 16 at Paramount Pictures. Of course, that set had to be connected to the chamber where the bodies were suspended, with needles piercing their bodies and sucking fluid out of them." (Star Trek Monthly issue 3, p. 11)
- The work on preparing the much-needed sets proceeded even during the production period. Shortly after filming began, most of the work on the standing sets had been finished but there was still some final adjustments to be made, especially after the art department began seeing the initial footage from the production shoot. Meanwhile, Stage 16 was loaded with sets for this episode and there was also some location work to be set up, with a couple of large sets which would require a lot of effort to install, including the one intended for El Mirage Dry Lake Bed. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, pp. 66-67 & 71)
- To transform the Los Angeles Convention Center into the subterranean Ocampan settlement, Richard James, Al Smutko, and their teams worked through the weekend of 17 and 18 September 1994. Set Decorator Jim Mees dressed the set – which was huge, complicated, and very expensive – with truckloads of furnishings and materials. Bill Peets brought in special riggings. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 316-317)
- After Voyager's standing sets were completed, plenty of other set construction work still remained, including the building of the Ocampa enclave set. It was initially constructed on Paramount Stage 11 but was later rebuilt on Paramount Stage 18. At the time the set was originally built, there were sets as well as partial sets to prepare for trucking to the other filming locations. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 292 & 322) The reference book A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager (pp. 334-335) described the rebuilt enclave set, as of the evening of 9 December 1994, when it was still very much a work in progress but was nonetheless starting to take shape; "Toward the rear of the stage was an enormous open area where men were building fake rock walls, to give the appearance of an underground cavern – the enclave. In the foreground, suspended from the ceiling, were high-tech-looking columns and structures with electrical wires dangling out of the sides. On the sides of the stage were large, unfinished walls with glassless windows. Two huge columnlike pieces – with more electrical wires protruding – hung from the ceiling down to within six feet of the floor. Large metal rings encircled each. The floor was covered here and there with piles of dirt that had been brought in, to simulate a cavern floor."
- The set of the shaft allowing access from Ocampa's underground to the planet's surface was situated in a pit built for TNG on Paramount Stage 16. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 135) This was apparently the same set as had represented a cave in TNG: "Second Chances". (Delta Quadrant, p. 9) The set was very expensive, costing approximately US$250,000. It extended from an underground room below the stage and towered thirty feet above the stage floor. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 317) The set was entirely vertical and was, in total, over forty feet high. Richard James stated about the massive set, "That was quite an undertaking because of all the special effects involved [….] We had to build a section that breaks away as some of the crew are escaping to the planet's surface." (Star Trek Monthly issue 3, p. 11) Inside the set was a steel staircase which Dick Brownfield rigged to break away and collapse to the bottom of the tower at precisely the right strategic moment. To help support the tall set's structure and counterbalance what went on inside it, Al Smutko had his crew weld steel scaffolding in place all around the set's exterior, from floor to ceiling. Some of the set's walls were wild, meaning they could be removed to allow filming access. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 317)
- The first day of this episode's production schedule was originally intended to be dedicated to filming the scene in which Janeway makes her first appearance on Voyager's bridge, which is also the first scene, in the episode, to take place in that environment and features the ship's launch from DS9. The scene included merely two lines of dialogue for Garrett Wang (who was the least experienced member of the main cast). (Starlog, issue #222, p. 79) That was the only dialogue he was to speak in all the scenes which were originally intended to be shot that day, and during that entire day he was meanwhile scheduled to appear in only a couple of scenes. He later recalled, "I thought, 'great, I'm dipping my foot into the pool, and gently walking in. It's cold water, but I'm fine.'" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 102, p. 46) However, the schedule was thereafter changed so that all the scenes that were now to be filmed on the first shooting day required him to verbally recite extensive dialogue. "Because they had just cast Geneviève," explained Wang, "they changed the shooting schedule around so they would have more time for hair and makeup to get everything together, and decided that the first day of shooting would be a different scene." (Starlog, issue #222, p. 79)
- Even from the first day of production, Alan Bernard was the series' sound mixer. (Star Trek Monthly issue 22, p. 15)
- Filming on the episode (and the series) began on Tuesday 6 September 1994. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 63; Star Trek Magazine issue 152, p. 24; Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 274) That day, the filming began at 8 a.m. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 302)
- According to the unofficial reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 274), the first scenes to be shot were on the existing DS9 sets, with Garrett Wang and Robert Duncan McNeill. This is not strictly accurate, though, as the very first scene to be shot was the "tomato soup" scene with Paris and Kim; it wasn't until later the same day that the scene that is set in Quark's bar was to be filmed. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 302; Starlog, issue #222, p. 79) According to a mistaken account in Star Trek: Communicator (issue 102, p. 46), though, it was then that Geneviève Bujold left the series and the Quark's bar scene was shot while Kate Mulgrew was preparing for the episode.
- When filming began, those present felt excited that this was indeed the start of a new Star Trek series, but, since Robert Duncan McNeill and Garrett Wang were the only cast members present, it somehow didn't feel totally "real" yet. Expectations were high that it wouldn't do so until the next day, Wednesday 7 September 1994, when Geneviève Bujold was scheduled to film her first scene, on the set of Voyager's bridge. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 302)
- Garrett Wang was extremely nervous during the first day of filming. (Starlog, issue #222, pp. 79 & 80) "I looked at the new production schedule for day one of shooting. I looked at the scenes, and at the names of the characters involved. Everywhere, it was Kim, Kim, Kim. It was me, all day. Me and Paris, me and Quark. I couldn't believe it," Wang recalled. "I was like, 'Arrrggghhh! I'm the most neophyte of all, the one with the shortest résumé, and they made me go first?" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 102, p. 46) Wang elaborated, "I'm the first one up to bat. I'm thinking, 'No, I'm the rookie; don't you want someone who has been on the team for a while?' But no, it was me! [….] There was no real sitting back and cruising through, which you can do on some days, so I was very nervous." (Starlog, issue #222, pp. 79 & 80)
- Robert Duncan McNeill was the actor who got to say the first filmed line. "[That] was fine with me," Garrett Wang noted. (Starlog, issue #222, p. 79)
- Despite his nervousness, Garrett Wang's co-stars helped to break the tension with gags and, in retrospect, he later admitted, "I got loosened up by the others." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 8, p. 10) The cast members whom Wang found particularly helped him were Scott Jaeck and Jeff McCarthy, who were playing Commander Cavit and the unnamed original doctor of Voyager respectively. "Those two guys […] were sitting with me," Wang recalled, "and the whole time we were shooting, they were cracking jokes and making me feel a lot looser." (Starlog, issue #222, pp. 79-80)
- Later on Tuesday 6 September, the shooting company (i.e., the cast and crew) moved across a street on the Paramount lot to Stage 17, in order to film, with Armin Shimerman, the scene that is set in Quark's bar. Winrich Kolbe proceeded to film late into the night of 6 September. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 302) "When the end of the first day came around, to the scene with Quark, I was very comfortable," Garrett Wang recalled. "Armin Shimerman really pulled out all the stops to make me feel comfortable, and he was giving me compliments. I fell into what I think I do best, which is act." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 102, p. 46)
- Anxious about Geneviève Bujold's progress, Winrich Kolbe made several distressed phone calls to Rick Berman during the first production day. "On the first day," remembered Berman, "I got calls from Rick Kolbe, […] saying that she was having trouble with her lines. She felt that she couldn't memorize seven pages a day." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 575)
- The start of production on this episode was complicated by the fact that the installment had to establish the new series' many main characters and regular cast members. "To get that all in line, to be in sync from the first day of shooting so that I was giving the producers what they wanted, took some time," Winrich Kolbe recalled. "Then, there were the logistics of this show, working on new sets, finding places to put the camera for the first time, working with a new cast, some of whom hadn't done anything like this before and were asking, 'Where am I looking?' or 'What do I press?' or 'When you say 'Shake!' do you mean me or the cameraman?'" (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 58)
- Despite Winrich Kolbe's concerns that Geneviève Bujold was struggling to memorize her lines, the decision was made to proceed with the filming on the second day of production: Wednesday 7 September 1994. "Day two comes and we figured we'd see if day two is better," noted Tom Mazza. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 575)
- On the second production day, Garrett Wang felt pretty good about how he had performed his scenes on the previous day. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 102, p. 46) "I felt much more comfortable after the first day and realising what I'd shot was fine," he remembered. (Star Trek Monthly issue 19, p. 88)
- On the morning of the second production day, preparing the first of the day's scenes to be shot required a lot of setting up. (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 274) However, the set call wasn't until 9 a.m., owing to Winrich Kolbe having filmed late into the previous evening. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 303)
- Even though they had a delayed start to the day, Robert Duncan McNeill and Garrett Wang were nonetheless officially a forced call. This meant they were called back to the set with less than twelve hours to rest but would be paid more by the producers. Wang liked this arrangement at the time, as the series had barely begun and yet he was receiving extra pay already, though he would revise this opinion several months into filming. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 9 & 303)
- As they awaited the arrival of Geneviève Bujold at the start of the second production day, everyone on the bridge set was anxious, due to the shooting company having heard all sorts of rumors about how standoffish Bujold was. The set was suddenly inundated with almost a hundred onlookers from around the Paramount lot. Patiently waiting for 9 a.m., Winrich Kolbe was confident that the filming would go well but was, privately, less sure of whether Bujold would be ready for the intense filming requirements. Rather than sharing his concerns with anyone, he exchanged small talk with Marvin Rush, Alan Bernard, and some of the other crew members while they all waited. At 9 a.m., Bujold walked onto the bridge, wearing her command red uniform costume. Kolbe welcomed her to the bridge set and Bujold gave a single red rose to each of the crew, including the director. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 303) "I thought it was wonderful," noted Kolbe, "and then… well, there was tension, but it was a silent tension. This is a pilot after all, you don't know what you're getting into." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 39) Richard James succinctly related, "I would just say on the first day of shooting on the Bridge, there was a lot of excitement on everybody's part." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 72)
- The first scene to be scheduled to go before the cameras with Geneviève Bujold was the one in which Voyager launches from DS9. Winrich Kolbe began rehearsing the scene, whose principle actors included not only Bujold, Garrett Wang, and Robert Duncan McNeill, but also Tim Russ. After Kolbe lined up the shot and Marvin Rush lit the scene, they re-rehearsed the moment. However, Kolbe wasn't happy with how Geneviève Bujold portrayed Janeway's involvement in it; he wanted the actress to perform it with a more commanding presence. So, rather than proceed with the shoot, they continued to discuss the scene and rehearsed it again. Continuing to be frustrated with Bujold's performance of the scene, Kolbe nevertheless decided to proceed with the filming. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 304-306) He later remembered that the shooting company was "working hard to get going." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 572)
- At first, the cast and crew did many consecutive takes, which caused the shoot to fall behind schedule even more. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 306) Whereas filming the scene would have typically taken only one or two takes, fifteen takes of Janeway's entrance onto the bridge were shot. (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 274) Kolbe eventually chose to just carry on with the filming and let the producers realize what was happening from the numbers of takes he was going through. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 306) Feeling there was something wrong and that whatever he tried didn't work, he resolved to shoot multiple takes of each set-up (often filming more than twenty takes), and print the ones which seemed best. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, pp. 37 & 39) "I figured, let's just see how the producers will react to it," he noted. "I didn't want to push the panic button then." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 306) Even though Kolbe and his crew felt there was a problem, they were quiet about it because they were professionals who had worked together for years and were paid a lot of money to make sure they solved such problems. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 39)
- Geneviève Bujold subsequently performed the moment at the end of the departure scene, wherein Captain Janeway gives her crew the "engage" command to leave DS9 on their first mission into the unknown. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 306) The actress had an unusual approach to the scene, in which, after sitting down in the command chair, she closed her eyes for about a minute and then quietly uttered the "engage" command. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 574) The way she performed the moment astonished Winrich Kolbe and the rest of the production crew with how inappropriately small-scale it seemed to them. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 306)
- Also shot on 7 September 1994 was footage (at least six takes) from the bridge set for the scene wherein Voyager is propelled to the Delta Quadrant. For this scene, green screen was used in place of the main viewscreen, to later be replaced with visual effects. (The First Captain: Bujold, VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- On the second day of production, the filming continued well into the evening. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 306) Summing up the entire day, Winrich Kolbe stated, "The first day [with Bujold] went very silently." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 39)
- As Winrich Kolbe had expected, the producers were disappointed with the initial filming that involved Geneviève Bujold. "Questions immediately started to come up," recollected Tom Mazza. He also specified that "Day two wasn't any better [than the first day had been]." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 571 & 575)
- A third scene which was shot with Geneviève Bujold was the one in which Janeway and Tuvok have a personal discussion in the captain's quarters. (The First Captain: Bujold, VOY Season 1 DVD special features) This footage was shot on Thursday 8 September 1994. The crew call that morning, due to the previous night's shoot having ended late, wasn't until 10 a.m., with Bujold due to arrive on the set at 11 a.m. Winrich Kolbe rehearsed the first shot, which started with Janeway seated at her desk, then standing and walking off-camera, towards the room's windows. The director found this filming to again be extremely frustrating. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 307) "I don't want to say tense, but it was not really comfortable and easy and relaxed," stated Tim Russ. "It was not there, not happening, no chemistry." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 37) The first shot took approximately twenty takes. The crew set up for the second shot, Marvin Rush relit the area, and Kolbe had Bujold rehearse her part of the shot. She then did some takes that were deemed unsuccessful. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 307) Immediately after one of them, the actress even grimaced, as soon as the take was finished. (The First Captain: Bujold, VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- During a break in filming the ready room scene, Geneviève Bujold stood next to Winrich Kolbe and made an announcement, in a voice loud enough to be heard by everybody on the set. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 307) The crew was meanwhile setting up another shot on the set of Voyager's ready room. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 39) "On Thursday afternoon we were just about ready to break for lunch," recalled Kolbe, "when she said in front of everyone, 'It's just not working out too well. I don't think I'm right for the part.' To which I said, 'Don't ever say that!'" The director's reply was because he didn't want her lack of confidence with the part to affect the morale of the production crew. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 572) First Assistant Director Jerry Fleck then approached Kolbe and suggested they announce the actors could go for lunch. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 39) As dictated by the schedule, the shooting company then indeed broke for lunch. "We had hardly accomplished anything – two or three shots, or something like that," Kolbe remarked. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 307) Bujold retreated to her trailer in tears. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 576) "I stood there trying to figure out what to do, then decided to talk to her," Kolbe said. The director later mistakenly recalled that this incident had taken place on Friday, 9 September 1994, around lunchtime that day. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 39)
- As the lunch break got underway, Winrich Kolbe went to Geneviève Bujold's trailer and spoke with her there, for about twenty minutes or half an hour, about her reluctance with the role, the actress making it clear to him that she didn't want to do it. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 39; A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 307) "So I said, 'You understand that I have to talk to the studio now and I'm sure somebody will contact you very soon,'" Kolbe recounted. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 39) He proceeded to call the producers. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 308) "I figured at that time it was over," he remembered, "and I called Rick Berman and said, 'Rick, you better get your people down here and talk to her, because I have a feeling we don't have a Captain Janeway.'" (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 39) Bujold spoke with Berman, telling him she couldn't continue. (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., p. 214) "On either day one or day two, I'm not sure which, the whole deck of cards fell apart," Berman elaborated. "She [Bujold] was in her trailer. She wouldn't come out. She was all upset about something." (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 26) Michael Piller clarified, "This was just the last of a series of calls that week with Geneviève. It got to a point where we [the producers] sort of looked at each other, and raised our eyebrows, and traipsed down there. You wondered what it was going to be this time." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 37)
- Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor went to Geneviève Bujold's trailer to speak with the actress. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 308) "I went into her trailer and I talked to her," remembered Berman. "She said, 'There are people touching my hair who I don't know. I have all these pages. I can't discuss every line with the director and they're asking me to do things at a certain speed. I just…' And it was like every single thing I'd said to her when I gave her the darkest impression of what this would all be like, it all came to a head on that first or second day." (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 26) Taylor remembered, "She said that she couldn't hold up and act under those kinds of strictures. So, Geneviève came to us and said, 'Please, this has been a mistake.'" (Starlog, issue #211, p. 44) Piller added, "What it was, was: 'Look, I made a mistake, I really can't do this. Is there a car that can take me home?' And by the time we got to that meeting, we all knew that it was not a bad thing that she was suggesting, and we said, 'God bless, good luck.' We were concerned that the studio would not feel the same way and that there might be some legal ramifications, because a lot of money was spent on the days of shooting when she was involved." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 37) Nonetheless, Berman responded to the actress' concerns calmly. "I was very calm. I looked at her and said, 'Look, just pack up your stuff and go home. Everything is going to be fine,'" continued Berman. "And at that point I called the studio people, the chairman of the television division, and told him the story." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 576) Berman went to Kerry McCluggage's office, where he further expressed his concerns about Bujold. (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 27)
- After the trio of executive producers exited Geneviève Bujold's trailer and Winrich Kolbe learned the actress was about to resign from the show, he returned to his office in a van. However, Kolbe experienced a strange, almost sickening sensation in his stomach, as if all the adrenaline had emptied out of his body. He was familiar with the feeling, as he had previously experienced it after surviving a combat mission in Vietnam. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 37)
- Finally, Rick Berman and the Paramount executives agreed to shut down production on this pilot episode, which was a very expensive prospect, and to later resume the installment's filming without Geneviève Bujold. (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 27) This conclusion was reached about half an hour after Winrich Kolbe had called the producers regarding the situation and mere minutes since they had arrived at the actress' trailer. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 572; Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 274) Tom Mazza recounted, "We said, 'We can't do this. We're going to have to bite the bullet.'" (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 575) Explained Berman, "There was enough going on, in that first day or two, that we realized that, for everybody's sake, that it was best to go in another direction." (The First Captain: Bujold, VOY Season 1 DVD special features) Bujold departed two days after she started filming, on 9 September 1994. (Star Trek Magazine issue 152, p. 24) In summation, Kolbe stated, "We shot for a day and a half, we did a lot of things and she was pretty much involved in everything. I tried to get her to give us the authority that I wanted from the character, and that never came through." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 573)
- Geneviève Bujold's exit was obviously somewhat regrettable. "Of course, when that didn't work out it was distressing for everybody," Jeri Taylor remembered. "I am deeply grateful to her that she did this after a day and a half instead of after six weeks or two months, because that would have destroyed us." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 133) At the very least, if Bujold had dropped out after six weeks, it would have been, as Taylor put it, "very troublesome." (Starlog, issue #211, p. 44) Rick Berman wasn't pleased to be proved right in his strong suspicion that, with Bujold, the filming would turn out to be unworkable, but he was pleased it had happened on her second day. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 308) Agreed Winrich Kolbe, "It's probably good that the 'situation' happened when it did, even though it threw a monkey wrench into our operation. It would have been a disaster if we had shot the whole pilot and then found out it didn't work." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 576) Michael Piller simply said, "I can tell you that, in terms of the people working on the show, the success of the show, and the cast, it was a blessing." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 37)
- Robert Beltran was largely unsure about how the first few days' filming had been going. "I think it was mostly Geneviève and Tim Russ that had scenes together," he reckoned. "I honestly don't really know what happened with that [….] I know they always comment on the one scene where she orders some aliens to be annihilated and she doesn't do it happily. I think the line was 'Fire!' and she did it in such a way that the producers thought was not strong enough; not enough of a strong captain." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 575) This wasn't the only mistaken impression which Star Trek: Voyager's staff were left with about this installment, as Ken Biller was under the erroneous impression, after the episode's filming ended, that it had been shot in August 1994. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 3, p. 48)
- Other erroneous remarks about the production period involving Geneviève Bujold can be found in the unofficial reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 9) and the magazine Cinefantastique (Vol. 27, No. 4/5, pp. 36-37). Delta Quadrant states that Tim Russ was the only regular cast member who shot scenes with Bujold, whereas Cinefantastique reported that the days she worked were 8 and 9 September 1994 and that only two scenes were filmed during that time (the scene the magazine excludes is the one where Voyager is catapulted to the Delta Quadrant). Evidence clearly showing that these statements are incorrect can be viewed in the VOY Season 1 DVD featurette The First Captain: Bujold.
Continuing without a captain
- Originally, Ethan Phillips' first filmed scene was scheduled to be the one in which he and Kes visit Janeway's ready room and request to join the crew. This scene was to be shot after the one in which the captain has a discussion with Tuvok in her ready room. ("Caretaker" call sheets) However, this scheduling arrangement did not turn out to be the case. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 106, p. 16) The change was likely due to Geneviève Bujold's departure.
- The fact that filming was already underway meant that finding a long-term replacement for Geneviève Bujold had to be done quickly. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 133) However, Winrich Kolbe was already hip-deep in an already delayed shooting schedule, so he couldn't get involved in another round of casting. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 57)
- With the decision having been made to shut down production on this installment, Winrich Kolbe and First Assistant Director Jerry Fleck went back to the Cooper Building to restructure the production boards. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 308) Also involved in this process, which was motivated by concerns about insurance, were Merri Howard and David Livingston. "Insurance would pay for any loss," explained Kolbe, "but we had to prove to them we covered all our bases." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 37) The group of production personnel managed to revise the schedule so that filming could proceed the next Monday, focusing on scenes that didn't involve Janeway, and proceed for a week, which would allow the producers about a week to select a new actress for the role. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 308; Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 37)
- The duration that the episode wasn't in production was a nervous time for the extant cast members, who were painfully aware of the tension on the set. Some feared the entire series would be shut down, or at least that the break in filming might lead the producers to reconsider all the casting. (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 274) Even the male members of the cast were nervous that they might be asked to leave, as the producers briefly considered recasting Janeway as a male, in which case the gender of any of the other principal characters might be changed as well. "So it was a very tense time for all the male characters," related Garrett Wang. "Sitting there, going, 'Am I going to get it?'" (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 37)
- As he and Jerry Fleck had planned, Winrich Kolbe did indeed attempt to keep filming, concentrating on scenes that didn't include Janeway, while the search for the series lead carried on. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 308)
- Ultimately, the first scene which Ethan Phillips, who had been an avid fan of TOS, was involved in filming was set in Voyager's transporter room. "There I stood under the same transporter lights that the original cast had used, and the first words I got to say were, 'Beam me up!'" he reminisced. "I was in awe." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 106, p. 16) This scene was filmed on Friday 9 September 1994. ("Caretaker" call sheets)
- Shooting was restarted the following Monday: 12 September 1994. (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 274) The episode's teaser was filmed on that date. (Star Trek Magazine issue 152, p. 24) Star Trek: Communicator erroneously cited this scene as the very first one to have been filmed. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 58) The shooting company meanwhile still planned to shoot until Friday 16 September. (Information from Larry Nemecek)
- The teaser scene proved problematic to shoot. "[It] didn't quite gel," noted Winrich Kolbe. "The actors were not familiar yet: 'What am I looking at here? How am I pushing these things? What is it that I see?' It's hard to interact with something that isn't there, especially on your first day, and so the performances really weren't there. And there were some other problems, so […] we reshot it, and by then they knew what they were doing." The reshoot of the teaser made use of the rewritten version of the scene, as its guide. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 58)
- There were mixed feelings amongst the cast as to the pace of production. Robert Beltran said of how he took part in this episode's filming, "It was a short, grueling pilot schedule, but it was fun [….] I didn't start work until after the first week, so the whole Geneviève Bujold fiasco had passed by already. The feature quality of [the premiere] was evident." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 124 & 135) In contrast, Ethan Phillips commented, "They really took their time with the pilot and treated it like a feature. There was never a sense that you were rushing." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 124)
- The scene showing Neelix enjoying a bath was filmed on 14 September 1994. ("Caretaker" call sheets) For the scene, Ethan Phillips wore the prosthetic Talaxian chest appliance. (Delta Quadrant, p. 9) "It took maybe an hour to 90 minutes to apply," remembered Michael Westmore. "On something like that, you have more than one person working simultaneously. I know there were two, and maybe even three people helping to glue everything down and airbrush the spots." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 2, pp. 40-41)
- Based on a visible continuity error in "Caretaker", the unofficial reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 12) reasons that, while filming the sequence wherein Torres struggles against her Ocampan doctors, actress Roxann Dawson revealingly popped out of her gown by mistake, so the crew had to stop the filming and ensure her gown was closed before production could be resumed. This scene was filmed on 15 September 1994. ("Caretaker" call sheets)
- Robert Picardo began working on the episode on 16 September 1994. ("Caretaker" call sheets) "Starting work on Star Trek: Voyager was like boarding a bus at 60 miles an hour; the moment you jump on, you're in full swing," he asserted. (Star Trek Monthly issue 19, p. 80)
- Initially, the filming was affected by the fact that the Voyager set contained three "Roberts" (i.e., Robert Beltran, Robert Picardo, and Robert Duncan McNeill) as well as Ethan "John" Phillips. "So there were a lot of 'hey yous' floating around the set for a while," Winrich Kolbe recalled. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 58)
- When he first heard Kate Mulgrew's name be mentioned, Winrich Kolbe was busy filming. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 579) However, the attempt to carry on with production, during the search for a suitable actress to play Janeway, became more cumbersome each day. Kolbe eventually gave up on trying to continue shooting, the producers agreed with him, and production was halted until they had managed to cast a new actress to play the captain. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 308) They had managed to film for an entire week since Geneviève Bujold's departure, shooting scenes which didn't include Janeway. "We had been working," said Kolbe, "but we didn't really seem to go anywhere because we didn't have our Janeway – him or her, whoever it might be." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 59) The shoot was halted before the end of the week, with all the episode's scenes that didn't feature Janeway having been filmed by then. (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 274)
Resuming with the recast captain
- Once the Janeway role was recast with Kate Mulgrew in the part, the filming could recommence. "As soon as we had hair situations worked out and uniform situations worked out, within a week we were shooting again," stated Rick Berman. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 576) Whereas the episode had entered production on Tuesday 6 September 1994, Mulgrew didn't arrive for filming until Monday 19 September. (Star Trek Magazine issue 152, p. 24)
- Even following the casting of Kate Mulgrew, bitter emotions remained for a short time. "There was a little bit of ugliness," explained Rick Berman, "between the studio and Geneviève's management, I'm not sure who, because of all the expense involved in her realizing, after so many people had given her warning, that she couldn't do this." (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 27) Berman also recollected, "The studio was so angry because we had to shut down and it cost a lot of money. They threatened to sue her, which was terrible – and, of course, they never did." What happened was that Bujold's agent called Paramount and concluded negotiations with the studio, as neither party had been happy up to then. "It actually paid for the loss of the first three days," Tom Mazza remarked, "because the first three days were lost in terms of those scenes with her." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 576) Berman observed that the tensions between Paramount and Bujold's management "all went away and everything was fine." (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 27)
- After he had an initial meeting with Kate Mulgrew in the make-up trailer, Winrich Kolbe felt confident the production shoot could get back on track. "I brought her to the set on Stage Nine and said, 'Ladies and gentlemen, the captain!' And everyone applauded," the director reminisced. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 579) Kolbe was ecstatic to bring Mulgrew onto the set. "Oh yes – I think that was the most relieved moment of my whole career!" he exclaimed, with a laugh. "When I picked her up out of makeup for a test shoot and brought her on the set and introduced her as the new captain of Voyager – at that moment, we took off; there was applause and whistles and the temperature just went up! Prior to that it was just stalling time… the focus wasn't there as it should have been until she arrived." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 57)
- As he had done with Geneviève Bujold, Winrich Kolbe gave Kate Mulgrew a tour of the sets. "I took her through the bridge, the ready room, the conference room, and I said, 'This is your living room. Control it just like you control your living room in your house. This is your bridge, you know where everything is, you walk with a purpose, everybody else will look at you, you are the focus. You don't sit down unless you are very very tired. You move around. You lead the camera. I have wheels on the camera and a damn good camera operator. I'm going to follow you wherever you go.' She just listened as I explained what all the stations were." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 37) Mulgrew herself reflected, "Rick Kolbe said to me, offstage, 'The bridge is your living room, so treat it accordingly; you're the boss.'" ("Voyager Time Capsule: Kathryn Janeway", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- The first few days of filming saw Kate Mulgrew with her natural hairstyle, wearing her hair down, the style the producers had chosen from several alternate concepts that Josée Normand designed for Janeway's hairstyle. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 318)
- According to Kate Mulgrew, her first day involved performing the scene wherein Janeway walks onto Voyager's bridge, makes a few introductions, assumes the command chair, and orders, "Engage." ("Voyager Time Capsule: Kathryn Janeway", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) However, that scene wasn't scheduled to be filmed until 23 September 1994. The first scene to actually go before the cameras with Mulgrew was a brief shot in which Janeway and the rest of an away team find themselves on the bridge of Voyager, having suddenly been sent there by the time-pressured Caretaker. ("Caretaker" call sheets) The scene was rehearsed before it was shot. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 38) All the while, multiple executives were observing. "All the suits were down here, everybody was here," Mulgrew recalled, "and my heart was in my throat." She further explained, "It was with no little trepidation, I can assure you, that I walked onto the set of that bridge, the first day, because they were all watching. They weren't a bit sure, having suffered what they did with Miss Bujold, that a woman could constitutionally handle the part [….] I thought, 'What the hell, here we go.'" Mulgrew determined, right then and there, to commit herself to the role. "It began probably the most extraordinary chapter of my life," she reflected. In retrospect, she admitted she would "never forget" Kolbe's advice and concluded about the entire experience, "I'd have to say, the first day […] [is] etched indelibly in my soul and in my brain, the first time I walked on the bridge." ("Voyager Time Capsule: Kathryn Janeway", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) For his part, Kolbe reckoned that the advice and tour he had given Mulgrew must have worked, as she knew precisely where to stand from the first moment she walked on the bridge. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 37)
- A sense of joviality was evident on the set immediately following Kate Mulgrew's introduction. "That was the feeling," she said. "We're going to have fun; I'm here, we're going to help each other. I had them joking right away. McNeill was the first one… in fact, we were laughing so hard that tears were coming down my face." The attitude now on the set delighted Winrich Kolbe, who later noted, "That was all very nice and I suddenly felt that we were taking off. We were just taxiing up the runway until that point." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 579) He elaborated, "Kate came in and it was like thunder hit the crew [….] When Kate arrived, all of the afterburners suddenly fired." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 59) Garrett Wang concurred, "We were all happy. And that was that." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 38)
- No longer was there a need for long rehearsals, as the shooting company now simply had to run through a scene once or twice instead, before filming the scene and then progressing onto the next one. It was fortunate that Kate Mulgrew was willing to set a fast pace, since there was now much catching up to do. Even though the January air date was still firmly fixed, the production was now more than four weeks behind the original start date. The only way to catch up was for the shooting company to film as much as they could as soon as possible. The fact that this episode was a pilot and not a "one-shot" television special compounded the problem; there simply wasn't a lot of time to finish shooting this episode because the second episode of the series, "Parallax", was scheduled to start filming on Monday, 24 October 1994. The pilot was still meant to be shot in merely twenty-eight days, seven of which were planned to be on location. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 310, 316 & 317)
- The rest of Kate Mulgrew's initial day of shooting (19 September 1994) was also spent on the set for Voyager's bridge. The second scene to be shot that day was part of Janeway's viewscreen conversation with Neelix. Filmed next on the same day was the bridge perspective of, firstly, Janeway's discussion with Jabin and then the subsequent start of the battle between Voyager and the pair of Kazon vessels, followed by Janeway asking Paris to take the conn and her departure from the bridge, preparing to beam over to the Caretaker's array. Shot later that day was a shot of Paris contacting Janeway to report that one of the Kazon vessels had collided with the array and to ask if she was alright. The sequence where the captain returns to the bridge, has a conversation with Jabin and then supervises the destruction of the array was filmed last on that day. ("Caretaker" call sheets)
- As the filming of this episode went ahead, the shooting company committed long hours of hard work to it. If anything, the delays and false start had simply helped bond them together. The production schedule progressed in relative calm, through the numerous long hours of shooting. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, pp. 38 & 83) Now that the episode was in full production, more footage was shot with each passing day. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 318)
- Pre-Production Coordinator Lolita Fatjo observed that the making of this pilot episode was easier than that of DS9: "Emissary". She recalled, "The pilot experience overall, except for the casting of the captain and all that craziness, for everybody was real smooth compared to the pilot on Deep Space Nine." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 130; Sci-Fi Universe, Vol. 1, issue 10, p. 54) Winrich Kolbe felt similarly, his most recent Star Trek work having been the job of directing TNG series finale "All Good Things...". Whereas he had found that task emotionally draining personally but not very demanding physically and witnessed that everybody had been wanting to leave to do other things, he found helming this pilot episode was a significantly different experience. "'Caretaker' was the exact opposite," he related. "Physically, it was very draining because everything, plus two kitchen sinks, is in there and, logistically, it was a major enterprise. Emotionally, after Kate came in, it was nothing but upbeat. Everybody wanted to work. Nobody in the cast would go back to their motor homes. The stage was smoky and dark and I would say, 'Get out of here.' They would reply, 'No, no, we want to stay. We like it here. We're learning' [….] Everybody on Voyager was ready and willing to go." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 64) As for the physical difficulties associated with making this episode, Kolbe stated, "We had special effects shots, we had three main location shoots. It was very challenging." Despite these difficulties, he acknowledged, "I think this one, for a pilot, went very smoothly." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 57)
- With the Los Angeles Convention Center having been modified to represent the subterranean Ocampan settlement during the weekend of 17 and 18 September 1994, the shooting company filmed at the location on 20 and 21 September. These were among the days when Mulgrew wore her hair down on-camera. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 316 & 319) The shooting company proceeded to film with Mulgrew wearing this hairstyle, with it ultimately included in about five filming days. (Star Trek Magazine issue 119, p. 79)
- The shooting company reshot much of the footage that had originally been filmed with Geneviève Bujold. As a result, Michael Piller remarked, "You could say that the first week or so was a rehearsal." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 38)
- Although the first few days of filming involved Kate Mulgrew wearing her natural hairstyle, producers noticed that the stage lighting was making her fine hair-type appear thin and see-through. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 318-319; Star Trek Magazine issue 152, p. 24) Winrich Kolbe was unclear about who, at Paramount, it was that noticed the problem. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 57) However, Rick Berman revealed, "We got a call from Kerry [McCluggage] [….] saying he hated Kate's hair." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 582) Jeri Taylor added, "When she moved her head, you could sort of see through the hair. There wasn't enough hair there (to create a solid mass). So we thought well, maybe this is not the hairdo, and began doing other styles on her." Taylor also remembered that it had been "fairly quickly" that she and the other personnel had decided on Janeway having a more severe bun, noting, "The executives at the studio really liked that hairdo a lot." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 319)
- While the decision process was ongoing for which hairstyle Kate Mulgrew would ultimately wear, she continued to film scenes with her hair down. Once the new style was approved, she could shoot the rest of the episode with the new hairstyle, and the producers intended to explain the changes in hairstyle by inferring that Janeway temporarily changed it for the away mission to Ocampa. This plan was arrived at because two of the days Mulgrew had worn her natural hairstyle had been on location at the Los Angeles Convention Center, considered to be a prohibitively expensive site to hire again. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 319)
- Although the solution of implying that Janeway simply changed her hair for the away mission seemed completely legitimate to the producers, the executives at Paramount liked the bun hairstyle so much that they wanted them to investigate the possibilities of reshooting at the location with Kate Mulgrew's hair up. Moreover, studio executives at Paramount and executives at UPN were concerned that the dramatic impact of the pilot episode might be lessened if Mulgrew's earlier-shot hairstyle was included; the executives worried that viewers could think Janeway was more focused on her hair and how she looked than on the potentially dangerous away mission. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 319-320)
- The notion of reshooting numerous scenes, including those at the Ocampa city, was no small challenge. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 319 & 320) It meant rehiring the Los Angeles Convention Center, returning there, and, at the very least, recreating both the Ocampa "city" set and the Ocampa "enclave" set from scratch, both of them having already been struck (i.e., completely deconstructed after use). (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 319 & 321; Star Trek Magazine issue 119, p. 79) The proposed reshoots required, at minimum, two days on the bridge set, two days in the enclave set, and at least one day at the Convention Center. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 320) All the footage that Kate Mulgrew had filmed during her first day on set would have to be reshot. (Star Trek Magazine issue 152, p. 24) The Convention Center, usually booked years in advance, might not even be available at all. Certainly, Stage 11 was no longer available, now occupied by a feature film. The production of this episode was already pressed for time, owing to the January air date, and the reshot scenes would need to fit, to the second, the timing of the same scenes in their original state, to ensure that the running time of "Caretaker" stayed the same. In essence, there were many problems and complications with the reshoots proposal. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 320-321 & 322)
- Though Kerry McCluggage and Tom Mazza were aware of the enormity of proposing the reshoots, a lot depended on the success of this episode and the launch of Star Trek: Voyager in general. Both Mazza and McCluggage agreed that, despite the final expenditure of filming the reshoots, doing them was necessary. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 319-320 & 321) Thus, the change of Kate Mulgrew's hairstyle ultimately necessitated the proposed reshoots. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 320-321; Star Trek Magazine issue 152, p. 24; Star Trek: Voyager Companion, p. 12; Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134) The Paramount executives' decision to authorize these expensive reshoots surprised everyone. (Star Trek Magazine issue 119, p. 79) Rick Berman noted, "We ended up having to reshoot half of her stuff." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 582)
- The unavailability of Stage 11 meant a substitute needed to be picked for the enclave set. This was what led to Paramount Stage 18 being selected, even though it was normally reserved for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's swing sets. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 322)
- Although Winrich Kolbe (at the time the reshoots were planned) was scheduled to direct "Phage" and "Eye of the Needle", he also needed to be available to direct the reshoots for this episode. To accommodate when the Los Angeles Convention Center would be available, a window of four days' time in early December 1994 was identified, which was about the same time as Kolbe was meant to direct "Eye of the Needle". However, the production personnel were left with no choice but to make the arrangement work. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 321-322)
- After it was decided to change Janeway's hairstyle, numerous styles were tested. The original solution, a wig, "kept popping after about eight hours on the set," in Winrich Kolbe's words. The wig repeatedly needed a costly half-hour of downtime to be fixed. "I had a feeling we were going to spend a long time trying to get the hairdo straightened out!" recalled Kolbe, considering the numerous hair-related issues. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 57)
- The producers didn't visit the set during this episode's production, at least not until the first few days of filming had elapsed. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 57)
- For Kate Mulgrew, her first week of working on this episode wasn't the easiest. "I think the first week I just needed to relax," she stated. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 100, p. 63; Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 13)
- As if to put her imprint firmly on the production at the outset, Mulgrew, during her first week on the set, gathered the cast together in her trailer one evening. The get-together was ostensibly to rehearse lines but was actually an informal gathering, allowing each person to relax and build rapport with their castmates. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 312)
- From the beginning, Robert Duncan McNeill felt it was important to try to make the Voyager set an enjoyable place to work. "During the first couple of weeks, I'd come on the set singing show tunes and silly things, and trying to get everybody to enjoy the work," he recalled. "One night, Marvin Rush, our cinematographer, and I were walking to our cars together, and he sort of thanked me for that. He said, 'I really think it's important for everybody to have a good time. You have to take the work seriously but not take yourself seriously in the work.'" (Star Trek Monthly issue 19, p. 86)
- The production shoot was hampered by Winrich Kolbe becoming ill. "He missed a day of shooting, and I got a call the night before saying I may have to come in and fill in for Rick for a day," stated David Livingston. "I had to direct a couple of scenes and I was real concerned he wasn't going to be well enough for the dry lake bed, because there was no way I could shoot that out there. It takes a director a long time to plan out all that stuff, and fortunately he got better." Livingston thought Kolbe's recovery was due to the director having "a lot of intestinal fortitude" because he had served as a point man in Vietnam. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134)
- The location shoot at El Mirage Dry Lake Bed, posing as the Kazon encampment and surrounding environment, took over two days, including 27 September and 28 September 1994. (Star Trek Magazine issue 152, p. 24; On Location with the Kazons, VOY Season 1 DVD) Shot on the former day, by which time Janeway's distinctive bun hairstyle had been established, was the first scene to be shot at the filming location, which is actually the final scene of the episode to be set on Ocampa. The shooting personnel who were present at this time included Winrich Kolbe and Jerry Fleck. (Star Trek Magazine issue 152, p. 24) Kolbe spent some of the location shoot sitting with his director's chair poised atop a crane. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, inlay photographs) While on location, David Livingston noted, "This has been an especially difficult shoot." The reason for the high level of difficulty was that the actors playing Kazon had a number of requirements, for example undergoing application of extensive makeup, hair, and wardrobe. "Then we have to transport them all out here," continued Livingston, "and then we have to keep them comfortable, because of the heat out here. It's a big logistical challenge to get everyone out here on time and to pull it off. And so far, we've made it." (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure) Adding to the difficulties was the heaviness of the Kazon headdresses. Anthony De Longis, who later portrayed First Maje Culluh, relayed, "Some of the stuntmen who played Kazon in the pilot told me […] that they had had one hell of a time working in them." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 18, pp. 66-67) The special feature "On Location with the Kazons" on the Season 1 DVD features interviews from the location shooting on 28 September 1994, with Livingston and Kolbe commenting that forty extras were dressed as Kazon.
- Also filmed at the El Mirage location was the moment when the group of Kazon troops carry Neelix into their encampment while he requests to speak with Jabin. Winrich Kolbe, at one point during the shoot, started a take of this moment by proclaiming, "Movement, action." After Ethan Phillips said his line, Kolbe ended the filming by instructing, "And… cut." (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure)
- At least two takes were filmed of an instant when Tom Paris, being taken prisoner along with his crewmates by the Kazon soldiers, is motioned, by one of them, to sit on the ground. (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure)
- During the production shoot, Robert Duncan McNeill and Kate Mulgrew had a light-hearted moment when they exchanged smiles and McNeill, in his sitting position, shifted the slab of wood he was sitting on, on the ground of the set for the Kazon encampment. ("Cast Reflections: Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- For Jennifer Lien's performance of Kes' introductory scene, Winrich Kolbe gave her some personal coaching, talking to her privately during the shoot. (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure; "Cast Reflections: Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) While the shooting company was taking another break in the location filming, Kolbe likewise spoke with a group of some of the other actors about the next shot to be filmed, those performers including Ethan Phillips, Robert Duncan McNeill, Kate Mulgrew, and Tim Russ. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, inlay photographs)
- At least temporarily, Ethan Phillips didn't wear Neelix's jacket while rehearsing, indoors, the scene wherein Neelix, holding Jabin at gunpoint, orders the Kazon ground troops to drop their weapons. Despite this being merely a rehearsal, Winrich Kolbe stood by (beside Jerry Fleck) and called "Action!" to prep the actors. The same scene was among the footage that was actually shot on location. (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure) The subsequent moment where Kes runs up to Neelix was also rehearsed without Phillips wearing his costume jacket. ("Cast Reflections: Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- Some footage of the Kazon subordinates frantically clustering around the leaking water tanks was shot, during the location shoot, with a handheld camera. (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure)
- The sequence in which members of the two crews are each shown lying, undressed, on a slab in the chamber aboard the Caretaker's array, seemingly with tubes and needles sticking into their bodies, was filmed on Monday 3 October 1994. ("Caretaker" call sheets) Many of the cast members found that to be the strangest moment of appearing in this episode. (Starlog, issue #212, p. 30) Garrett Wang was one of these cast members. "That moment where I'm lying naked on a slab and having a needle inserted into my chest was probably the strangest thing I've had to do so far. It was not exactly the easiest scene in the world to do," he commented in apparent understatement, after he'd taken part in the filming of the first six episodes of the first season (including this outing), "and hanging there wasn't much fun." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 2, p. 31) Conversely, Kate Mulgrew didn't find the experience strange at all. "That was delightful, actually," she reflected. "I rested for 15 minutes." (Starlog, issue #212, p. 30)
- The principal photography for the scenes in which Angela Paton played Aunt Adah was filmed between Monday 3 October 1994 and Thursday 6 October 1994, on Paramount Stage 16 and on location in Norwalk, California. ("Caretaker" call sheets)
- During the fifth week of production on this episode, Kate Mulgrew and Robert Duncan McNeill had a discussion in which they expressed their amazement at how well the cast had bonded. (OMNI, Vol. 17, No. 5, pp. 39-40 & 43)
- Garrett Wang became ill towards the end of the production schedule, though the timing proved to be fortuitous. "I was very sick the day that we filmed on the stairwell, where I was supposed to be dying," he remembered, "and I thought, 'Hey, this is perfect.'" (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 38)
- The task of capturing footage of the steel staircase falling to the bottom of the shaft on Ocampa was a potentially lethal stunt. Hence, the production crew didn't want to need to do too many takes of the sequence. The set was used for a day, then was torn down and discarded the following day. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 317)
- After six weeks of production on this episode, the shooting company had spent many eighteen-hour days on the Voyager sets, filming this pilot. Writer David Bischoff visited the sets after the first six weeks of shooting, on a day everyone was meant to have had off even though filming had rolled over into a week of hiatus. He recalled that the atmosphere on the set, as far as he could see, included "no tension among director Rick Kolbe, the cast, the prop folks, or the make-up artists. Only professionalism, enthusiasm, and even the occasional quip or joke." (OMNI, Vol. 17, No. 5, pp. 39-40)
- On 14 October 1994, additional footage was filmed for the scene wherein the away team arrives at the Kazon encampment, meets Jabin, and calls for the tanks of water to be beamed down from Voyager. That day, A-camera filmed at least two takes of a particular shot for this scene. (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure)
- On 17 October 1994, Winrich Kolbe supervised A-camera filming of at least one take of a scene in which Tom Paris and Harry Kim, arriving onboard Voyager, surveyed the ship's warp core. ("Cast Reflections: Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) Later that day, Kolbe oversaw the filming of a shot of Janeway turning away from the warp core to a nearby position in engineering and then folding her arms. The camera shot the moment from beside the warp core. (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure) Principal photography on this episode wrapped later the same day. (Information from Larry Nemecek)
- After the main shoot wrapped, some stunt shots were achieved and there were approximately four days of second unit work. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 63)
- On Thursday 17 November 1994, second unit filmed an additional scene involving Adah actress Angela Paton on Paramount Stage 11. ("Caretaker" call sheets)
- By early December 1994, the reshoots were scheduled to begin on 12 December. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 327) The decision to go ahead with the reshoots also meant everyone had to clock in overtime to complete their work. (Star Trek Magazine issue 119, p. 79) The timing of the reshoots forced Al Smutko, for instance, to squeeze the construction of the required sets in between building sets for the first season's subsequent episodes. The tight schedule also meant Winrich Kolbe had to somehow find time to prep and direct the "Caretaker" reshoots, which were scheduled for 12 and 13 December. Since he was to direct "Eye of the Needle" over a seven-day shoot starting on 7 December, Kolbe was required to, after the first three days of production on that episode, refocus his thoughts on this installment and attempt to get both himself and the actors emotionally charged up to recreate the energy of the "Caretaker" scenes they had shot two months earlier. He would then have to break his concentration on this episode in order to return to working on "Eye of the Needle". (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 327 & 329) Another reason the reshoots were at an inconvenient time for the production crew was that they were about to be begun when Rick Berman announced (on 5 December 1994) that the structure of Voyager's regular episodes (including the first four after this pilot, which had already been shot in their entirety) would be changed from a teaser and five acts to a teaser and four acts. There was meanwhile still a lot of work left to do for this episode's reshoots. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 331-332) The difficulty of production at the time led to various jokes on the set, a favorite of which seemed to be, "I wonder if we'll get this pilot shot before the series is finished." On the same day as the act announcement, Set Property Master Charlie Russo and Second Company Grip Randy Burgess exchanged comments about the reshoots, having heard the associated jokes, but both men were unconcerned, due to the normality of television pilots running behind schedule. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 93) Shortly after finding out that fortunately nothing much ultimately needed to change in the schedule, Property Master Alan Sims turned his focus to preparing the props for the "Caretaker" scenes that would be reshot at the Los Angeles Convention Center on the next Monday, 12 December 1994. Meanwhile, Richard James' PA, Tony Sears, was virtually frantic with trying to support the requirements of James and all the art department staff, just attempting to prepare for the reshoots. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 332)
- At 9:15 p.m. on the evening of Friday 9 December 1994, Winrich Kolbe left Paramount Stage 8, during a break in the filming of "Eye of Needle", and walked across the street on the studio lot to Paramount Stage 18, to check how the construction of the Ocampa enclave set was proceeding, as he would be filming there the following Tuesday. A few members of Al Smutko's construction crew were working inside the soundstage, so the large roll-back door to the stage was wide open, exposing the area inside to the chill December air. Kolbe had to walk through the standing sets for the interior of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's USS Defiant in order to reach the Ocampa enclave set. When 2nd Second Assistant Director Michael DeMeritt arrived there to announce that they were meanwhile ready for filming the next shot of "Eye of the Needle", Kolbe looked around for a moment and made a mental note to ask Richard James what type of plants he intended to use behind the set's fake rock walls on either side of the set. The director then exited the soundstage with DeMeritt, heading back to Stage 8. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 333-335)
- After many of the personnel (including Al Smutko's crews as well as Jim Mees and his crew, and Paint Foreperson Ed Charnock) worked over the weekend to prepare for the massively challenging reshoots, that part of the filming was initiated on time, in the early morning of Monday, 12 December 1994. However, everyone involved had put so much effort into the preparations that the filming of the reshoots itself seemed, to them, almost anticlimactic. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 335)
- Ethan Phillips was on the set at the Los Angeles Convention Center by 8:05 a.m. on 12 December 1994, in full makeup. (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure) However, his set call wasn't until 8:30 a.m. on that day. ("Caretaker" call sheet, A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 39) The first scene to be shot that morning involved a lot of running. (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure) However, no stunt doubles had been arranged to participate at all that day. ("Caretaker" call sheet, A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 39)
- Lunch was scheduled for 12 noon. ("Caretaker" call sheet, A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 39) Phillips had been considering going out to a nearby hotdog stand but, by 12:25 p.m., he'd decided not to do so because he was still wearing his elaborate Neelix makeup. (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure)
- Every day during the reshoots, Second Assistant Director Arlene Fukai was on the phone from the set to the post-production department, finding out the duration needed for each scene, so that Winrich Kolbe could have the actors redo the scenes to the exact filming times required. This all added to the extreme pressure which Kolbe and the production staff were already under. The specific footage numbers were relayed to the set each day by Co-Producer Wendy Neuss, who also had to time everything out. She found the situation messily disorganized. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 322 & 323)
- When Winrich Kolbe walked Stage 18 again on Monday evening with Richard James and Michael Mayer, the director complained there wasn't enough green vegetation serving as coverage behind the walls of the Ocampa enclave set, as he wanted it to have a taller, greener and lusher appearance. In response, Mayer planned to have more greens brought in, suspecting that eucalyptus would fill in the area nicely, and assured Kolbe the problem would be amended before he arrived the next morning. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 335)
- Tuesday's shoot in the Ocampa enclave also started on schedule, with a set call of 7:30 a.m., and Winrich Kolbe found that the issue with the greenery had been solved by the time he got to the set. As the day went on, though, it became clear that it was going to be a long day. This was partly because, throughout the day, Kolbe was dissatisfied with several master shots and the energy of some of the actors, particularly the way they moved and interacted with the performers who were playing Ocampa. The shoot wore on late into the evening and the final shot wrapped near 11:00 p.m., with "Eye of the Needle" due to resume the next morning at 7:30 a.m., which meant a forced call for most of the cast and crew, resulting in them getting precious little sleep that night. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 335)
Final production statistics
- According to the book A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager (pp. 233 & 318) and the magazine Cinefantastique (Vol. 27, No. 4/5, pp. 35 & 42), the budget of this episode swelled to over US$8 million by the time it aired. According to the former source, the significant increase in price from when its budget had originally been estimated at about US$6.5 million was due to decisions made in late November 1994. According to some reports, however, this episode had an unprecedented final cost of US$23 million.   Rick Berman stated, "It was a very ambitious, big production, and the studio gave us a lot more money than they probably should have to do a pilot of a UPN spin-off." (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 27) Michael Piller joked, "I can honestly say this is probably the only Star Trek pilot in which the hairdressing cost more than the special effects." (VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- The total duration taken to create this episode, since the time when Winrich Kolbe began to be involved in its making, was about five months. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 63) During those months, the filming was done over a total course of thirty-two days. (Information from Larry Nemecek) Some sources claim the episode had a thirty-one-day shoot. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 38; ) Garrett Wang referred to the duration as having been a thirty-day shoot. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 102, p. 46) In Star Trek: Communicator, Larry Nemecek also referred to the production period as having taken thirty days. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 58)
- The cast members who worked the most days on this episode's filming were Robert Duncan McNeill and Garrett Wang, both of whom worked twenty-nine days each. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 38) Wang referred to the number of days he worked on the episode as twenty-eight days. Regardless of the quantity, he reflected, "That number was even more than Kate Mulgrew's schedule." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 102, p. 46)
- Because the process of designing the Caretaker's array went on for months, it seemed, for a while, that the episode's post-production elements might not be completed in time to be inserted into the installment so that its January airdate could be met. If this turned out to be the case, the post-production staff would be blamed "for not getting the job done." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 257)
- Post-production elements still needed to be prepared during June, July and August 1994. As a result, Producer Peter Lauritson and Wendy Neuss, on the first floor of Paramount's Cooper Building, were busy with readying the post-production requirements for this episode, such as visual effects and elements to be added to the soundtrack. Lauritson had to ensure all facets of the installment's post-production would be ready so that, after the cast and crew had finished shooting, his department could complete the episode in time for its planned air date in January 1995. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 281, 284 & 285)
- As with everything else on the show, all the episode's visuals had to be conceived, designed, built, and lighted before filming could begin. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 58) Also prior to that eventuality, Image G, the company tasked with doing all of the installment's motion-control filming, had to successfully run film, lighting, and motion tests on the five-foot USS Voyager studio model. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 251) The job of overseeing the filming work at Image G was made the responsibility of Visual Effects Producer Dan Curry. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 295)
- Meetings concerning the episode's opticals were among the many meetings which Voyager's production staff were having by the start of July 1994. As of 21 July, the last of those meetings was scheduled to be held in the Cooper Building conference room on 9 August 1994, though the time for the meeting had not yet been decided. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 291 & 293)
- The work on this episode's visual effects (VFX) began in July 1994. Though this was a full month before the live-action filming was to begin, it seemed – at least to Visual Effects Supervisor David Stipes – as if the installment's many models would never be designed, approved, and constructed in enough time. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 59) As though to remind everyone of the episode's extensive post-production requirements, Wendy Neuss circulated, on 12 August 1994, a "Director's list of opticals". (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 285)
- While Voyager was under construction in the form of both digital and physical models, the visual effects team, tasked with creating the numerous VFX shots in this pilot episode, took up residence at Image G. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 56)
- A foam core model of Voyager and another of the array were used to create silhouettes required in the preparation of matte shots. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 258) Initially, the VFX team used the Styrofoam model of Voyager to test various angles and planned movements. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 56)
- According to Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, following weeks of test shots involving foam-core miniatures, filming of the USS Voyager model was finally initiated in September 1994. According to the reference book A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager (pp. 217 & 325), however, Image G wasn't able to start filming the starship model, because the model needed time to be completed, until the third week of October, with the physical model delivered to Image G for motion-control photography on 19 October 1994. The episode's optical effects were, by then, being prepared. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 63) By early December, much of the episode's motion-control filming was being done at Image G, with such models as that of the Deep Space 9 station, along with Voyager, and the Maquis raider. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 33)
- This episode's script called for a total of ninety-seven optical effects, in addition to the CGI sequences. Of those, there were ultimately as many as half a dozen, not counting the series' main title sequence. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 285) The scope of the episode's visual effects was virtually overwhelming. Dan Curry recollected, "The pilot for Star Trek: Voyager was… daunting. It had a large number of shots that were really complicated, including creating a computer-generated character of the Caretaker creature. We had large space stations exploding, people doing kamikaze runs into gigantic spaceships, a huge fleet of ships, and the energy wave that transports us into the Delta Quadrant." ("Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) A few other optical effects were to be added to embellish footage which had been shot at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the combination of these two methods creating the illusion of the subterranean Ocampan settlement. (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure) Meanwhile, there was once again the constant dilemma, common to all Star Trek spin-offs, of retaining a sense of the familiar while establishing a unique identity. As such, the episode's visual effects work additionally included revising two standard Star Trek illusions: the holodeck "dissolve", to be used for The Doctor, and the transporter "beaming" effect. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, pp. 58-59)
- Although Dan Curry was tasked with supervising the motion-control filming at Image G, he was extremely busy – even as early as that process began – with all the other CGI and blue-screen work required for this episode. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 325) Complicating matters for Curry was that he wasn't only working on this outing but, simultaneously, also the title sequence for Star Trek: Voyager, so he enlisted the help of Santa Barbara Studios to create the latter. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 72) Nonetheless, Curry was so busy on this installment that he missed the opportunity to work on much of the early episodes in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's third season. In retrospect, Curry likened this pilot's VFX workload to that of Star Trek Generations. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 59)
- At Image G, the VFX team set up a large board with all the episode's storyboards on it. As they progressed with filming the various effects elements that made up each visual effects shot, they checked off each piece on the board. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 56)
- Dan Curry designed the sequences in the Badlands to include panning camera moves, though this would have been too difficult to achieve with nitrogen smoke elements filmed on a soundstage. The problem resulted in CGI instead being used to represent the hazardous area of space, though the digital elements were combined with high-speed photography of liquid nitrogen over black velvet to create the swirling vortexes. Curry was able to move the camera with the ships in this region thanks to a 3D environment together with information from the motion-control photography by Image G. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, pp. 57-58)
- The work which went into creating this episode's visual effects was so much that it necessitated a relatively large group of VFX artists. "The whole team, with the exception of [Visual Effects Supervisor] Ron Moore who was finishing up the feature at that time, worked with us in the pilot," Dan Curry explained. "[Visual Effects Coordinators] Michael Backauskas, [and] Joe Bauer, (former series FX coordinator) Phil Barberio [and Visual Effects Coordinator] Eddie Williams [contributed to the VFX]." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 59) As such, the highly collaborative nature of creating visual effects was highlighted by this specific production. For example, to portray the Badlands, Amblin Imaging created the 3D environment and Digital Magic editor Don Greenberg composited and finessed the combination of the digital elements along with the liquid nitrogen element. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 58) Using LightWave 3D, Amblin also created a CGI model of the USS Voyager for use in this episode. (Sci-Fi Universe, Vol. 1, issue 10, p. 58) To depict Ocampa, Dan Curry did preliminary computer-generated sketches of possible matte painting elements to be added to footage of the planet's surface and, supervised by Curry, Matte Artist Robert Stromberg, at Illusion Arts, was involved in painting a view of the underground city, an illustration which was embellished with foreground practical elements. (The Art of Star Trek, pp. 134-135; Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure; A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 334) Noted Robert Picardo, "By blending this huge, sterile structure [i.e., the Los Angeles Convention Center] with a few optical effects, the producers managed to achieve the look of a real sub-level community." (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure) The episode's matte paintings also included freelance input from Eric Chauvin. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 105) Another part of this episode which was rendered as a group effort was the Kazon ship; whereas Curry designed the vessel, a large model of its hull in close-up was constructed by Bauer. "David [Stipes] just did endless hours supervising motion control," remarked Curry. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 59) The episode had such an intense VFX workload that Phil Barberio became responsible for supervising "Parallax", the first regular VOY episode which Stipes had originally been scheduled to work on, so that Stipes could continue working on this installment instead. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 58)
- The different scales of the various spacecraft challenged the visual effects team. For instance, though Voyager was intended to be tiny in relation to the Caretaker's array, either both models were five feet long or the array model was six feet long and the Voyager model was even larger. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 59; Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 56) Due to this difference in scale, sequences involving these two vessels were agonized over while the footage was being crafted; not only was the Voyager model filmed from about fifty feet away but the shots in which it appeared with the array were the subject of much consideration and struggle in the composite editing bay at Digital Magic, as attempts were made to appropriately shrink Voyager even further in the frame. Another example of the difficulties with scale involved the views of Voyager with the Maquis raider, as the model of the latter ship had to look smaller than it actually was. "So I needed to be in North Hollywood to shoot it!" exclaimed David Stipes. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 59) Meanwhile, the miniature of the Kazon fighter was actually three-fifths the size of the Voyager model, even though it was supposed to be much bigger. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 56)
- Dan Curry oversaw Voyager's first appearance using the Intrepid-class studio model, at Image G. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 286)
- Motion-control footage of Voyager was composited into the computer-generated Badlands, although the vessel was represented digitally at the moment of collision with the energy wave. The CGI for that sequence was provided by Santa Barbara Studios. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 285-286)
- The transition from the illusory barn to the Caretaker's experimental chamber also made use of an optical effect to represent the wall of the barn dissolving into the chamber. (Star Trek Monthly issue 3, p. 11) Visual effects were obviously also employed for the sequences in which the Caretaker causes people to transport from place to place. At one point, Dan Curry sat in an editing bay and oversaw a matte of Tom Paris for the scene where, with a wave of his arm, the time-pressured Caretaker, in his guise as an old Human man, makes an away team consisting of Chakotay, Paris and Janeway transport out of the illusory farmyard setting and onto Voyager's bridge. (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure)
- Multiple sequences towards the end of the episode were achieved with models specially built for a particular shot. These included the scene where Chakotay, executing a kamikaze maneuver, plows his shuttle into the larger Kazon warship, for which the big model of the Kazon vessel's exterior was built for and used in the foreground. For the same sequence, a team, on 16 November 1994, filmed fire from handheld flamethrowers, held by two technicians, being blown through a full-scale mock-up of the Maquis ship's windshield, breaking the glass from the windshield's frame. Dan Curry directed the footage, but during an interval in the filming, he humbly acknowledged, "It requires the efforts of a lot of dedicated and skilled people to make it happen." ("Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) One of the flamethrower technicians was Dick Brownfield. (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure) The filming allowed the VFX artists to double-expose the effects footage into the shot showing the craft's destruction, compositing the fiery glass-smashing together with the mock-up of the Kazon ship's hull and appropriate blue-screen footage of Robert Beltran. Also planned was for the window to digitally be made to seem as if it was buckling. ("Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- The subsequent sequence portraying the same Kazon ship plowing into the Caretaker's array made use of another model specially built for the footage. Dan Curry explained, "The destroyed Kazon ship was made out of corrugated cardboard, stacked up in decks. So, we did one motion control move with the actual ship and then we had a matching one, made out of cardboard that was all crumpled up, so that after the explosion took place, we saw fire coming out of it. Then, we shifted to the cardboard one that actually crashed into the station, at the end, and blew up." ("Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- For the collision footage, a cardboard box painted black was used. ("Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) Dan Curry explained, "I rigged [the] box up in the air and cut a jagged hole in it with my pocket knife and let CO2 vapor spill out and blew it in different directions." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 57) Curry, who had always found creating the look of miniature fire difficult, used a mix of liquid nitrogen as well as the CO2 vapors to represent the fire element. ("Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) The flames and liquid nitrogen smoke were filmed by him and the Image G personnel. "I [knew] how I wanted the ships to move, so we shot the correct perspective and then Adam Howard, our Harry paint-box artist, tracked that [fire element] on the surface of the ships [….] On a lot of those we were careful about directive lighting," Curry recalled. "We not only shot the beauty pass, but we shot the shadows on the ship passing through the shadow of the array. We would shoot light passes that would show the ship illuminated from the light source of either a flame or an explosion so that you could see light changing on the ship even though we did all those pieces one at a time." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 57)
- By the time it came to creating the look of the dying Caretaker alien, the visual effects artists at Paramount were running out of time. As a result, they wound up having multiple CGI vendors devise variations of the creature, from which Dan Curry and his associates selected the one they ultimately used. ("Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) Eventually, Santa Barbara Studios provided the CGI for the scene in which the Caretaker first transforms into its blobby true alien form before, when it dies, changing into a quartzlike artifact. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 286)
- After Image G finished doing motion-control photography with the model of the Caretaker's array, it was time to create the illusion of the array being obliterated. First, Dick Brownfield took the model to Paramount Stage 16. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 326) Dan Curry and his co-workers mounted the miniature on the ceiling of that soundstage and filmed the model's destruction from beneath, using a high-speed camera running at 360 frames per second. ("Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) It was Brownfield's job to actually blow up the array using explosive charges on camera. The first time he did so, the model came apart only partially, so the effect required another take. Once Brownfield repaired the model and reset the charges a second time, the miniature exploded satisfactorily. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 260 & 326)
- Some re-filming was ultimately required for other aspects of this episode, partly because the Kazon ship was modified after being shot initially. Also, as had happened in the making of DS9 pilot episode "Emissary", several live-action elements had to be re-shot when they didn't precisely tie in with effects shots that had been filmed weeks previously, in an effort to beat the crush of later work. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 59)
- Though Composer Dennis McCarthy could conceivably have scored this pilot episode immediately after having scored Star Trek Generations, he felt compelled that the assignment of composing "Caretaker" truly belonged to his friend and long-time associate Jay Chattaway, with whom McCarthy had alternated composing duties on TNG episodes during the last three seasons of that show and now was about to alternate on VOY. McCarthy believed Chattaway deserved the job of scoring this outing because, thus far, McCarthy had gotten the opportunities of composing not only Generations but also TNG series finale "All Good Things...", DS9: "Emissary", and DS9's main title theme. McCarthy hence deferred to Chattaway when it came time to score this episode, then proceeded to instead concentrate on doing some more composing for DS9. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, p. 58)
- The producers called Jay Chattaway to invite him to start creating the music for this episode. "It was all very exciting," he later noted. "But my first fear was that I was required to compose and record 10 minutes of banjo music! So, I had my doubts right away. I had no idea what this was really about. I hadn't read a script or anything! I asked for a script, but they were still working on it. They could only send me the pages where the banjo guy was actually performing. I didn't really have a thorough picture of what it was all about until much later. They just said, 'You've got the job and show up on Thursday with some banjo music.'" (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, pp. 44-45)
- Since it was apparent that the banjo music would be diegetic as it would be played on set by an actor, it was crucial that the actors, particularly the one who would be playing the Caretaker, hear the music so they could respond to it realistically. This was critical not just for the hoedown but also for when the Caretaker later appears to pluck the instrument randomly. However, the casting of the actors hadn't yet been completed. To help Jay Chattaway proceed with the initial composing task, the Caretaker was described to him, including the fact that the character would basically be wailing when he first appeared in the episode but deteriorate, as regards his energy levels, throughout the installment. Measures were taken in an effort to record the banjo music in such a way that it related, as much as possible, to the character. Noted Chattaway, "We did two complete sessions with two completely different players just to get the right feeling for the Caretaker." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, p. 45)
- Recording the banjo music was an educational experience for Jay Chattaway. "I learned quite a lot about banjo music during that time [….] All that plunking, all those country jigs, was my original music," he stated. "The producers wanted the style, but they didn't want it to sound like any particular tune. That took a while. The music was prominently featured in quite a few scenes, though of course, there was much more of it in the original cut." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, p. 45)
- Finally given a completed script for this episode, Jay Chattaway found that the show's possibilities excited him. "There was so much to do: introducing the ship, the characters, the plot," he reminisced. "It was just great." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, pp. 45 & 49)
- Equipped with a clearer understanding of what the producers were striving for, Jay Chattaway realized there was an opportunity to musically explore new territory. Whereas virtually all the music in TNG had deliberately been fairly modest in an effort to create a realistic feel, he was interested in departing from that method for this episode. "I did mention to the producers that I wanted more percussive and rhythmic elements in the Voyager pilot so that the music wouldn't be just 'floating' there, as it had been in other shows," he remembered. "I pointed out that Voyager was a new show and, since this is my chance to make the 'first statement,' I would like to do something different. They didn't resist that and at the spotting session, where we decide which sequences will have music, I played or hummed a few themes I wanted to use. Occasionally, Rick would ask me to hum something to a film playback and he would agree, 'Yeah, that's good.' My approach was meant to be more like the music I did for my first Next Generation episode, 'Tin Man'." Chattaway recognized that this episode's score allowed for, like that one had, more excitement and slightly less moodiness than the usual TNG score because the installment contained a great deal of action. Agreeing that the new series' format demanded something different from the musical style often employed for TNG, the producers approved Chattaway's suggestion, permitting him to compose a more active score that featured lots of percussion. Though the use of percussion had been banned on the earlier series (because drums had been associated with the military and the producers didn't view Starfleet as a military organization), it seemed to fit the crew of the USS Voyager, as they wouldn't consistently be working as a harmonious, smoothly operating unit. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, pp. 45-46)
- As this episode wrapped production and was turned over to the post-production department, Jay Chattaway started his three-week, labor-intensive writing schedule, becoming entrenched in the task of composing the installment's score. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, pp. 46 & 58)
- The technique of making the score sound unusually loaded with energy influenced Jay Chattaway while composing the first music that is audible in the installment, which is included in the episode's teaser and prominently highlights a specific percussive sound. "That sound was great big, old piano wires hit with a hammer to create an instant recognition that this show is different from the other two," he explained. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, p. 48)
- Jay Chattaway was especially eager to, while scoring the episode, use character-oriented themes to a greater extent than he ever had before. "It's a great opportunity to do some characteristic music that will point up the uniqueness of these people [….] That was the approach that inspired me when I first got the casting list," he recalled. Whereas he assumed Janeway would get the main theme in order to emphasize the boldness of her commanding nature, Chattaway wrote new musical themes for The Doctor and Chakotay, although the latter's theme wasn't included in this outing. Regarding the former, the composer remarked, "The pilot allowed me to develop The Doctor the most [….] He was never so exposed for me as he was when he was first presented. That was an ideal opportunity [….] Since he was a hologram, I leaned towards electronics quite a bit to help point out that he wasn't flesh and blood." Chattaway also felt it was important to address the comedic aspect of The Doctor, believing there had never been anyone like that on any of the other Star Trek series. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, pp. 46-47)
- Jay Chattaway's task of scoring this episode didn't include writing the series' main theme, as Composer Jerry Goldsmith had been selected for that assignment before Chattaway was involved in spotting the episode. "I was well into writing the pilot, though, before I heard it," said Chattaway. "I actually went back and incorporated the theme into several segments of my score. Even though I had half the pilot written by then, I wanted to establish some continuity with the theme. Obviously, there were moments like the first time we see Voyager, or when it departs DS9, that it was imperative to use the show's theme. Also, it was used in some of the action sequences, such as the escape from the Ocampa underground city, because the two crews are bonding together for the first time. That's a logical place for it." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, p. 46)
- Star Trek: Voyager's main title theme wasn't the only one Jay Chattaway incorporated into the score. During Janeway's speech, right after she has stated that Voyager's directive will be "to seek out new worlds and explore space," a part of the Star Trek: The Original Series main title theme's introductory fanfare can be heard for a few seconds. Said Chattaway, "Janeway's speech at the end called for the use of both Goldsmith's theme and the Star Trek Alexander Courage theme [….] That was a natural." Chattaway also misremembered that the use of the TOS theme was "over the line 'to boldly go,'" which Janeway doesn't actually say in the speech. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, p. 46)
- The recording of this episode's score, as conducted by Jerry Goldsmith, took place (or at least was begun) on Tuesday 20 December 1994. It started immediately after the main title theme music for VOY was recorded. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 340-341)
- A soundtrack album containing music from this episode was released in 1995.
- Each morning during the production process, Rick Berman, Jeri Taylor, Michael Piller, Peter Lauritson, Supervising Editor J.P. Farrell, and other personnel screened the dailies from the day before. This episode was edited by Robert Lederman and Tom Benko, two full-time editors whom Farrell had on his staff (the only other full-time editor on the staff was Daryl Baskin). Screening the dailies followed a set routine every morning, in which Berman gave comments, Farrell took notes and subsequently gave them to Benko and Lederman, who then started to edit (assemble) the footage into scenes. As increasingly more footage was shot, the editing team would gradually have enough film to begin arranging the scenes into sequences, eventually filling in all the missing scenes and creating the first rough cut of the whole episode. Because this installment was a double-length episode, it was expected that the editing process would probably take twice as long to finish as a regular episode. Hence, the need for two editors working simultaneously, to hasten the work. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 318)
- It was the footage that Winrich Kolbe had shot of Geneviève Bujold that initially served as a signal, for the producers, that something wasn't quite right. Tom Mazza specified that they started questioning the shoot straight after "the dailies started coming in." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 571)
- Those directly associated with the episode's making weren't the only ones who managed to glean insight into how it had been proceeding with Geneviève Bujold. René Echevarria recalled, "In her first few days in her aborted Star Trek career, I remember watching dailies, which I think we had to sneak in and steal a videotape from Jeri Taylor's office to watch them. They would say, 'Action!' and she would sit there with her eyes closed for, like, ten seconds [before playing the scene]." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 574)
- As planned shortly after the main shoot started, the editing process would continue throughout September and October 1994, at which time Rick Berman would be able to view a rough cut of the episode. Although the basic story would be there and in its proper order, obviously missing would be all the enhancements to be added in post-production. The editing process, for various reasons, didn't turn out as expected, though. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 318)
- This was largely due to the initial problem involving Kate Mulgrew's hair; it was while watching back the first edits during the morning ritual of screening dailies that the producers noticed the stage lighting was making her hair look too frail. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 318-319) Rick Berman recollected that the phone call he and his producing associates received from Kerry McCluggage about the issue was "after, like, the first day of dailies." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 582) Even after the studio personnel decided for the issue to be rectified, an editing problem arose with the wig that was originally used for Janeway. "In two tight closeups… we could see the separation line," stated Winrich Kolbe, "as if she'd been scalped and someone had just glued it on again!" Even once the bob (or "schoolmarm" look, as Kolbe phrased it) had been selected for Mulgrew, the sum total of all her hairstyle changes left behind a patchwork of footage that needed to be fixed later. "I remember looking at an edited scene where she comes in with a certain hairdo, then noting to reshoot her close-up, and then finding we have another close-up that we reshot already which has another hairdo," Kolbe stated, with a sigh. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 57)
- The footage of Tom Paris and Harry Kim surveying the warp core, shortly after arriving onboard Voyager, ended up as a deleted scene. ("Cast Reflections: Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) The shot of Janeway turning away from the warp core to a nearby position in engineering and then crossing her arms ultimately wasn't used either. Instead, a different take was evidently used to show her walking away from the warp core, though this shot was filmed from near the door to engineering rather than from directly beside the warp core and didn't include her crossing her arms in the scene. (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure)
- During the episode's reshoots, Tom Benko and Robert Lederman were under at least as much pressure as Winrich Kolbe. Despite the revised schedule, the pair of editors found themselves hard-pressed to get done their job of integrating the reshot scenes, and each of them was often on the phone to the post-production department, obtaining new exact running times for each scene. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 322-323)
- Although Rick Berman was supposed to be able to screen an initial rough cut of "Caretaker" during September and October 1994, it wasn't until well into December of the same year that the rough-cut screening finally took place. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 318)
- Whereas the shooting company took a break from filming during the Christmas hiatus from 22 December 1994 to 3 January 1995 (during production on later first season installment "Ex Post Facto"), many staff members, especially in the post-production department, got no break for Christmas 1994 because there was simply too much left to do to prepare for the series premiere. Those who remained at work in order to proceed with this episode's post-production included Dan Curry (with Christmas Day being his only day off), Wendy Neuss (cutting short plans she had made with her boyfriend), David Stipes, and their PAs. The final version of the episode was due to be delivered to Paramount by 10 January 1995. Somehow, the installment was finished on time and submitted to Paramount on schedule. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 335-336, 345)
- This series premiere was initially aired as a single, two-hour long, feature-length episode. In syndication, however, the episode was edited into two one-hour parts. The following scenes were cut for time:
- Paris flirting with Lieutenant Stadi aboard the shuttle.
- Snippets of the scene of Harry Kim and Quark at the bar.
- Kim being pierced by the needle aboard the Caretaker's array and screaming in pain.
- Kes guiding them through an opening in a dangerous force field.
- Jabin's hail to Janeway at the end of the battle.
- The order of certain scenes was changed in order to end Part I at the end of Act Four.
- While the story for this installment was undergoing successive drafts, Paramount formally declared its intent to begin a new Star Trek series, subtitled "Voyager", with a pilot episode whose premiere was firmly set for 16 January 1995. Within days of the announcement, it generated a huge amount of publicity and many requests for more information. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 220) With both the future of the Star Trek franchise and the successful launch of UPN at stake, expectations were high for this episode. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 35)
- A synopsis of this episode's plot was included as part of a press release that was issued on 1 September 1994, to announce the principal actors who were intended to appear in the new series, including Geneviève Bujold. The press release proclaimed, "In the two-hour premiere episode, the excitement and adventure begin early when the Starship Voyager is dispatched in search of a Maquis ship which has disappeared in an unusual region of space known as the 'Badlands' [….] The Starship Voyager finds the Maquis ship but not before being swept up in a strange and terrifying phenomenon which sends the Voyager into the far reaches of the galaxy – so far that, even at warp speeds, it would take nearly seventy years to return. The two diverse crews band together to explore this distant part of space and to find a 'shortcut' home."  According to Star Trek: Communicator (issue 101, p. 57), the announcement of Bujold's casting as Janeway wasn't until 2 September.
- The timing of this pilot episode's début was subsequently threatened with delay by the abrupt departure of Geneviève Bujold. (Star Trek 30 Years, p. 158) A four-sentence-long fax about the matter was sent from Bender, Goldman & Helper (the public relations company representing Star Trek: Voyager) to major media outlets around the United States of America. As well as announcing Bujold's rapid exit, the message declared that this episode's production would continue, throughout the recasting process needed for the role of Captain Janeway, and that the producers "fully expect[ed]" to meet the January 1995 date which had been set for the premiere. As for the reasoning why Bujold had left, the statement claimed, "After several days of production, she realized that the rigors of episodic television were too demanding." (The fax can be viewed here: ) However, Winrich Kolbe later countered reports that the rigors of episodic television had influenced her to leave and that she had instead departed because she felt she wasn't right for the role, the director stating, "In my discussions with her, she did not complain about the schedule." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 57) News of the difficulties involving Bujold's departure had reached the newspapers by the point when the filming of the episode was halted for the second time, just before Kate Mulgrew was cast. (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 274) Some press reports announced that the production personnel went into a mad frenzy in reaction to Bujold's departure, claims to which Kolbe responded, "Contrary to some articles in the press, we did not go totally bananas. There were no screaming matches and there was no freaking out. It was resolved in a very civilized manner, very calm, cool and collected." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, pp. 58-59)
- While working on this episode, Kate Mulgrew gave several press interviews, including one conducted by Pamela Roller that was published in Star Trek Magazine (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 13) and Star Trek: Communicator (Star Trek: Communicator issue 100, p. 63).
- Writer David Bischoff, writing for OMNI magazine (February 1995, pp. 39-40), visited the set six weeks into production.
- Larry Nemecek interviewed Winrich Kolbe about the making of this episode, merely days after the director wrapped production on it. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 58)
- The creative staff of Star Trek: Voyager had nothing but praise for this pilot episode. They felt it effortlessly established everything it needed to, in launching the series. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 133) The executive producers were delighted with how the main cast members worked together in this episode. Jeri Taylor explained, "As we began to watch the dailies, we realized this cast had a chemistry that allowed them to gel immediately as an ensemble – a truly astonishing thing to see." (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., p. 213) One of the cast members whose work on this installment pleased the executive producers was Garrett Wang. This was the case as soon as the producers saw the dailies from the first production day. (Starlog, issue #222, p. 80) "When we saw his work in the pilot," commented Taylor, "it was as though he just burst into this other level." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 68) Wang himself relayed, "The next day […] it filtered down to me that they were very pleased with what I had laid down on the first day." (Starlog, issue #222, p. 80)
- The producers made known their feelings about this episode to Winrich Kolbe. "The studio people wanted to have a chat with me – that's the usual procedure, although on the pilot you get the guys with the Armani suits instead of just a phone call from somebody further down," Kolbe explained. "But Rick Berman called me a few days into shooting and told me, 'You know, the reason we haven't been down to your place is not because we have forgotten about you, but because everything works; we are very happy with the performances.' So we obviously hit the right frequency, which is nice to know." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 57)
- Rick Berman ultimately loved the installment. "I was very proud of the pilot," he remarked. "I thought it worked really well [….] I think Rick Kolbe did a terrific job, and I think Kate did a terrific job [….] ['Caretaker'] was terrific." (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 27) One character whom Berman felt "played a very important role in the pilot" was Kes. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 567) The episode left him with an immediate good impression of the cast in general, enthusing, "I knew from the day that Kate Mulgrew came on the show that the cast was just perfect." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 311)
- Michael Piller was also somewhat proud of this episode. "It has huge thematic explorations," he commented, "about the welfare state, about religion, and about a variety of other subjects. It works on a lot of levels. I think it's less pretentious than some of our other Star Trek shows." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 235-236) Regarding the aims of making this pilot episode "a real old-fashioned adventure story," Piller remarked, "I think we accomplished that pretty well. The cast came together remarkably quickly, and I think we accomplished some good stuff right out of the gate." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 133) He added, "Let me also say I thought that Rick Kolbe did a terrific job of directing that show under very difficult circumstances." A specific scene Piller was happy with was the ready room scene between Janeway and Tuvok, of which he stated, "We got to see behind Janeway's captain exterior, got to hear the feelings and concerns and fears that she had below the surface. That really made a difference, I think. There are some people who didn't like that scene, but the truth is it really did make a difference in relating to Janeway. It helped the whole show." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, p. 11) Upon hindsight, however, Piller said that he thought the idea of having the Maquis in Starfleet uniforms by the end of the episode "diminish[ed] any sense of the natural conflict that might have driven interesting storytelling." He concluded, "In retrospect, I regret that choice." (Star Trek Magazine issue 119, p. 80)
- Jeri Taylor was "very pleased" with this episode. (Sci-Fi Universe, Vol. 1, issue 10, p. 51) "I think what we have concocted," she observed, "is a wonderful action/adventure romp [….] It's a true action/adventure [….] It also managed to be about something and delivered the franchise." Additionally, Taylor believed this pilot episode was markedly different from DS9: "Emissary", TNG: "All Good Things...", and Star Trek Generations. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 345; Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 128, 122 & 133) She commented, "The making of the pilot was definitely one of the great highlights [of VOY Season 1]." (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., p. 213) Taylor was especially proud of how the cast came together in this installment. "They stepped into these characters like comfortable slippers. They just seemed to know who they were and they bonded with each other and played in an ensemble way as if it were a seventh season. They felt like a family, and I think that in the pilot it looked like a show that had been on the air a lot longer [….] The actors walked into that pilot as though they had been living the lives of their characters for years." In fact, Taylor also thought a facet which was obvious "from the first day" was that Kate Mulgrew set an extremely high standard, setting the caliber of work for everyone else in the main cast. "The moment she walked out on that bridge the first day, she owned it," Taylor said of Mulgrew. The episode's portrayal of Chakotay also delighted Taylor. "He was wonderful in the pilot," she commented. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 130, 133, 124 & 128) Another element of this episode which Taylor spoke positively of was the Prime Directive issues in it, which she described as "interesting." (Starlog, issue #211, p. 41)
- Believing the episode's narrative "really is very complicated," Winrich Kolbe likewise felt that the unresolved nature of the discussion about the Prime Directive was achieved "interestingly enough." He further remarked about the episode, "It was a great opportunity for me to direct 'Caretaker'. I'm very pleased that they asked me to do it [….] [It was] an incredible investment of time for everyone involved. But it's very exciting to be here at the start." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, pp. 60, 61 & 63) Kolbe, however, didn't see this episode in its entirety (at least not until after the second season of Voyager). "The feedback has been very positive, and everyone is happy with it, so I guess I'll have to check it out one of these days," he reckoned, with a laugh. "I guess I'll have to agree with those who say it's terrific." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134) The director was ultimately pleased with how the cast developed in this episode, reminiscing, "I think they came together very well on the set. I mean, it only took 'em a couple of days before they were working along very nicely [….] Roxanne [Biggs-Dawson] and Garret [Wang] […] came a long way [just in filming the pilot]." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 58) Kolbe also made special mention of how this episode portrays Captain Janeway, stating, "There are moments right from the pilot where you get a sense of the difference between the different captains and Kate as Janeway," before he went on to say that he meant in regard to how the captain talks from a perspective of caring for the wellbeing of her crew. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 584-585) Kolbe was of the opinion that, in this episode, the bridge didn't look as interesting as if it had been lit darker, though he admitted, "Still, [….] I'm pleased with what we were able to do." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 15, pp. 10 & 11)
- Eventually, David Livingston was happy with the locations used for this installment. Concerning the El Mirage Dry Lake Bed, he conceded, "In hindsight Rick [Kolbe] had a vision and he successfully executed it. It did have a large scope. You really felt that these guys were out in the middle of nowhere." Livingston also termed the Los Angeles Convention Center "pretty good production value." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134)
- Al Smutko was happy with the tall set which served as a shaft between the underground of Ocampa and the planet's surface. "It worked extremely well," he noted. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 317)
- "Caretaker" was, by far, Jay Chattaway's favorite of all the scores he composed for VOY Season 1. He labeled it "probably my best score so far." Chattaway was also wowed by the episode's script. "I was impressed by the fact that it seemed much more in the action/adventure vein without sacrificing the SF qualities so unique to The Next Generation and DS9," he stated. "It had much more physical motion than most Trek stories and a really great hook for the series' plot." Chattaway also believed this episode clearly demonstrated, when he watched the outing for the first time, that it was "fascinating to see how the characters on this show play off each other." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, pp. 46 & 49)
- Dan Curry was pleased with the efforts that this pilot episode's team of visual effects artists delivered for the installment. "Everybody really came through and did way above and beyond the call," he remarked. "It meant a lot to all of us [….] Everybody really did a magnificent job." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 59)
- Joe Bauer was proud of a close-up shot of Voyager as it leaves DS9, showing the top of the ship's forward section moving towards camera while the vessel launches. "It works well," he opined. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 125)
- In the lead-up to this episode's premiere, story points and numerous scenes from it, as well as many behind-the-scenes glimpses of its creation, were revealed to audiences in the documentary Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure, which aired exactly one week before this episode was due to be broadcast. The program featured an unfinished version of the scene in which Gul Evek contacts Chakotay's Maquis raider; the scene didn't yet have any sound effect for the moment Chakotay cuts off the transmission. In addition, the documentary included some of the footage from the episode's making as part of a feature about a day in the life of Ethan Phillips. Even though this footage was presented as though it was all from one day, it was actually culled from a variety of different days, including 14 October and 12 December 1994.
- Paramount held a party-atmosphere, invitation-only screening of this episode at the then-new Paramount Theater, on the studio lot. There, the episode was screened to a packed, and rapt, audience, which included Doctor Sally Ride, America's first woman in space, who was in attendance as an honored guest. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 345) Also present were the cast and crew. Not even one of the largest storms in recent Los Angeles history could keep away the bustling crowd of artists, craftsmen, studio executives, and journalists. For the main cast members, this world premiere screening was the first opportunity, aside from their work on the sets, when they could see each other's performances. "I really enjoyed seeing all of the other people," reminisced Garrett Wang. "I was out of my chair laughing so hard at Neelix's scene [….] And at the end, everyone was walking up to each other, 'Congratulations! Great work!' It was really nice to get a pat on the back." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 38) The screening was a good sign that, when aired nationwide the next week, the pilot's premiere would also be successful. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 345) Cinefantastique (Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 83) erroneously reported that the cast-and-crew screening of the pilot was on 16 January 1995, two days before the UPN network premiere. The event was actually on 10 January 1995. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 2; 
- When this episode first aired, it was watched by 21.3 million people.  The installment attracted 21.75 million viewers when it debuted. (Star Trek Magazine issue 119, p. 80) The outing was watched by more than 12.4 million households. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 35) The episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 13.0 million homes, and a 19% share. The installment had an average of 14.7% of the 51 million television homes in the ratings sample and gained a 20% share of sets in use in those homes. These were some of the best ratings ever for any television show. (Star Trek Monthly issue 1, p. 4) The installment's premiere set audience viewing records throughout the United States. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 346) The show came top in thirty-one different markets, including cities such as Los Angeles and New York. (Star Trek Monthly issue 1, p. 4) It beat shows on the other four networks. (Star Trek Monthly issue 1, p. 4) The episode's viewing numbers made it the twenty-second-ranked TV program for the week of 16-22 January (between Frasier on NBC and The Nanny on CBS). (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 83) Ethan Phillips observed, "The whole launch was a big, big deal. The pilot was watched by so many people." (Starlog, issue #229, p. 81) Despite this, "Caretaker" marked a reduction in audience viewing figures since the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "All Good Things...", which had more than 31 million viewers when it aired the previous year, in May 1994. 
- The first terrestrial broadcast of this episode in the United Kingdom was on BBC2, as part of Star Trek Night on Bank Holiday Monday, 26 August 1996. The episode was rerun by the same channel on Saturday 28 September 1996, before BBC2 began to air the regular episodes with the next installment, "Parallax", on the following day, 29 September.
- Ken Biller was impressed by this episode. "One of the things that was great in the Voyager pilot," he raved, "is that there's more character conflict than you've seen on other Star Trek series. I think it really gives it an energy that's very fresh – not just dramatically, but also for humor. I think humor comes out of character conflict." Particularly wowed by Robert Beltran's performance as Chakotay in this instance, Biller commented, "He really scores in the pilot. He's like a real action hero in the pilot." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 3, p. 50)
- Lisa Klink similarly approved of how this episode portrays the character of Paris, about whom she said, "He was so interesting in the pilot." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 6, p. 46)
- Ronald D. Moore liked how this episode established Voyager as a stranded ship in an unpredictable quadrant far from all the heretofore familiar aliens, a premise he hoped would present many opportunities for conflict. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 34, No. 1, p. 26) However, Moore was dissatisfied with the episode's conclusion. "By the end of the pilot, you have the Maquis in those Starfleet uniforms, and – boom – we've begun the grand homogenization," he critiqued. "Now they are any other ship."  Moore further complained, "When the Maquis put on those Starfleet uniforms at the end of the pilot, the show was dead. That was the biggest mistake, because they went through this whole thing to bring on their enemies [….] At the end of the pilot they all put on the Starfleet uniforms and that's it. It was a huge mistake. It should have been these two sides that were forced to work together that still don't like each other and still are gunning for each other, wondering who's going to come out on top. Who's going to betray who? It should have been gold, but they got scared [….] So they drew all the wrong lessons and said, 'Let's play it safe.'" (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 589)
- DeForest Kelley had a much more positive impression of "Caretaker", remarking, "I thought that was very good." (Star Trek Monthly issue 18, p. 20)
- Like Ronald D. Moore, Keith R.A. DeCandido had an issue with how this episode portrays characters, disliking how little emotional fallout there is from the deaths that occur due to Voyager's jump to the Delta Quadrant, a facet of the episode he likened to the redshirt phenomenon. DeCandido pointed out that three of the senior Starfleet officers who are killed are not even given names and remarked, "By the end of the two-hour episode, nobody seems to even give a damn about any of them." 
- At least with the DS9 visual effects team, the look of the Badlands in this episode proved unpopular. "No one really liked them," noted Gary Hutzel. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 420)
- Upon its début, fan reaction to this episode was overwhelmingly positive. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 84) The episode was also almost universally praised by critics. This, combined with its extremely high ratings, seemed to signify that the naysayers had been proved wrong. (Sci-Fi Universe, Vol. 1, issue 10, p. 49)
- However, after the installment premiered, there were also some widespread criticisms of the episode. One of the very few objections was about Kate Mulgrew's voice. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 84) There were also a lot of fan complaints regarding the Kazon makeup. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 283) Although it wasn't expected, the episode itself was criticized for apparently sympathizing with some of the Republican politics of Newt Gingrich, who was advocating welfare reform in the United States – proposing it in such ways as in a document called the Contract with America – and had recently argued for the idea of systematically moving welfare children to orphanages. The scene most notable for seeming to align with this notion was the one in which Janeway advises the Caretaker that the Ocampa no longer need to be looked after and should be left to fend for themselves. Responding to the criticism, Jeri Taylor commented, "I think that we were certainly cognizant of the issue of taking responsibility for oneself. It was after the whole Newt Gingrich Contract with America issue came along, and, unfortunately, in my mind they have been lumped together. I think we weren't talking about anything as drastic and draconian as he seems to be [….] Now, of course, many people assume that we are part of the New Right, which is anything but the truth." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134)
- This episode was nominated for four Emmy Awards, a distinction it shares with only three other episodes. It won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Special Visual Effects. (It beat DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", which was nominated in the same category.) It was also nominated for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Costume Design for a Series (Robert Blackman), Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore) (Jay Chattaway), and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series.
- In Sci-Fi Universe (Vol. 1, issue 10, p. 60), Mark A. Altman scored this episode 3 and a half out of 4 stars and referred to it as "a knockout premiere" with which VOY "gloriously" premiered. He continued by saying that, in this episode, the VOY cast "makes a striking first impression. Each and every cast member is immediately engaging. Most delightful of all is the overall tone." Altman also referred to the installment's ending as "a delightfully preposterous coda." In the reference books Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages (p. 345) and Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages (p. 122), Altman and writing partner Edward Gross posited, "If Deep Space Nine's premiere could be likened to the cerebral original Trek pilot, '"The Cage"', then 'Caretaker' could be considered more akin to the action/adventure of '"Where No Man Has Gone Before"', Star Trek's second pilot." In the latter book (p. 126), the writing duo went further in their praise of this episode, remarking, "'Caretaker' efficiently set up the premise of [Voyager]." In their reference book Trek Navigator: The Ultimate Guide to the Entire Trek Saga (p. 32), Altman again rated this episode 3 and a half out of 4 stars (defined as "great") while Gross rated the installment 4 out of 4 stars (defined as "classic!").
- In Cinefantastique (Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 34), reviewer Dale Kutzera rated this episode 3 and a half out of 4 stars. He opined, "This two-hour premiere episode skillfully weaves together an action-packed story and the introduction of the nine regular cast members – no small feat. As if that's not enough, 'The Caretaker' [sic] also introduces a handful of alien species, including the Ocampa and the Kazon. It is in this central portion of the show that the story lags somewhat, as Ensign Kim and B'Elanna Torres find themselves in the idyllic Ocampa underworld, afflicted with a terrible disease. You can't knock the climax, however, as the visual effects team […] pulls out all the stops [….] I can only imagine, however, that other possible solutions to the predicament [than destroying the Caretaker's array to prevent the Kazon from capturing it] could have been devised by the crew given their circumstances [….] Couldn't a time-delayed explosive have been used, set to blow after the Voyager was sent home? Quibbles aside, 'The Caretaker' [sic] is by far the most captivating Trek pilot since 'The Cage' and 'Where No Man Has Gone Before' of the original series."
- The reference book A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager (p. 235) states that the farmyard scene in which the Caretaker alien is originally established "works wonderfully well, thematically as well as dramatically."
- The special edition magazine Star Trek 30 Years (p. 158) cited this episode as being among the magazine's favorite five episodes in Star Trek: Voyager's first two seasons. The same publication called the episode "explosive," with The Doctor's irritable attitude "perfectly executed" by Robert Picardo and the installment ending with "one of Star Trek's best climax scenes."
- Journalist Ian Spelling considered this episode "impressive." (Starlog, issue #211, p. 40)
- In the unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (pp. 12 & 13), writer David A. McIntee gave this episode a rating of 8 out of 10 and cited the ready room conversation between Janeway and Tuvok as well as the opening and closing space battles as "highs" of the episode. The "lows" of the installment, according to McIntee, included Neelix, the banjo music, the entire farmhouse party, and the sudden cure of the infection which temporarily inflicts Kim and Torres being too much of an anticlimax. McIntee went on to say, "When 'Caretaker' first aired, I remember thinking that it was probably the best stand-alone of the Trek pilots. Watching it again five years on has only cemented that view. Where 'The Cage' has dated, 'Encounter at Farpoint' was hideously dull, and 'Emissary' requires reading the novelization to understand fully, 'Caretaker' is a straight-forward Trek story that both engages the interest and does a nice job of introducing the concept and some of the characters. The other nice thing about 'Caretaker' is that it isn't about a superior being judging humanity. What a nice change! [….] In terms of acting and performances, Kate Mulgrew and Tim Russ are notably at the forefront, though Garrett Wang and Robbie McNeill are also pretty good. The others don't really get their chances until later. In fact, watching it now, I find it astonishing how little Chakotay has to do, and […] how much Tuvok gets, before they forgot him. From the pilot alone, Voyager actually looks like being very good indeed, but it has already made at least one big mistake – Tom Paris's character arc, from mercenary to redemption, is pretty much covered within this first episode, leaving little room for development later [….] All in all, the story is a simple one of courage in the face of adversity. It has some engaging characters."
- In their reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 274), Mark Jones and Lance Parkin also expressed a generally positive opinion of this installment. "'Caretaker' is a good episode, one that covers a lot of ground and sets up the premise of the series well," they wrote, before critiquing, "It's painfully obvious which of the Voyager officers are destined to die, and it would have been more effective to 'follow' a few of the doomed ones. The only oddity is Harry and B'Elanna's contracting, and quickly being cured of, the alien disease – it doesn't seem to serve any purpose, and is never fully explained. But this is a genuinely interesting episode. However, things have already gone wrong by the end – Paris' character arc is already over, he's redeemed, and why on earth do the Maquis put on Starfleet uniforms?"
- In Star Trek Monthly issue 1 (pp. 18-19), Joe Nazzaro gave this episode a positive appraisal. "The production values are first-rate," he commented, "the obligatory space battles are nicely executed, and, most importantly, the characters are intriguing and well-defined [….] The pilot script [….] does a capable job of introducing its cast of characters, as well as laying a foundation for the series. There's lots of opportunity for Starfleet-Maquis friction in upcoming episodes, judging from the first half hour." Making "special mention" of the input Kate Mulgrew and Winrich Kolbe had in this episode, Nazarro additionally counted among the "standout characters" Robert Picardo, Tim Russ, and Ethan Phillips, adding that Picardo "gets far too little screen time in the pilot," and cited two particular scenes as highlights. "The scene where the straightfaced Tuvok finds Neelix luxuriating in a bath, surrounded by the remains of a half-eaten feast," wrote Nazzaro, "is worth the price of admission alone […. Another] standout moment is the sequence where Chakotay […] rams the Maquis ship into an oncoming enemy craft; the suspense reflected in his face speaks louder than ten pages of dialogue." Lastly, Nazzaro opined that none of the production problems encountered during the episode's making show up on screen and concluded by calling the installment "an exciting start [to Star Trek: Voyager]. Well-acted, well directed and well written."
- In the lead-up to this episode's release on VHS, Star Trek Magazine reviewer Stuart Clark also wrote highly of the installment, commenting, "'The Caretaker' [sic] is an excellent introduction to this new and fascinating Star Trek series. Kate Mulgrew is absolutely convincing as Captain Janeway [–.] Make-up Designer Michael Westmore is kept busy as we meet more and more fascinating aliens sporting more and more bizarre make-up!" (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 57)
- In a review of how Star Trek had fared in 1995, fellow Star Trek Magazine writer Andy Lane also critiqued this episode positively, remarking, "Despite various production problems […] and a script that left various plot points unexplained (why exactly did the Caretaker's 'experiments' cause two crew members to develop strange bodily growths?), it was an impressive start." (Star Trek Monthly issue 9, p. 23) In an essay about gods and superbeings in Star Trek, Lane added about the episode, "There is one nice nod towards the old 'responsibilities of power' argument when the Caretaker admits that the reason he is taking care of the Ocampa is that he and a companion managed to damage the atmosphere of their world, but the moral arguments are bypassed in favour of a big space battle and lots of climbing around in ventilation shafts." (Star Trek Monthly issue 11, p. 20)
- Reviewer Mat Irvine, also writing for Star Trek Magazine, referred to the Maquis raider as having "a short but spectacular starring role" in this outing. (Star Trek Monthly issue 15, p. 59) In his regular letter-answering column in the same magazine, Darryl Curtis referred to the episode as "stunning." (Star Trek Monthly issue 21, p. 64) In the publication's retrospective "Ultimate Guide", Star Trek Magazine gave this episode 5 out of 5 Starfleet-style arrowhead insignia and declared it the second-best installment of Voyager's first season. (Star Trek Magazine issue 164, p. 29)
- Another high opinion of this outing has twice been expressed by New York-based writer, film critic and official Star Trek podcast host Jordan Hoffman. On his blog in 2008, Hoffman gave the episode 3 out of 3 Starfleet-style arrowhead insignia and noted that not only did he like the way the characters were introduced but also that Janeway's decision to remain in the Delta Quadrant to alter the Ocampan situation instead of using the Caretaker's array to get home was "certainly a good story decision," if not also "a good command decision." On the other hand, he also expressed puzzlement at Paris' sudden affection for Kim.  When Hoffman re-reviewed the episode for StarTrek.com in 2013, he voiced other comments about the installment, praising how the episode establishes Janeway's command style, particularly the scene in which she declares that she prefers to be referred to as "captain" rather than "ma'am", and commenting positively about how, within the first twenty minutes, the installment kills off some of Voyager's senior officers. "The chaos of the ship's kidnapping, especially as seen through noob Harry Kim's eyes," Hoffman remarked, "makes it clear up front that Voyager is for real [….] When watching it the first time, when we didn't know who were the characters who were gonna stick around, this made for a disorienting feeling. And that helps us understand how the characters feel being 70,000 light years from home." Furthermore, Hoffman cited the moment when Chakotay warns Torres that Janeway is the captain as "a great moment" as well as "a terrific line" and stated that the destruction of the Caretaker's array "looks great." On the other hand, he also questioned the logic of the former scene, given the quickness with which Chakotay defends Janeway, and said of her decision to save the Ocampa by destroying the array, "The plan is a little fuzzy. And more importantly, they never tell the Ocampans anything. Maybe I missed it?" Lastly, Hoffman nitpicked an aspect of the episode's backstory, wondering when Neelix and Kes would have had an opportunity to meet and fall in love. He concluded, "Well, despite these problems, I still like 'Caretaker' […. It] does a great job of taking our characters out of a comfortable setting and dumping them off where no one has gone before." 
- Glen C. Oliver, a film and TV critic from the website Ain't It Cool News, felt that, by limiting the potential of conflict between the Starfleet and Maquis crews by the end of its narrative, this episode disappointedly disabled "any tension and quest for enlightenment which could've been hugely beneficial to the series' dramatic structure [….] And with it went any substantive exploration of the human condition, without which the creation of drama is difficult at best." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 559)
- In her book BFI TV Classics - Star Trek (p. 126), Ina Rae Hark criticized how unrealistic she found this episode to be, saying, "Once the rebellious Maquis emerge at the end of 'Caretaker' sporting crisp new Starfleet uniforms and answering to Starfleet ranks, viewers know that anything approaching realism has been tossed out of an airlock."
- Variety approved of this episode, describing it as an "impressive, handsomely engineered" and "interesting and involving, if not altogether suspenseful" pilot that upholds "considerable high standards." The publication also highlighted the performances of the main cast as well as Caretaker actor Basil Langton's portrayal and went on to say, "Technical aspects deserve plaudits all around." In particular, Variety praised the production design as "colorful" and "flawless"; the cinematography, "for the most part," as "beautifully and adroitly photographed"; the editing as "seamless"; the makeup as "appropriately otherworldly and mostly well-executed"; and the visual effects as "marvelous" and "superb." Of the latter consideration, Variety further commented, "Computer-generated plasma storm segments are particularly imaginative. Occasionally, the otherwise meticulous opticals involving models are a bit too obvious, but they never look cheap." 
- In an article concerning Star Trek: Discovery and that series' first season, SFX (issue 291, p. 45) criticized this episode as having been "overshadowed" by production problems and containing "yet another all-powerful, all-mysterious entity" which, by then, had become, "a cliché of Trek pilots."
- In a poll conducted by Star Trek Magazine after Season 1 finished its initial broadcast in the UK, this episode came second in the category of favorite VOY episodes, the first being "don't know/haven't seen yet" and the third being "Eye of the Needle". (Star Trek Monthly issue 13, p. 57)
- The moment when Chakotay admonishes Torres that Janeway is the captain has repeatedly been shown at conventions. "When they show the clip at conventions, it gets a big round of applause," stated Jordan Hoffman.  At Creation Entertainment's Grand Slam IV convention, Janeway's speech from the end of this episode was read individually by the members of VOY's main cast, in the style of their own roles from the series but as if auditioning for the role of Captain Janeway. (Star Trek Monthly issue 17, p. 11)
- This turned out to be the most watched episode of Star Trek: Voyager's entire run (on first airing). Star Trek: Enterprise's pilot episode, "Broken Bow", in 2001). (Star Trek Monthly issue 86, p. 4) The episode was UPN's highest-rated night (at least up to and including the début of
- The Hollywood Reporter rated this episode #84 out of 100 "best" episodes of Star Trek's first fifty years. 
- In a 2018 poll on StarTrek.com, fans rated this episode as the best Star Trek pilot episode ever, with twenty-six percent having nominated it. 
- Winrich Kolbe's work on this episode was obviously influential for the rest of the series. "My contribution to Voyager is hard to judge. I obviously set a certain tone with the pilot," he reasoned, "but TV is a writer and producer's medium [….] It's not like being on a film, where the director has pretty much absolute control [….] Still, what we established in 'Caretaker' did set the tone for what was to come, visually." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 15, pp. 10-11) Likewise, by scoring this episode, Jay Chattaway set a similar precedent musically. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, p. 44)
- Footage of the USS Voyager studio model, captured at Image G during the making of this episode, was also later used as stock footage in subsequent episodes. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 286) Also reused, though in an entirely different way than in this installment, was a VFX element of veins. This was originally part of the Caretaker's truly alien configuration but later was incorporated into a type 4 quantum singularity in the next installment, "Parallax". (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 82)
- The warp drive visual effect depicting Voyager engaging warp was slightly tweaked after this episode. When it was introduced in "Caretaker", the tail end of the ship remained stationary while the front end stretched forward. When the effect was subsequently created later in the first season, however, the tail end of Voyager moved slightly forward before snapping ahead. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 85)
- Ultimately, Robert Picardo was pleased that later installments did indeed develop his character of The Doctor more than this episode did, that Ethan Phillips got the part of Neelix rather than himself, and that he instead ended up playing The Doctor. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 14, pp. 16 & 19)
- Roxann Dawson became more comfortable with wearing her half-Klingon makeup following this entry. "As I progressed from the pilot to the first few episodes, I saw myself working more easily in it," she related. (Starlog, issue #214, p. 29) Dawson also proceeded to find out more about her character's background than she had while working on this episode, such as which of B'Elanna's parents had been Klingon and which had been Human. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 57)
- Since they had worked on the first day of this episode's production schedule, Robert Duncan McNeill and Garrett Wang subsequently "always felt like veterans," in McNeill's words. (TV Zone, issue 80, p. 37) Despite this, Wang observed that he found the technical language in later installments to be easier for him to say than some of the terminology in this one. "After a couple of episodes, I started getting much more at ease with the language, the technobabble," he noted. (Star Trek Monthly issue 19, p. 88)
- Following his work on the first six episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, Garrett Wang suspected that the experience of being inflicted with odd tumors – as both his character of Ensign Kim as well as B'Elanna Torres are, in this episode – would serve as a precedent for similar conditions that the crew would suffer from as the series progressed. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 2, pp. 31-32) Similarly, Winrich Kolbe felt certain, following his work on this episode, that the issue of whether Janeway was breaking the Prime Directive by destroying the array would "pop up later on." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 61)
- Jay Chattaway was able to develop the Chakotay-oriented musical theme which he had originally written for this episode in at least two subsequent installments. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 4, p. 47)
- Voyager's warp core was eventually able to be completed following its appearance in this episode. The completion of the core enabled cameras to film 360 degrees around the core. (Star Trek Monthly issue 3, p. 11)
- The pit on Paramount Stage 16 was hereafter built over with a set. (Sci-Fi Universe, Vol. 1, issue 10, p. 61)
- In subsequent episodes, there were usually only three to five performers playing Kazon, making the make-up demands for representing them easier than they had been in this episode. (Star Trek Monthly issue 9, p. 49) Also, the fake pig ears woven into the Kazon headdresses were, from this point on, made from lighter materials (foams and sponges), which meant the wigs were easier to wear. (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 11; The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 18, p. 67) Tuvok's Vulcan ears were likewise made slightly pointier in subsequent installments as well as sticking out less, becoming closer to the head. (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 11)
- At the end of the first season, Star Trek Magazine reviewer Stuart Clark hoped to see the characterization of Neelix develop to become more similar to how it is in this episode, Clark remarking, "It would […] be nice to see a return to the goofiness he showed in 'The Caretaker'. [sic]" (Star Trek Monthly issue 9, p. 62)
- Although he observed a flirtatious component to Tom Paris' relationship with Captain Janeway in this episode, Robert Duncan McNeill wasn't certain how that aspect would be presented in the future. (Starlog, issue #213, p. 37) Arguably, the closest this pair of characters ever got was in the second season offering "Threshold" when, after mutating into a couple of amphibian lifeforms due to hyper-evolution, they proceeded to procreate with each other.
- By the time the second season ended, many people had asked Robert Beltran and Robert Duncan McNeill about what had happened between Chakotay and Paris following the events of this episode, whether they had resolved the issues in their friendship and, if so, how. Neither actor knew the answers to these questions. (Starlog, issue #231, p. 51)
- By the end of Season 2, some fans wished Star Trek: Voyager could consistently be as good as they had found "Caretaker" to be, even though they enjoyed the show in general. "In a way, it has to be hard to live up to our beginning [….] It can't always be like the premiere," conceded Ethan Phillips. (Starlog, issue #229, pp. 80 & 81)
- Despite the fact that Janeway's hair had led to the reshooting of some scenes from this episode, this wasn't the last time her hair proved problematic, as it still proved to be controversial even in later seasons. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 347)
- "Caretaker" was ultimately the first of four VOY episodes which originally aired as a feature-length, two-hour-long installment, the second being "Dark Frontier", the third being "Flesh and Blood", and the fourth being "Endgame".
- Concerning the task of resuming the shoot after the departure of former lead actress Geneviève Bujold, Winrich Kolbe noted, "I don't think I ever want to go through something like that again." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 58)
- Numerous costumes and props from this episode were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. Among them was an unfinished costume for background actress Cindy Bohling. 
- The notion of an entity with god-like powers catapulting the series' hero starship into an uncharted region of space in this episode was inspired by the events of TNG: "Q Who", in which Q propels the USS Enterprise-D into the vicinity of System J-25 but subsequently returns the ship by the end of the story. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 54)
- The events of this episode, particularly the concept of the Maquis, was set up in several TNG and DS9 episodes. Listed in chronological and broadcast order, these were TNG: "Journey's End", the DS9 two-parter "The Maquis, Part I" (which established the group's name as the "Maquis") and "The Maquis, Part II", as well as TNG: "Preemptive Strike". After these installments but prior to the initial airing of this pilot episode, the story of the Maquis was continued in the DS9 outings "Tribunal" and "Defiant". Notable turncoats who – like Chakotay and B'Elanna Torres – defected from the Federation Starfleet to the Maquis include Calvin Hudson in the "The Maquis" two-parter and Ro Laren in "Preemptive Strike", whereas Miles O'Brien is wrongly accused and tried for defecting to the Maquis in "Tribunal" and Thomas Riker was first established as having defected to the Maquis in "Defiant" although his actual doing so had been prior to that episode. In both the "The Maquis" two-parter and "Preemptive Strike", Klingons, Vulcans and Native Americans are shown as part of the Maquis, which was a subtle way to set up the Maquis crew that is introduced in this episode. Additionally, in "The Maquis, Part I", Commander Benjamin Sisko mentions that, prior to that episode's setting, several ships had been lost in the Badlands.
- "Caretaker" starts with scrolling text to set up the first scene, proceeded by a space battle; this technique was originally used in the pilot episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Emissary" (which depicts the Battle of Wolf 359 in its teaser). Furthermore, these are the only pilot episodes to depict a space battle during their teaser.
- Whereas the Caretaker's array, the Intrepid-class USS Voyager and the Kazon warships in this episode were new designs, reused spacecraft designs included the Maquis raider, the Galor-class warship, the Type 6 shuttlecraft, and space station Deep Space 9. The Galor-class was introduced in TNG: "The Wounded", the Type 6 shuttlecraft originally appeared in TNG: "Darmok", Deep Space 9 was first established in DS9 premiere "Emissary", and the Maquis raider was introduced in TNG: "Preemptive Strike".
- Prior to this episode, Gul Evek, introduced in DS9: "Playing God", appears in five episodes, representing an adversary to the Maquis in four of them – "Journey's End", "The Maquis, Part I", "Preemptive Strike", and "Tribunal". This episode is Evek's final appearance.
- Throughout the course of this episode, Janeway's hairstyle and hair color change several times, causing minor continuity issues. At several points, her hair is ginger in color, styled in a curly loose bun. At other points, her hair is brown and styled in the tighter bun she went on to wear for the rest of the first season.
- This episode features three of the four characters who appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager: Quark, Gul Evek and Morn. Q is the only one who does not appear.
- After TNG: "Birthright, Part I" and "Firstborn", this is the third appearance of Deep Space 9 outside of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (although only the second appearance of the space station's exterior outside of that TV series, as only one room aboard the station appears in "Firstborn").
- Both Morn and Broik can be seen (as usual) in Quark's. This is the second and final appearance outside of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for both Quark and Morn, Morn's first having been in TNG: "Birthright, Part I" whereas Quark's first had been in TNG: "Firstborn" (the latter character was initially intended to make a third crossover appearance in Star Trek: Insurrection, though his part in that film ultimately ended up as a deleted scene). On the other hand, this is Broik's only appearance outwith Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- Janeway is seen drinking coffee with creamer, going against her usual order of "Coffee, black." Her penchant for black coffee wasn't introduced until the fifth season, initially referenced in such episodes as "Counterpoint", "Latent Image" and "Bride of Chaotica!".
- In "Nightingale", Harry Kim recalls that, during the first week of his first deep space assignment, Voyager's crew lost "over a dozen crew members." As established in this episode, the fatalities included Lieutenant Commander Cavit, Lieutenant Stadi, the chief engineer, the chief medical officer, and a Vulcan nurse; regarding senior staff, the ship lost its first officer, helmsman, chief engineer, and chief medical officer – nearly half the bridge officers.
- Mark A. Altman reckoned that the general tone of this episode harkened back to Star Trek: The Original Series. An element he felt this was true of was the crew's baffled response to finding an Earth-like farmhouse aboard an enigmatic array. (Sci-Fi Universe, Vol. 1, issue 10, p. 60)
- Lieutenant Tuvok wears the insignia of a lieutenant commander in both this episode and throughout most of season one, in an apparent costuming error. It will not be until the season four episode "Revulsion" that he is actually promoted to lieutenant commander.
- For the only time in the series, Tuvok addresses Neelix as "Sir," when asking for directions once Voyager has arrived at Ocampa.
- One of the first questions Neelix asks Tuvok is if a replicator will make him a gold-colored operations uniform, to which Tuvok replies, "It most certainly will not." Neelix can be seen occasionally wearing the gold-colored uniform in later episodes and seasons, including "Tuvix" (season 2), "Before and After" (season 3), "Year of Hell", and "Living Witness" (both season 4).
- At least in Winrich Kolbe's opinion, the exploration of the Prime Directive in this episode was groundbreaking. "For the first time in the history of Star Trek, we are really entering the grey area of the Prime Directive," Kolbe remarked. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 60)
- Mark A. Altman cited the episode's conclusion, involving the reveal of the Caretaker alien's true appearance, as among the elements he felt harks back to The Original Series, likening the guilt-ridden alien entity to the Organians in the TOS episode "Errand of Mercy". (Sci-Fi Universe, Vol. 1, issue 10, p. 60)
- The events of "Caretaker" were revisited in several episodes, including VOY: "Projections", "Cold Fire", "Before and After", "Night", "The Voyager Conspiracy" and "Shattered". Actual footage from this episode was reused in "The Voyager Conspiracy" and in a recap at the start of "Cold Fire", whereas "Projections" as well as "Before and After" feature reenactments of scenes from this episode. In "Before and After", as a result of her consciousness moving back through time after being placed in a bio-temporal chamber in an alternate timeline in 2379, Kes relives the scene, in Captain Janeway's ready room, in which she and Neelix persuade the captain to allow them to remain on board as members of the crew. Kes attempts to explain what is happening to her, but, before she can do so, she is sent several months further back in time to Ocampa, where she meets her father, Benaren. In "Shattered", one of multiple timelines in that episode (on deck one of Voyager) is set immediately after Voyager's departure from DS9 but before its journey to the Delta Quadrant, and another of the timelines involves B'Elanna Torres and several of the other Maquis shortly after the ship destroyed the Caretaker's array but before Torres donned a Starfleet uniform (she is shown wearing one in the final scene of "Caretaker").
- The scene in which Voyager is first seen establishes that it has a crew complement of 141. It is not revealed, however, what the crew complement is at the end of the episode, after several Starfleet crewmembers have been lost and after the Maquis crew has been integrated on board.
- Janeway repeats her last sentence in this episode ("Set a course, for home" – with "home" now on the viewscreen instead of across the galaxy) at the end of the series finale "Endgame".
Video and DVD releases
- The catalogue number for this volume is out of sync with the rest of season 1, likely because of its special nature as the pilot episode.
- As part of the UK VHS collection Star Trek - 30th Anniversary Trial Pack: 2 January 1996
- UK special edition VHS: 9 December 1996
- As part of the VOY Season 1 DVD collection
Links and references
- Robert Beltran as Chakotay
- Roxann Biggs-Dawson as B'Elanna Torres
- Jennifer Lien as Kes
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Tuvok
- Garrett Wang as Harry Kim
- Alicia Coppola as Lieutenant Stadi
- Bruce French as the Ocampa Doctor
- Jennifer Parsons as the Ocampa Nurse
- David Selburg as Toscat
- Jeff McCarthy as the Human Doctor
- Stan Ivar as Mark
- Scott MacDonald as Rollins
- Josh Clark as Carey
- Richard Poe as Gul Evek
- Keely Sims as the Farmer's Daughter
- Eric David Johnson as Daggin
- Majel Barrett as the Computer Voice
- P. Alcazar as an Ocampa male passerby
- Derek Anthony as operations ensign
- Margaret Blanchard as Ocampa
- Cindy Bohling as Ocampa
- S. Boloor as an Ocampa male passerby
- Randall Bosley as Ocampa
- Cullen Chambers as Ocampa
- S. Chase as an Ocampa female passerby
- Tracee Cocco as Kobheerian
- Mitchell Danton as Ocampa guard
- Scott DeRoy as Ocampa
- B. Dunner as an Ocampa female passerby
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Gunnel Eriksson as operations division officer
- Pablo Espinosa as Ocampa
- Heather Ferguson as Ocampa
- James Flannigan as Ocampa
- P. Fong as an Ocampa female passerby
- A. Giuletti as an Ocampa female passerby
- Sue Henley as Brooks
- Kerry Hoyt as
- D. Huber as New Zealand prisoner
- Scott Jaeck as Cavit
- L. James as alien New Zealand prisoner
- Julie Jiang as operations division lieutenant
- J. Karson as an Ocampa female passerby
- D. Lee as an Ocampa female passerby
- David B. Levinson as Broik
- Dennis Madalone as Command officer/ science officer/ operations officer
- Coleman McClary as Starfleet engineer
- Mary Meinel-Newport as
- Jordan Monheim as sciences officer
- Mike Nyman as Kazon-Ogla
- Tami Peterson as Vulcan Voyager nurse
- Justin Petretti as New Zealand prisoner
- Jerry Quinn as
- J. Suzanne Rampe as
- M. Roberts as an Ocampa female passerby
- Irving Ross as Ocampa
- J. Rubenstein as an Ocampa male passerby
- Garret Sato as operations officer
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- Lou Slaughter as Ocampa
- Simon Stotler as operations division ensign
- John Tampoya as Kashimuro Nozawa
- Debra Waters as command ensign
- Eric Whitmore as Ocampa
- D. Wilson as an Ocampa male passerby
- Unknown performers as
- David Balcorta as stunt double for Robert Beltran
- Christopher Doyle as
- Irving E. Lewis as stunt double for Tim Russ
- Lynn Salvatori as stunt double for Kate Mulgrew
- Cy Kennedy –
- Debra Waters –
47; 2446; abduction; ability; acceleration; Al-Batani, USS; Alpha Quadrant; amusement; angla'bosque; Arias Expedition; Badlands; Bajoran system; bar bill; barter; bath tub; Baxial; bench; Betazoid; bio-neural circuitry; birdhouse; bodyguard; Bolian tomato soup; Caldik Prime; Caldik Prime accident casualties; Cardassia; Cardassians; Cardassian border; caretaker; Caretaker's array; Christmas; Christmas Carol, A; clarinet; class M; cobalt; cognitive ability; collision course; combadge; compression phaser rifle; concussion; conference room; cormaline; corn; corn on the cob; cufflinks; debris; Deep Space 9; Delta Quadrant; density; desert; deviled egg; dilithium; displacement wave; duck; Earth; elders; Emergency Medical Hologram (aka Emergency Holographic Doctor); enemy; entity; explorer; Federation; Federation Council; Ferengi; food dispenser; food processor; food replicator; Fourth Order; friend; G-type star system; galaxy; Galor-class; generation; good luck charm; graviton; holographic generator; holographic projection; horse; idea; impulse generator; interval; Intrepid-class; joke; Juilliard Youth Symphony; Kazon; Kazon carrier vessel; Kazon Collective; Kazon fighter; Kazon-Ogla; kennel; Kim, John; Kim, Mary; Klingon; Koladan diamond; laser tool; lek; lemonade; lesion; level 3 diagnostic; Lobi crystal; logic; magnetic constrictor; Maje; Maquis; Maquis raider; medical tricorder; mess hall; meter; microfracture; microscope; mile; Milky Way Galaxy; mind; Mollie; Moriya system; moss; NCC-71325; NCC-71325 shuttlecraft; Nacene; New Zealand; New Zealand Penal Settlement; nucleogenic particle; nutritional supplement; observer; Ocampa; Ocampa (planet); Ocampan; Ocampan surface city; Ocampan underground city; "Old Sneezy"; onion; operations officer; outlaw; outmeet review; Paris, Owen; passenger ship; path; patient; percussive injury; phaser type-1; phenomenon; pilot error; pitcher; pitchfork; planetary surface scan; plasma flare; plasma phenomenon; plasma storm; pond; porch; porch swing; potato; Prime Directive; Quark's; rebel; red alert; root cellar; rug; sand scrub; science officer; second; security anklet; security barrier; senior officer; short range scan; sickbay; slur; spatial rift; spoon; sporocystian lifeform; sprain; Starfleet; Starfleet Academy; state of the art; statue; story; sugar cookie; surrender; survival strategies; Talaxian; Terikof belt; tetryon; theodolite; tomato soup; towel; tractor beam; transport sensor; transporter; transporter chief; transporter lock; Transporter Room 2; trianoline; tribe; tri-cobalt device; tricorder; Type 6 shuttlecraft; Val Jean; vessel; Vetar; visiting hours; Volnar colony; Voyager, USS; Voyager dedication plaque; Voyager's chief engineer; waiting room; Warming, The; warp core; warp factor; water; welcoming bee; wormhole; Zakarian
- USS Voyager dedication plaque: Backauskas, M.; Bauer, Joe; Barberio, Phil; Berman, Rick; Bernard, Alan; Blackman, Bob; Bormanis, André; Braga, Brannon; Brownfield, Dick; Chess, Joe; Chief of Staff; Chronister, R.; Curry, Dan; Dorton, Louise; Drapanas, Wendy; Earth Station McKinley; Fernandez, Kristine; Fleck, Jerry; Fleet Ops; Fukai, Arlene; Genovese, Cosmo; Howard, Merri; Jein, Greg;Lauritson, Peter; Livingston, David; Locksley Hall; Magdaleno, Jim; Mees, James; Meininger, Tony; Moore, Ronald B.; Neskoromny, Andrew; Neuss, Wendy; Okuda, Michael; Overdiek, Diane; Peets, Bill; Piller, Michael; Research and Development; Roddenberry, Gene; Rush, Marvin; Science Ops; Simmons, Adele; Sims, Alan; Smutko, Alex; Sol Sector; Sordal, Bob; Speckman, Gary; Starfleet Command; Sternbach, Rick; Stipes, David; Stradling, Michael; Tactical Operations; Taylor, Jeri; Tennyson, Alfred; Westmore, Mike; Yacobian, Brad; Yard Engineer
- "Caretaker" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Caretaker" at Wikipedia
- "Caretaker, Part I" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Caretaker, Part II" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
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