(written from a Production point of view)
When an experimental engine modification throws the Enterprise to the edge of the known universe, the crew must rely on a mysterious alien to guide the ship home.
The USS Enterprise-D has met the Excelsior-class starship USS Fearless in order to take on a Starfleet propulsion specialist who will perform an upgrade on the warp drive. He has already performed the upgrade on the Fearless, as well as the USS Ajax. Both these ships reported an increase in engine efficiency. Riker, however, is not convinced. He and Data have run a controlled test of the formulae that the engineer, Kosinski, has sent over, and found them to have no effect. Picard reasons that there's no harm in letting him come over and attempt the upgrade, especially since it doesn't change the hardware.
Riker is still skeptical, so Picard sends him to meet Kosinski when he beams aboard, along with his assistant. Riker, Troi, and Chief Engineer Argyle go to meet him in the transporter room. Kosinski is pompous and arrogant. He asks why the captain isn't there to meet him and demands to be taken to engineering. As he leaves, Troi comments to Riker that Kosinski is as he appears – loud and arrogant – but she can sense nothing from his assistant, not even his presence.
In engineering, Riker questions Kosinski about what he is going to do and asks him to explain his formulae. At first Kosinski resists, but eventually agrees to explain himself to Riker and Argyle. Meanwhile Wesley, who is also in engineering working on a school project, watches the assistant enter the formulae on a screen and suggests various changes to the inputs. When Kosinski is ready, Picard orders La Forge to take the Enterprise to warp 1.5.
As the ship accelerates, both Kosinski and his assistant enter various information. Suddenly a console alarm goes off and Kosinski shouts at the assistant, who has made an error. Outside the ship, the Enterprise's engines suddenly engage with a massive burst of speed. The assistant grabs his console and starts to "phase" in and out of view, noticed only by Wesley.
On the bridge, La Forge tells the captain they are passing warp 10, and Data later says that their velocity is off the scale. The Enterprise hurtles through space, with phenomena whizzing past at extremely high speed. Picard orders that they reverse engines (which Data comments on as having never been done at their current speed), and the Enterprise flashes out of warp. When asked for the ship's position, La Forge replies incredulously that they have traveled 2,700,000 light years.
Kosinski, Riker, and Argyle arrive on the bridge. Picard asks them what happened and Kosinski replies that he made "a mistake, a wonderful mistake". He is highly excited, claiming he has broken the warp barrier and that his name will go down in history. However, hearing the procedure that Kosinski used, Commander Riker isn't convinced.
Down in engineering, Wesley is talking to the assistant. He realizes that the assistant has been performing the "upgrades" all along, and that Kosinski is just a joke. The assistant tells him he means no harm to the ship or the crew – he made a mistake. He is exhausted now, and Wes offers to get his mother, but the assistant declines. Wes then says that from looking at the warp equations he thinks time and space and thought are all one thing. This surprises the assistant, who tells him never to say such a thing again "in a world that's not ready for it."
Picard orders Kosinski to bring them home, and they return to engineering. Wes tries to tell Riker about the assistant, but he won't listen. Kosinski sets up to return them home, and the Enterprise shoots into warp with another tremendous burst of speed. As they input the equations, it becomes obvious to Kosinski that it is not working. Then Riker sees the assistant as he starts to "phase" again and then collapse across the console.
Meanwhile, the Enterprise picks up incredible speed moving into untold measurements. On the viewscreen, spatial phenomena streak past faster and faster into indistinguishable light blurs. Picard orders full stop, and the Enterprise blasts out of warp once more, but they are certainly not back in their own galaxy. Outside the ship, clouds of cosmic dust and energy beings swim in a never-ending blue abyss. Data concludes that they must be at the edge of the known universe, "where none have gone before."
The Enterprise is now a billion light years from the Milky Way Galaxy in the other direction. Kosinski, Commander Riker, and the chief engineer come to the bridge to explain what has happened to the Captain. Kosinski is struggling to explain everything and seems nervous yet persistently arrogant. In an effort to lighten the situation Kosinski decides to take a positive approach and says the Captain should be thrilled as an explorer because "in three centuries of space travel we've charted just 11 percent of our galaxy… and then we accomplish this!" But Captain Picard is more interested in getting home and Kosinski assures Picard that he can get them back. Picard asks his crew for suggestions and the crew goes back and forth about whether it's smart to continue to trust Kosinski. In frustration, Picard leaves for engineering.
The crew now starts to see things that cannot be there. Worf is at his station when he suddenly sees a Klingon targ in front of him, his childhood pet. Yar also sees it but it disappears just as quickly. Then she sees her pet cat and is back on the colony where she grew up, trying to avoid a rape gang. La Forge touches her and she snaps out of it. When the turbolift doors open, Picard almost steps out into open space before throwing himself back inside. The doors open again and he goes into a corridor. He meets two crewmen running away from some unseen pursuer. Further down the corridor, he sees an ensign in a cargo bay dancing ballet while elsewhere, another crewman is performing the first movement of Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik with a baroque-looking string quartet.
The visions of thought seeming to become visual reality soon become more evident to the captain when he then sees his dead mother drinking tea in a corridor, and starts to talk to her before he is interrupted by Riker. When he looks back, she's gone. Picard realizes he must get the crew's attention quickly to prevent their thoughts from causing a catastrophe. He immediately orders general quarters and goes to engineering. He tells the crew that they are in a region of space where thoughts become reality, and that they must try to subdue their thoughts.
The assistant is brought to sickbay, where Picard tells Crusher to wake him. They must leave this place before their own thoughts cause the ship to be destroyed. The assistant wakes and tells Picard that he is a Traveler from another plane of existence. He is traveling through their galaxy, observing them, using his knowledge of propulsion to get passage on Starfleet ships. Kosinski is just his cover. He meant no harm to the Enterprise. He tells them Humans shouldn't be here until their "far, far, distant future," until they have learned to control their thoughts. Picard asks him if he can get them home. He tells him he will try.
He then asks for a private word with Picard. The others leave and the Traveler tells Picard that people like Wesley are the reason that he travels. He compares him to Mozart, only instead of music, Wes has, or will have, the ability to manipulate time, space, and thought. He urges Picard to encourage Wes, but not to tell him or Beverly any of this. He weakens, and Picard helps him up to Riker to go to engineering.
Picard hurries to the bridge, helping a crewman on the way to put out a fire he has created.
The Traveler prepares to engineering and Picard makes a ship-wide announcement, telling everyone to concentrate on home and on the Traveler's well being. They follow the same procedure as before: the ship jumps to warp 1.5 and the Traveler uses his powers to attempt to send them back. He starts to "phase" as before and the ship hurtles through space. Then the Traveler disappears altogether and the Enterprise finds itself right back where it started.
Mindful of the Traveler's advice, Picard calls Wesley to the bridge and thanks him for his part in their successful return. He then makes him an acting ensign, "for conduct in the true spirit and traditions of Starfleet." He instructs Riker to make out a duty roster for him and tells him to learn the ship and its operations from top to bottom. Then Wesley takes a seat on the bridge as the Enterprise resumes course.
"Yes, but where is this place?"
"Where none have gone before."
- - Picard and Data
"The safety of the Enterprise may be entrusted to those two."
- - Riker, on The Traveler and Kosinski
"How basic shall I be?"
- - Kosinski
"Perhaps you could call it the Kosinski scale."
"Why not? Yes, of course. Since I'm the one who has made the so-called warp barrier meaningless."
- - Argyle sarcastically to Kosinski
"Captain, we're here. Why not avail ourselves of this opportunity for study? There is a giant proto-star here, in the process of forming. No other vessel has been out this far."
"Spoken like a true Starfleet graduate. It is tempting, eh, Number One?"
- - Data and Picard
"If you knew something, why didn't you tell anybody?"
"He tried, twice. I didn't listen."
- - Picard and Riker, referring to Wesley's observations of the Traveler
"Well yes, this could seem like magic to you. "
"No. No, it actually makes sense to me. Only the power of thought could explain what has been happening."
- - The Traveler and Picard
"Thought is the essence of where you are now."
- - The Traveler
"He and a few like him are why I travel."
- - The Traveler, on Wesley Crusher's abilities
"You're not involved in this decision, boy!"
- - Picard, to Wesley Crusher
"Please don't interrupt me, Wesley."
- - Picard
"It's a Klingon Targ, from home, from when I was a child."
"So you're telling me that that thing's a kitty-cat?!"
"Yes. I suppose you could call it that."
- - Worf and Tasha
"Should I send for Dr. Crusher?"
"Why? Is someone ill?"
- - Riker and Picard, just after Wesley has been made acting ensign
- First story premise: 16 December 1986
- Gene Roddenberry greenlights story development: 17 December 1986
- Second draft story outline: 13 February 1987 
- Original story outline: 17 February 1987 (Creating the Next Generation)
- Second draft outline: 24 March 1987 (Creating the Next Generation)
- First draft script: 17 April 1987 (Creating the Next Generation)
- First draft script: 20 May 1987
- Five-page memo of script notes by Gene Roddenberry: 27 May 1987
- Script draft: 22 June 1987
- Revised script draft: 15 July 1987
- Final draft: 27 July 1987
- Revised final draft script: 30 July 1987
- Filmed: 5 August 1987 – 13 August 1987
- Score recorded at Paramount Stage M: 25 September 1987 (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Ron Jones Project liner notes )
- Premiere airdate: 26 October 1987
- UK premiere airdate on BBC2: 17 October 1990
Story and script
- This story was loosely based on the Pocket TOS novel The Wounded Sky, also written by one of this episode's writers – Diane Duane. Producer Maurice Hurley did numerous uncredited rewrites on Duane and Michael Reaves' original script. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 2nd ed., p. 36)
- Diane Duane has published the second draft versions of the episodes original "Out of Ambit" at DianeDuane.com, October 8, 2006) and on her website. Of the production process, she writes: "We turned in the first-draft script and waited a couple of weeks for the notes – heard nothing, called the TNG office, and discovered that we had been "cut off" at first draft, and the script given to someone else for rewrite. (....) We were unclear about the reasons for this particular cutoff for a long, long time – nearly ten years. (....) (W)e'd unwittingly become caught up in interoffice politics. One member of production staff got up another one's nose, and as a result was chucked out – and (though they weren't told what was going on) so were all the writers associated with that production staffer. (....) At any rate, after the rewrite, in the shooting script for the episode, only two elements of our original (besides the general idea) remain: the scene with Picard and his mother (which was Michael's), and the shot of Picard almost falling out of the turbolift into open space (which was mine)." Notably, the characterization of Kosinki and the addition of The Traveler were entirely products of the rewrite. (
- In the original teleplay, Kosinski was responsible for both the warp effect and the accident. He also had a son, who felt his father was more interested in his work than in him. The hallucinations were much more bizarre than in the final episode: Jack Crusher appeared to Picard and Beverly, and the Enterprise appeared inside a "cosmological egg". When the starship escaped, it exploded and caused the birth of a new universe. As a sort of "Biblical pun", the Enterprise spends six days "missing", and Picard orders the next day to be a day of rest. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 2nd ed., p. 36)
- This episode marks the debut of Rob Bowman as a Trek director. He later went on to direct twelve more episodes of The Next Generation. Daniel Petrie was originally hired to direct the episode, but quit when he was approached to direct the film Cocoon: The Return. Producer Robert Justman said that hiring twenty-seven-year-old Bowman to direct this segment was one of his proudest achievements on the show. Bowman was terrified, trying to make a good impression on his first assignment, and overcome any doubts of his youth. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 2nd ed., p. 36) Concerning how he prepared to film the installment, he recalled, "I spent about twenty days before my first episode walking through those sets, and on Saturdays and Sundays, eight hours a day, just sitting and looking." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 117)
- While shooting the scene in this episode where Riker tells Picard, "It wasn't him, it never was; it was his assistant," Jonathan Frakes had some difficulty saying the line and eventually could not say it without breaking into a laugh. According to Patrick Stewart, the event soon spread "like a bushfire" throughout the set, to the point where The Next Generation's sound mixer, Alan Bernard, had to wheel his sound cart off the set as he also could not stop laughing. Stewart later recalled this story to Frakes in 2012, at the Calgary Comic-Con Expo, where he still couldn't say the phrase very well. (TNG Season 1 DVD special feature "Memorable Missions"; )
- La Forge's line about the ship passing warp 10 was looped in post-production, and the line as it was originally spoken ("warp 5" instead of "warp 10") is featured in the episode's trailer.
- Worf's targ was played by a Russian wild boar named Emmy-Lou. Robert Justman recalled, "That pig smelled horrid. A sweet-sour, extremely pungent odor. I showered and showered, and it took me a week to get rid of it!" (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 2nd ed., p. 36)
Cast and characters
- This episode marks the first appearance of Eric Menyuk's The Traveler. Menyuk was a finalist for the role of Data, and was given the role here as a consolation prize. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 2nd ed., p. 36) He reappears in "Remember Me" and "Journey's End".
- This episode marks the first appearance of Dennis Madalone in a Star Trek production. Madalone performed stunts in several more first and second season episodes and started to work as Stunt Coordinator beginning with the third season. He also worked as stunt coordinator on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager.
- The piece of music played by the string quartet in this episode is Mvt. 1, "Allegro", from Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525.
- When Picard meets his mother, there is also an unidentified recurring (until episode 17 "When The Bough Breaks") melody.
- The episode's score, composed and conducted by Ron Jones, was recorded on 25 September 1987 at Paramount Stage M. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Ron Jones Project liner notes ) The complete episode score, totalling 21 minutes 15 seconds, appears on Disc One of the Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Ron Jones Project collection.
- The musical piece to which the ballerina is dancing is titled "Waltz of the Chocolate Donut".
Sets, props, and costumes
- The master systems display (nicknamed the "pool table") in main engineering was used for the first time in this episode. However, as "The Last Outpost" was broadcast before this episode, though produced later, the table is first seen in that episode. Main engineering also features many chairs and benches never seen again.
- The two vertical light panels flanking the wall mounted master systems display in main engineering are illuminated green (which is only visible in the color-corrected HD release; the original mistakenly shows them being yellow), an effect only seen in this episode.
- For the last time until Star Trek Generations a corridor leading to main engineering, which is located directly behind the office, is seen. Normally, that opening is closed by a fake wall with LCARS interfaces, which is only removed when main engineering is redressed as a corridor lounge.
- Among the items from this episode which were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay is a pair of special effects make-up hands for The Traveler. 
Special and visual effects
- Visual effects artist Robert Legato recalled that he had to devise the special effects for the "end of the universe" based on vague directions in the script. He noted, "I did it simply, at home in my basement, with water. I had always noticed water reflections on the wall, so I shot multiple layers of that through dissolved Mylar bits. It was peculiar and bizarre. And I used little suspended moving Christmas tree lights for the little blinkies." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 2nd ed., p. 37) Legato also described the creation of these effects in the TNG Season 5 DVD special feature "Departmental Briefing Year Five" ("Visual Effects").
- Director Rob Bowman recalls, "The effects in that episode were, at times, extremely frustrating and complex, so I didn't know what they were going to look like. It's tough to have people react to something that even I can't identify. Many special FX are just vaguely discussed during shooting and only finalized during post-production. So at times, that was difficult." ("Rob Bowman – Director of a Dozen", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 10, p. 15)
- Wesley Crusher is given a field commission of acting ensign in this episode.
- Footage of the USS Fearless traveling next to the Enterprise-D was previously seen in "Encounter at Farpoint" (sans Deneb IV in the background), where the Excelsior-class vessel represented the USS Hood.
- When the illusory string quartet disappears, the crewman is sitting at a table with a small bottle and a glass on a tray. As both were originally created for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, the bottle features the Federation logo of that time.
- During Picard's speech towards the end of the episode, a crewmember is seen looking at an LCARS interface with directions to Holodeck 4J. This is the same graphic that was seen in "Encounter at Farpoint" when Commander William T. Riker was looking for the holodeck.
- Upon arrival at M-33, it is mentioned that a return trip to the Federation, using normal warp drive, through two galaxies, would take three hundred years. The time given is the same as that of the Kelvan's trip in TOS: "By Any Other Name" from the Andromeda Galaxy.
- This is the only episode where Picard says "cease red alert" to stand down red alert.
- Despite The Traveler's admonition to Picard never to discuss their conversation regarding Wesley with either him or his mother, in "Journey's End", both Beverly and Wesley discuss that conversation as if they had full and open knowledge of it.
- In this episode Kosinski states that in "three centuries of space travel we've charted just eleven percent of our galaxy." In "The Dauphin", set one year later, Wesley notes an increased figure of nineteen percent.
- Maurice Hurley commented, "Everything about that episode worked. That's when everybody started to hit their stride a little bit. The casting was good, the Traveler was wonderful, the optical effects were excellently outstanding. You could feel things starting to come together." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 158)
- Director Rob Bowman remembers, "It was a very enlightening script, the likes of which you don't very often see on television. I felt very fortunate that it was such a great script, but, personally, I was terrified because it was my first episode and I wanted to make a good impression. I worked on that show every day I had the script, which, including the shooting, was like twenty days for me." ("Rob Bowman – Director of a Dozen", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 10, p. 13)
- A mission report titled "Where None Have Gone Before" by Robert Greenberger was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 3, pp. 22-26.
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series in 1988. The nominees were Sound Mixers Chris Haire, Doug Davey, Jerry Clemans, and Alan Bernard.
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 3, catalog number VHR 2273, 2 July 1990
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 1.2, catalog number VHR 4643, 4 May 1998
- As part of the TNG Season 1 DVD collection
- As part of Star Trek: The Next Generation 25th Anniversary Event
- As part of the TNG Season 1 Blu-ray collection
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Geordi La Forge
- Denise Crosby as Lt. Tasha Yar
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Worf
- Gates McFadden as Doctor Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
- Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher
- James G. Becker as Youngblood
- Byron Berline as command division officer
- Darrell Burris as operations division officer
- Dexter Clay as security officer
- Jeffrey Deacon as command division officer
- Emmy-Lou as Klingon Targ
- Nora Leonhardt as science division ensign
- Dennis Madalone as science division crewman
- Tim McCormack as Bennett
- Lorine Mendell as Diana Giddings
- Natalia Silverwood as civilian
- Unknown performers as
- Command division officer
- Command division officer in a skant
- Eight operations division crewmembers
- Female command division officer
- Female command division officer
- Female science division crewmember
- Four rape gang members
- Male civilian
- Tasha's cat
- Three string quartet musicians
- Transporter chief (hand)
- Transporter chief (voice)
- James G. Becker – stand-in for Jonathan Frakes
- Darrell Burris – stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Dexter Clay – stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Jeffrey Deacon – stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- Susan Duchow – stand-in for Denise Crosby
- Nora Leonhardt – stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Tim McCormack – stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Lorine Mendell – stand-in for Gates McFadden
- Guy Vardaman – stand-in for Wil Wheaton
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- "Where No One Has Gone Before" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Where No One Has Gone Before" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Where No One Has Gone Before" at Wikipedia
- "Where No One Has Gone Before" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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