1994’s Star Trek: Generations was the first cinematic outing for Jean-Luc Picard and The Next Generation crew, and the movie definitely worked hard to make it feel like their story had been lifted to another level from the TV series. Many of the characters had to deal with some personal upheaval, the Enterprise-D itself was destroyed and, most notably, William Shatner came back as Kirk. There was also an effort to give the crew a new look for the big screen, too. But this didn’t go according to plan.
It’s long been a source of irritation for fans that, randomly and without explanation, the Enterprise-D crew swapped their traditional TNG Starfleet uniforms for the Deep Space Nine/Voyager-style models in this film. From the next movie, 1996’s First Contact, onward, the crew donned brand new uniforms, so their fashion habits in Generations are a weird outlier. And as you’d expect, the reason behind it has to do with behind-the-scenes troubles.
Originally, the idea was to kickstart the era of TNG at the movies with all-new uniforms – these were identical to the TV versions except the raised collars were colored with the pips denoting their ranks moved to the right upper chest. Just a few days into the shoot, though, the producers decided to junk these costumes. With replacements needed to be found immediately, costumes from DS9/VOY were borrowed.
Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner and LeVar Burton, for example, are actually wearing the same clothes worn by DS9‘s Avery Brooks and Colm Meaney and Voyager‘s Robert Duncan McNeill and Garrett Wang. A few background actors can also be seen dressed in these type of togs, but everyone else is in their usual TNG attire. This means Star Trek: Generations is the only movie that mixes different uniforms together. But it only happened thanks to a last-minute panic.