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Where No Man Has Gone Before

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"Where No Man Has Gone Before"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
The Enterprise arrives at the edge of the galaxy.
Episode no. Season 1
Series 1
Episode 3
Directed by James Goldstone
Written by Samuel A. Peeples
Featured music Alexander Courage
Cinematography by Ernest Haller
Production code 2
Original air date September 22, 1966 (1966-09-22)
Running time 45 Minutes
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"Where No Man Has Gone Before" is the second pilot episode of the science fiction television series Star Trek. It was produced in 1965 after the first pilot, "The Cage", had been rejected by NBC. Reportedly, Lucille Ball, who owned Desilu Studios (where the pilot was produced), persuaded NBC management to consider a second pilot, thereby exercising a special option agreement it had with Desilu, because she liked Gene Roddenberry and believed in the project. The episode was eventually broadcast third in sequence on September 22, 1966, and re-aired on April 20, 1967. On July 12, 1969, it was the first episode to be shown in the UK by the BBC.[1]

"Where No Man Has Gone Before" was written by Samuel A. Peeples, directed by James Goldstone, and filmed in July 1965. It was the first episode of Star Trek to feature William Shatner as Captain James Kirk, James Doohan as Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (later called "Scotty"), and George Takei as Lt. Sulu (the ship's physicist, whose character became helmsman in subsequent episodes). The episode title was adopted as the final phrase in the opening voice-over[1] which characterizes the series and has entered popular culture.


The starship USS Enterprise is on an exploratory mission to leave the galaxy. En route, a damaged ship's recorder of the SS Valiant, an Earth spaceship lost 200 years earlier, is found. Its record is incomplete, but it reveals that the Valiant had been swept from its path by a "magnetic space storm," and that the crew had frantically searched for information about extra-sensory perception (ESP) in the ship's library computer. The recording ends with the captain of the Valiant apparently giving a self-destruct order.

Kirk decides that they need to know what happened to the Valiant, and the Enterprise crosses the edge of the galaxy where it encounters a strange barrier which damages the ship's systems and warp drive, forcing a retreat. At the same time, nine crewmembers are killed and both helmsman Gary Mitchell and ship's psychiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Dehner are knocked unconscious by the barrier's effect. When he awakens, Mitchell's eyes glow silver, and he begins to display remarkable psychic powers.

Mitchell becomes increasingly arrogant and hostile toward the rest of the crew, declaring that he has become godlike, enforcing his desires with fearsome displays of telepathic and telekinetic power. Science Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) comes to believe that Valiant crew members may have experienced the same phenomenon, and destroyed the ship to keep the power from spreading. He advises Kirk that Mitchell may have to be killed before his powers develop further, but Kirk angrily disagrees.

Alarmed that Mitchell may take over the Enterprise, Kirk decides to maroon him on an unmanned lithium-cracking facility on the remote planet of Delta Vega. Once there, the landing party tries to confine Mitchell, but his powers have become great. He goes on a rampage, kills navigator Lt. Lee Kelso and escapes, taking with him Dr. Dehner, who has now developed similar powers.

Kirk follows and appeals to Dr. Dehner's humanity for help. Before Mitchell can kill Kirk, the doctor attacks and weakens him. Mitchell fatally injures Dehner, but before he can recover from the effort, Kirk uses a phaser rifle to create a rock slide, killing Mitchell.

Back on the Enterprise, Kirk makes a log entry that both Dehner and Mitchell gave their lives "in performance of duty," rationalizing that they did not ask for what happened to them. Spock admits to feeling sympathy for Mitchell too, and Kirk comments that there is hope for him.


The original pilot of Star Trek, "The Cage", was rejected in February 1965 by NBC executives. The show had been sold to them as a "Wagon Train to the stars", and they thought the first pilot did not match the adventure format they had been promised and was "too cerebral" for the general audience. However, NBC, having been persuaded by Desilu management (and reportedly by Lucille Ball herself), maintained sufficient interest in the format to order a second pilot episode in March 1965.[2][3]

Roddenberry wrote two story outlines, "The Omega Glory" and "Mudd's Women." He wrote the teleplay for the former, and gave the latter to Stephen Kandel. Roddenberry asked long-time associate and veteran scriptwriter Samuel Peeples to submit ideas for another. Peeples came up with the premise and episode title for "Where No Man Has Gone Before," and was assigned to write it.

Kandel had fallen ill and his script was not finished in time; the other two were submitted to NBC for consideration. NBC preferred "Where No Man Has Gone Before" as a pilot. "Mudd's Women" was later made as the second episode in regular production, and "The Omega Glory" was made towards the end of the second season.[2]

While "The Cage" has a running time of approximately 63 minutes, "Where No Man Has Gone Before", ran just over 55 minutes with additional footage and formatting later cut to reduce it to the usual series running time of around 50 minutes (excluding commercials).[1]

Casting took place in June 1965. Jeffrey Hunter was unwilling to reprise his role as Captain Christopher Pike. Lloyd Bridges and Jack Lord were considered, but William Shatner was finally cast as Pike's replacement, Captain James Kirk. The character of Number One, the female second-in-command, was dropped on the insistence of the NBC network, and Science Officer Spock was given Number One's unemotional demeanor. NBC was worried about Leonard Nimoy's "satanic" appearance and pressured for his removal.

Apart from Captain Kirk, the episode introduced two other regular characters to the show: James Doohan, a friend of director James Goldstone, was cast as the Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (the name chosen after Doohan had tried various accents, and had decided that an engineer ought to be Scottish) and George Takei was cast as Ship's Physicist Sulu, who would become the helmsman in the regular series. Lieutenant Uhura and Dr. Leonard McCoy do not feature; the ship's doctor is instead Mark Piper (Paul Fix). Piper was intended as a regular; DeForest Kelley, who played McCoy in the series proper, had been considered for the role.

Gary Lockwood, as Lt. Commander Gary Mitchell, had starred in the title role of Roddenberry's earlier series on NBC, The Lieutenant; Sally Kellerman was cast as Dr. Elizabeth Dehner. Both actors needed silver eyes, which were produced by an expert contact lens fabricator who sandwiched wrinkled tinfoil between two sclera contact lenses which covered the entire eye. These were outdated even in the 1960s and dangerous to the health of the actors' eyes. Although Kellerman could insert and remove the prosthetics easily with no discomfort, Lockwood found them almost impossible to use. He needed to raise his face and sight along his nose in order to see through tiny holes in the foil. He was able to use this to enhance his performance as the mutating Mitchell, the unusual gaze giving him an arrogant and haughty demeanor.[4]

Other cast members included Paul Carr as Navigator Lee Kelso, Lloyd Haynes as Communications Officer Alden and Andrea Dromm as Yeoman Smith (Alden and Smith were intended to be regulars in the show, but were replaced by Uhura and Janice Rand, respectively).[4] The episode also is the first time long-running background actor Eddie Paskey appeared; his character would later be identified as Lt. Leslie.[5]

The costumes from the first pilot were used in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" with the exception of the insignias in two respects - the outlines were gold in first pilot but black in the second, and the insignia symbols for engineering and sciences were reversed compared to both the pilot and the series proper. Completely new uniforms and insignias would be unveiled when the series was green-lighted, with the colors altered and black collars introduced. Most of the Enterprise sets were also reused from "The Cage", while Sickbay was the only major set constructed for the episode. Like "The Cage", the episode was shot at Desilu's Culver City studios.[6]

The episode was directed by James Goldstone. Ernest Haller, who had won the Oscar for Best Color Cinematography on the movie Gone with the Wind (1939), served as director of photography for the episode. He had been brought in out of semi-retirement at Goldstone's recommendation at the last minute, after attempts to locate a cameraman had proved problematic. Robert H. Justman was credited as assistant director.

Shooting started on July 19, 1965, several days later than originally scheduled.[2] During the filming of this episode, a wasp's nest high in the rafters of the studio was somehow disturbed, and many cast and crew members suffered stings as a result. As this happened on a Friday, the weekend break allowed time for the swelling to go down; Shatner, however, required additional makeup to hide the stings during shooting the following Monday.[3][4] Filming finished late on July 28, 1965; the final footage filmed was part of the fight between Kirk and Mitchell. While the schedule allowed seven days to shoot the episode, it required nine, which was Justman's original estimate.[3][4][6] The episode cost around $300,000, around half the money spent on making "The Cage".[4]

In a 1988 TV special, series creator Gene Roddenberry said that, as with the first pilot, this one still had a lot of science-fiction elements in it, but at least it ended with Kirk in a bare knuckle fistfight with Mitchell and that's what sold NBC on Star Trek.

Original cut

Post-production on the episode was delayed by Roddenberry's involvement in another pilot, Police Story. Post-production finished in January 1966 and the episode was presented to NBC for approval (which finally came in February 1966); this original version (production number 02a) differed from the later final broadcast cut (production number 02b, airing on September 22, 1966) in that each of the four acts had on-screen titles ("Act I", "Act II", etc.), as well as an epilogue, in the manner of Quinn Martin's television productions. It also featured a much longer opening narration by Shatner. In part, also alternate musical scores were used. In total almost 5 minutes of additional footage was removed to accommodate the original series 50-minute network broadcast format, allowing for commercials.

The studio did not retain a print of this original "alternate" version, and it was officially thought to be lost,[1] though many fans knew that it existed somewhere, having purchased a poor quality VHS tape at a convention.[7] In 2009, a German film collector discovered a print of it and brought it to the attention of CBS/Paramount, which then released it under the title "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" – The Restored, Unaired Alternate Pilot Episode as part of the TOS season 3 box set on Blu-ray;[8][9][10] it has not yet been released on DVD.[citation needed]

The original "alternate" version also remains unaired (in both normal or still undone remastered form), thus still awaiting canon status (both in contrast to TOS's earlier other concept-as-pilot episode's version, "The Cage" – later reworked into the two-part "The Menagerie" of the original run of TOS, which was finally broadcast in 1988 during the original run and in the regular time slot of Star Trek: The Next Generation).[citation needed]

The episode in its original "alternate" version was known to the public before the aired version, having been shown (receiving a standing ovation) at the 24th Worldcon in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 3, 1966 — shortly before the premiere broadcast of Star Trek on NBC.[citation needed]


The episode's title is the first usage of the phrase "Where No Man Has Gone Before" in Star Trek. The phrase would be incorporated into the opening credits sequence in following episodes, as part of the "Space: The Final Frontier..." speech given by Captain Kirk.[1] The phrase would also be used (with "man" changed to the gender-neutral "one"), in the credits voice-over of Star Trek: The Next Generation. That series also referred to it with the title of one of its episodes, "Where No One Has Gone Before". It was also referred to in the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise as part of a voice-over spoken by Picard, Kirk, and Archer.

Kirk's middle initial is given as "R." in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and is seen clearly on the gravestone fashioned by Mitchell for Kirk; subsequent episodes use "James T. Kirk". His middle name was revealed to be "Tiberius" in "Bem", an episode from the animated series, and in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Various suggestions have been made to explain this discrepancy; Michael Jan Friedman's My Brother's Keeper trilogy speculates this results from an in-joke between Mitchell and Kirk.[11] Roddenberry cited human error on Mitchell's part.[citation needed]

The episode contains the first stardate (1312.4) and makes the first reference to the Academy, at which Kirk taught Mitchell. The "lithium crystals" mentioned in the episode would later be renamed to the fictional "dilithium crystals". The episode opens with Kirk and Spock playing a game of three-dimensional chess.[12]

Sequels and adaptations

The episode was adapted into a short story by James Blish for Star Trek 8, published in 1972.[13] It also became the second in Bantam's series of Fotonovels, published in 1977.[14]

The Galactic Barrier is later associated with the Q, in two unrelated and noncanon novels: 1994's Q-Squared by Peter David, and Greg Cox's 1998 Q Continuum novels.[13]

Gary Mitchell does not appear again in the show. Several books, including Michael Jan Friedman's My Brother's Keeper, Vonda N. McIntyre's Enterprise: The First Adventure, and Margaret Wander Bonanno's Strangers from the Sky, feature the Mitchell character in adventures set before the events of the episode. The 2005 Star Trek: Vanguard book Harbinger is set immediately after the events of "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and features a troubled Kirk musing on his friend's death. Friedman's Stargazer book The Valiant features two people who claim to be descended from the Valiant's crew.[13]


Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode a 'B+' rating, describing it as "an awkward episode" but that "it's not without its charms."[15]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Asherman, Allan (1987). The Star Trek Compendium. Titan Books. ISBN 0-907610-99-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Alexander, David (1994). Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry. Roc. ISBN 0-451-45440-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Whitfield, Stephen E and Roddenberry, Gene (1968). The Making of Star Trek. Ballatine Books. ISBN 1-85286-363-3.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Solow, Herbert F. and Justman, Robert H. (1996). Inside Star Trek: The Real Story. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-00974-5.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Mr Leslie Facts". Retrieved December 13, 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Where No Man Has Gone Before. DVD technical commentary (Okuda, Michael and Denise).
  7. Leao, Gustavo (October 9, 2006). "Article with pictures of original "alternate" version". Retrieved July 10, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Hibberd, James (November 12, 2009). "Never before aired 'Star Trek' pilot to be released". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 13, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Lambert, David (September 21, 2009). "Star Trek - 'These Are the High-Def Voyages...': Season 3 Blu-ray Disc Announced! ***UPDATE: PACKAGING***". Retrieved September 21, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Pirrello, Phil (December 10, 2009). "Star Trek: The Original Series – Season 3 Blu-ray Review". IGN. Retrieved January 13, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Ward, Dayton. "Annotations to Star Trek: Mere Anarchy: Things Fall Apart". Archived from the original on December 26, 2007. Retrieved December 25, 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Okuda, Michael; Okuda, Denise; Mirek, Debbie (1999). The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-53609-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Ayers, Jeff (2006). Voyages of the Imagination: The Star Trek Fiction Companion. Pocket Books. ISBN 1-4165-0349-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Roby, Steve. "Complete Starfleet Library: 1977". Retrieved December 25, 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Handlen, Zack (January 9, 2009). "Where No Man Has Gone Before". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 10, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links