Episode Behind the Scenes


The episode was initially called "Resurrection", a title which later went to an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (see: DS9 "Resurrection")
Bryan Fuller (staff writer) on "The Raven":
"The first draft [from Harry Doc Kloor's pitch] was called 'Resurrection,' and it was all about Seven of Nine being resurrected as a Borg. The aliens du jour abduct her and tweak her, and essentially she goes on this mad killing spree. The first draft had all these huge chase sequences of the crew trying to get her before she got to Engineering to blow up the warp core, until this last final moment where she's crawling towards the core - Torres has essentially blown her legs off - and Janeway is saying, 'Stop this' while Seven pleads, 'Please kill me.' [...] It started out as a story about Seven of Nine being reactivated as a drone - all the nanoprobes in her system reassimilate her and she goes on an assimilating spree. I actually wrote a full draft for that story. [...] We looked at it and we thought, 'Well, this is fine, but there's no character here. It's just this person going crazy and assimilating people and us trying to stop her.' It didn't have any heart. [...] It was just too big of a step, it was too comic bookish. But they liked the writing enough that they were going to give me the rewrite."

Brannon Braga (executive producer) remembers the early draft of "The Raven":
"That story started out as a much more shallow, action-oriented story. In fact, Bryan Fuller [who was a freelance writer at the time] wrote a draft in which [Seven] was captured by aliens, and they exploited her abilities, and turned her into unstoppable, drone, Terminator-woman. [...] When we got the draft in, it was evident that it was a soulless, empty kind of show, and that it had to be about something.

Brannon Braga discusses his inspiration for the new draft of the episode:
"I was struck by the Citizen Kane image of 'Rosebud,' at the end of this strange journey of rebellion she makes a shocking discovery and faces her past in a Citizen Kane-type way. The raven image actually turns out to be the name of the ship when she rubs off the dust."

The failed first-draft script for "The Raven" was hurridly rewritten over six days by Bryan Fuller. The final draft was submitted on 16 July 1997.
This script proved to be Bryan Fuller's first work for Voyager which made it on screen after two previous DS9 contributions ("The Darkness and the Light", "Empok Nor"). Fuller later went on to be employed as a full-time writer on the show.

Jeri Ryan recalls her hilarious experiences filming the first scenes with Ethan Philips (Neelix) in the mess hall:
"So, during our first episode together, I thought I was going to die; I didn't think we would ever get through the scene. I could not look him in the eye and keep a straight face, so I had to do half the scene looking over his head or looking past him, because I had tears rolling down my face just trying to get through one take."

Dan Curry shot blue-screen footage of Jeri Ryan and Tim Russ, to film the scenes of Seven and Tuvok on the moon where they discover the crippled Raven. The production of one of the exterior shots, involving the pair of characters in the foreground as they look out across a ravine to the Raven, did not incorporate blue-screen, however.
Dan Curry explained, "If you see the original plate, the original production photography, you're actually seeing them on the set, you see the grips and the camera crew and everybody else just hanging out." Filming Ryan and Russ performing the scene where their characters jump out of the Raven, moments before it crumbles down a cliff, was filmed on a primarily blue set but also included one of the few set pieces utilized during the shooting of the blue-screen footage. Dan Curry remembered,
"The only set piece was the rock surface they landed on."

The Borg sets used in the flashback sequences were reused from "Scorpion".

A reversed stock shot of a Voyager shuttlecraft (with the registry numbers in reverse order) was reused here for the shuttlecraft that Seven of Nine commandeers. The same footage was previously used in the second season episode "Maneuvers".
The surface of the moon where Tuvok and Seven of Nine find the Raven was visually created via the use of matte paintings done by Dan Curry, later digitally inserting the blue-screen footage of Jeri Ryan and Tim Russ into these exterior shots. Dan Curry recounted, "All the exteriors were layers of paintings I did in Photoshop. [I] was able to do a lot of cool things with the rock textures that I, years earlier, had photographed at Lone Pine, in the Alabama Hills." This same location was used for exteriors in the earlier two-parter "Basics, Part I" and "Basics, Part II".

Several photos of the blue-screen filming are available in TrekCore's Season 4 DVD Bonus Feature Screencap gallery:

The wreckage of the Raven was designed by senior illustrator Rick Sternbach, although the craft's shape was not thought out to any extreme degree. "It didn't have to be for the first episode because it was crashed [and severely damaged]," Sternbach noted. "The sketch was sent to Foundation Imaging. That visual effects company then visualized the craft with CGI."
The shot of Tuvok and Seven looking out at the Raven from across a ravine was one of the shots that were completed digitally. Referring to a rock that the characters stand by in this shot, Dan Curry explained, "We traced or rotoscoped the edge of the rock, and then replaced it with a matte painting." The CG model of the Raven was then placed into the shot.
Regarding the shot of the Raven crumbling apart and falling down the cliff, Dan Curry explained:
"That's CG, but it's a three-dimensional CG model in a two-dimensional matte painting."

CGI Effects Director Ron Thornton said of the same shot:
"That was something you could easily do with a miniature, but we [meaning Foundation Imaging] ended up working it out. John Teska did an incredible animation of the ship falling apart. It's one of those things you can go back and tweak - if you blew up a model ship and it wasn't what you wanted, you would have to build it again and start from scratch."
Compositing the CG Raven together with the live-action footage of Jeri Ryan and Tim Russ, for the shot in which Seven and Tuvok make their escape from the wreckage, was somewhat challenging. Dan Curry related:
"We had to be very careful about making sure the geometry and the camera angles were matched, so that - when everything was finally put together - you would believe that they were in that environment."
Seven of Nine's silver bodysuit is replaced, in this episode, by a more understated brown one. Besides the color change, this bodysuit is also different from the previous one in that its neckline is much lower. In addition, the brown suit was less constrictive for Jeri Ryan than her previous silver costume.
At least one of the Borg faces have the white make-up seen in TNG's "Descent". Others have the later greyer make-up.
The script describes the B'omar as "suspicious, fastidious, and quirky, and more 'sarcastic' than any aliens we've met". Several sarcastic B'omar lines ended up being cut.
In the script the name of the B'omar who hails Voyager during the B'omar bombardment of the S.S. Raven as Gaumen.
The model of Da Vinci's flying machine on the workshop's workbench could be the authentic model kit sold by The Da Vinci Store pictured below, price as at 31st August 2006 $119.95. If it was available in 1997, when this episode was filmed and aired on 26th November 1997 for the first time, buying the kit was sensible, even though the show's modellers would have been able to make one, in order to save the man-hours required in making it. The same prop is seen in the workshop that the alien Tau provides for Holo-Leonardo in "Concerning Flight".
The first names of Annika Hansen's parents are not given in this episode but in the later story, "Dark Frontier" (Magnus and Erin). In "The Raven" they are played by David Anthony Marshall and Nikki Tyler, with Erica Lynne Bryan as Annika. In "Dark Frontier" they are played by Kirk Bailey, Laura Stepp and Katelin Petersen respectively.