Star Trek was a series that avoided any type of meta-connection until one film.
The trend of referencing the title of a film or television series is a sort of a meta-wink to the audience. A mostly tongue-in-cheek nod to the property and for the longest time, it was something that Star Trek didn’t indulge in.
That was until one specific Star Trek: The Next Generation era film named dropped the franchise.
Cue Star Trek: First Contact. The film centers around The Enterprise having one final conflict with the Borg, this time outside of the Earth’s immediate orbit. The battle turns into a time travel adventure and the crew finds themselves trying to save the life of Zefram Cochrane, the man who flew the first warp flight. A flight that would bring the Vulcans to Earth to help humanity on its path to be better.
It was Cochrane who first uttered the words on screen that fans had been saying for decades.
It was a fitting way to have the words uttered for the first time
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Cochrane being the first one to say the title makes sense, especially since First Contact is the story of Cochrane bringing humanity into the Warp Age, as well as being the first man to make first contact with the Vulcans. So when he’s confronted with all he’ll do in the very near future by William Riker, Deanna Troi, and Geordi La Forge, Cochrane is a bit overwhelmed by to say the least.
Almost winded by the notion that he would be the one to bring about great change with one (not so) simple scientific act, he looks up and utters the simple question;
"And you people, you’re all astronauts, on some kind of star trek?"
Almost more confounded by Riker, Troi and La Forge’s existence than the journey he’s about to embark on.
It’s the first time in the entire franchise’s history that the phrase “Star Trek” had been uttered. It’s an utterly brilliant line and it’s delivered in a way that is a nice nod to the audience but not so hammy and over the top that it takes away from the moment at hand.
It’s just one of the thousand-odd reasons why First Contact holds up all these years later.