NATO Explains Why The Theme For ‘Star Trek: First Contact’ Was Played At Sweden’s Induction Ceremony

(NATO/Paramount Pictures)

Earlier this month Sweden officially joined NATO, becoming the 32nd member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. There was an official ceremony welcoming Sweden at NATO HQ in Brussels, raising their flag to join the other nations in the defense alliance. The Swedish delegation was led by Crown Princess Victoria and Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, welcomed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. A military band was on hand for the ceremony and there was a surprising bit of music from the final frontier that got things started. TrekMovie has the exclusive to explain what happened.

Sounds Swedish

The flag ceremony was held on March 11 in Belgium. As the assorted officials gathered and the flagbearers prepared to raise the Swedish flag, the band started off the event playing the main theme from Jerry Goldsmith’s score for the 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact. You can see and hear the moment below from the live stream replay via Sky News.  [music starts after first 15 seconds]

This bit of Trek showing up at such an auspicious occasion eventually got noticed by some fans. Certainly NATO’s mission of an alliance of partners working together to “guarantee the freedom and security of its members” fits with the ideals of the United Federation of Planets and Starfleet, but it still is curious. TrekMovie reached out to NATO to find out more about First Contact showing up for Sweden’s big moment, and they replied.

A NATO official tells TrekMovie:

“Ahead of ceremonial military events, the band will often play a range of popular music, with the band given discretion with respect to which music to play. Jerry Goldsmith was a masterful film composer, as exemplified by his work on Star Trek’s “First Contact”. At the ceremony itself, the national anthem of Sweden and the NATO anthem were played.”

The same official noted that next week NATO is celebrating its 75th anniversary. There will be a ceremony complete with military bands and they are expected to again be playing a range of popular songs as guests arrive. It’s not known if Star Trek will be part of their repertoire.

Definitely Swedish

While it’s clear the musical director for the military band was a fan of Jerry Goldsmith, it could be they are also enough of a Trek fan to see a connection to the alliance and the themes of First Contact, which showed humanity’s first encounter with an alien race. Meeting the Vulcans in the aftermath of a world war began a new era of galactic cooperation that is held up as an idealized future for humanity.

Zefram Cochrane greets the Vulcan visitor to Earth in Star Trek: First Contact (Paramount Pictures)

They may also be a big enough fan to remember the specific connection between First Contact and Sweden. In the film, the USS Enterprise-E travels back in time from the 24th century to 2063. When Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) tries to explain the Borg to 21st century local Lily Sloane (Alfre Woodard) you get a bit of a recurring Sweden gag…


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Alternatively, First Contact took place in the aftermath of a nuclear war…

Er, yeah, wasn’t there also a passing mention of the “Eastern Coalition” or some such? I think it’s when they’re under attack from the Borg sphere.

Yes. The Eastern Coalition was heavily involved in WWIII

Okay, thanks.

This was wonderful. as Frakes tweeted.

FC was best Trek movie in many a die hard fan and casual fan/general movie audiences eyes (it was deemed so by many critics and fans when it came out and for a good few years until Wrath came back to the fore and won out in the end) and FC made Trek ‘cool’ for a while, so cool I could buy a STFC caramel filled chocolate bar in my local newsagent (Trek wasnt ‘cool’ again until ST09/ID, and before FC? maybe you could say TWOK or TVH or some of TNG were a ‘cool’ times for Trek, maybe )

The Swedish government has great taste in music.

My favourite score in Star Trek (along with the score to the relaunch of the Enterprise-D in Picard).

Are you talking about “Make it So” on the S3 Picard soundtrack? I listen to it every morning. It’s my favorite too.

That’s the one!!! An incredible piece of music!

Mine too. I LOVE it!

Same here dear! 😊

This is great! I had forgotten the Borg sounds Swedish gag in FC. I bet that was the fun inspiration for the selection. LOL!

That takes me back. I remember seeing First Contact in the theater in ’96 and the Borg/Swedish gag getting a big laugh. That was a fun night.

Seeing it for the first time, on the big screen back in 1996 — with a really fun, “borgified” laser show with quotes, images and music (!) from the movie directly above the audience, right before the feature — was a great night for us, too! 💨🌫💥🌫💨

What a great 🎶 choice for this event! 🖖😍

A Borg laser show? Awesome!

It was so well done, it must’ve been an officially licensed event that the German CinemaxX chain of theaters ran for their screenings. Wondering now, if it was basically the official trailer (or an extended version of it) as a laser show… maybe somebody else around here can confirm that part of it? 🤷‍♂️

Amazing. Historic. So proud. What an honor for the franchise, for the fans.

It actually sounds like a national anthem.

Goldsmith is my favorite composer in the history of the world bar none but I find the FC theme to fall under the heading of coming across as just ‘graduation day’ music, which is something that happens with some lesser John Williams stuff too. I’m not just picking on the biggies … Dennis McCarthy’s GEN score has the same effect on me, a little more distracting than engaging.

There’s a history with JG’s stuff being trotted out inappropriately (like Trump using AIR FORCE ONE music during a campaign instead of the more appropriate Vader/Imperial March or Nazi Germany’s Horst-Wessel-Lied), but I think the FC stuff might actually be more appropriate for NATO than for the movie.

Interesting, kmart. So, how would you rank your Trek score preferences? For me, it depends on my own mood. Of course, JG is a giant. I also like parts of Horner’s music and the eeriness and mysteriousness of Russo’s Picard s1 theme.

TMP and TFF and TWOK are my fave scores (and films.)

like Trump using AIR FORCE ONE music during a campaign instead of the more appropriate Vader/Imperial March or Nazi Germany’s Horst-Wessel-Lied
How very one-sided of you. You should have left politics out of this. Some would see it as the opposite.

Some ALWAYS see it as the opposite. That’s what makes for horse-racing. Nice to see you out in the open on this.

One word: Priceless.

Fantastic! A great choice. Such a great score to a great film.

Too bad this didn’t happen on actual First Contact Day. But close enough! This is a great theme and a great nod to Star Trek.