The Enterprise-D also appears in the pilot episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ("Emissary"), the series finale of Star Trek: Enterprise ("These Are the Voyages..."), and in the feature film Star Trek Generations, where the ship crashes on Veridian III in its last canon appearance.
An Industrial Light and Magic team supervised by Ease Owyeung built two filming miniatures (a six-foot model and a two-foot model) for "Encounter at Farpoint", the Star Trek: The Next Generation pilot, and these models were used throughout the first two seasons. For the third season, model-maker Greg Jein built a four-foot miniature, which had an added layer of surface plating detail. The six-foot model was used whenever a saucer separation sequence needed to be filmed, and was then updated by ILM for use in Star Trek Generations. In October 2006, the six-foot Enterprise shooting miniature was auctioned in New York City, along with other models, props, costumes, and set pieces from the Star Trek franchise. Its projected value was $20,000 to $30,000, but the final sale price was $576,000. It was the most expensive item in the auction.
ILM's John Knoll also built a CGI Electric Image model of the Enterprise-D for the 1994 film Star Trek Generations. That model was transferred to LightWave and used to create various Galaxy-class starships in episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Timeless."
The proportions of the Galaxy-class Enterprise-D were different from the original Enterprise while retaining its familiar dual warp nacelles and saucer section appearance. The warp nacelles were made proportionally smaller than the saucer section based on the idea that warp engines would have become more efficient over time.
It was created as a toy by Playmates in 1992.
Throughout the course of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the ship's crew makes first contact with multiple species, including the Borg in "Q Who?" and the Q Continuum in "Encounter at Farpoint." The Enterprise-D is instrumental in the defeat of the Borg during their 2366 attempt to invade the Federation in "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II."
In 2371, as depicted in Star Trek Generations, the Klingon Duras sisters render the Enterprise-D's shields useless. Although the Enterprise-D destroys the sisters' ship, damage to the warp drive coolant system prompts an emergency saucer separation. The warp core breaches moments after the saucer begins to move away, destroying the ship's stardrive section. The resulting shockwave impacts the saucer, disabling propulsion and other primary systems, sending it into Veridian III's atmosphere. Caught in the planet's gravity, the saucer section crash-lands on the surface, damaged beyond repair. It was replaced by the Enterprise-E, which was introduced in the film Star Trek: First Contact.
According to commentary on the Star Trek Generations DVD, one of the real world reasons for the Enterprise-D's destruction stems from a concept drawing of a saucer section crash, produced for the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual. TNG writers Ronald D. Moore, Jeri Taylor, and Brannon Braga saw the drawing and wanted to use a saucer crash as a sixth-season cliffhanger episode for the series, but were unable to do so because of a limited budget and resistance from producer Michael Piller.