Who is the Borg Queen? Part 3: The One Who is Many
Plurality is central to the concept of the Borg Queen. There have been thirteen canonical Star Trek productions to feature the character (apart from Star Trek: First Contact, all the others were televised episodes). There have also been multiple design iterations of the Borg Queen, actresses who auditioned for the role, and drafts of each production featuring the character.
The first couple of drafts of First Contact didn’t even include the Borg Queen. It was only after they were written that the conceptual roots of the character began to take shape. Once the Borg Queen was written into the film, both Susanna Thompson and Alice Krige auditioned for the part, which Krige eventually won.
Although Ronald D. Moore always felt that there was only one Borg Queen, Rick Berman started feeling unsure about that. The Borg Queen in First Contact was so popular that Star Trek fans started clamouring to see the character return. However, Moore feared that saying there were multiple Borg queens would weaken that film’s effectiveness. As a result, although subsequent Star Trek stories reintroduced the Borg Queen, it was made deliberately unclear as to whether these were the same as or different from the one in First Contact. Brannon Braga was eager to keep re-establishing the Queen as multidimensional. Both he and Susanna Thompson speculated that the Borg have a genetic template for their queen that, if one is destroyed, they can use to create another.
After being introduced in First Contact, the Borg Queen initially returned in the Voyager telefilm “Dark Frontier”. On that occasion, Susanna Thompson portrayed the role because (unknown to Thompson at the time) Alice Krige was due to work in England. Thompson considered her role to be a different Borg Queen to the one in First Contact. There was more of a maternal role between her Borg Queen and another character (i.e., Seven of Nine) than had been portrayed in First Contact. Nonetheless, Thompson also used that earlier depiction as a basis for her own portrayal. Brannon Braga remarked, “Susanna looked a little like Alice, but she brought a little more creepy, maternalistic quality to the role.”
The Borg Queen proceeded to appear in two subsequent Voyager two-parters: “Unimatrix Zero”, again portrayed by Susanna Thompson (with a script that remarked about the role, “She has a similar appearance and personality to the character seen in ‘Dark Frontier’“); and the season finale “Endgame”, with Alice Krige returning. She considered her role in “Endgame” to be the same character as she portrayed in First Contact. However, Krige panicked somewhat about how the character would relate to Janeway and Seven of Nine, until a producer advised her to think of the Borg Queen as omni-sexual.
The Borg Queen briefly inspired a behind-the-scenes story pitch proposed by Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens for Star Trek: Enterprise. Had that series continued after its fourth season, the episode would have brought back Alice Krige as a Starfleet medical technician who was investigating Borg technology from the second season Enterprise installment “Regeneration”. The Borg would have assimilated Krige’s Starfleet character, implying that the same character would end up becoming the Borg Queen. Although Manny Coto liked this episode premise, it went unused because he wanted to concentrate more on story ideas that connected to Star Trek: The Original Series rather than The Next Generation.
After a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reappearance of the Borg Queen (using archive footage from First Contact) in the first season Star Trek: Picard episode “The Impossible Box”, Alice Krige eventually returned to voice a hologram of the Borg Queen in the Star Trek: Lower Decks installment “I, Excretus”. Another actress, Annie Wersching, then assumed the role in the second season of Star Trek: Picard.
Whereas the Borg Queen has been Alice Krige’s only Star Trek role, both Susanna Thompson and Annie Wersching played at least one other character in the franchise before portraying the Borg Queen. Thompson appeared as Varel and Jaya in The Next Generation episodes “The Next Phase” and “Frame of Mind” respectively as well as Lenara Khan in DS9’s “Rejoined”. Wersching appeared as Liana in the Enterprise episode “Oasis”.
By the time Annie Wersching (who described Alice Krige as “the queen of all Queens”) played the character, the question of whether there was one Borg Queen played by various actresses or multiple queens had been pondered over by Star Trek fans for years. Like Krige and Thompson, Wersching concluded that the other actresses had played different queens to her own. She said, “[My version] is going to have all the information and all the memories that the other two queens have, but she is her own incarnation.”
Jeri Ryan got the chance to perform alongside all three actresses who played the Borg Queen. A line said by Ryan, as Seven of Nine, but cut from the episode “Monsters” referred to the Jurati/Borg Queen combination as “a Borg Queen,” implying the existence of other Borg queens.
The portrayals of the Borg Queen by a variety of different actresses fit Alice Krige’s idea that the Queen, by manipulating energy and mass, is able to manifest however she likes.
Oh, and if that wasn’t enough information on the duplications and variations of who the Borg Queen may be, check out the book Star Trek Cocktails – one of those drinks (a variation on the traditional Martini) is called a “Borg Queen”. Cheers!
Webmaster of WarpFactorTrek, Dan is an avid Star Trek fan who lives in Aberdeen, Scotland. Dan has loved Star Trek ever since discovering it in his childhood. He worked as an administrator, for six years, on the encyclopedic Star Trek website Memory Alpha, which involved studying the making of the various series and films. He has been mentioned in the official Star Trek Magazine, has qualified from a Star Trek course taught at Glasgow Clyde College, and coordinated the SubSpace Chatter (formerly The Scotch Trekker) YouTube channel, which regularly featured live interviews with the cast and crew of Star Trek.