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How Seven of Nine & Annie Wersching’s 'perfect' head inspired Star Trek: Picard’s Borg Queen
Transforming into the Borg Queen takes a certain type of forehead.
“I was dying to have Annie’s head in my computer,” said Star Trek: Picard’s senior creative designer Neville Page during today’s WonderCon panel about bringing Annie Wersching’s Borg Queen to life.
The process was a long and detailed one, and Page along with Wersching and Picard’s makeup designer and department head of prosthetics, James Mackinnon, took the stage in Anaheim to talk about putting together the Borg leader.
The process began before Wersching was even cast in the part, with Page working on initial designs, particularly around the Borg Queen’s “crown” of tendrils. It was during this conversation that Page repeatedly praised Wersching’s symmetrical head for being "perfect" for his initial designs.
Other aspects of the Borg Queen, such as the fact that she has arms but no legs, were also not the original idea for Wersching's character. In the beginning, Page shared, the plan was for her not to have any arms as well. “The initial idea was to have the classic torso, just from here [points to his chest] up, no arms” he said. “We started out with the arms separately attached.”
The design team ultimately moved away from that look, however, in part because the logistics of getting Wersching into that costume would have made it difficult for her to do anything, including going to the bathroom. “It has to be comfortable, we have to feel like you could do your job,” Page said to Wersching before jokingly adding, “no matter how much I wanted you to just be a floating head with a neck.”
Ultimately, we still got the truncated look of the Borg Queen, which was complimented by the elaborate tubules coming out of Wersching's neck and head. Those tubules' inspiration came from the look of another Picard character: Seven of Nine, played by Jeri Ryan. “The aesthetic that started with Seven of Nine, that little piece [on her face], is what really defined the cosmetic trajectory of the Borg Queen,” Page said. “We established the evolution of that technology. Everything else came from that.”
Those detailed tubules and other aspects of the prosthetics required Wersching to show up to set at 4:00 a.m. One side effect of this was that the rest of the crew never saw her out of full Borg regalia, so much so that Patrick Stewart didn’t recognize her at first when they met on Star Trek Day. “Patrick was there in the green room and I went up and said hi," Wersching shared. "He was just looking at me for a second, and I said, ‘Hi, I’m your Borg Queen.’ And he was in shock. He was like, ‘Our Borg Queen?’ He never ever saw me not looking like that.”
New episodes of Star Trek: Picard drop on Thursdays on Paramount+.