Star Trek’s Greatest Villain Created Because Of Zombies

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Most Star Trek fans would agree that First Contact is a solid movie, and most certainly the best film featuring the cast of The Next Generation. However, from the very beginning, the film has been criticized for introducing the Borg Queen, a character who always seemed out of place among a race of otherwise mindless drones.

As it turns out, the real reason she was added to the film is that a Paramount executive thought those mindless drones were too similar to zombies, causing the writers to add a kind of figurehead that would separate these bionic bad guys from the walking dead.

Star Trek: First Contact


Like many films, Star Trek: First Contact went through many script revisions, including a particularly strange one that would have had Data befriending Leonardo Da Vinci during the Renaissance in order to defeat the Borg.

Eventually, the script mostly resembled the final version that we saw onscreen (with a few interesting exceptions, including Picard being on the ground and Riker being on the ship), and it had the working title Star Trek: Resurrection.

Paramount executives were generally very pleased with the latest script, but one of them had a very specific note: the Borg weren’t very distinct because they were “basically zombies.”

Creation Of The Borg Queen

star trek borg

This led to the creation of the Borg Queen, someone who instantly differentiated the Borg from any other zombie horde by serving as a leader and spokesperson. This obviously created some narrative benefits, including the final script exploring the complex relationships the Borg Queen had with both Data and Captain Picard.

However, fans have spent nearly three decades complaining that having an individual figurehead defeats the purpose of having bad guys who are mostly known for being a mindless Collective full of drones with no real personalities of their own.

Fit Well With The Borg Concept?

borg queen

Interestingly, though, one of the reasons the Star Trek writers and producers didn’t mind introducing the Borg Queen was that she fit well within the original concept for the Borg.

According to The Next Generation showrunner Maurice Hurley, producers originally wanted the Borg to be a “race of insects” complete with a “relentless” mentality.

This idea was dropped because it would have been too expensive to depict, but there was a certain symmetry in later giving these would-be insects a queen in charge of their hive…er, Collective.

Changing The Borg?

star trek borg

Speaking of hives, eagle-eyed audiences will notice that the presence of the Borg Queen gave director Jonathan Frakes a chance to subtly change the portrayal of the Borg Cube interior.

In Picard’s creepy dream sequence at the beginning of the film, we see the inside of their ship portrayed as more of a bionic bee hive rather than the simple corridors glimpsed in The Next Generation episode “The Best of Both Worlds.”

Alice Krige’s Borg Queen Would Return

star trek borg borg queen

For better or for worse, the Borg Queen would become a recurring villain across multiple Star Trek series.

She was seemingly destroyed in First Contact, but she later appeared (albeit with a new actor, Susanna Thompson) in the Voyager episodes episodes “Dark Frontier” and “Unimatrix Zero.”

Later, First Contact queen Alice Krige would reprise her role for the Voyager finale “Endgame,” the Picard finale “The Last Generation” and even the Lower Decks episode “I, Excretus.”

Too Zombie-Like?

best star trek villain borg queen

It’s very surprising to discover that Paramount executives worried about the Borg being too zombie-like, especially since the drones in First Contact weren’t fundamentally different from the ones we previously saw in The Next Generation.

However, the zombie connection to these cybernetic villains might explain why Star Trek just can’t stop bringing them back. As zombie maestro George Romero might have put it, when there’s no more room in hell, the Borg will walk the Earth.

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