Star Trek: Picard wrapped its first season this week, completing a season that took the once-villainous Borg in a surprising direction. The series presents the Borg as victims, forced to become drones and struggling to recover once freed. Speaking to Variety ahead of the season finale, showrunner Michael Chabon explained what inspired him o take the borg in that direction. "It really goes back to watching Star Trek: First Contract the first time in the theater, and being really upset by a moment in that movie where our heroes from the Enterprise are being menaced by the assimilated Starfleet personnel," he explains. "And, roughly paraphrasing, Picard says, like, 'You just have to kill them. They're not your friend anymore. They're no longer the person that you knew. They are just Borg.' And watching that scene — that is so patently false, right? We know that's a lie, because you saw Picard get assimilated and then get restored back to himself. So that's bulls–t.
"So now, we have this clear mandate from Patrick for Picard: Anything we're going to do on this show, whether it's bringing back another legacy character or a key plot element from TNG, whatever it is, it can't be the same as it was. So that meant if we ever were going to bring the Borg back, and we kind of wanted to bring the Borg back, we had to find a way to do it that felt different. And as soon as I looked at that mandate, I remembered this idea of looking at assimilation as a form of trauma. We decided to really own that idea, and to really consider the former Borg's claim on the same degree of treatment that we would bestow on any other sentient creatures in the Star Trek world. That felt like a really inevitable way to go."
Ahead of the show's premiere, its most prominent ex-Borg actors, Jonathan Del Arco and Jeri Ryan, discussed this new direction for the borg with ComicBook.com.
"Let's just say that since we got our hands on the Borg… you could say that 20 years ago we changed the Borg, in a way, because we became individuals," Del Arco said. "That sense of individuality that was introduced has had an effect throughout Borg-dom, the Borg kingdom as it were. There are elements of the Borg that I assume remain intact, as we knew them, as a threat. Our own version of that, where we're at, is a very different social, economic even, standing in the universe."
Ryan added, "You're going to see a very different facet of the Borg, I think, in Picard. You're going to feel a lot more empathy, I think, for the Borg in Picard than you may have before."
"We've been through a lot," Del Arco concluded. "We have."