You're about to see one of Star Trek's most formidable villains in an entirely new light. Star Trek: Picard, which is now streaming on CBS All Access, will feature the return of the Borg, the hive-minded cyborgs who terrorized the galaxy by forcing other species into assimilation under the guise of achieving absolute perfection. These menacing foes, who briefly added Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart) to their Collective in Star Trek: The Next Generation, will take on a different role in Picard.
"It's very timely now, the way you're seeing a different view of the Borg," Jeri Ryan, who will reprise her role as the former Borg drone Seven of Nine in Picard, teased to TV Guide at a recent press event. "[It] is very reflective of society and people being different and the exclusionary feeling that's happening in a lot of the world."
The Borg's new role comes courtesy of an unlikely alliance with the Romulans, with whom they have virtually nothing in common outside of being considered enemies of the Federation. This odd pairing was alluded to in Picard's premiere episode with a slew of Romulans seen working aboard a Borg Cube, the invasive species' signature ship. And while it looks like the infamous villains have come together for a common goal, it's not exactly a partnership.
"It's less of an alliance and more of what happens when one group subjugates another," executive producer Alex Kurtzman explained. "The Borg were typically the ones that did that and so what happens when you turn the tables. What does that say about people who are given positions of power?" With the Tal Shiar, a specialized Romulan military force, hunting down any and all AI, it's safe to say this twisted relationship with the Borg will only get worse.
Picard picks up a decade after the destruction of Romulus and a subsequent attack on Mars by rogue AI, which lead to a ban on all synthetic beings. Those life-altering events set the tone for the series which boasts a volatile environment for synthetic beings, like the Borg, who are no longer welcome in the galaxy. Among those feeling this drastic shift is Hugh (Jonathan Del Arco), the former Borg drone who befriended Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) during his brief time aboard the Enterprise-D. Recent photos of Hugh in Picard suggest he's fallen on hard times since gaining a sense of individuality and disconnecting from the Borg's homogenous Collective.
"My character is scarred through the eyes and that's happening on the inside as well," Jonathan del Arco said. "There's been a lot of cuts that we've both endured in the world that we live in and a lot of healing that has had to take place. I think both our characters [Hugh and Seven] have done that and have continued to fight on. It's just very reflective of what people are living through on our planet right now."
So, in addition to seeing the Borg in a new light, it looks like we're also going to meet a very different Hugh.
Star Trek: Picard is now streaming on CBS All Access. New episodes drop every Thursday.