Seven of Nine
Former Borg drone
|Affiliation||United Federation of Planets
|Portrayed by||Jeri Ryan
Katelin Petersen (as young Annika Hansen in "Scorpion: Part 2", "Dark Frontier" and "The Raven")
Seven of Nine (born Annika Hansen) is a fictional character on the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager, portrayed by actress Jeri Ryan. Born human, she was assimilated by the Borg at the age of six. Eighteen years later, the Federation starship Voyager escapes Borg space with Seven onboard after attempts to negotiate passage through Borg space proved only semi-successful.
After the Doctor had removed the majority (82%) of her cybernetic implants, her human organs began to reassert themselves, but Seven still required a cortical node to control the remainder of her cybernetic implants. Although her link to the Collective had been severed, Seven of Nine retained the ability to sense nearby Borg activity. Her full Borg designation is Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One.
After being cast, actress Jeri Ryan acknowledged she had hardly even seen Star Trek, and had no idea what the Borg were. To prepare her, the producers gave her a copy of Star Trek: First Contact and the Star Trek Encyclopedia. Seven of Nine made her debut in the episode "Scorpion: Part 2" (September 3, 1997) where she was introduced as a representative of the Borg in its alliance with the Voyager crew against the threatening Species 8472. After the resolution of the alien threat, she attempted contact with the Borg collective and also tried to assimilate the crew. During this process, she was severed from the collective and forced to adapt to being an individual.
In the following years, the Voyager writers wrote several plot lines revolving around Seven's exploration of the positive and negative sides of human individuality. The cyborg nature of the character is seen as representing a challenge to "simple conceptions of connections/disconnections between bodies."
Ryan maintained that the main topic about Seven was "humanity" and stated that her character was pivotal to the success of the show, because she "brought conflict to the show, which was sadly lacking. ... The Voyager crew was just one big happy family." After the addition of the former Borg drone to the starship's crew at the start of the fourth season of Voyager, the shows' weekly viewer ratings increased by more than 60%. Ryan's arrival on the show was accompanied by a massive publicity campaign in TV magazines and newspaper supplements. Maintaining Star Trek tradition, "Seven of Nine was an outsider who could comment on humanity and all of its follies as well as serve as a foil for Janeway’s character."
She also remarked that "combining non-human qualities with an attractive human appearance," as in Seven's character, was a great move by the producers. In terms of portrayal, she said that "keeping a straight face" while showing suppressed emotion was an enjoyable challenge. Regarding her notorious form-fitting one-piece costume, Ryan commented that it was extremely impractical and uncomfortable, but worth the reward of portraying a character like Seven.
During the course of the series, Ryan portrayed Seven as a logical, matter-of-fact, extremely blunt young woman with difficulties expressing human emotion. Seven sometimes behaved condescendingly towards "human weaknesses" and "human inefficiency", but slowly grew loyal to the crew she later called her "collective." A recurring theme writers established was flashbacks of her life before her assimilation. By the end of the series (2001), Seven develops social skills and ponders a romantic relationship with Chakotay. At this time it was also discovered by the Doctor that part of Seven's inability to feel and express emotion was due to the programming/design of Borg "cortical implants".
A Borg drone that felt and/or expressed emotions was seen by the collective as "defective" as these feelings were a sign of "individuality." Hence the cortical implants were designed to suppress emotions, and if this failed, to deactivate (i.e., kill) a drone who felt/showed emotion. This discovery was made in the episode "Human Error", and the Doctor suggested that the implants could be removed during several surgical procedures, all of them risky. She declined the offer, but in the final episode "Endgame," she changed her mind after the Doctor informed her that he had been successful in combining all of the procedure into a single operation that was less risky.
Seven's death and timeline change
During the series finale, episode "Endgame", it is revealed by the older version of Janeway that Seven dies during the time between the present and when the starship reached home. The older Janeway visits Chakotay's grave and acknowledges his grief over losing Seven, believing that her own heroic plan of using a wormhole to help the crew defeat the Borg and use the transwarp hub to return home would eliminate the timeline that observed Seven's death. The older Janeway includes Seven's death in the list of reasons to pursue the Older Janeway's plan. Once the timeline is changed, Seven is seen on the bridge as the ship reaches Earth.
The character's attire, numerous form-fitting catsuits with distinct rib-lines and a high stiff neck, was criticized by veteran Star Trek writer/producer Ronald D. Moore, who felt she should have a more Borg-like appearance. Her outfit also annoyed some who felt that it was an attempt by the show's creators to make her sexually appealing to some viewers, without any storyline purposes intended. Within the show, the rationale was given that the catsuit had been designed by the Doctor with certain properties that would help her maintain her human skin once her Borg exoplating had been removed; the further explanation was that Seven would feel more comfortable wearing clothing which mimicked that exoplating.
The silver suit was later replaced with dark red, purple, brown, and blue catsuits, all with low collars. In an interview with Michael Logan, Ryan told TV Guide that the high, stiff collar had pressed against her carotid artery and caused her to pass out, so the lower neckline was a necessity. She said in a 2012 interview that the suit by costume designer Robert Blackman was a "feat of engineering", but required a 20-minute production shutdown if she needed to use the toilet, as she needed that time plus assistance to get into and out of it.
One exception is the Starfleet uniform she wears in "Relativity". She is seen in other forms of attire in episodes such as "The Killing Game" (1940s-era civilian clothing on the Holodeck), "Someone to Watch Over Me" (cocktail dress), and "Unimatrix Zero" (24th century human clothing in a world created by the minds of regenerating drones).
She has also made appearances in Star Trek comics, such as Star Trek: The Next Generation – Hive. She has also continued to be a main character in the Voyager novel relaunch.
- BBC Online – Cult – Star Trek – Jeri Ryan – Borg Basics
- Lim, Hilary (1999). "Caesareans and Cyborgs". Feminist Legal Studies (Springer Netherlands) 7 (2).
- Hanania, Joseph (February 7, 1999). "Signoff: Intergalactic Generation Gap". The New York Times.
- BBC Online – Cult – Star Trek – Jeri Ryan – Themes and things
- BBC Online – Cult – Star Trek – Jeri Ryan – Clever Combination
- BBC Online – Cult – Star Trek – Jeri Ryan – Acting Challenges
- BBC Online – Cult – Star Trek – Jeri Ryan – Silver suits and high heels
- Lipper, Don (December 7, 2000). "Ron Moore: Where Voyager Went Wrong". Space.com. Archived from the original on February 4, 2005.
- Snierson, Dan (September 19, 1997). "Lust in Space – Can Jeri Ryan's sexy Borg save the series?". Entertainment Weekly.
- Logan, Michael (April 10, 1999). "Wonder Women". TV Guide 47 (15): 18–24.
- Jancelewicz, Chris (April 11, 2012). "Jeri Ryan Of 'Body Of Proof' Recalls Her Days As Seven Of Nine On 'Star Trek: Voyager'". Huffington Post. Retrieved April 11, 2012.