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 who appears in seasons four through seven of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager. Portrayed by Jeri Ryan, she is a former Borg drone who joins the crew of the Federation starship Voyager. Her full Borg designation is Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One. The character was a replacement for Kes, and was intended to introduce a foil to Captain Kathryn Janeway in a similar manner as Spock in Star Trek: The Original Series.
Seven was introduced in the second part of the episode "Scorpion", the first episode of the fourth season. The character continued to appear throughout the series until the final episode, "Endgame". Stories related to her relationships with Captain Janeway and The Doctor appeared throughout the series, and she was involved in a romantic relationship with Chakotay towards the end of season seven. Several episodes such as "The Raven" explored her background and younger life as Annika Hansen before she was assimilated by the Borg.
Concept and development
Following the third season of Star Trek: Voyager, the production team decided that the main cast character of Kes was to be dropped from the show. It was decided that Captain Kathryn Janeway needed a contrasting character, and so Seven of Nine was developed to provide this new angle. In addition, it had been a previous Star Trek staple to have a character that could provide a third-person view on the human condition. Prior examples had been Spock in Star Trek: The Original Series and Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
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 the day before she was due to test for the part. She was specifically told not to base her performance on the Borg Queen from the film as she was a "completely different animal and [they] were creating something entirely new". Her acting experience up until this point had consisted of television movies, guest appearances as well as Dark Skies.
Her audition process consisted of two readings for the producers, before Ryan was asked to come in to talk through the part with the executive producers, Jeri Taylor, Rick Berman and Brannon Braga. Following this, she tested for the network and was told that her option had been picked up. She remarked of her experience of joining the team on Voyager, "It was a little awkward since the cast had been together for three years already. And one of the original characters was being written out pretty much at the same time I was being added. But the cast was terrific, and very welcoming." Although she wore extensive make-up for her first appearances, including an eye-piece that fell off when she smiled, her typical make-up regime took around 45 minutes, with the attachment of the Borg appliance above her eye taking an additional 15 minutes. Her hairstyling usually took as long as that combined.
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. Ryan thought that the increase may have been because of the way the character looked, but maintained that those viewers would have been retained by the writing on the show.
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. She felt that the writers did a good job in not pushing the character to be more human and having Seven enter into relationships on the show, Ryan was concerned that it could have turned out to be "Seven's sexual escapades on Voyager". In terms of portrayal, she said that "keeping a straight face" while showing suppressed emotion was an enjoyable challenge. Regarding her form-fitting one-piece costume, Ryan commented that it was extremely impractical and uncomfortable, but worth the reward of portraying a character like Seven.
Although Seven was originally introduced as a foil for Captain Janeway, with the two of them proving to be very adversarial, they gained mutual respect of each other as time went by. Ryan later described this as a mother-daughter relationship on the show, although she said that the writers had managed to make the character into more of an unruly teenager. However, the inclusion of Seven of Nine as a primary character for the show alongside Janeway and the Doctor was criticised by other actors such as Robert Beltran, who played Chakotay. He felt that his character, along with Harry Kim, Tuvok and Neelix had been overlooked. As the end of the series approached, Ryan remarked that she would "love to do something without special effects or rubber glued to my face, it'd be a nice change of pace."
Following the end of Voyager, Ryan joined the main cast of Boston Public, comparing her new character of Ronnie with Seven of Nine, saying "[Seven] had all of these emotions, she just wasn't comfortable expressing them, and didn't really know how to express them; Ronnie, my character on Boston Public, is quite comfortable expressing them, and is fairly free with her expressions, I think. So it's going to be a lot of fun. It's going to be much more free, as far as the acting style." Ryan said that she had several favourite Seven of Nine episodes, including "The Gift", "The Raven", "Revulsion", "Hunters", "Prey" and the two-part "The Killing Game".
Her initial costume as seen in "Scorpion" and the following episode, "The Gift", saw Seven of Nine as a full-Borg. This outfit took some two and a half hours for Ryan to get into, but an error was made in measuring the outfit by not taking into account the prosthetics that she was required to wear for the part. This cut off the blood supply through her carotid artery, causing her to pass out on two occasions. After a nurse was called twice to supply oxygen, the costume was modified to stop it from happening again.
Once the character had the majority of the Borg implants removed, a new costume was required. Ryan wore a silver jumpsuit for the first few episodes, which director Jesús Salvador Treviño said that during the filming of the episode "Day of Honor" caused problems as "almost any camera angle inevitably winds up emphasising her sexuality." Ryan described the new costume as "a little snug", and wore a corset-like item which gave the appearance of mechanical ribs. At least one version of the costume had the corset built into it. In order to give her greater height, the shoes which formed part of her costume had four-inch high heels. 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. She said that it was so fitted and figure hugging that "it may have well been bodypaint".
Treviño praised the subsequent changes to her costume in order to reduce its sexuality, saying that "it is much more sensible, because she's still an attractive person but then you get away from that titillation stuff which I think is so demeaning not only to the audience, but it's kinda of demeaning to what Star Trek is about." The later versions of her costumes still required 20 minutes to get into before filming could start, but Ryan said they were much more forgiving, "In the silver costume, if I got goosebumps, you could see them. The brown costume is a thicker, stronger fabric. It's not quite so clingy, so the waist doesn't have to be cinched in." That version of the costume also removed the vertical bones of the corset, which allowed Ryan to have greater flexibility while wearing it.
One of the major remaining pieces of Borg technology that Ryan continued to wear for the part was what she described as "That little thing over my eye". This was because the term that referred to it in the episodes would change depending on the writers and the episode itself, she explained that "Sometimes, it's my cortical implant. Sometimes, it's my cranial implant. Sometimes, it's my ocular implant."
Seven of Nine's backstory was explained during the course of Star Trek: Voyager. She was born on the Tendara Colony on Stardate 25479 to Magnus and Erin Hansen, and was named Annika. At the age of four, her parents were given the USS Raven by Starfleet to help them investigate the presence of an unknown species in deep space. This trip lasted for three years during which time they encountered the Borg and using a transwarp conduit, followed a cube to the Delta Quadrant. Annika's father developed technology to allow the ship to remain undetected by the aliens, and even to allow them to board the Borg vessel. But after an Ion storm struck the vessel, the Borg detected the family and assimilated them.
Annika was placed into a Borg maturation chamber for the next few years, during which time she joined the collective. Following this, she was a Borg drone and assimilated individuals from a number of species, including a crew-member from the USS Melbourne at the Battle of Wolf 359 on Stardate 43989.1. Two years later, Seven of Nine, along with three other drones, crashed on a planet and were separated from the Borg Collective. This caused their individualities to resurface over time, which caused Seven to panic and created a temporary hive mind between the four of them until they were retrieved by the Borg.
Star Trek: Voyager
Joining the crew and first contact with the Hirogen
Seven of Nine first appears in the second part of "Scorpion" at the start of the fourth season. She is chosen by the Borg to communicate verbally with Captain Janeway so that together they can develop a weapon to defeat Species 8472. After a Borg cube destroys itself to save Voyager, Seven is transported aboard the Federation ship. Janeway is injured, leaving Chakotay in command - but he distrusts Seven and the Borg and after refusing to work with her, she sends the vessel into fludic space to force them to develop the weapon. Just before doing so, Chakotay decompresses the cargo bay, killing the remaining Borg with the exception of Seven. Janeway recovers and works with Seven and the Doctor to develop the weapon and defeats an attack by Species 8472. With their alliance ended, Seven attempts to assimilate the crew but they override her neural connection to the Collective. Over the course of the following episode, "The Gift", The Doctor removes the majority of her Borg implants, as once separated from the Collective, it has begun to reject the technology. Seven leaves sick bay to help repair the ship, while working she attempts to communicate with the Collective, but is stopped by Ensign Harry Kim. She is placed in the brig where she and Captain Janeway have a heart to heart discussion. Following the departure of Kes, they attempt to integrate Seven into the crew.
Seven immediately comes into conflict with Chief Engineer B'Elanna Torres in "Day of Honor", and puts Voyager in danger when the Caatati steal the warp-drive and hold it hostage for supplies and Seven herself. Instead, she builds a thorium generator to power their vessel, which the Caatati accept in exchange for the core and for allowing the rescue of Torres and Lt. Tom Paris. In "The Raven", Seven, experiencing visions of the Borg and a raven, steals a shuttle and heads into nearby B'omar space. The aliens won't allow Voyager to enter their space, but Tuvok and Paris cross the border in another shuttle and head in pursuit. Tuvok beams across to Seven's shuttle, where she explains she's following a homing beacon. They head to a planet where the wreckage of the USS Raven is crashed on the surface. They transport down and Seven recognises it as her parents' vessel. The B'omar attack but Voyager comes to their aid and the crew depart. Janeway tells Seven that her parent's research records are in the ship's databanks; Seven replies that she might read them someday.
After time, Seven begins to question why Captain Janeway continues to make contact with alien species as they travel back to Earth as it often results in incidents. Janeway explains that Voyager's purpose is exploration and will continue that mission despite any problems that might occur. While working in astrometrics, Seven detects an ancient alien communications platform which connects all the way back to the borders of Federation space. This results in the first successful communication with Starfleet since Voyager was stranded in the Delta Quadrant, although it does also result in angering an alien race upon first contact; the Hirogen had claimed the platform for their own. The crew subsequently receive messages from home through the array, but the ship is once again threatened by the Hirogen. Tuvok and Seven transport aboard the array to speed the downloading of the messages, but are captured and tortured by the aliens. They are rescued by 'Voyager', but the communications array is destroyed. When the crew find a member of Species 8472 being hunted by the Hirogen, Seven is reluctant to help her former enemy as it would put the ship at risk of destruction from the Hirogen. When the Hirogen threaten Voyager, Seven disobeys Janeway's command and transports the alien aboard a Hirogen ship. In response, the Captain punishes her by restricting her computer access and curfews her to the cargo bay where her Borg unit is set-up.
In "Retrospect", the Doctor accidentally causes Seven to relive repressed memories of while she was Borg. She infers these memories onto an alien she had just met and the local authorities seek his arrest. The crew realise what has happened, but he is killed before he can be told he is innocent. During the events of "The Killing Game" where the Hirogen take over Voyager and place the crew in the holodeck for hunting practice, Seven is brainwashed into thinking she was a French club singer during the Nazi occupation of France. She is the first member of the crew who has her memories restored by the Doctor, and helps Janeway bring about a truce with the Hirogen. Janeway and Seven disagree once more in "The Omega Directive" about what to do when the ship detects unstable Omega particles nearby. The Captain wants to destroy them under Starfleet standing orders, while Seven seeks to harness them as the Borg consider the particles to be near perfection. Seven must later deal with a series of hallucinations and loneliness while helping the crew cross a radiation filled nebula in "One". This experience results in her seeking out the company of other crew members more frequently. Her suspicions of Arturis prove correct in "Hope and Fear" when it is revealed that he was seeking revenge on the Voyager crew for their previous alliance with the Borg by creating a fake USS Dauntless and attempting to take them back to Borg space where they would be assimilated.
Seven has her first experience of motherhood to some degree when in the episode "Drone", a transporter accident combines her nanoprobes with the Doctor's holoemitter. This results in the creation of One, a Borg with 29th century technology, whom Seven helps adjust to life on board Voyager. One sacrifices his life to destroy a Borg cube and protect the vessel, dying in front of an emotional Seven. In the alternative future shown in "Timeless", Seven of Nine and the vast majority of the Voyager crew are dead. Using a Borg temporal transmitter, Chakotay and Harry Kim manage to send information back in time to Seven to prevent the destruction of the ship. A little more of Seven's Borg history is revealed when, due to a modified Borg device planted by an alien species, she begins to exhibit the memories of some of the people she has assimilated. After B'Elanna Torres disables the device, Seven returns to normal.
While investigating a damaged Borg sphere in "Dark Frontier", Seven hears the voice of the collective once more and refuses to return to Voyager. Instead she is taken back to Borg space where she meets with the Borg Queen, who reveals that Seven's establishment as an individual was all part of a plan to use her memories to allow the Borg to assimilate humanity. The Queen first has Seven assist in the assimilation of a new species and after some disobedience, has her work on nanoprobes designed to assimilate humans. Furthermore, Seven discovers that her father is assimilated and kept as one of the Queen's personal drones. Meanwhile Voyager are working on a plan to rescue her, and using the Delta Flyer approach the vessel close enough that Captain Janeway can transport aboard. Seven and Janeway work together to escape the Queen, and steal technology that reduces their distance to Earth by 15 years. She later attempts to develop her romantic experience, working with the Doctor in the episode "Someone to Watch Over Me".
She becomes involved in a time travel plot once more when Captain Braxton of the Federation timeship USS Relativity pulls her out of the timestream to help prevent the destruction of Voyager. The travel has effects on her body, and she dies, resulting in an earlier version being pulled out of time. During the investigation, it transpires that it was Braxton himself who planted a bomb on the ship and together with the crew of the Relativity, Captain Janeway manages to apprehend Braxton before he plants the device. Seven encounters three former Borg with which she previously formed a mini-collective after their scout vessel crashed on a planet. She forced this collective on them because they were becoming individuals, which has caused the trio to keep a mental connection even after their eventual disconnection from the rest of the Borg. During the course of "Survival Instinct", the link is terminated, causing each of the former Borg to die within a month.
Novels, comics and video games
Following the switch of the Star Trek comic properties to WildStorm, the first comic to be released was Star Trek: Voyager - False Colors. This featured Seven of Nine in a prominent role, as the crew investigate what appears to be a Borg vessel.
Seven of Nine has made appearances in the 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.
The first video game that the character of Seven of Nine appeared in was Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force. However despite the rest of the main cast voicing their characters, Jeri Ryan did not voice Seven. Instead, the character was voiced by Joan Buddenhagen, with Ryan's voice pack added alongside an expansion to the game. It was also made available as a free download for those that did not purchase the expansion pack. Jeri Ryan has also voiced the character in the Delta Rising expansion to Star Trek Online, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). The game is set beyond the end of the original Voyager series, with the storyline placing Seven on board the USS Callisto as a science advisor to the Federation fleet which is returning to the Delta Quadrant. When asked about returning as Seven for the game at the Destination Star Trek 3 convention in London, England, Ryan said that "It was fun, surprisingly fun, she fit like an old pair of slippers."
The initial fan reaction was mixed with some accusing the show of adding her to attract more 18–35 male audience members, which was denied by Braga. 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. Ryan was surprised at the immediate fan reaction on the internet, as there was a full website devoted to her which was created only six days after her casting.
Barry Wigmore at the Mail on Sunday credited Ryan as Seven of Nine for saving the series due to the increased ratings that she generated. Ziauddin Sardar said in the New Statesman that her appearance on Voyager "restored the warp drive" to the show, resulting in a "triumphant note" to the start of the following season. Meanwhile, Ian Spelling writing in Starlog magazine in 1998 said that the introduction of Seven was "just the kick in the asteroid that Voyager needed."
Rob Owen at the Chicago Sun-Times said that the majority of the Voyager cast were "lacking in depth" with the exception of Seven, the Doctor and Captain Janeway. By the end of the series, Seven was described as the "most bewitching cast member" and the "first authentic Trek bombshell since Uhura" by Frank Ahrens at the The Washington Post. Star Trek "Voyager", and the character Seven of Nine, in particular, have several high-profile fans, including actors Ben Stiller and Mila Kunis and politicians Barack Obama and Angela Merkel.
Jeri Ryan was nominated on three occasions at the Saturn Awards for portraying Seven of Nine, winning in 2001 for Best Supporting Actress on Television. She was also won the Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama in 1999.
The initial episodes following the introduction of Seven of Nine showed Captain Janeway mirroring the actions of the Borg as she turned down Seven's request to be returned to the collective. But this was also suggested to be a "tough-love" scenario with Janeway taking the place of Seven's mother, while the Doctor posed as her father. It was this new family relationship that later caused the Borg Queen to modify her tactics to re-assimilate Seven in the episode "Dark Frontier", by simulating a mother-daughter relationship. But the Doctor, Seven and Janeway relationship was also compared to Pygmalion showing Galatea to Venus in the way that the Doctor re-humanised Seven during the events of "The Gift".
Seven was received as one of the Voyager characters who filled the position of a Spock-like character for the series, alongside Tuvok, B'Elanna Torres and the Doctor. Indeed, her character was thought to have been balanced with her looks by ensuring that, despite her "blonde bombshell" looks, with "intelligence, boldness, rationality and a remarkable lack of interest in the opposite sex".
The sexuality of the character was also questioned following her introduction. The character built up a fanbase among the LGBT community which resulted in an online petition to have her revealed as a lesbian. It was pointed out in The Scotsman that the series avoided any "lesbian subtext" between Seven and Janeway because the series was intended to be seen as family-friendly. The approach by Harry Kim at one point to which she suggested that he should disrobe in order to "copulate", was suggested to be because of her curiosity about human mating practises rather than any traditional sense of attraction. The introduction of Seven on the series had subsequent effects on the series Star Trek: Enterprise, as T'Pol (played by Jolene Blalock) was based on a combination of the Seven character and Leonard Nimoy's original Spock.
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