Star Trek’s Brannon Braga defends Seven of Nine
Brannon Braga, who was a showrunner on Star Trek: Voyager, has defended the introduction of Seven of Nine at the end of the show’s third season.
The Borg drone was introduced to the Star Trek spin-off at the end of its third season as Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) formed an ‘unholy alliance’ with the collective against the invading species 8472 in the two-part story Scorpion. Actress Jeri Ryan became a regular cast member at the start of Voyager’s fourth series as the crew of the starship freed her from the Borg collective and returned her to being human. Ryan’s joining the cast tied in with the departure of actress Jennifer Lien who had played Kes in Voyager’s first three seasons.
While Seven of Nine became a popular character with some fans – and certainly attracted a lot of attention from outside Trek fandom – the introduction of the character was controversial and still sparks some debate amongst fans. At the time the introduction of Ryan – who wore tight costumes for her character – was seen, by some, as an attempt to sex up Voyager. Brannon Braga, who was one of Voyager’s show- runners, has defended – many years on – the decision to introduce Seven of Nine.
“The show needed a kick in the ass. Creatively, we needed something. A Star Trek series, in my opinion, is only as good as its captain, and Captain Janeway was a great captain, but she didn’t have her Spock or Data, really. We just didn’t have that special science-fiction character like Spock or Data, the striving-to-be-human character. The idea of putting a Borg on board gave us a chance to have a wild child there. That was the metaphor, a wild child, and Janeway would be her mother and try to tame her and help make her human again…..To me, Seven of Nine added a nice touch of magic that the show needed at the time.” Braga speaking to Star Trek.com
The former Trek producer also revealed the decision to write out Lien from Voyager and introduce Ryan didn’t go down well with all the cast. He told Trek.com ‘I thought the character was a great addition to the show. And it kind of lit a fire under the cast, too. It was very controversial. We got rid of Kes and brought in Seven of Nine, and some people in the cast were upset about it and some thought it was cool’. Braga also referred to Captain Kirk – from the original series and cinematic films – as a ‘sex addict’. The fact that she [Seven of Nine] was a beautiful woman was just, to me, a benefit. A lot of people thought it was in poor taste that we had a buxom babe, but I’m like, “Have you actually watched TOS?” That was babes on parade. Kirk would be considered a sex addict by today’s standards.
For some the introduction of Seven of Nine re-invigorated Voyager while for others the former Borg drone dominated the later seasons to the detriment of other characters. But then Star Trek Voyager is a series that still divides the opinions of Trek fans; you either love or hate it.