Seven of Nine has returned at last to Star Trek, appearing at the end of Picard season 1 episode 4 “Absolute Candor” in a major cliffhanger. But this Seven isn’t quite the one we remember from (almost 20!) years past. She looks, speaks, and behaves differently from the cold, aloof Borg last seen in Star Trek: Voyager. So what’s going on with Seven?
Speaking to IGN, actor Jeri Ryan gave fans a sneak peek at everything that happened during the character’s absence from the screen.
Spoilers ahead for all previous Picard episodes.
“Seven I think holds Starfleet and the Federation in large part responsible for much of it,” she told the publication, speaking about the problems Seven has been dealing with while off-screen. “The universe is a mess and I think she initially sees Picard as a representation of that. She’s been working … with sort of a group of freedom fighters called the Fenris Rangers [who we first learn about in episode 4] who are trying to keep some semblance of order in the mess that is the galaxy.”
The ending of episode 4 was a major moment for Seven and Picard. “This is the first time that Seven and Picard actually meet,” she added. “They know each other by reputation. And as I’ve said before, Seven’s not on the ‘Oh, he’s a god’ bandwagon I think initially when she meets him because she holds him partially responsible for what Starfleet has done in her view.”
Ryan kept other details under wraps, but she did reveal one key plot point during a separate interview with The Hollywood Reporter. According to THR, Seven will share “at least one more space battle” with Picard.
“I was so fortunate because Jonathan Frakes was directing my first episode. So with that, I knew I was in good hands,” Ryan said in the interview. “[Frakes], more than anyone else, would get the importance of revisiting and being true to these characters. Because the challenge for me is: Where has she been for nearly 20 years? Finding her voice was the hardest thing for me; when I read the first script—I just couldn’t hear her voice anywhere.”
The actor has been open about her initial difficulty getting a grasp on Seven’s new characterization. Speaking during a panel last August during Star Trek Las Vegas, Ryan said that both Frakes and Jonathan Del Arco helped her acclimate to being much more humanized and less Borg-like, a process that was only just beginning by the end of Star Trek: Voyager.
“Johnny came over and we had lunch and read the script for like an hour and finally he just—I was so freaked out I couldn’t think clearly about it—he said after an hour: ‘just try this, what if…'” she said, according to Trek Movie. “The Borg have always been hated, they are universally hated because they were bad guys, they were tough. But, there’s other elements in this world with the Borg. And, what if she had to make the choice to be as human as possible, to survive, to sound as human and act as human as possible. Clearly, she is always going to look like a former Borg, because she has these implants that cant go away. So, what if she had to make that choice—a conscious choice—to sound as human as possible. And that’s all I needed. That’s what I needed!”