The 2019 Borg Hall of Fame

It’s been another long year of great entertainment.  It’s time for the seventh annual round of new honorees for the borg Hall of Fame.  We have several honorees from 2019 films and television, plus you’ll find some from the past, and a peek at some from the future – 28 new borgs or updated variants in all, bringing the borg Hall of Fame total to 221.

You can always check out the updated borg Hall of Fame on our home page under “Know your borg.”

Some reminders about criteria.  Borgs have technology integrated with biology Wearing a technology-powered suit alone doesn’t qualify a new member.  Tony Stark aka Iron Man was named an honoree because the Arc Reactor kept him alive, not because of his incredible tech armor.  The new Spider-Man suit worn by Tom Holland is similar to Tony’s, but it’s not integrated with Peter Parker’s biology.  Similarly Peni Parker, seen outside her high-tech SP//dr suit in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Black Manta from Aquaman are merely wearing tech suits.  We’d love a reason for a Mandalorian to make the cut, like Boba Fett, or Jango Fett, or the new Mandalorian from the series, since nobody has more intriguing armor.  Maybe the second season coming next fall will give us something new to ponder.

Also, if the creators tell us the characters are merely robots, automatons, or androids, we take their word for it.  Again, integration is key, but in the Hall, once a member, always a member.  

So let’s get on with it.  Who’s in for 2019?

Already admitted in 2018 were advance honorees that didn’t actually make it to the screen until 2019.  This included a new Robotman and Cyborg in the TV series Doom Patrol, both honorees from years past, plus Alita and all the other borgs and borg hunters from this year’s film Alita: Battle Angel that we admitted last year.  We also saw the return of past inductees in new shows, like SkekTek in Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance and Nebula and Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame.  Finally, as with past years, we have a few inductees that will be appearing on TV and at theaters next year, but we’re previewing them here.

In Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, the long-running action franchise added a new cyborg to the mix with Idris Elba’s Brixton, a powerful cyborg villain with expensive technological enhancements.

In Terminator: Dark Fate, audiences met another version of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 with the likeable Carl.  This T-800 kills a major character in the series, but goes on to develop a conscience and repent years later, even making the world a better place by starting his own drapery company.

Also in Terminator: Dark Fate, we met Mackenzie Davis’s Grace, representing a new kind of cyborg for the series–a woman soldier from the future unlike the Terminatrix of Terminator: Rise of the Machines, but one who volunteers to get cybernetic upgrades, allowing her to be a Captain America-level supersoldier.

But the real big-bad of Terminator: Dark Fate is Gabriel Luna’s Rev-9, a combination of the sheer power and the “liquifying” and splitting of the past T-1000 series from the series, mimicking molecules of humans and other matter, and it must generate something like a synthetic bioelectric field to be able to transport back through time.

In the animated spy movie Spies in Disguise, Will Smith and Tom Holland provided the voices of spies taking on a nemesis named Killian, voiced by Ben Mendelsohn.  Killian has an arm with all sorts of cybernetic functions.

In 2020 audiences get to meet Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot, a supersoldier infused with nanotechnology, as the comic book character gets his own movie.

From Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, we couldn’t be happier to welcome Oma Tres into the Hall of Fame. Oma was a bartender on the planet Kijimi who had a cyborg device over his right eye.  He was played by the Oscar-winning composer, maestro John Williams.

And a similar cameo, Stan Lee as a Sakaaran barber with a cyborg arm made an appearance in Thor: Ragnarok.

In the book and TV series Altered Carbon, Takeshi Kovacs is a cyborg soldier who changes bodies, or Sleeves.  In his Sleeves, he is chemically and neurologically enhanced as a mercenary, played by a variety of actors on TV (this one played by Joel Kinnaman).

Also in Altered Carbon, cop Kristin Ortega gets her arm torn off in battle, to replaced by Kovacs’s efforts with a top-line cybernetic arm, which packs a mean punch.

In 2019 cyborg hunter Valance returned in the pages of Marvel’s Star Wars comics.  The earliest modern reference to cyborgs as “borg” was Luke Skywalker referring to Valance as such in the pages of the 1970s series.  He returned as a featured character of a surprise Star Wars Issue #108.  He even got his own variant cover!

Also from the past worlds of Star Wars, we’re honoring the Iskalloni – cyborg slavers from the Knights of the Old Republic comic.

After his arm was eaten by a giant centipede in the animated series Max Steel, Commander Forge Ferrus was given a cybernetic arm, and he also shared borg status with the Program Link villain.

Seen in different adaptations, the anime Appleseed featured Bioroids, a half-human and half-clone, genetically-engineered species.  Briareos Hecatonchires was a heroic cyborg assisting the heroine of the story in her efforts to save them.

In the spirit of past more humorous inductees from animated shows like Archer, the animated series Bob’s Burgers featured a doctor who turned Bob into Robo-Stache, giving Bob a mechanical Swiss Army-esque moustache, complete with laser gun.

On Futurama, Jamaican Planet Express bureaucrat Hermes Conrad started upgrading his body part by part with cybernetics to become more useful than the robot who replaced him in his job, becoming Mecha Hermes Conrad.

Also on Futurama, Pickles was a robot-cyborg oracle at New New York Police Department…

… and Amy’s Body 3050 is a C-3PO/human hybrid, Amy Wong from the year 3050.

In the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series, Raphael faced off against Verminator Rex, a mutant borg honey badger.

Long before Alita, there was Nemesis, a 1980s cyborg fest, with plenty of borg characters to go around, including Alex (played by Olivier Gruner):

… and cyborg freedom fighters Angie-Liv (played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa)…

… and Rosaria, played by Jennifer Gatti:

In Deadly Friend, Samantha was the girl next door (played by the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer), who the boy from Little House on the Prairie saves from death by installing a computer chip in her brain, pulled from his robot.  A play on Bride of Frankenstein from the mind of Wes Craven.

And digging back into science fiction of the more distant past, Edgar Allan Poe created an early cyborg in his 1839 story The Man That Was Used Up.  Readers met General John A.B.C. Smith, a general whose body was destroyed in battle and replaced part by part.

In Edward Page Mitchell’s 1879 story The Ablest Man in the World, a computer inspired by Babbage’s calculating machine is put inside a man’s head, turning him into a genius.

A progenitor of the story for DC Comics’ superhero Cyborg, The Colossus of New York is a 1958 sci-fi movie in which a brain surgeon transplants the brain of his son, Jeremy Spensser, into a large robot (also a progenitor of Robotman).

Martin Caidin, who invented The Six Million Dollar Man, wrote Buck Rogers: A Life in the Future in 1995.  It has Anthony “Buck” Rogers sent into hibernation after being wounded in a plane crash with a Fokker.  After decades of hibernation he was (will be?) rebuilt as a cyborg.  His helmet was featured on the cover of the book.

Give them all a (cybernetic) hand, the new members of the borg Hall of Fame!

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!

C.J. Bunce

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