By C.J. Bunce
We highlight them all the time here at borg. But some of them don’t naturally come to mind when you think of cybernetically enhanced organisms–cyborgs, or borgs for short. What makes a borg? An organism, human, alien, or animal, who has been modified by technology or uses technology as part of or in place of another biological function. We use this broadly, encompassing not only a long-accepted group of borgs that are more metal than man, but also robots or androids modified with biology or biomatter.
Let’s start with who is NOT in the list that might come close if borgs were more loosely defined. We haven’t included the non-organic: automatons, androids, or robots. Think Lt. Commander Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation before he met the queen in Star Trek: First Contact–despite his perfectly life-like appearance. For the bulk of the series Data was always an android, not a cyborg. He’s just a highly advanced C-3PO–until First Contact.
Droids from Star Wars, Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still, Robot B-9 from Lost in Space or Robby the Robot in Forbidden Planet, the Autobots and Decepticons of Transformers, the police force of THX-1138, Box in Logan’s Run, the perfectly human appearing kid-like star of D.A.R.Y.L., the several automatons of episode after episode of The Twilight Zone, Beta in The Last Starfighter, human-like bits of data in Tron, Hellboy II’s Golden Army, the future Iowa Highway Patrolman in Star Trek 2009 (we assume he’s just wearing some police safety mask), Rosie the maid in The Jetsons, Hogey the Roguey from Red Dwarf, Marvin the Android in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, X-Men’s Sentinels, Lal and Juliana Tainer from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Maskatron from The Six Million Dollar Man, Neo and Trinity inside The Matrix, the Programs inside The Grid in Tron, the title character of CHAPPiE, or Iron Giant, despite their human-like or bipedal nature, none are actual borgs because they lack biological matter, living cells, or the like.
So the same applies for the robotic hosts in Westworld–Michael Crichton’s original was clear these were merely automaton robots and we’ve seen nothing from 2016’s HBO series to show that has changed (even the NY Times got it wrong). Which explains why The Stepford Wives aren’t on the list, or Fembots, either from The Bionic Woman or the Austin Powers series, or the Buffybot in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
So who’s in? Meet the Borg Hall of Fame, always ready for new honorees…
With Marvel’s groundbreaking adaptation of comics in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, we begin with Tony Stark’s Iron Man. Tony Stark is not advertised as a borg, but if your power source involves techno-gadgetry via an arc reactor and you have his fully integrated armor, we think that makes you a borg.
Joss Whedon was very familiar with borgs, having created the character Adam, the nasty, almost unstoppable foe of the Scooby Gang in Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
If Iron Man is a borg, should one of the oldest creatures of science fiction be considered a borg as well–Frankenstein’s monster? How integral are those bolts and attachments to his survival anyway? Does an external power source make a borg? Did he ever have to regenerate?
And if Frankenstein’s monster makes the cut, maybe his Big G cereal tie-in should, too:
Is Frankenberry the only cereal mascot borg? Are those pressure gauges on his head? What functions do they serve? He must be a borg.
Before we move forward very far in time, we also think we need to at least consider Maria’s doppelganger from Fritz Lang’s sci-fi film classic Metropolis as a possible borg honoree–a robot admittedly, but somehow transformed into a humanoid creation with flesh, used to replace the real Maria then to wreak havoc across Metropolis:
From the biggest space fantasy franchise: Star Wars, Darth Vader began as Anakin Skywalker, but through his own rise to evil and subsequent downfall he became more machine than man:
He even caused his son to require borg technology by slicing off his arm and hand with his lightsaber, making the franchise’s hero Luke Skywalker a borg, too:
With Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, we met an interesting new villain, General Grievous, a four lightsaber-wielding, almost lobster-like biological creature made up of techno-armor and, in close-up… are those reptilian eyes? Of course. His apparent disfigurement and breathing problems hint at a back story that must be not unlike Vader’s.
In The Empire Strikes Back we also briefly met Lando Calrissian’s majordomo who possessed some type of brain adapter technology–we learn from action figures, trading cards, and comics his name is Lobot. We learn from later, similar characters these mechanical attachments are integrated with his anatomy.
The very first cyborg to be referred to specifically as a “borg” (by Luke Skywalker, even)was Valance, a cyborg bounty hunter in the early pages of Star Wars, the Marvel Comics series:
Some borgs are more cybernetic than organism, at least at first appearance. This would include Doctor Who’s Cybermen:
and we’d learn even the Daleks were cybernetic organisms in the later series, with fleshy creatures inside:
There are the Terminators from the Terminator movie:
and The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series, like Cameron, the T889-F model, very much more machine with a bit of organics (Arnold’s character called himself a “cybernetic organism”):
In Star Trek: First Contact the Borg Queen alters the android Lieutenant Commander Data in such a way so as to make this Pinocchio a real boy…
…giving real organic material to Data, (like Maria’s double above from Metropolis?) bringing him briefly into the realm of borg status, like Isaac Asimov’s Bicentennial Man:
and this even suggests the Tin Man from L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz may be a rudimentary variant borg being along the lines of Frankenstein’s monster (and the novel states that he once actually was human until he lost his limbs and heart in a woodcutting injury and had them replaced by a tinsmith):
All humanoids or aliens modified to become The Borg of the Star Trek franchise clearly are examples of cyborg beings, the most famous of which include Patrick Stewart’s Locutus:
the seemingly innocent Hugh:
and Seven of Nine from Star Trek Voyager:
On Earth we encounter humans frequently with bodies improved by borg technology. Because of the OSI, Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers were rescued from near death with enhanced biology and appendages to become the Bionic Man and Bionic Woman, based on Martin Caidin’s novel Cyborg–where this all began.
The British agent James Bond was forced to face Doctor No, an evil scientist who took on his own technological enhancements because of medical maladies, bringing James Bond into the fold of genre franchises intertwined with a borg character:
Featured in a 1980s movie series and later to be the subject of a reboot, there’s Robocop…
….he showed us a variant on Austin and Sommers, and a bit like Iron Man, we have the government creating technology to make super-humans, and here, a superhuman police officer. This is taken even further, when three animals were turned into borgs for military use in the Eisner-nominated comic book mini-series WE3:
…a far darker take on the classic cartoon character Dynomutt from Scooby Doo:
There’s Inspector Gadget:
and Doctor Octopus (Doc Ock) in Spider-man 2:
both were borgs in comics who made it into big-screen films.
In the DC Comics universe we have a newer Justice League featuring member Cyborg, a football player/student who is in the wrong place at the wrong time, when his father’s lab goes up in flames and his father uses his own research to save his son from death:
Before that, Frank Miller envisioned a disfigured future world Green Arrow who would need his own prosthetic cybernetic arm in The Dark Knight Returns:
Mr. Freeze was an early borg villain in the Batman movie series:
In Marvel Comics Rich Buckler created Deathlok the Demolisher, another cyborg creation, and one of the earliest borgs in comics:
Add to that Marvel characters like Ultron, the “living” automaton:
Ultron’s own creation, named Vision, the “synthezoid”–
and the borg called Cable (you’ll see more of these guys later):
In the 1990s Jim Lee created the Russian borg in the pages of X-Men, called Omega Red:
Long before these Marvel characters, the cyborgs Robotman and Robotdog graced the pages of DC Comics, in the 1940s, and yes, they were not just robots:
The modern Cylons from the reboot Battlestar Galactica TV series are borgs in the Terminator sense, robots made to look and pass for human. And there were a bunch, not just background, but named characters, the most famous of which was the seductive Number Six:
Years before BSG, Philip K. Dick would create more than one borg character in his novels and short stories, the most famous the Replicants in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, from Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?:
Several replicants appeared in the film:
… all indistinguishable from humans to the naked eye.
In the horror realm we have Ash from Evil Dead and Army of Darkness, his arm a functioning chainsaw, and at least in the comic book, like the Star Trek borgs he has an interchangeable arm like a mega Swiss Army knife:
If we include Ash do we also need to include Cherry Darling from Planet Terror, since she has a rifle as a leg like Ash’s arm attachment? Why not.
Heck, even horrific camp troller Jason ultimately became a borg in Jason X:
Todd MacFarlane’s Spawn comics had both the borg assassin Overtkill:
and the cybernetic gorilla Cy-Gor:
Speaking of borg beasties, Japanese monster movies embraced borgs, having their hero Godzilla encounter Mechagodzilla:
In the world of manga and anime we have Ghost in the Shell’s own borg girl Motoko Kusanagi…
…leader of a group of borgs.
There’s the villain Cell from Dragon Ball:
Cowboy Bebop has the borg character Jet Black, which seems influenced by the design of Seven of Nine:
Akira had Tetsuo Shima:
From the film Prometheus, we met the creepy borg, David 8:
But he’s certainly not the first in Ridley Scott’s Alien universe. Don’t forget Ian Holm’s Ash in Alien:
Lance Henrikson’s Bishop from Aliens:
and Winona Ryder’s Annalee Call from Alien: Resurrection:
So here from Round 2, we add the 2014 borg Hall of Fame honorees, in no particular order:
Mike Power, the Atomic Man from the 1970s. We hoped he’d show up again in The Six Million Dollar Man, Season 6, from Dynamite Comics, but it didn’t happen (but he did arrive in the comics years later!).
In the 2003 animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it was revealed the Rat King was once the Slayer, a bio-mechanical super soldier prototype.
From Dark Horse Comics’ 2014 comic book series, we have Vandroid. Half man. Half machine. All badass. Chuck Carducci is a mechanic. Vandroid is a borg created by Chuck, maybe a bit more van than man.
Then there is a Manborg. From the low-budget sci-fi B-movie.
From the classic fantasy movie The Dark Crystal, it’s SkekTek the Skeksis scientist who had multiple bionic parts.
From 2013’s short-lived TV series Almost Human, Karl Urban’s detective John Kennex (who has a cybernetic leg) is a borg, but is his partner, Michael Ealy’s out-dated android Dorian? The newer model police officers appear to be androids only, but is there any organic part, any living tissue, in Dorian?
Almost Human features a society full of androids (including the prostitute, above)–some with illegally-trafficked actual human skin–real skin, which, of course, makes them borg. We don’t know if Dorian has any organic material yet.
From the Doctor Who episode “A Town Called Mercy,” the cybernetic Gunslinger.
From the title character of the Joe Benitez comic book steampunk series, the borg survivor of a killer’s experiments, the beautiful Lady Mechanika.
In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, once she was taken over by the V’ger probe, Ilia became a computer controlled cyborg, yet some of her Deltan “humanity” remained.
One series of low-budget films featured borg, first Jean-Claude van Damme’s Cyborg, where the cyborg isn’t van Damme’s character, but a woman named Pearl Prophet.
Here is the late Jack Palance’s cyborg Mercy, and Angelina Jolie’s first starring role as borg Cash Reese in Cyborg 2. The second sequel Cyborg 3: The Recycler has Khrystyne Haje replacing Angelina Jolie.
In Back to the Future Part II, Griff Tannen was a descendant of Biff, who had bionic implants that made odd sounds whenever he moved.
Movies in 2014 featured plenty of borgs. Matt Damon played the cyborg Max in Elysium.
Tom Cruise played Jack and Andrea Riseborough played Vika in Oblivion. Borgs or droids? They were called “clones”, so we think that requires them to be organic, therefore, borg.
The new Alex Murphy in 2014’s remake of a classic film borg story, RoboCop.
Academy Award winner Denzel Washington played Lt. Parker Barnes from the film Virtuosity.
From the Marvel Comics universe, Rom the Space Knight, was often referred to as a cyborg in the series of the same name.
Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 and the other supersoldiers from the Halo series were borgs. Also, Captain Jacob Keyes and Fleet Admiral Lord Terrence Hood had bionic parts.
Kenneth Branagh played a steampunk cyborg, Arliss Lovelace in Wild, Wild West.
Will Smith as bionic Detective Del Spooner from I, Robot.
The comic book series Concrete features a man whose brain is placed in a stone body by aliens, a very primitive way of going borg.
Renée Soutendijk played Eve VIII, referred to as a cyborg in Eve of Destruction, yet she seems to be an android who taps into her human creator’s memories, like the android Chuck in Vandroid. Borg or not a borg?
A late entry, the cybernetic Nebula from 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy:
And Kiera Cameron from Syfy’s TV series Continuum, the cop from 2077 who comes back to present day Vancouver equipped with cybernetic brain implants that allow her to sleuth out crimes and may help her get home.
We add Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation–before he was the cyborg Locutus, a Predator-like Nausicaan alien shoved a knife through his heart and the leader we all came to know so well always had a bionic heart. Maybe Worf’s line shouldn’t have been “He is a borg” but “He always was a borg”?
In the second Captain America movie, we met The Winter Soldier, complete with bionic arm:
And last but not least of the 2014 updates (because we’ll keep updating our list as we meet more borgs), one of our favorites, Bill Willingham’s steam era Six Thousand Dollar Man:
The latest inductees are primarily new additions to the world of fiction in 2015, but many were borgs we overlooked in prior years. A few may or may not be borg, depending on your point of view. Robots or androids that look perfectly human, for example, that have organic looking material but may not have actual living tissue are not technically cyborgs so we continue to view them as separate.
So here is Round 3, the 2015 borg Hall of Fame honorees, in no particular order:
Alicia Vikander’s Ava and Sonoya Mizumo’s Kyoko from 2015’s critically acclaimed movie Ex Machina were stunning additions to the world of borg. Clearly robots with artificial intelligence, but they make our list with what appeared to us to be some kind of replicated organic skin.
AMC’s TV series Humans introduced the “synths,” robotic servants that permeated the modern world. Five of these had something more than the others, the best of these being Gemma Chan’s synth Anita, and whether you count only these five or all of them as borg, we think they fit right into our Hall of Fame.
Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road was one of 2015’s biggest hits, with Furiosa on many critic’s lists of kick-ass heroines. Her mechanical prosthetic arm provides her entry ticket into our list of borgs.
In Disney’s visually stunning adventure movie Tomorrowland, the girl Athena (Raffey Cassidy) reveals herself to be an “audio-animatronic robot,” but she looks entirely borg to us. Plenty more borgs are featured in the film, including the proprietors of the toy shop who are out to keep the secrets of Tomorrowland from humanity.
Adding to the great list of women borgs, Sofia Boutella’s Gazelle from Kingsman: The Secret Service hit the ground running with her tech-heavy, killing machine legs.
Adding to the rich world of the Terminator series was 2015’s Terminator: Genisys. Arnold Schwarzenegger added another borg to his repertoire with the superb borg Pops, another variant on his original T-800. Along with Pops we met Byung-hun Lee’s T-1000…
(and we’re adding Jason Patrick’s version of the T-1000 from Terminator 2)
… plus Jason Clarke’s creepy part tech, part biological John Connor.
Somehow we overlooked Sam Worthington’s Marcus Wright from Terminator: Salvation, so we’re including him in 2015:
Avengers: Age of Ultron gave us a new look at Ultron, already a member of the Hall of Fame, but we also met Paul Bettany’s more advanced Vision:
We had two updates to the Star Wars universe for 2015. From the expanded universe’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars, if you believe Darth Maul could have survived his quick split in The Phantom Menace, then you may have seen this rather arachnid looking Maul:
And although Luke Skywalker is a charter honoree of the borg.com Hall of Fame, 2015 brought new images from Star Wars: The Force Awakens of Luke decades after the events in Return of the Jedi:
Somehow we forgot to include a borg featured in the 1987 Martin Short/Dennis Quaid film Innerspace. That borg is Vernon Wells’ Mr. Igoe:
We have more borgs from the world of Doctor Who. First up is Bannakaffalatta, revealed to be a borg during the episode “Voyage of the Damned”:
And here’s Max Capricorn from the same episode:
This is the Half-Face Clockwork Man from the 2014 Doctor Who episode “Deep Breath”–
King Hydroflax sneaked in in the final weeks of 2015, airing in the Doctor Who Christmas special “The Husbands of River Song”–
And here is Round 4, our 2016 inductees…
Time, yep… Time itself. From Alice Through the Looking Glass, a powerful Father Time-esque human/clockwork hybrid who rules over Underland–
From George Lucas’s original Force-wielding character as envisioned by Mike Mayhew: Kane Starkiller from Marvel Comics’ alternate origin story, The Star Wars:
The Major, from 2017’s Ghost in the Shell:
Max Steel got his own movie in 2016:
Steel hails from the Mattel action figure who received multiple super powers due to an accidental infusion of nanobots:
Cave Carson from the update of the classic DC Comics comic book series spelunker, the new series Cave Carson has a Cybernetic Eye:
Although he was a charter member of the borg.com Hall of Fame, Darth Vader returned in Rogue One, providing some new images of the classic borg:
Rogue One included a barely visible view of Darth Vader’s remaining organic body, post-Anakin Skywalker, shown in a bacta tank (better visible as the prop that was in the tank in the behind the scenes feature released in advance of the film).
Here is the cybernetic-eyed gang leader from the comic book Barrens, who may or may not have been intentionally based on a certain editor of borg.com:
Cyborg Superman made his way to the CW Network series Supergirl in 2016:
Logan/Wolverine had a new, older look in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, continued in 2017’s theatrical release, Logan…
… and Logan met up with the similarly superpowered character X-23:
Another borg from Logan is Donald Pierce:
How did we forget Vincent Price’s (and Tim Burton’s) creation, Edward Scissorhands?
Just like we added Lt. Cmdr. Data from his movie era biological additions, we’re bringing into the Hall Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: The Next Generation, who was born blind and uses optical implants combined with his VISOR, to see. The VISOR has been twice replaced temporarily with biological eyes and, in the films, permanently replaced with ocular implants:
From Red Dwarf, the Simulants, berserker warlords who have been crossbred with humans to create insane biomechanical entities of pure evil…
… including their leader Dominator Zlurth:
And Kryten 2X4B-523P from Red Dwarf, whose brain was at least at some point partially organic:
And also from Red Dwarf, Dave Lister, whose arm was replaced with a cybernetic prosthesis:
From Masters of the Universe’s early years… several borgs, including the cyborg warrior Extendar:
And finally, Twistoid:
The half-organic, half-robotic Bionicles from LEGO qualify as borg:
The Spartans from the Halo series:
From Mortal Kombat, Cyrax…
… and Smoke:
And, finally, from the Star Wars Expanded Universe or “Legends”– Lumiya:
For Round 5–2017’s selections–we had plenty of honorees from 2017 films, plus many from past years, and a peek at some from the future.
We granted an early entrance to Simone Missick’s badass cop Misty Knight, who gets a borg arm for season two of Luke Cage in 2018.
And here is Josh Brolin’s Cable, from 2018’s Deadpool sequel. The borg comic book character Cable was a first round honoree to the Hall shown above, so this is just another update to the character.
Kingsman’s almost-a-Kingsman Charlie was thought to have been killed off in the first film. But he was back in the 2017 film Kingsman: The Golden Circle, sporting cyborg components.
A host of new borgs–Replicants in Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?–returned to the big screen in Blade Runner 2049, including some new, like Ryan Gosling’s K.
… and Dave Bautista’s aged Replicant Sapper Morton.
Morton allowed the filmmakers to age the original Replicant and borg Hall of Famer Blade Runner, Harrison Ford’s Deckard (and maybe even a Replicant dog).
And yes, clarification by Denis Villeneuve or not, of course he’s a Replicant!
We loved the new badass upgrade named Luv.
And along with Decker, even a CGI of Sean Young’s Rachael made a return appearance.
Aki, a “sentient, artificial intelligence,” futuristic robotic character played by Marama Corlette, was a villain in the short-lived 2017 Syfy Channel series Blood Drive.
In CW’s series The Flash, as a resident of Earth Twenty-Two, Wells 2.0 became a cyborg in order to survive.
James Bond associate Felix Leiter lost a leg and arm in Live and Let Die. In the 2017 James Bond: Felix Leiter comic book series from Dynamite Comics, he has a new cybernetic arm and leg, thanks to a gift from Mr. Bond.
We’re thinking 451 Entertainment’s Red Dog of the Red Dog comic book series looks too real to be only robotic, so we’re pulling him over the fence for admission into the Hall.
Many more great Synths appeared on BBC’s Humans in 2017, including this rather ruthless new Synth (carrying the white container), Hester, played by Sonya Cassidy.
But Humans’ best borg of Season 2 was probably Emily Berrington’s Niska.
Airiam was a new cyborg character from Star Trek Discovery.
From The Orville, we met the new robotic lifeform crew member, Isaac.
Damon Wilder played the Cyborg Sweeper in the Danny Trejo film, Cyborg X.
And even more prior entrants were revisited on film.
Like Old Man Luke Skywalker with a look at his borg shoulder in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
… and a good look at his borg hand.
And here’s a new image of Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy 2, where she used her cybernetics to save the Guardians.
And here are some blasts from the past:
Anjelica Huston played The Supreme Leader from Michael Jackson’s early film in the 3D movie Renaissance, Captain EO. It only played at Disney theme parks so many have never seen some of the great visuals in the movie.
Real life J.J. Armes was such a popular detective in the 1970s, he had his own Ideal Toys action figure, featuring his “bio-kinetic” hand replacements. In 2017 he was 85 and living in Texas.
The Action Man toys featured Dr. X, who sported a bionic arm and eye… and that mohawk.
Shingen Yashida devised the Silver Samurai suit with Viper to sustain himself and to steal Wolverine’s healing powers in the film The Wolverine.
Blair Brown’s character Nina Sharp sported a cybernetic arm on the TV series Fringe.
Here are some honorees from the FXX Network animated series Archer:
First up, ODIN agent Barry Dylan.
Katya Kazanova was rebuilt as a borg as well, eventually becoming the head of the KGB.
Dr. Krieger made Ray Gillette cybernetic legs.
And he made a cyborg arm for Conway Stern.
The following are the inductees for 2018, our sixth round of honored borgs:
First, here are new versions of past honorees Robotman and Cyborg.
They are coming in 2019 to the Doom Patrol series.
Because of the core character description from Marvel Comics of the character that became Ghost in this year’s Ant-Man and The Wasp, we think the integration of biology and tech make the cut. Initially Ghost immersed “his” consciousness into the data networks he created by wiring his own flesh with his flux-state processors, fused with his body. Hannah John-Kamen played a new, female version in 2018’s Ant-Man and The Wasp with similar but different backstory.
We met Walter, a cyborg update to David 8 (already a Hall of Fame honoree). He appeared in Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant.
Karen Voss was a standout Synth in the 2018 season of AMC’s Humans, sacrificing her life for her adopted cyborg son. She joins prior nominees from the series in the Hall, including the other 2018 stand-out Synth, Mia.
Also on Humans in 2018 we were introduced to the new orange-eyed Synths, including the new borg servant Stanley.
The next stage of Predator technology is as much borg as alien and not just because of the cool armor (as seen at end of Shane Black’s The Predator). It looks like we’ll meet an even cooler Predator than the evolved Predator that starred in the film, if the new Predator Killer that appeared at the end of the film is a feature of the next movie.
Andy Serkis returned as black market arms dealer Ulysses Klaue after losing his arm to Ultron. In Black Panther he had a vibranium-powered arm cannon.
From Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Liv Octavius, a brilliant new Spider-verse Doc Ock.
Violet Evergarden, from the manga and 2018 Netflix anime series, was a ghostwriter who lost her hands during the war, having them replaced with advanced mechanized arms.
After Finn continually misplaced his arm, he replaced it with a new mechanized version, on Adventure Time.
From the mind of James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez, in 2018 comes Alita in Alita: Battle Angel–called “an abandoned cyborg shell” with “the heart and soul of a young woman with an extraordinary past.” She arrives with other cyborg characters…
an unnamed cyborg hunter…
… Angela, the cyborg hunter…
… and Grewishka.
We weren’t exactly sure what was going on in Netflix’s Extinction, but we were pretty certain every character was cyborg, with the ability to reproduce and have memory and some biology. Since it’s not clear and they aren’t expressly called robots or androids, we’re assuming the biology. Shown above are Peter and Alice, who defended their home planet Earth from the human invasion.
In the Netflix movie Anon, advanced biosyn implants make everyone a futuristic, rudimentary (yet advanced from today’s view), but mentally invaded form of cyborg. The most advanced of all of these was Amanda Seyfried’s character, referred to only as The Girl.
From Marvel Comics, we have Gabrielle Kinney aka Honey Badger, a clone sister to X-23 and clone of Wolverine. She is incapable of feeling pain, the result of nanites implanted in her body that are slowly killing her. She’s entering the Hall this year with her clone sisters…
… and Bellona.
As more borgs from the past.
Aaron Aikman is another version of Spider-Man from the comic Edge of Spider-Verse. He didn’t get his powers due to an accident like Peter Parker–he was part of an experiment that spliced his DNA with that of a genetically-altered spider. Aikman also augmented his abilities with a cybernetic suit of armor. He first appeared only in Edge of Spider-Verse Issue #3, and is featured in the 2018 PS4 Spider-Man video game.
Kickpuncher (played by Don “The Demon” Donaldson), cybernetically enhanced to fight back against the criminal element overrunning his city, his punches had the power of kicks.
From Dungeons & Dragons, the Machinamancers, the embodiment of technological progression. Grafted with carbon-based warforged weapons and armor, it’s said “nothing will halt their progress.”
Part fey, part metal, it’s the Cold Iron Corruptor, also a D&D character.
A D&D Augmented Cyborg Monster adds another monster to the Hall.
And from the early Gygax, Mentzer, and Mohan roleplay game, it’s Cyborg Commando.
You never know what classic character will be transformed in the future, like Long John Silver, seen in Treasure Planet.
From the Star Wars universe, Saw Gerrera, the freedom fighter who helped Jyn Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and most recently appeared in Star Wars Rebels, stayed alive because of the help of various borg implants.
Aurra Sing, mentioned in Solo: A Star Wars Story as being killed by Tobias Beckett, had several cybernetic parts, the most prominent being the antenna sticking out of her head, which also contained a Rhen-Orm biocomputer.
And previous Hall honoree Darth Maul made a surprise appearance in the film.
From Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we have the bright red armored Guavian Death Gang members (backing human leader Bala-Tik above)–cybernetically augmented soldiers, who were pursuing Han and Chewie.
Garren Kho, a cyborg from Star Wars Galaxies.
And also from Star Wars Galaxies, the cyborg Damaera Mills.
Mort, a cybernetically enhanced clone of Jango Fett, from Star Wars Galaxies.
Former Imperial pilot and cantina bartender Florn from Last Call at Zero Angle, a Star Wars Legacy character.
And we learned more about the device earlier Hall honoree Lobot wore in The Empire Strikes Back. Lucasfilm calls it “The Borg Construct Aj^6,” a cybernetic implant produced by BioTech Industries prior to the onset of the Galactic Civil War.
From the world of Inspector Gadget (already an honoree), it’s his nemesis, Dr. Klaw.
From Neuromancer, we have Johnny Mnemonic, who had cybernetic implants in his brain…
… and also the mercenary cyborg Molly Millions.
Kevin Flynn was first broken down and his biological self was teleported into The Grid and integrated with a gamesuit in 1982’s Tron. His biology and the cybernetic world became one and we’re thinking he became a (very tiny) form of cybernetic organism.
But he wasn’t the only human User that made it to the microverse of The Grid, becoming part of the game.
The other human teleported inside The Grid with a special suit and identity disc was Kevin’s son, Sam Flynn, who arrived years later in Tron: Legacy. The rest of the characters? Digital avatars of outside humans, or merely digital programs.
And finally for 2018, here is Aech from inside the Oasis in Ready Player One. You might think this is another digital avatar like the programs in Tron. And you’d be correct. Here we’re talking about the character itself, not Helen Harris playing through the avatar. Aech is a cyborg orc–a borg character.
The following are our inductees for 2019, our seventh round of honored borg:
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 a world where where humans store there memories in hard drives in their spine called Stacks. In his Sleeve, 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.
The following are our inductees for 2020, our eighth round of honored borg:
In 2020 the movie Bloodshot introduced more cyborgs to theater audiences than merely the film’s hero. We met Dr. Emil Harting, played by Guy Pearce. In true James Bond villain style, he engineered himself a bionic arm before rebuilding the rest of his team with cybernetics.
Harting’s team included ex-U.S. Navy badass K.T., played by Eiza Gonzalez, who would become an ally to Garrison. Her upgrade included a clavicle-mounted respirator that grants her immunity from inhalants as well as the ability to breathe underwater, as well as a kill switch controlled by Harting, which he installed in all his cyborg creations.
The Bloodshot team also included Sam Heughan as Jimmy Dalton, an ex-Navy SEAL with an almost Doc Ock level of combat components in addition to enhanced legs, which he had lost in combat.
Bloodshot hails from Valiant Comics, which has created a host of cyborgs over the years. One is a time-lost pirate named Captain Red from the pages of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. He had cybernetic prosthetics, including a visible arm and an eye, plus an arm with retractable blade mounted above the wrist. He fought alongside bionisaurs named Misfire and Proto, from a long line of creatures dating back to the first, named Mon-Ark. Exactly like they sound, bionisaurs include intelligence-boosting implants, making them extra deadly in battle.
Raijin is creation for the future of New Japan in the year 3001, star of the Valiant series Rai. The first of many called “Rai,” he sported cyborg physiology including metamorphosis and flight abilities.
From the pages of Ivar, Timewalker was Dr. Neela Sethi the Timewalker in the more recent Valiant universe (an alternate year 2015). After her death, her life was restored with cybernetics (and then she was cloned). Dr. Sethi’s futuristic bionics include enhanced physicality, planeswalking, energy manipulation, and Zelig chip tech that allows her to adapt to her environment.
Even more famous to readers of classic comics will be Valiant’s Russ Magnus from the pages of Magnus, Robot Fighter. First created in 1963, he returned in a 1997 reboot. There “the man from the future who travels back in time to fight for our future” emerged as an insane robot fighter who now had metallic blood (like Bloodshot) to repair his injuries.
Although popular characters Poe and Dig are AI, virtual, holo-characters, technically everyone else on Netflix’s Altered Carbon series with a “Stack” is a borg. Because we learned in 2020 she created the Stacks, we’re naming as a noted borg the awesome leader Quellcrist Falconer, played by Renee Goldsberry.
In the book and TV series Altered Carbon, Takeshi Kovacs is a cyborg soldier who changes bodies, or Sleeves. In the 2020 second season he was enhanced further with combat abilities, played by Anthony Mackie.
And Kovacs took on another sleeve, changing his look again in 2020 in the anime Netflix movie, Altered Carbon: Resleeved.
Philip K. Dick’s Replicants were expanded as Titan Comics moved into comics tie-ins in 2020 for Blade Runner, with the series Blade Runner 2019 and Blade Runner 2029. The star of the comics is the Replicant blade runner Ashina.
In The Mandalorian, Ming-Na Wen reprised her bounty hunter character Fennec Shand. Left for dead after being shot in the abdomen, Boba Fett revived her with cybernetics and she joined the team attempting to rescue Grogu. She will be appearing on the animated series The Bad Batch soon. If you watched the second season finale, you’ll know a famed cyborg from Star Wars’ past made an appearance, too.
In 2019 cyborg hunter Valance returned in the pages of Marvel’s Star Wars comics. The first cyborg referred to as a “borg” was Valance in the pages of the 1970s series. He returned this year as the lead in the monthly series Bounty Hunters.
Darth Maul, cyborg from the waist down, returned better than ever thanks to motion capture work from Ray Park in the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Speaking of Star Wars borg, from out of the past Vorten Fett first appeared in the 2011 video game Star Wars: The Old Republic, Vorten Fett was a cyborg Mandalorian Commander in the time of the Clone Wars, voiced by well-known franchise voice actor Tom Kane.
Snoova was a Wookiee with a cybernetic eye, first discussed in Shadows of the Republic.
We know about Snoova because Chewbacca disguised himself as Snoova in that story.
In the original Marvel Comics Star Wars series, Captain Kligson was an electronics genius and veteran of the Clone Wars, whose body was replaced with battle droid parts.
Around the time of the New Sith wars, Mandalorians named Jaing Skirata and Durge were implanted with advanced cybernetics, and making Durge physically stronger…
… and giving Jaing strength and speed…
Karbin was a male Mon Calamari who served as a commander during the Clone Wars, later turned into a cybernetic killing machine in similar appearance to his contemporary, General Grievous.
In Marvel Comics’ Darth Vader series, Aiolin and Morit Astarte were twins engineered with genetic enhancements and technology that made them stronger and capable of greater feats than common warriors. They were trained by Doctor Cylo to replace Darth Vader as Darth Sidious’s apprentice.
Admiral Delak Krennel was an office in the Imperial Navy and nemesis of Grand Admiral Thrawn. Thrawn removed his arm, which was later replaced with a cyborg one.
From the pages of the Star Wars comic Doctor Aphra, Rexa Go was a crime syndicate mercenary with cybernetics of the type used by Lobot.
From the Star Wars Adventure Module Beyond the Rim, Cratala was once a leading cybernetics designer and researcher in the Republic, who left when Palpatine tried to get her on his medical staff.
The advanced recon command Clone Trooper CT-1409 known as Echo was turned into a borg after a rescue by Jedi Plo Koon. Recounted in the seventh season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, his arm, torso and legs were replaced. He’ll be featured in the forthcoming series Star Wars: The Bad Batch.
In the same vein as Hall of Famers Ash from Evil Dead, Cherry from Planet Terror, and Aech in Ready Player One was Illyana Rasputin aka Majik in The New Mutants. In her fantasy world, she is able to forge from her arm a powerful sword called the Soulsword. When the fantasy world became real she was part human, part technology with this sword arm.
Doctor Who fans met Ashad the Lone Cyberman, who appeared to the Doctor, Mary Shelley, and others in 1816. We met modified versions of the Cybermen, too, and none fared well.
In the Netflix adaptation of the comics series The October Faction, the part machine, part human cyborg named Dante, played by Calvin Desautels, took on a critical role in the story.
Even comedy likes a borg. Sharknado series character April Wexler turned up the in fourth movie, rebuilt by her father with borg features. An evil version of April shows up later, but you’ll need to watch the entire six films for those details.
Koren Shadmi’s graphic novel Bionic featured an angry, rebellious teenager named Patricia, turned cyborg by her father after an accident (similar to DC Comics’ Cyborg), who looked like Ava from Ex Machina and resented her bionic parts.
Already in the Hall of Fame, Seven of Nine appeared years after her Voyager appearances in 2020 in the series Star Trek: Picard.
Seven tried to come to the aid of grown-up Icheb…
… and Hugh from Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as a legion of that cybernetic Star Trek race called The Borg. All had modified, updated prosthetic features.
In Star Trek: Discovery, Lieutenant Keyla Detmer is a member of the bridge crew, was was injured and repaired with cybernetics (similar to Seven of Nine’s eyepiece) before Michael Burnham joined the crew.
Ensign Samanthan “Sam” Rutherford is a cyborg Starfleet operations junior crew member of the USS Cerritos on the animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks.
MetalBeard is a Wild, Wild, West-inspired mechanized, multi-faceted pirate and Master Builder and one of the three tetartagonists in The LEGO Movie.
The game with a rocky launch, Cyberpunk 2077 features several customizable, cybernetically enhanced characters, including V, for Vincent/Valerie, the player-controlled protagonists:
…and major characters including cyborgs Dexter DeShawn:
and Judy Alvarez:
The following are our inductees for 2021, our ninth round of honored borg:
From Blade Runner: Black Lotus, we met a new evolution of Replicant in Elle, a young woman trying to discover her hidden past, who remembers her programming and has heightened physical, kinetic combat abilities.
Commander Alecia Beck entered the Star Wars universe in the pages of the comic Smuggler’s Run. The high-ranking Imperial officer has a bionic left eye.
Primo (called Cyclops by James Bond) was one of the lackeys of Blofeld in No Time to Die. Through some kind of unexplained tech, Primo’s prosthetic eye literally served as the eyes of Blofeld feigning mental illness in a jail cell.
In 2021 the world got to see its first live-action adaptation of the anime Cowboy Bebop. Jet Black is already in our Hall of Fame, but here we got to see his new look, courtesy of Mustafa Shakir. For Jet, the cybernetic arm heightened the power he could use against targets of his bounty hunting.
Also from Cowboy Bebop and new to the Hall is Ein the corgi dog. As Faye Valentine says, “He plays movies from his eyes… from his EYES!”
We met a new king of Dalek, the Mutant Clone Daleks, in the 2021 standalone episode of Doctor Who, Revolution of the Daleks.
This is the new look for Doc Ock from Spider-Man: No Way Home.
A familiar face became a borg in the pages of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles future story The Last Ronin. April O’Neil and her daughter Casey Jones, Jr. have new abilities thanks to exposure to the TMNT for years, but April also lost her arm and leg in battle, now replaced with enhancements.
Also in The Last Ronin, the TMNT baddie Baxter Stockman returned with a futuristic, cyberpunk, robotic Foot Army, himself updated with cyborg components.
From the Planetside novels, Colonel Carl Butler always means business, and this cybernetically enhanced soldier remains tough as nails, trying to stay alive while constantly dodging bullets.
Taskmaster took on a new twist in Black Widow, as Antonia Dreykov took over the mantle. Manipulated by her mad scientist father, after nearly being killed by Black Widow, his experimental enhancements include a device at the back of her head that restored her mobility and gives her the power to mimic others’ fighting styles. A chemical allows her to be remote controlled by others.
Bucky Barnes, The Winter Soldier, got to use his vibranium arm many times in 2021 in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
The original cybernetic-powered Iron Man became Zombie Iron Man in the What If…? series.
Everyone loves a classic. That’s true for Vision in his vintage comic book-style supersuit, appearing in his own series, WandaVision.
And here is Luke Skywalker, cyborg hand covered, but back again, this time coming to take the hand-off of Grogu from Din Djarin after the events of Return of the Jedi in the finale of The Mandalorian.
We’ve seen Spider-Man as a borg before (see Edge of Spider-Verse), but not like Gabrielle Dell’Otto drew him in 2021 for the cover of Amazing Spider-Man Issue #75.
But these are just 265 examples of individual or groups of borgs in popular genre works. Countless books, comics, and short stories have introduced other borg beings, not to mention every other new video game. What will be the next borg to enter the mainstream, possibly in a new TV show or movie?
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 an inaugural honoree because the Arc Reactor kept him alive. The Spider-Man suit worn by Tom Holland in Avengers: Infinity War is similar to Tony’s, but as far as we can tell 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 (and decades of comics before), seem to be merely wearing tech suits. We’d love a reason for a Mandalorian to make the cut, like Boba Fett, or Jango Fett, since nobody has more intriguing armor. Maybe Jon Favreau’s new television series in 2019 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. Westworld continues to define its own characters as androids (like Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Lt. Commander Data throughout the TV series), and not cyborgs (going back to Michael Crichton’s original story), so we continue this year to hold off on their admittance unless something changes, like the incorporation of living biological (blood, cells, etc.) materials. Are we closing in on admitting individuals solely based on a breathing apparatus that may allow them to breathe to in non-native atmospheres? Only if integrated (surgically). Darth Vader has more borg parts than his breathing filter. We assume honoree Saw Gerrera does as well. With more biological enhancements we’d allow Tusken Raiders, Moloch, and Two Tubes from the Star Wars universe, and Mordock the Benzite from Star Trek, but wouldn’t that also mean anyone in a deep sea suit or space suit is a cyborg? Again, integration is key. Ready Player One has humans interacting with a cyber-world with virtual reality goggles and other equipment, but like the Programs (as opposed to the Users) in the movie Tron, this doesn’t qualify as borg either, but we’re making an exception for the in-world Aech, who is a cyborg orc character, and two Tron universe characters.
You can argue some of the above in or out of the list, and we’ll keep visiting them here at borg from time to time.
Updated December 17, 2022.