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Tag Archive: Locutus


Spock with tricorder

It’s a question die-hard Star Trek fans ask themselves:  If you could own one favorite Star Trek prop, what would it be?  This weekend a Star Trek Facebook page asked thousands of followers to comment on one question:  If you could have any autographed Trek prop, what would it be and who would you have sign it?  With nearly 2,000 respondents we thought it was a good opportunity to use these responses from across Star Trek fandom to see if we can glean what Star Trek fans think are the most iconic props of the franchise.  It’s not all that scientific, since the page posting the question was a general Star Trek page, and many fans may only follow the individual pages from any of the Star Trek series.  The image shown in the post was of an original series phaser–did that skew fans to select that prop?  Are there more original series fans in the mix who follow this page?  We don’t know.  But the results are still interesting and who better than a random group of Trek fans to share what they see as the top Holy Grail of Trek props?

The question is ongoing, with hundreds more responses entered after we stopped tracking answers–around 1,860.  Many responses were attempts at humor–many claiming Shatner’s toupee as their response (how do you autograph a toupee anyway?).  Others were rude or sexist or otherwise the typical worthless responses you find across social media on any given day.

Worf bat'leth from Firstborn

Also, nobody addressed a key topic–why do people think it’s a good thing to autograph a screen-used prop?  The truth is that collectors of screen-used props will refuse to purchase a prop if it has been defaced in any way, especially by an autograph (screen wear and tear excepted).  Recent auctions of an original series gold tunic worn by William Shatner sold for a fraction of what a similar one sold for that was not so marked.  The autograph literally cost the consigner thousands of dollars.  One rare command Starfleet uniform worn by Robert Picardo on Star Trek Voyager was once highly sought after by collectors, and has remained unsellable for years because of a scrawling signature across the front.  The bottom line: Collectors prefer a prop or costume to look just as it did the last time it was shown on the screen.  Actors would be well-advised to refuse to autograph screen-used props at least without first telling fans they may be ruining their chances to re-sell the prop down the road.  Whether or not you think you might keep a prop forever, do yourself a favor and don’t limit your future options.

Putting the “should they/shouldn’t they” question aside, the great response showed fans love their favorite Trek and thousands would want a piece of TV or film history signed by their favorite actor.  So what did we learn?

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STTNG Best of Both Worlds Banner

Last night at 7 p.m. across America theaters showed a one-night only event–the world premiere of the remastered release of Star Trek: The Next Generation two-part episode “The Best of Both Worlds,” including specifically the cliffhanger Part 1, which arguably is the most important Star Trek episode and one of the best episodes of any TV series to hit the airwaves.  Why the best?  It featured a constellation of concepts that came together at just the right time, airing at the end of Season 3, the season where the NextGen cast and writers became comfortable in their roles and produced several incredible episodes, including “Who Watches the Watchers,” “Yesterday’s Enterprise” (the other contender for best NextGen episode), “Captain’s Holiday,” “Hollow Pursuits,” “The Most Toys,” and “Sarek.”

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The stakes were never greater in a Star Trek episode than in “The Best of Both Worlds,” with the beloved Captain Jean-Luc Picard assimilated by The Borg, turned into the leader Locutus who had all of Picard’s memories and strategies to use against his shipmates.  It also featured something we all wanted to see–Jonathan Frakes’s Commander Will Riker as Captain of the Enterprise-D.  Its cliffhanger ending at the end of Season 3 created a devoted fan following who waited with bated breath all summer and came back for Season 4 and thereafter stuck with Star Trek as loyal fans to this day.  The Star Trek franchise might not be as successful today were it not for this great two-part episode.

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Hive cover art - IDW Publishing

If you haven’t read the four-issue limited series Star Trek: The Next GenerationHive,” tomorrow IDW Publishing releases a trade edition at comic book stores everywhere.  “Hive” reads every bit like the next television episode of Star Trek featuring The Borg–the fearsome race of half machines/half organic lifeforms that assimilate species across the galaxy.  With the best of their stories found in the Next Generation two-parter “The Best of Both Worlds” and the Jonathan Frakes-directed big screen blockbuster Star Trek: First Contact, long-time series writer Brannon Braga returns to tell his untold epic story of Locutus, Seven of Nine, and the return of Data, with scripts by Travis Fickett and Terry Matalas.  Below we are previewing the trade edition courtesy of IDW Publishing.

After the events in Star Trek: Nemesis, Will Riker now captains the Titan. Lieutenant Commander Data is dead, sacrificing himself to save Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-E.  “Hive” occurs after Star Trek: Nemesis and explains events that led to the absence of Seven of Nine in the Star Trek Voyager finale, “Endgame.”

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Bets of Both Worlds Fathom Events banner

Finally, the best of Star Trek: The Next Generation is not only coming to Blu-Ray, but an episode worthy of seeing it on the big screen is on its way to a movie theater near you.  Fathom Events announced this weekend its next great one-night genre film event will be April 25, 2013.  In light of the April 2013 release of Season Three of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-Ray, Fathom Events will be presenting a feature-length screening of the remastered two-part “The Best of Both Worlds” story arc featuring the first appearance of Patrick Stewart as Locutus. The April 25 screening at 7 p.m. local time will also include a “making of” feature as part of the screening.

“Best of Both Worlds, Part 1” is universally acknowledged as one of the best cliffhanger episodes in TV history, and it’s in the top 10 of most Trek fans’ “Best of” lists.  It also features the two scenes with the best delivery of lines by both Jonathan Frakes as acting Captain Will Riker “Mr. Worf… Fire” and by Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf with his comment about Captain Picard’s abduction “He IS a borg.”

Best of Both Worlds poster

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By C.J. Bunce

We highlight them all the time here at borg.com.  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, although taken to the extreme this would seem to include the bioneural starship USS Voyager from Star Trek Voyager.

Regardless of how you define it, meet our borg.com Hall of Fame, always ready for new honorees…

With Marvel’s big premiere of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, we’ll 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.  Whedon is 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 this spin-off fellow should, too:

Yes, Frankenberry, the only cereal mascot borg?  Are those pressure gauges on his head?  What functions do they serve?  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.com honoree–a robot admittedly, but somehow transformed into a humanoid creation with flesh, used to replace the real Maria and wreak havoc across Metropolis:

From one of the biggest science fantasy franchises, 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 Luke Skywalker a borg as well:

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?  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:

And probably the very first cyborg to be referred to specifically as a “borg” (by Luke Skywalker, even), Valance was 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:

and the Terminators from the Terminator movie and Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series, very much more machine with a bit of organics (and even 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 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:

All humanoids or aliens modified to become The Borg of the Star Trek franchise clearly are good examples of cyborg beings, the most famous of which are probably Patrick Stewart’s Locutus:

the seemingly innocent Hugh:

and Seven of Nine from Star Trek Voyager:

On Earth we encounter humans all the time 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:

The British agent James Bond had to take on 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 investigating a borg character:

Featured in a 1980s movie series and soon to be the subject of a new movie, Robocop:

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, making three animals 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:

Inspector Gadget:

and Doctor Octopus (Doc Ock) in Spider-man 2:

 

both were borgs that made it into big-screen films.

In the DC Comics universe we have a newer Justice League featured 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 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:

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, Philip K. Dick would create more than one borg character in his novels and short stories, revealed to us the best as the Replicants in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner:

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?

Heck, even horrific camp troller Jason became a borg eventually in Jason X:

Todd MacFarlane’s Spawn comics had both the borg assassin Overtkill:

and the cybernetic gorilla Cy-Gor:

Speaking of borg beasties, even Japanese monster movies embraced borgs, having their hero Godzilla encounter Mechagodzilla:

and Gigan:

In the world of manga and anime we have Ghost in the Machine’s own borg girl Motoko Kusanagi:

leader of a group of borgs, and the villain Cell from Dragon Ball: 

Cowboy Bebop had the borg character Jet Black, which seems influenced by the design of Seven of Nine:

Akira had Tetsuo Shima:

And we have a new one to add to the list because of the film Prometheus, 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:

But these are just the biggest examples 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, with a new TV show or movie?

Should we add an Honorable Mention list to the borg.com Borg Hall of Fame, for beings resulting from the merging of humans with cyberspace?  Think of characters like Tron and Flynn from Tron and Tron: Legacy?  Or Neo and Trinity & Co. from the Matrix movies?  You can argue some of the above in or out of the list, but we’ll be visiting most of them here now and then.

Editor note: We’ll update this list from time to time and feature it as its own page on the borg.com home page.  Just click on “Know your borg” at the top of this page now for a full update!

The character Locutus of Borg, who first appeared in the Star Trek:  The Next Generation classic episode “The Best of Both Worlds, Parts I and II” ended up back on the Enterprise-D thanks to the leadership of acting Captain Riker and Lieutenant Commander Data, working with Dr. Crusher and Counseler Troi, who figured out the code (sleep!) to rescue Captain Jean-Luc Picard and remove his cybernetic components.  Hands down, Locutus was our favorite of The Borg–that cybernetic race that was the nemesis of Starfleet and every culture they came in contact with and subsequently assimilated.

But what about the costume Patrick Stewart wore in “The Best of Both Worlds” episodes as Locutus?  In Trek canon, you could speculate that the components went off for testing at Starfleet Medical.  In the real world?  The fact is The Borg characters returned in subsequent episodes of the series, including the great character study episode “I, Borg” and the two part “Descent” episodes which featured more than a dozen of these cyborgs of the future.  The idea for the Star Trek borg characters were first thought up by Star Trek: The Next Generation writer Maurice Hurley and created by Robert Blackman and Michael Westmore.  Just as the Paramount production staff re-used other costumes over the seven-year series run, Stewart’s rubber and plastic components were reused as parts of other costumes and the original Next Generation Locutus costume does not exist complete and intact today.  Paramount did create and sell a replica of a limited edition life-size version that looks great as a display.  Here is how the replica appeared when they were selling these at the now-defunct Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas a few years back:

I am getting ready to put together a display of Locutus, featuring actual components labeled as Stewart’s that I was lucky enough to pick up over the past few years, that became a part of Adrian Tafoya’s costume seen in Descent as well as used in part in a Borg video game by John de Lancie (who also appeared in The Six Million Dollar Man and the original Battlestar Galactica) as “Q as Borg”  and other characters.  Tafoya is seen here on the left:

And I am starting with this replica resin cast I purchased to be used for the head of the mannequin:

First, to find time to paint and refine it!  I’ll post an update down the road when I get this painted and the cybernetic components displayed.  For now, here are some components of the actual Locutus worn by Patrick Stewart (repainted with a rust paint by production staff and with some parts added later for subsequent actors who played members of The Borg collective)…

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

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