UNIMATRIX HEROES

Excerpt taken from
Cult Times #61

Part five of a trilogy in six parts, the Season Six Voyager finale Unimatrix Zero pits Seven and Janeway against the Borg Queen once more.

Executive producer Brannon Braga tells Melissa J Perenson, “I wanted the environment to be very sensual...”

The Borg Queen returns, and not without help...

The Borg are back. But this time, they have a weakness. Can Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) exploit that weakness so as to disable the Borg threat once and for all? With Unimatrix Zero – the sixth season finale of Star Trek: Voyager – “It’s kind of the Borg meets The Matrix,” explains executive producer Brannon Braga.

“It’s cyberspace. When certain drones who have a certain mutation step into their alcoves to regenerate, they wake up here. It’s a subconscious place where you can go at night. They’re here for four hours a day. But when they leave, they’re mindless drones again. They don’t remember anything. So Janeway is going to give them a way to remember, so they can take action in the real world. She sees it as a potential resistance movement; she’s going to find a way to let them retain their individuality, and possibly start a Borg revolt.”

The first part of Unimatrix Zero is written by series executive producer Brannon Braga and longtime producer Joe Menosky, who left the series this spring. Speaking from Stage 16 at Paramount as the episode was filmed, just two days from wrapping filming for the season, Braga elaborates. “This is the third and final part of the big Borg two hour things. It’s a cliffhanger; there will be a part two at the beginning of the [new] year.

"We think of this as part III of the Borg Trilogy. There was Scorpion, where Seven of Nine was introduced, there was Dark Frontier, where Seven of Nine went back to the Collective, and this is the third and final part of the big Borg two hour things.”

Stage 16 is often dubbed ‘Planet Hell’ – a nickname coined by the Star Trek: The Next Generation staff to describe the perennial Trek swing set on which countless, nameless mythical worlds have been built. But today it resembles a forest. Tall, dense greens, gently sloping ridges, and dirt paths carved through the foliage are complemented by muted lights and the thick sense of fog permeating the scene. The atmosphere certainly looks and feels real enough. Ah, such is the magic of Hollywood.

However, there are some things that are quite un-Hollywood-like. Take the sight of actress Jeri Ryan limping around with the assistance of a cane. Ryan – looking quite the antithesis of her alter-ego Seven of Nine – wearing a terrycloth bathrobe over her Starfleet uniform, is trying to take pressure off of her injured foot. “She broke her foot,” confirms Braga, observing his star as she confers with the episode’s director Allan Kroeker. “This was bad timing, because she’s has a lot to do in this episode. She has to hobble around. She won’t be able to walk as much.”

Some changes had to be made to the script to accommodate Ryan’s injury. But, he adds, just “a little bit. There are some scenes where we wanted her walking through the forest, and we’re not going to be able to do as many of those, because she can’t walk. When the camera rolls, she’ll take the crutch off. I’ve told her that if she complains, I’ll break the other foot,” jokes Braga, “so she’ll be a trooper throughout shooting...”

Melissa J Perenson

• This is just an excerpt. You need to get Cult Times #61 for the full feature

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Images © Paramount
Feature © Visual Imagination 2000. Not for reproduction.