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EXCERPT: Annie Wersching on Becoming the Borg Queen

Read the full interview when you buy your copy of Star Trek Explorer!

Star Trek: Picard - "Penance"

The Borg Queen is back… and so is Annie Wersching. The actress kicked off her career in 2002 by playing the Kantare character Liana in “Oasis,” a Season 1 episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. Wersching spent the next two decades as a familiar television presence, guesting, recurring, or co-starring on such shows as Charmed, Supernatural, General Hospital, 24, Bosch, The Vampire Diaries, Timeless, and Runaways. Now she’s returned to the Star Trek Universe, breathing new life into the Borg Queen during Star Trek: Picard’s sophomore season. And while in one sense the Trek universe is boundless, in another it can be pretty small: Wersching and Susanna Thompson, who played the Borg Queen in the Star Trek: Voyager episodes “Dark Frontier” and “Unimatrix Zero” (and who guested twice on Star Trek: The Next Generation and once on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), worked together on the cult favorite sci-fi series Timeless.

Star Trek Explorer

Star Trek Explorer caught up with Wersching for a revealing conversation in which she recounts her appearance on Enterprise and discusses what it was like to play a very different Borg Queen on Picard.

Star Trek Explorer: Enterprise was your first job in Los Angeles. What do you recall of the experience?

Annie Wersching: I’d only done theater up until then, and I didn’t know anything about Star Trek. I tried to learn a little bit, but I was literally starting on the show the next day. I liked the experience. I knew it was really cool that René Auberjonois [who had previously played Odo for seven seasons of DS9] was back on Star Trek, even as a different character [Kantare engineer Exral]. I was a huge Quantum Leap fan growing up, so I was really excited to work with Scott Bakula [Captain Archer]. I can remember saying to Connor Trinneer [Trip], “I’ve only done theater. If I’m doing things way too big, or making a fool of myself, please feel free to give me a little heads up and let me know.”

For a guest spot, it had a beautiful arc to the story. Some guest spots you get a scene or two here or there, but Liana was a whole, fully fleshed-out character. She was innocent and naïve, and she learned a lot from everybody aboard the Enterprise.

You led a full life and career between Enterprise and Picard, getting married and having kids, and acting on dozens of shows. What was it like to come full-circle with Picard almost 20 years later?

AW: God, please don’t say 20 years! Is it really? It is… How dare you! No, it’s trippy, but exciting, super exciting. Even just when the audition came in for Picard, I was like “Ooh, this could be a cool, iconic show and role to be a part of.”

Did your previous experience with the franchise come up during your audition for Picard?

AW: No, it didn’t. It did after the fact. One time, when I was Zooming with Akiva [Goldsman, Executive Producer], we were talking about Enterprise, and he said, “It’s Star Trek. We can say whatever we want. We could say that Liana was assimilated. We could connect the two if we really want to do that.” But we didn’t go there. We had enough craziness going on.

Annie Wersching

The Borg Queen has been an integral character in Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Voyager. Did you screen the movie and the Voyager episodes to learn about the character and see how your predecessors – including your Timeless co-star, Susanna Thompson – approached her?

AW: My “audition” was just, “Put yourself on tape at your house.” COVID was starting – it was around April 2020. As actors we’d all put ourselves on tape before, but now this was the only way to do it. It was a mysterious character; she was called “Alien,” I think. It didn’t say “Borg Queen” anywhere. Just from reading the description and then researching, I was like, “I think this might be the Borg Queen.” So, I actually went back and watched First Contact before I put myself on tape. Then the world shut down. All the shows stopped filming and I never heard anything else. Nothing was filming and the pandemic was really, really at the peak.

Cut to December of 2020, and my agents said, “Oh, they want you for that role.” I said, “What role? What are you talking about?” It was so long ago I literally had to be reminded of everything… the prosthetics, how all this would work.

Once I was cast, then I watched every Borg episode I could find. I watched them to know what I needed to know, and then I’d move on to the next one. I wanted to absorb what Alice [Krige, who played the Borg Queen in First Contact and Voyager’s “Endgame”] and Susanna had done, but I didn’t necessarily study them or copy them. I watched and learned a little bit, and then didn’t think much more about it.

Read the full interview in Star Trek Explorer #2 – on sale April 12! Plus, interviews with Jeri Ryan and Akiva Goldsman; all-new and exclusive short fiction; your definitive guide to First Contact; Inside Trek: The Borg supplemental and much, much more!

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Star Trek: Picard streams exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. and is distributed concurrently by Paramount Global Distribution Group on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.