Anyone familiar with #StarTrek probably knows who the #Borg are: a fictional race of #cyborgs governed by a hive mind with no individuality whatsoever. While they were introduced in the second season of “#StarTrek: #TheNextGeneration”, were the Borg as we know them the same as what had been originally conceived? No, they weren’t.
The late producer & writer Maurice Hurley (1939 – 2015), who worked on TNG during its first and second seasons, had something very different in mind for the Borg. His original idea was partially captured in the final episode of the show’s first season (entitled “The Neutral Zone”). He originally intended that episode to be the first part of a two-part ark that would then open the show’s second season. But that ark never happen. Instead, only part of Hurley’s original idea was used: the Enterprise travels to the Romulan Neutral Zone to investigate the mysterious disappearance of several outposts, where the Enterprise encounters the Romulans (their first appearance in TNG), who are also investigating similar disappearances.
What happened with Hurley’s original idea? The writers strike by the Writers Guild of America happened in 1988.
Image from the 1988 Writers’ Strike
“The Neutral Zone” episode aired on May 16, 1988, two months after the writers’ strike began on March 7, 1988. The strike didn’t end until August 7, 1988, five months later and three months before the first episode of the 2nd season of TNG aired on Nov. 21, 1988. That episode (entitled “The Child”) was delayed due to the strike and was completely completely unrelated to the events in “The Neutral Zone”.
Had Hurley’s original idea been filmed, it would have had the Federation and the Romulans join forces to fight an aggressive insectoid race with a hive mind that was supposed to be responsible for the disappearance of the outposts on both sides. However, before the final first season episode was filmed, Hurley had to get the episode written quickly as the writers’ strike was widely viewed as being imminent.
So, Hurley took a fan submitted story by Deborah McIntyre and Mona Clee and used that as the basis for the episode along with part of his original idea. McIntyre & Clee’s idea was that the Enterprise would encounter three people from the 20th century who were cryogenically frozen centuries earlier, revive them, then have them adjust to life in the future.
Later in the second season of TNG, Hurley got to revisit his original idea for “The Neutral Zone” from the first season in the episode “Q Who”. But, his insectoid race (which probably wasn’t called the Borg at the time) never came to fruition primarily due to budgetary concerns. It was initially replaced with a reptilian race design, but that was also abandoned and replaced with the cyborg race that we know today as the Borg and was designed by costume designer Durinda Rice Wood:
What survived of Hurley’s original insectoid race idea in the Borg was the hive mind.
So, thanks in part to the 1988 writers’ strike, the Borg because one of the most powerful recurring foes in the “Star Trek” franchise. They’re appearances include the following:
“The Next Generation” Episodes:
- “Q Who” (Season 2, Ep. 16)
- “The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1” (Season 3, Ep. 26)
- “The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2” (Season 4, Ep. 01)
- “I, Borg” (Season 5, Ep. 23)
- “Descent Part, 1” (Season 6, Ep. 26)
- “Descent Part, 2” (Season 7, Ep. 01)
- “Star Trek VIII: First Contact”
- “Unity” (Season 3, Ep. 17)
- “Scorpion, Part 1” (Season 3, Ep. 26)
- “Scorpion, Part 2” (Season 4, Ep. 01)
- “The Raven” (Season 4, Ep. 06)
- “Drone” (Season 5, Ep. 02)
- “Dark Frontier, Part 1” (Season 5, Ep. 16)
- “Dark Frontier, Part 2” (Season 5, Ep. 17)
- “Survival Instinct” (Season 6, Ep. 02)
- “Collective” (Season 6, Ep. 16)
- “Child’s Play” (Season 6, Ep. 19)
- “Unimatrix Zero, Part 1” (Season 6, Ep. 26)
- “Unimatrix Zero, Part 2” (Season 7, Ep. 01)
- “Imperfection” (Season 7, Ep. 02)
- “Endgame” (Season 7, Ep. 25)
- “Regeneration” (Season 2, Ep. 23)