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Locutus of Borg

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Locutus, full torso.jpg

Locutus of Borg (2366)

Locutus of Borg (2366)
Gender: Male
Species: Borg (former Human)
Affiliation: Borg Collective
Status: Assimilated in 2366;
separated from the Collective in 2367
Played by: Patrick Stewart
Locutus complexion drain.jpg

Locutus' complexion is drained during the final stages of his assimilation.

Locutus' complexion is drained during the final stages of his assimilation.
"I am Locutus of Borg. Resistance is futile. Your life as it has been is over. From this time forward you will service us."file info
Picard in Borg alcove

Picard's assimilation underway

Locutus of Borg was the Borg designation forced upon Starfleet Captain Jean-Luc Picard after his assimilation in late 2366. The Borg intended to use Picard as an intermediary, a spokesman for the Human race in order to facilitate the assimilation of Earth so that the process would be as quick and efficient (or as perfect, from the perspective of the Borg Collective) as possible, with the fewest number of casualties on both sides. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds")

Locutus means "having spoken" or "he who has spoken" in Latin language, an appropriate name for one serving as spokesman.

The Borg Queen herself had been on board a Borg cube where Picard had undergone his transformation into Locutus. Interested in overseeing this event, she had intended for Picard to become her equal counterpart but, when he refused to give himself willingly and accept his assimilation, the Queen was forced to turn Locutus into merely a drone, of which there were already many others. (Star Trek: First Contact)

Picard's assimilation allowed the Borg to acquire the whole of his knowledge and experience, as well as his own personal knowledge (a fact that was made apparent when Locutus addressed Commander Riker as "Number one"). Picard's detailed information regarding Federation technology and strategy yielded the Borg a significant tactical advantage when Starfleet confronted the Borg cube at Wolf 359. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II", DS9: "Emissary")

This access proved two-way, however, as the crew of the USS Enterprise-D was able to capture Locutus and use his link to disable and destroy the Borg vessel by sending the Borg cube a command to regenerate, creating a feedback loop that destroyed the cube and severed Picard's link to the Collective. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II")

Though his implants were removed and his wounds were allowed to heal, Picard's assimilation continued to haunt him. He returned to Earth, paying a visit to his family in La Barre, France, where he eventually came to terms with the ordeal. (TNG: "Family")

Despite his separation from the Collective, Borg drones that had never encountered Locutus, such as Third of Five, still referred to Picard using this name, due to Locutus' experiences remaining within the shared Hive mind. (TNG: "I Borg", "Descent")

When Benjamin Sisko made contact with the Prophets in 2369, one took the form of Locutus as he appeared on the viewscreen of Sisko's ship, the USS Saratoga, shortly before the Battle of Wolf 359. (DS9: "Emissary")

Locutus of Borg and Borg Queen

Locutus with the Borg Queen

When the Borg attempted a second invasion in 2373, Picard's experience with the Borg not only gave him prior warning of the attack, but also allowed him to pinpoint a weakness in the Borg defenses, resulting in the fleet destroying the invading vessel. (Star Trek: First Contact)

When Captain Kathryn Janeway was conducting negotiations with the Borg in 2374 during the Borg-Species 8472 War, she requested to speak to an individual, citing to the Borg, "You've done it before, when you transformed Jean-Luc Picard into Locutus." (VOY: "Scorpion, Part II")




The character of Locutus was created as a result of the writing staff of Star Trek: The Next Generation feeling it necessary for the Borg to have a spokesman, which the writing staffers referred to as a "queen bee." The concept of using Picard to fill this persona was directly preceded by a notion that involved the Borg capturing both him and Data before combining them as a single entity; this idea was dropped when it was realized that the Borg lacked sufficient motive to carry out these actions. It was writing staffer Michael Piller who subsequently came up with the idea of filling the spokesman role with an assimilated Picard. Piller later remembered, "It all just fell into place. I said, 'I've got it. Picard will be the queen bee.'" (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)

After Michael Piller decided he wanted to write "The Best of Both Worlds", one of the first ideas that he privately disclosed to fellow TNG writing staffer Ira Steven Behr was that of Picard being assimilated by the Borg. The way in which Piller single-handedly delivered this concept in the writing of the episode impressed Behr, who later commented, "By Borgifying Picard, Michael tapped into Picard's humanity. Because at the time, the fans were bitching about Picard [such as by complaining that he was 'too cold' or not similar enough to Kirk] [....] But by Borgifying Picard–which is something that Michael really related to, because there was a little bit of Borg in him–it led the way to 'Family,' and [...] it's what kept the franchise alive." (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 163)

Locutus was played by Patrick Stewart. Regarding how he portrayed the character in the two-parter "The Best of Both Worlds" and "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II", Stewart explained, "The interesting situation for me was how to create this murderous, autonomous figure while retaining, behind all that, the shadow of Jean-Luc [....] I think, for me, the Borg episodes were not as dramatic as they were for our audience. I can think of other episodes in which I felt that the character was expanding, developing and learning much more than in that one. It principally for me was a way of trying to find out how technically to make the Borg character work. Of course, a lot of it was left to the makeup department and the special effects department. The makeup made a significant contribution." (Star Trek: The Official Fan Club Magazine issue 87, p. 4)

Depicting the gradual draining of Picard's Humanity as he was transformed from Human into Borg, during the "Best of Both Worlds" two-parter, represented a challenge for TNG's makeup team. Initially, this was done by showing the exposed areas of his body paler by a couple of shades. According to Makeup Supervisor Michael Westmore, this demonstrated that "as humanity was drained away so was the color of life." Even when the full Borg makeup of Locutus was applied, the creative team still wanted to leave enough of the Picard character visibly recognizable so that the contrast between the two personalities was startling. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 85)

Locutus concept art

Concept art showing the final stages of Locutus' physical transformation

There were actually two main variations of Locutus' full Borg makeup created for television – one that was used at the end of "The Best of Both Worlds", and another that was applied for the start of "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II". Whereas the first of these makeup designs incorporated a headpiece that wrapped round from the back of the head to the front of the face where it covered the right cheek, the second version extended the headpiece so that it covered the majority of the face. Similarly, though the first variant of the makeup included only a few black ribbed tubes that seemed to run into his body and merely one identical tube that ran through the headpiece (a lead which, according to Michael Westmore, was intended "to indicate that it was connected directly through his skull to his brain"), the later version had considerably more tubes. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, pp. 85 & 87)

Locutus update

Locutus as he appeared in First Contact

There are also noticeable differences in the makeup design of Locutus between the TV series and Star Trek: First Contact. Among the changes seen are airbrushed "wiring" on the skin (made to seem as if it is beneath the skin), slightly more detailed "Borg implants" and a completely new body suit. The changes enhanced the somewhat sparse original look and corresponded with the "new look" of the Borg for the movie.

A specific Locutus-related nightmare sequence from early in First Contact – involving a Borg appliance popping out of Picard's cheek – was planned by Industrial Light & Magic artist Alex Jaeger. He not only drew a concept sketch of the appliance on Picard's cheek, in its fully spread-out state, but also created a computer-generated demonstration of the facial changes. The latter was done using six copies of a promotional head shot of Patrick Stewart as Picard (taken during production on the series) and inserting the slowly evolving "cheek popper" with Photoshop. Jaeger cited an ice-cube holder as inspiration for the dreamt device, "with those fingers that extend and grab." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, pp. 332 & 333)


In the comic story Star Trek: The Next Generation - Perchance to Dream, the Enterprise crew were attacked by a telepathic weapon called the Chova, which forced its victims to experience dreams and hallucinations focused on their personal failures. However, it was discovered that those with Multiple Personality Disorder could render the Chova inert (The multiple personas overwhelming the Chova, which could only attack one personality at the time), so Picard was deliberately infected with the Chova, as his mind meld with Sarek, the probe that gave him the memories of Kamin and the remnants of Locutus still in his mind gave him the makings of an MPD. The four defeated the Chova, but Locutus then attempted to regain control of Picard's body, nearly "killing" Kamin and Sarek before Picard gathered the mental strength to stop Locutus.

In the comic story arc The Worst of Both Worlds!, the Enterprise crew gets pulled through a rift into an alternate universe in which Riker's plan to rescue Picard from the Borg fails and the Borg have conquered Earth. The crew teams up with their counterparts, whose Enterprise is only the stardrive section, as their saucer section had to be abandoned. The two crews managed to capture Locutus and use his link to the Collective to defeat the Borg, much like in the canon universe, except the "sleep" command couldn't be used. Picard gambles on the possibility that his alternate self also mind-melded with Sarek, like he did in the episode Sarek. Whispering Spock's name in Locutus' ear causes the Vulcan emotions to trigger and allows his humanity to break through. Using the alternate Picard's suggestion of "eat", Data is successful in immobilizing the Borg and saving both Earth and the alternate Picard. It is later revealed that he was responsible for opening the rift which pulled the Enterprise to the alternate reality.

Locutus reborn Armada

Cloned Locutus from Star Trek: Armada

In Star Trek: Armada, set in 2376, a new Locutus of Borg was created by the Borg that had captured a Dominion cloning facility. This Locutus led an attack upon the Federation and the Klingon and Romulan empires in an attempt to gain an Omega particle, resulting in the assimilation of Spock (who was on his way to a Romulan-Klingon peace conference) and the conquest of Earth. However, aided by the USS Premonition, a time-traveling ship from the future under the command of Captain Thaddius Deming, the USS Enterprise-E was able to undo this Borg victory, and the Locutus clone was destroyed after a brief confrontation with the original Picard.

In 2380, Star Trek: Legacy presents the assimilated Vulcan T'urell, who considered herself a Borg Queen, referred to Picard as "Locutus", much in the way the Borg Queen of 2373 also addressed Picard.

In the novel Resistance, set in 2380, Picard became Locutus once again in an attempt to defeat the Borg Queen and neutralize them. After having defeated the Queen by re-altering her into a normal drone, Dr. Crusher was able to restore the captain to his normal self.

During the novel The Return by William Shatner, it is revealed that Locutus is not as unique as he has been portrayed; according to this novel, the Borg commonly assimilate a specific individual from a new species to act as a "speaker" to the new race to try and convince them of the merits of assimilation, thus making the process of assimilating a species easier and less 'wasteful'. During the events of the novel, the Borg create a Romulan "speaker" known as Vox, who subsequently proposes a Borg/Romulan alliance as a means of effectively conquering the Federation and the Romulan Empire, secretly intending to assimilate the Romulans the first chance they get. The Borg also attempt to assimilate Spock, thus turning him into their "speaker" to the Vulcan people, but due to Spock's past mind meld with V'Ger – an aspect of the Borg Collective – the traces of the Collective in Spock's mind from the meld result in the Borg assuming that Spock has already been assimilated, and thus leave him alone.

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