STLV 2019: Jeri Ryan discusses finding Seven of Nine’s voice

Image: CBS
Image: CBS /

During the Star Trek: Picard panel at Star Trek Las Vegas, Jeri Ryan talked about returning to the role of Seven on Nine and trying to find her voice.

One of the biggest shocks to come out of San Diego Comic-Con and the premiere of the new Star Trek: Picard trailer was the appearance of Jeri Ryan as Seven on Nine. Just the fact CBS was able to keep it secret for as long as they did is amazing enough, but Seven showing up in the trailer itself, confronting Picard was outstanding.

Part of what made the reveal so great was that it came completely out of left field. While everyone was anticipating appearances by former members of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation, no one, and I mean no one, thought we’d see anyone from any of the other shows, much less in the trailer.

But that’s exactly what fans got. And it has helped make Picard must-watch television for just about any Star Trek fan out there.

At the just completed Star Trek Las Vegas, Ryan took the stage will fellow Picard co-stars Jonathan Frakes and Jonathan Del Arco to talk about the series and returning to the world of Star Trek, although as a Seven of Nine who is much changed since we last saw her.

You can tell as soon as you realize it’s Seven talking to Picard in the trailer that this is not the same character who was on Star Trek: Voyager. It is, but yet it isn’t. And that new “voice” Seven has was one of the hardest things for Jeri Ryan to find as she prepared for the series, as reported by Trek Movie.

"“I was freaking out. She was a very specific character for four years on Voyager. There was a lot of growth, and all of that. She went from being a machine to learning to be human. But, particularly the way she moved and her voice, that was what I was really hung up on. Her voice didn’t change that much in four years. So, she had a stilted, very formal, very stylized way of speaking, at the end of Voyager. So, when I got the initial script, and from I knew from the original pitch with James [Duff] a year and a half ago, she is not the same Seven. She is much more human. She been on Earth for a long time, she has been through a lot. So, when I saw that initial script and as you saw “what the hell are you doing out here?” It’s a very, very different voice. And that is what was freaking me out.”"

Thankfully, fellow former Borg Jonathan Del Arco was able to help Ryan figure out a way to create this new Seven of Nine and have it make sense to her as both an actor and for the character.

"“I was literally freaking out. I was bursting into tears: “I don’t know what her voice is! I can’t find her.” So, Johnny came over and we had lunch and read the script for like an hour and finally he just – I was so freaked out I couldn’t think clearly about it – he said after an hour: “just try this, what if…” The Borg have always been hated, they are universally hated because they were bad guys, they were tough. But, there’s other elements in this world with the Borg. And, what if she had to make the choice to be as human as possible, to survive, to sound as human and act as human as possible. Clearly, she is always going to look like a former Borg, because she has these implants that cant go away. So, what if she had to make that choice – a conscious choice – to sound as human as possible. And that’s all I needed. That’s what I needed! I just needed something for it to make sense as an actor as to why she would have that huge of a chance. Then it made sense to me.”"

At this point it isn’t known exactly how many episodes of the first season of Picard Ryan is scheduled to appear in, but from what we can gather it looks like at least a handful.

Next. Star Trek: Lower Decks takes place after Nemesis. dark

Hopefully this won’t be the only time we see Seven in the series as Robert Picardo has mentioned he has been approached to appear in Season 2. A Seven of Nine/Doctor reunion would make an awful lot of people very happy and could lead to the Holy Grail of guest appearances, namely Kate Mulgrew as Kathryn Janeway.

Star Trek: Picard is scheduled to arrive on CBS All Access in early 2020.