Brannon Braga was bothered by people’s assumptions about Jeri Ryan
As the third season of Star Trek: Voyager came to an end, the ratings weren’t quite what the production team wanted. So they knew they needed something to change things up and create some excitement. Serving as the executive producer and showrunner, Brannon Braga felt that the series didn’t have that “one science-fictiony character,” as he was quoted in Star Trek: Voyager: A Celebration.
Once it was decided to create Seven of Nine, the search began for the actress who could play her, and Jeri Ryan quickly claimed the top spot as, according to Braga, “she could convey heartbreak and emotion while maintaining the steely veneer of Seven of Nine. That is almost a telepathic ability that I just marveled at.” But fans, once seeing Jeri Ryan’s picture on billboards all over Los Angeles promoting Voyager’s fourth season, thought the actress was being hired for sex appeal.
Brannon Braga called Jeri Ryan an amazing actress
Braga was angered by the fans’ assumptions about Ryan’s part before she even had a chance to appear on screen. He insisted that her character wasn’t created with “exploitative intentions.” Voyager director David Livingston added that “Seven would have never been a successful character if all Ryan had brought to the table was sex appeal.”
There’s no denying Ryan is a beautiful woman, and once she undertook the role as the former Borg drone, it became clear that her character was about more than her looks. Still, though, the studio did want to capitalize on Ryan’s beauty which is why the image of her in the form-fitting silver costume was displayed on billboards and not one of her as a Borg drone. So while it’s understandable that Braga was irritated, the studio didn’t help matters by its blatant use of sex appeal in an effort to draw more eyes to the screen.