Annie Wersching began and ended her career in Star Trek.
Annie Wersching, who died far too young on January 29, began and ended her career with roles in the Star Trek franchise. She made her television debut as Liana, the Kantare engineer in the first-season Star Trek: Enterprise episode, “Oasis.” Twenty years later—after a busy career that also included notable roles on General Hospital, 24, Borsch, Timeless, and The Vampire Diaries, among other series—she returned to Star Trek last spring as the Borg Queen in Star Trek: Picard.
Even before the second season of Picard premiered, fans knew, as our Chad Porto wrote in this space, Annie Wersching would have a new, different take on the Borg Queen. Alice Krige originated the role in Star Trek: First Contact. Susanna Thompson then played the part in three episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, largely as Krige had played it. Indeed, according to the Memory Alpha wiki, Thompson had auditioned for the role Krige ultimately won. Krige was able to step back into it for the Voyager series finale “Endgame” because the two actors played the part so similarly.
But Annie Wersching took the Borg Queen in fresh directions. While she brought sensual menace to the part, like Krige and Thompson, Wersching also made the most of the new situations in which Star Trek: Picard placed the Queen. In the process, she created an equally unforgettable version of the character.
Annie Wersching brought more mystery to and sympathy for the Borg Queen.
Even “in-universe,” the Borg Queen Annie Wersching played in Picard’s second season was literally a different version of the character. This Queen originated in an alternate timeline, one in which the fascist, racist Confederation of Earth dominated the galaxy. But the differences run deeper than temporal twists and turns.
As the season began, Annie Wersching’s Queen had more in common with the “precogs” of Minority Report or the Hybrids of the rebooted Battlestar Galactica than with Krige’s and Thompson’s Queen. Wersching’s Borg Queen was an aloof fusion of organic and mechanical life who spoke in cryptic, even prophetic utterances. “Move backward to go forward,” she said in the third episode. “Shatter to mend. The past is now.” Viewers eventually realized the Queen’s words summarized the whole season’s main plotlines. But even at the time, Wersching delivered them with a perfect air of irresistible mystery.
Wersching also made the Queen a far more sympathetic figure than she’d ever been before. In the season’s second episode, we watch in fascinated horror as the Borg Queen impassively awaits execution before a bloodthirsty crowd on “Eradication Day.” We can’t help but be sickened by the spectacle, even though we have only ever known the Queen as a dangerous villain, and Wersching deserves the credit for making the scene as gut wrenchingly effective as it is.
As the season progressed, we, along with Agnes Jurati, got to know Wersching’s Borg Queen better. We discovered this Queen is “so alone.” And this revelation proved key to stopping the Borg threat to humanity in 2024.
CBR’s Sam Stone anticipated this development in his review of the episode “Assimilation”:
"[The season’s] theme of being peacefully connected is expanding to include the Borg and their Queen, once the most insidious enemy to the Federation in the Star Trek Universe. The Queen has found a surprising kindred spirit in Agnes Jurati . . . and in developing a bond, the Queen may gain a fresh perspective on organic life through the one thing she’s always wanted: A friend."
Losing Annie Wersching to cancer surely breaks the hearts of those who knew her in real life. Those of us who only knew her through her on-screen work may also feel sad that such a talented actor is gone too soon. Yet the Star Trek appearances bookending her career, especially her masterful interpretation of the Borg Queen, will remain standout performances fans remember for years to come.