During a GalaxyCon virtual panel over the weekend, Star Trek: First Contact cast members Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, and Alice Krige reunited to celebrate the movie’s 25th anniversary. They chatted about behind-the-scenes secrets, their most memorable moments on set, and what it was like to create the iconic Borg Queen.
Krige, who played the Borg Queen in the film and in one episode of Star Trek: Voyager, gave fans a plethora of details about the makeup and costuming process that went into bringing the Borg Queen to life. She also revealed specific details about her Borg Queen costume, including why it had to be remade after the very first day of filming.
The ‘Painful’ Borg Queen Suit
The Borg Queen is one of the most iconic villains of the Star Trek universe. Krige pointed out that the costume and the makeup, down to the smallest details, are what really made the character. Krige said that the first time she walked onto the set as the Borg Queen, the entire cast and crew let out an audible gasp. They seemed truly scared of her. Krige said that their reaction to her look allowed her to completely become the character. She insisted that once she was transformed into the Borg Queen, the character arrived and she simply had to “channel” her.
Krige then revealed that it took several hours to complete the look. Most days, she had to arrive on set in the wee hours of the morning to get the makeup started. After multiple hours in the makeup chair, a whole crew of wardrobe folks had to help her into the costume. Once they maneuvered Krige into her Borg Queen suit, the crew literally glued it to her skin and then sewed up the costume.
Frakes interjected, revealing that the costumes were actually quite “painful” to wear for the entire day. Krige agreed but said she only had to deal with the truly uncomfortable costume for one day. She explained that her original Borg Queen suit shrank during the “curing” process. It was so tight that it barely fit.
Krige joked that the first day of filming she had to go to the bathroom, and “it was the longest and most expensive pee in… history.”
The crew had to literally cut the costume off her and help her remove it. When they tried to get her back into the suit, her body was so swollen from being in the very tight costume all day that they couldn’t even get it back on her.
A Heroic Costume Designer Saved the Day
Krige said that one of the Visual Effects people, Todd Masters, left the set in the middle of the night to figure out how to fix the suit. He ended up making her a completely new costume that night, which was ready for her by the time she needed to get into costume the next day.
Krige told her castmates that the new suit was “soft” and made her feel as if she was “wrapped in marshmallow.” She insisted that she was glad she had to film in the super-tight suit for a day because it helped her figure out how the Borg Queen should move. However, she was grateful to be in the new suit for the rest of the filming.
Krige admitted that she was lucky that Masters went out of his way to redesign her suit because the wardrobe folks didn’t redesign any of the other Borg suits. All the Borg extras had to deal with the stiff, tight, painful suits for the duration of the production.
Frakes and Sirtis both praised Krige’s performance, saying that no one else could have brought the Borg Queen to life the way she did.