Resistance was meaningless long before the ominous “Resistance is meaningless” dialogue was first uttered in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” That phrase is pretty much synonymous with “The Next Generation” and the show’s most famous and infamous villains, the Borg. The Borg Collective first made the menacing statement in “The Best of Both Worlds,” which Memory Alpha says was the 26th episode of the show’s third season, airing June 18, 1990. As written by the late Michael Piller, it’s occurred during the next interaction between Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the Borg, after the captain of the Enterprise is kidnapped by the Borg.
“Captain Jean-Luc Picard, you command the strongest ship in the Federation fleet. You speak for your people.”
“I have nothing to say to you! And I will resist you with my last shred of strength!”
“Strength doesn’t matter. Resistance is meaningless. We want to improve ourselves. We add your biological and technological distinctiveness to ours. Your culture will adapt to ours.”
“Impossible! My culture is based on freedom and self-determination!”
“Freedom is irrelevant. Self-determination is irrelevant. You have to comply.”
“We’d rather die!”
“Death doesn’t matter. Your archaic cultures are based on authority. To facilitate our introduction into your societies, it has been decided that a human voice will speak for us in all communications. You were chosen to be that voice.”
That line “Resistance is futile” would be heard many times in the “Star Trek” franchise to this day. Perhaps most prominently, it served as the catchphrase for “Star Trek: First Contact,” the Borg-centric second “Next Generation” feature film in which actress Alice Krige co-starred as the Borg Queen. The line even appeared prominently on the movie’s poster.
However, “resistance is futile” and lines like it had been seen in several other science fiction properties years before — and even within the “Star Trek” franchise. The renegade alien Time Lord, known as The Master, said in 1976, “Resistance is futile” in “The Deadly Assassin”, the ninth episode of the fourteenth season of “Doctor Who”. Later, in 1977, in an episode of “Space: 1999,” titled “The Dorcons,” the titular alien race said, “Resistance is futile.” The following year, 1978, a young Vogon Guard stated in “Fit the Second,” an episode of the radio series “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” that “Resistance is useless.” And in 1979, in “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” nearly a decade before “The Next Generation” debuted, Spock (Leonard Nimoy) pointed out that “any display of resistance would be futile.” Similarly, Darth Vader (voice of James Earl Jones) told Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), “You’re defeated. There’s no point in resisting. Don’t be destroyed like Obi-Wan did.”
The phrase is still used in all kinds of pop culture ventures. It served as the title of an episode of “Dexter” in 2007 and was spoken by Galactus in “Planet Hulk,” an episode of “Hulk and the Agents of SMASH” that aired in 2015. Alternative rock band Oh Hiroshima released their album “Resistance Is Futile” in 2011, while rockers Manic Street Preachers dropped the album “Resistance Is Futile” in 2018. Ann Coulter, the conservative media pundit, published the book “Resistance Is Futile!: How the Trump-Hating Left Lost Its Collective Mind” in 2018. Those are just a few examples.
And in the “Star Trek” franchise, fans have also heard “Resistance is futile” in post-“Next Generation” episodes of “Deep Space Nine”, “Voyager”, “Enterprise” and, most recently, “Lower Decks”. . .” The current animated comedy series “Star Trek” included the line in the second season episode “I, Excretus”, which premiered on September 30, 2021. Alice Krige, who played the Borg Queen in “Star Trek: First Contact” and in the “Voyager” episode “Endgame”, re-voiced the character for “Lower Decks”.