Did Doctor Who's Cybermen influence Star Trek writers when they created the Borg? Did they even copy the idea?

There are many similarities: both are cyborgs, both assimilate other species by force, changing them into their own kind, etc.

Update: based on the comments below, I would like to add that I am only interested in referenced facts, not speculation.

  • I always thought the Borg were inspired by Marvel's Technarchy. Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 17:00
  • They are basically what became the Phalanx. They were interoduced in 1984 which was a few years before TNG and the introduction to the Borg. Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 18:22
  • 2
    You could even make an argument that the Borg were inspired by Cold War-era Soviet Communism, at least unconsciously. Commented Jan 10, 2012 at 13:55
  • 5
    Strongly related: The Borg were originally planned to be insectoid, not cybernetic. This doesn't, however, answer the question, as in theory their redesign could have been influenced by the Cybermen.
    – Izkata
    Commented Dec 15, 2012 at 21:01
  • 1
    Incidentally you might be interested in Assimilation²
    – Zommuter
    Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 20:56

4 Answers 4


While Science Fiction writers tend to borrow and be inspired by other franchises and concepts in a very loose sense, the Borg are not directly based on the Cybermen.

As mentioned in Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Continuing Mission, the original concept for the Borg was the character Lord Dread from Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. Like the Borg, Lord Dread was a cybernetic being bent on assimilation and domination, and spoke and moved very deliberately.

  • 3
    This makes for a wonderful connection between SF everywhere. B5 writer Joe Straczynski was Captain Power's most prolific writer (the show contains the first on-screen mention of a "Babylon 5" colony), along with producer (and later B5 writer) Larry DiTillio.
    – Tynam
    Commented Apr 20, 2012 at 11:21
  • Oh wow. He looks just like a Borg (err the other way around).
    – iMerchant
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 8:55

The Cybermen used the phase "resistance is futile" in Tomb of the Cybermen which aired in September 1967. Second Doctor (Patrick Throughton). No doubt it was seen by one of the writer or creators of Star Trek.


I have always belived the thought of The Borg was spun around the first Star trek movie: Star Trek: The Motion Picture from 1979 where Decker suggested that they strike at V'GER then run. And Spock says "Run to where? Resistance would be futlie". Even when you see the movie, the rectangled shapes is there, the way it asimilated all around it, and even the way it never wanted to do anything else than programmed for, and even the fear the humans have for it to reach Earth are the same.

So, no, I dont think the writers copyed the Cybermen, they took a proven Star Trek plot from the first movie and twisted it.

  • 1
    +1 I had always assumed the Borg were derived from that first movie, as well.
    – Beofett
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 12:10
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    The Cybermen predate ST: TMP by thirteen years (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tenth_Planet), but I think your point still stands. Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 14:49
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    Another point (two comments, to keep points separate): Several stories from Star Trek: Phase II were used in ST:TNG, one became "The Child" and another become "Devil's Due." But other ideas were taken from the leftover scripts from that aborted series for ST:TNG, and one script did include an alien species similar to the Borg. But even then, that was in the 1970s, which would still be after the Cybermen.
    – Tango
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 20:09
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    The connection was retconned in later. It was not their original intent for the two to be the same.
    – dkuntz2
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 1:59
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    The concept that the Borg are related to V'Ger is based on a joke by Gene Roddenberry and is not canon. It was only fleshed out in the (again, non-canon) book The Return, written well after "Q Who?".
    – user366
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 3:23

I feel that the Cybermen did influence the creation of the Borg, at least a little. My evidence for this stems from the 1967 Doctor Who "Tomb of the Cybermen." In episode 3, the newly revived Cybermen use the direct quote "resistance is futile" in reference to them trying to convert the Doctor and his party into Cybermen (i.e. assimilation). Those two linked concepts, which together make up two key aspects of the Borg, are too similar to ignore.

  • 2
    Welcome to the site! Unfortunately for your theory, not only did the phrase "resistance is futile" pre-date Tomb of the Cybermen in Doctor Who by a couple years (an entirely un-Cybermen-like alien with Borg-like ambitions in The Web Planet says it first), the phrase didn't originate in the show at all; it was supposedly used by Nazi Germany, and prior to that it was used in a 1930s short story. The Wiki article has some details. While the Cybermen may have inspired the Borg, they're not the concepts' basal origin.
    – BESW
    Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 3:32

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