The main cast of the much-loved Star Trek The Next Generation is reuniting for Season 3 of Picard, the show fronted by Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard.
LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, and Brent Spiner will all be returning as their respective characters Geordi La Forge, Worf, Commander William Riker, Beverly Crusher MD, Counselor Deanna Troi, and Data.
This is the first time the core cast has starred together since the movie, Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) – certainly fitting as Picard deals with Jean-Luc’s trauma after the events of the feature film.
Spiner, Frakes and Sirtis have appeared in Picard before – Spiner a few times in Seasons 1 and 2, and Sirtis in the episode Nepenthe alongside Frakes (who has also directed four episodes of the programme so far, as well as further cameoing in the Season 1 finale, Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2.)
Season 3 showrunner, Terry Matalas said:
“I remember watching the premiere of Star Trek The Next Generation almost 34 years ago with my father like it was yesterday. It was the spark that ignited my love for science fiction. So, it’s most fitting that the story of Jean-Luc Picard ends honouring the beginning, with his dearest and most loyal friends from the U.S.S. Enterprise. It would be an understatement to say that giving these characters a proper send-off is an honour. The entire Star Trek: Picard team and I can’t wait for fans to experience this final, high-stakes, starship-bound adventure in Season 3!”
The show is proving to be a hit with fans, having already brought back Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan in the Season 2 premiere The Star Gazer, and making the Star Trek: Voyager character Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) a series regular. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Guinan again either later in Season 2 and / or in Season 3 of Picard.
However, Jeri Ryan hasn’t been confirmed for Season 3 yet.
So why has the big Star Trek The Next Generation reunion been announced now? After all, Picard Season 2 hasn’t even finished airing on Paramount+ yet, and Season 3 won’t stream until 2023.
That might be one reason, actually: such an announcement has drummed up extra interest in Picard, so we can see fans signing up to Paramount+ (or Amazon Prime in the UK) solely to catch up on the franchise before welcoming back the Star Trek The Next Generation favourites La Forge, Worf, Crusher and Data.
Similarly, this Star Trek The Next Generation announcement was made on First Contact Day, i.e. a big day for the Trek fandom. While Star Wars fans have May the 4th, and Doctor Who fans celebrate on the show’s anniversary (23rd November), Trek lovers have First Contact Day, commemorating the day the Vulcans made contact with humanity in 2063. We were expecting some exciting news to tie into the event, so this ticks that box nicely!
Thirdly, filming for Season 3 has already finished: some scenes were actually shot at the same time as scenes for Season 2 then continued until the series wrapped on 8th March 2022. It’s now entered post-production. While it’s great that returning Star Trek The Next Generation cast members weren’t spotted on set so surprises weren’t leaked early, at least announcing their comeback means the crew can talk about Picard openly. (Well, “openly” without too many spoilers…)
Plus, we reckon the Trek team will still have plenty of shocks in store for us.
Still, this nostalgic news catapults us back to the heady days of Star Trek’s TV dominance and hints that maybe a new era of popularity is emerging from the comparative franchise wasteland.
After much speculation about whether Worf’s prosthetics would be updated to align with the new Klingon designs as seen in Star Trek: Discovery, executive producer Alex Kurtzman has confirmed that Worf will look the same as he did in Star Trek The Next Generation – meaning this is set to be a real trip down Memory Lane for Trek fans.
So who isn’t returning for Picard Season 3? We don’t know, but notably absent from the announcement are Denise Crosby and Wil Wheaton.
Crosby played Security Chief Tasha Yar in Season 1 of Star Trek The Next Generation, but she and Gates McFadden (Beverly Crusher) were written out for Season 2. While McFadden returned for Season 3 as Crusher, Crosby returned for a few episodes here and there, twice as Yar but more often than not as Yar’s half-Romulan daughter, Commander Sela.
Wheaton, meanwhile, played Beverly’s son Wesley Crusher, appearing regularly throughout the first four seasons of Star Trek The Next Generation then, after leaving for the Starfleet Academy, sporadically in Season 5 to 7.
It’d be wonderful to have both back too (especially as they’re often overlooked), but let’s not get ahead of ourselves: having most of the main Next Generation cast reuniting is something we’re hugely grateful for and excited about.
Picard is streaming on Paramount+ now in America and other selected regions, and on Amazon Prime in the UK.
Star Trek Next Gen scarf – order now from the Lovarzi shop!