Fans of Jean-Luc Picard, played by Patrick Stewart since Star Trek: The Next Generation, will be sad to hear that Picard will likely end after Season 3.
Though not confirmed by Paramount yet, the news that Picard will conclude with its third season was hinted at by Stewart and executive producer, Akiva Goldsman, in late January 2022. Things might change and a fourth season could be announced, but for now, it’s looking likely that Season 3 will be its last.
Picard, of course, was the captain of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), and, in addition to being in every episode of The Next Generation, appeared in Deep Space Nine and the feature films, Star Trek Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002.)
As one of the most notable and much-loved captains, his eponymous spin-off series was highly anticipated and was met with great reviews when it began in early 2020. The show’s renewal wasn’t a shock – however, it being announced so quickly (in January 2020) was. Equally surprising was the news that the renewal was for two further seasons, confirming that Picard would run to at least three seasons.
And now, it sounds like that’s all we’re going to get. But maybe that’s for the best.
What is Star Trek: Picard about?
Picard picks up the character in 2399, 20 years after Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), where we find a retired, ailing Jean-Luc still in the throes of grief following the death of his friend, Data. Having left Starfleet behind, he’s somewhat exiled himself, living off his family’s vineyard. That’s when he’s visited by a woman who’s one of a new generation of synthetic beings – a woman who is apparently the daughter of Data.
That’s when he’s thrown back into adventure again, fighting for the rights of synths, meeting friends old and new, and trying to do right by his deceased Lieutenant Commander.
To say more would spoil the surprises of Season 1; suffice to say, though, that the first run of 10 episodes concluded with a shocking cliffhanger that left many viewers turning to the internet to find out exactly where this is all leading…
Did Picard get cancelled?
No, it doesn’t sound like the show was actually cancelled. Indeed, Star Trek is one of the main reasons some people subscribe to the new streaming service, Paramount+, so we doubt any of these hit programmes would be forcibly cancelled by Paramount Pictures owner, ViacomCBS.
So what happened?
It appears that this was always the plan, at least according to Stewart and Goldsman.
Picard was always due to run for three seasons… so its early renewal back in 2020 shouldn’t have come as a surprise after all!
That probably means that everything in these three seasons was sketched out at the very beginning of the process; there was always an endgame. That’s much better than a lot of shows which don’t know when they’re getting renewed or cancelled, leading to production crew either being unceremoniously dropped (and viewers more often than not left with abrupt endings, unanswered questions, and, in some cases, unresolved cliffhangers) or writing possible conclusions, only to find they’re needed to write new storylines.
The latter, for instance, was a problem with Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, which was left in a precarious situation for a couple of seasons before ABC agreed with the crew to finish the programme completely with Season 7. That even meant the finale of Season 5 was called The End. Fortunately, the writing team had prepared for possible renewal and left some plot strands open for further development.
Nonetheless, we all know how frustrating it is when a show doesn’t reach its natural end. So we’re really happy that Paramount has allowed Picard to run its course.
Why is Picard ending a good thing?
Yes, it’s actually good that Picard is (probably) ending.
Okay, we’re always up for more Star Trek, but equally, everything has to end sometime. And if this means we get a complete narrative, a fully-rounded conclusion to Jean-Luc’s story, a tale that began all the way back in 1987… well, we’re more than happy about that.
Presumably, it’s an ending that Patrick Stewart thinks is satisfying for the character too. We’re positing here that, when he was first approached to reprise the role, the producers ran through the whole plot with him, so his acceptance to come aboard the series signifies he was glad about how it all turns out. He’s been playing Picard for more than 30 years (which is remarkable in itself); he knows the former captain inside-out and we can trust him to do right by the character.
Plus, there’s a certain symmetry with Star Trek: The Original Series, which feels rather pleasing. While many iterations of Trek ran for seven seasons, TOS ran for three (albeit longer) seasons, and Picard is set to be the first live-action Trek show since then to do similar.
It’s long been rumoured that the series would conclude after three seasons anyway – so many of us have already mentally prepared ourselves to say goodbye to Jean-Luc once again.
And who knows what will happen next? Picard‘s potential absence could make way for further Trek series, especially in the wake of its success. How about a similar programme about Captain Janeway from Voyager? Could other fan-favourite characters carry their own series? What about those introduced, or given new life, in Picard like Seven of Nine and Raffi?
Is the Picard series over?
Here’s the thing – we haven’t seen the last of Picard. At least, not yet. Picard Season 2 hasn’t even started, and Season 3 won’t stream on Paramount+ until 2023. So the programme will be with us for some time yet.
How do you feel about Picard potentially ending after three seasons? Let me know in the comments below.
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