Warning: This article contains spoilers for Star Trek: Picard season 2
Sir Patrick Stewart recently shared that he had doubts about his Star Trek: The Next Generation colleagues returning for Star Trek: Picard season 3. The Picard series stars Stewart back in his iconic role as Jean-Luc, the former captain of the USS Enterprise in the iconic The Next Generation. The Paramount+ series has also showcased the return of a few familiar faces from past Star Trek shows throughout its run.
Picard season 1 featured the appearances of several The Next Generation cast members, such as Jonathan Frakes returning as Captain William Riker, Brent Spiner as Data, and Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi. Season 2 was no exception, as Whoopi Goldberg returned to her Star Trek role as the long-lived El-Aurian bartender Guinan, and Wil Wheaton made a surprise season 2 finale appearance as former Enterprise-D crew member Wesley Crusher. It was announced earlier this year that Frakes, Spiner, and Sirtis would return in Picard season 3 along with all remaining The Next Generation cast members, including Michael Dorn as the Klingon Worf, LeVar Burton as Geordi La Forge, and Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher.
In an interview with Variety, Stewart admitted that he had some doubts about including more members of The Next Generation cast in Picard season 3. When asked if the returning characters were in every episode, the actor wouldn’t confirm the details, but said they would appear in season 3 “at different times.” Stewart also said he initially feared that bringing back The Next Generation cast would be committing far too much to fan service, to the detriment of the show, but was later brought around to the idea. Read what Stewart said below.
“…Every single one of my leading colleagues from Next Generation will be in Season 3 at different times. It was something which initially, I had my doubts about. It would seem to me that it would be paying too much attention to the fan appreciations of what Next Generation had meant to them. I know how intense the social reconnections can be. But when we talked about it, when I talk to Akiva [Goldsman] about it and my fellow producers and the other writers, I could see that it could be done without rewinding the clock. There was no reason for us to walk down memory lane in every scene. Not at all. And the brilliant thing the writers did in Season 3, is that they engaged the cast of Next Generation. But that’s as much as I’m allowed to say.”
Although Stewart was apprehensive of how Picard’s fellow crew mates would be included in the upcoming season 3, the actor clearly feels confident about how showrunner and writer Akiva Goldsman has handled their return. While Stewart may believe that featuring well-loved past characters in new spinoffs runs the risk of diverting attention away from the central story, his comments seem to suggest that Picard season 3 will not be overusing its returning Next Generation cast with frequent “walk[s] down memory lane.” Instead, Stewart’s tease implies that season 3 will be a celebration of The Next Generation, while also telling a new story that maintains Picard‘s core narrative.
Legacy sequels have arguably become a genre of their own in recent years. Film and television studios have revived many older movies and shows by betting on the power of nostalgia to fuel their success, including projects like Terminator: Dark Fate, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Jurassic World Dominion, and many more. Star Trek: Picard is no exception, however Stewart’s comments seem to promise that The Next Generation cast’s return in Picard season 3 is more than just a nostalgic romp, but also a brand new chapter that continues the series’ focus of delving further into Admiral Picard’s life. Only time will tell if the actor’s comments hold true when Star Trek: Picard season 3 debuts on Paramount+ in 2023.