Star Trek: Picard: 7 Things To Know About the Final Season From the Cast and Showrunner

The Next Generation is back to steer the Paramount+ sci-fi series' last season into dock. The shows' star Patrick Stewart and more cast members along with showrunner Terry Matalas offer insights into season 3 and what fans may find beyond its final frontier.

by | February 15, 2023 | Comments

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Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is about to embark on his final mission in the third season of Pararmount+’s Star Trek: Picard. Of course, never say never when it comes to Stewart reprising his role or, indeed, the rest of his Star Trek: The Next Generation castmates finding a place a in Star Trek‘s future. You need only look at bonus features on the Blu-ray releases of The Next Generation to see the group wrestling with notions of both retirement and continuing.

Patrick Stewart in a poster for Star Trek: Picard season 3 (Paramount+)

(Photo by Paramount+)

Those same concerns may become text in Picard‘s final 10-episode run. As announced when the program was still streaming episodes of the second season, the majority of Stewart’s TNG shipmates – Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, and Gates McFadden – return as their classic characters (mostly). The intent of the season: to give the group the proper send-off they never quite received in the Next Generation’s feature film series.

Nevertheless, Picard’s final season acknowledges the gap of years between their last film, Star Trek: Nemesis, and now; in fact, that distance has been a constant in the show’s various storylines. And if you haven’t been keeping up, but want to see the last mission of the Next Generation crew, here are a few things we were able to learn from the cast and showrunner Terry Matalas about Picard‘s third season.

1. It’s Set in the 25th Century

Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and Jeri Ryan in Star Trek: Picard

(Photo by Trae Patton/Paramount+)

Although Picard always took place in the last years of the 24th century – the era first explored in TNG and continued in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Lower Decks – the third season proudly announces itself as entering a new century. To TNG faithful, the century shift should offer a sense of momentum and reaffirm Star Trek‘s commitment to setting out further in its own fictional history and future while Star Trek: Discovery tells stories in its far removed future and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds seeks out new life in the original Star Trek‘s 23rd century.

At the Television Critics Association winter press tour in January, Trek universe executive producer Alex Kurtzman suggested employing the various time periods allows Trek to grow while also holding onto its core ideals.

“It’s still always about [Star Trek creator Gene] Roddenberry’s vision of optimism,” he said. “[But] you meet different crews who face different situations.”

2. The Ship Featured Is U.S.S. Titan and Its Captain Is Unmissable

Todd Stashwick in STAR TREK: PICARD

(Photo by James Dimmock/Paramount+)

One new crew viewers will meet in Picard‘s third season is the complement of the U.S.S. Titan. The ship was first referenced in Nemesis as Captain Riker’s (Frakes) first command following a 10–12 year stint as Picard’s first officer. He has also been seen taking the ship out for missions on Lower Decks and the first season of Picard.

But the ship will be different this time around. Photographed with cooler color temperatures and featuring none of the famous carpeting adorning TNG‘s Enterprise, the steeler vision of the ship also reflects the sterner disposition of Captain Shaw (Todd Stashwick), its less-than-approving commanding officer. When speaking with Rotten Tomatoes, Stashwick joked that Shaw is “barely noticeable.”

“Fans want to see new things with characters that they love,” he continued. “He certainly is new. The way he treats them, we really haven’t seen that before; that sort of irreverence. That sort of passive aggression. I think they’re going to love it.”

As an ongoing character for the season, Stashwick said Shaw will get to “poke at their whole legacy” and that, eventually, fans will enjoy the character, who gets to be a critic of the Next Generation. Of course, it remains to be seen if that enjoyment will be direct or in a “love-to-hate” manner.


(Photo by James Dimmock/Paramount+)

Despite Shaw presenting the ship as an icier environment for the TNG gang, there will be one familiar face aboard the Titan: Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan). Although the topic of her name – an aspect of the character going right back to her earliest Voyager days – continues to be a source of conflict for her.

“It’s very deep-rooted personal thing for Seven, and it took a long time for her to accept being [Seven versus ‘Seven of Nine’],” Ryan said. As fans who have seen the season 3 trailers know, Seven is finally in a Starfleet uniform, but despite its utopian ideals, she will “be butting heads with somebody else who doesn’t want that to be her name and wants this [her human name] to be her name.”

Ryan added it will be “frustrating for her” to once again tackle the issue of her name when “she has finally embraced it and accepted herself.”

3. Echoes of “All Good Things…” Are Inevitable, But Not Necessarily Intentional  

STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, Patrick Stewart, 'All Good Things...'

(Photo by ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Reuniting the TNG cast 20-or-so years after Nemesis will undoubtedly put the group’s TV finale, “All Good Things…,” into the minds of fans. The Next Generation two-hour closer sees Picard experiencing a possible future some 20 years ahead. His crew has scattered, some are estranged, and Picard himself has retired to the family winery in France. Naturally enough, Picard, as a whole, features some similarities to “All Good Things …,” but Matalas maintained direct thematic connections are not intended, although they may still occur.

“We did look at it,” he said. “It’s the greatest television finale of all time, and it is a proper send-off to Star Trek: The Next Generation. This [season] is a send-off to them now, post feature films and looking at them decades later.”

Gates McFadden in STAR TREK: PICARD

(Photo by James Dimmock/Paramount+)

For McFadden, whose ultimate future may feature a few more ties to the one seen in “All Good Things…,” added, “I loved the way it was dealt with this time because all of our characters have such a huge history, both as people, the actors, and as the characters.”

That history matters in either vision of the future, but where “All Good Things…” reverted to TNG’s status quo – something largely unchanged in the Next Generation feature films as well –McFadden felt Matalas and Picard’s overall tendency for character examination opened a “new world of exploration, of conflict in our characters, and the loneliness and the vulnerabilities and the humanity of our characters.”

At the TCA press conference, Stewart echoed her comment, wishing “more of those elements with Beverly could’ve been touched on earlier.”

Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut in Star Trek: Picard

(Photo by Trae Patton/Paramount+)

Burton noted the life of his character, Geordi LaForge, diverts “significantly” from the one Picard glimpsed in the TNG finale. But one commonality does exist: “I’m really, really pleased that Geordi has kids and that we see him as a father. That was hugely attractive to me, and I thought really a satisfying arc for him,” he explained.

The one definitely intentional call-back to TNG’s final mission log, the names of Geordi’s daughters, Alandra and Sidney, were pulled directly from a scene in “All Good Things …,” Matalas added.

“I thank Terry Matalas for that,” Burton continued. “He agreed with me that it was important to right what I considered a great injustice done to Geordi in terms of his inability to form healthy and lasting relationships with human beings [during The Next Generation]. And so he addressed that right away, right off the bat, and I’m really grateful.”

4. Picard and Riker Get To Have an Informal Adventure

Jonathan Frakes and Patrick Stewart in Episode 301, Star Trek: Picard

(Photo by Trae Patton/Paramount+)

One of the more fun elements of the season is a chance to see Picard and Riker pal around on an adventure while no longer being tied to the rigid Starfleet command structure.

“That provided us with a new starting point obviously, but also the opportunity for a new type of behavior since the hierarchy of the [Horatio] Hornblower military setup that Roddenberry set was not there,” Frakes said of the storyline. “We were there together as peers, if you will, or brothers.”

He also thanked Matalas for pitching a “Butch-and-Sundance type of thing” to him and Stewart as an opening adventure for the season. And, as viewers will quickly see, the informality between the two characters pays dividends.

5. Raffi Gets Back To One

Michelle Hurd of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: PICARD

(Photo by Trae Patton/Paramount+)

Although the second season of Picard wrapped up the stories of nearly all its supporting characters, Michelle Hurd’s Raffi carries on as a major part of the story. Introduced as Picard’s attaché at the time of the Romulan relief effort and as a capable intelligence officer, Raffi’s more obsessive traits saw her booted from Starfleet by the time Picard’s first season began. Across the two previous seasons, though, she returned to the fold and now returns to gathering intelligence. In Hurd’s estimation, it is the character’s best destiny.

“This is what she did before she was in Starfleet. She’s a master spy,” the actor said.

When viewers first met Raffi, she was quite critical of some Starfleet actions and its politics, but according to Hurd, “Starfleet was always this force that kept her grounded, kept her sober, because it was a place for her to be and she had a job.”

As the season begins, Raffi is at the helm of the starship La Sirena, formerly owned by departed Picard character Cristobal Rios (Santiago Cabrera), and “given free rein [aboard that ship].” Once again working as an intelligence agent, she’s “able to really use the skills that she’s always had.”

“She’s able to navigate and she doesn’t have to deal with anybody else talking in her head,” Hurd continued. “I think it’s just a natural progression.”

Michael Dorn in STAR TREK: PICARD.

(Photo by James Dimmock/Paramount+)

Raffi’s continued presence on the series also maintains a level of crossover for Picard with the character holding the banner for the group assembled in its first year, Seven bringing her continued story from Voyager, and Dorn feeling he represents both his time on TNG and his work on Deep Space Nine.

“[The DS9 writers] really delved deeply into [Worf] and into the Klingon Empire, and the stories they came up with were spectacular and it gave him a lot to do,” he said of his time on the third live-action Star Trek spinoff, the first to use serialized storytelling and set itself away from a starship.

As seen in the season 3 trailer, Worf claims to adhere to pacifism at this point in his life, but as Dorn clarified at the TCA press tour in January, “Worf has always been on a journey for who he is” and the teasing comment in the preview is the latest step in that trek.

6. Some Things Never Change


(Photo by James Dimmock/Paramount+)

Although modern Trek follows more of the serialized storytelling of DS9 and looks more like a feature film each week than its 1980s and 90s TV antecedents, the cast said actually shooting the show feels very much the same from the days on the Paramount lot in the 20th century.

“It certainly felt familiar being together,” Burton explained. “We have acted with one another more than anyone else in our respective careers. We’ve spent hours on soundstages in each other’s company, and plus the nature of our relationships offscreen got deeper over time. And so we were all able to bring that depth [to the characters].”

Brent Spiner of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: PICARD.

(Photo by James Dimmock/Paramount+)

Also supporting the ongoing TNG atmosphere are several other cameos from established characters and actors. The two revealed so far: Spiner returning as Data’s corrupt brother, Lore, and Daniel Davis as the holographic but sentient construct of Professor James Moriarty. Additionally, Matalas teased in January “there are a few Next Gen–adjacent characters who will return this season, but we’re holding them back until [the episodes] air.”

7. It May Not Be the End

Patrick Stewart in Star Trek: PIcard

(Photo by James Dimmock/Paramount+)

Although this third season Picard is billed as its last, it may not be the end for the characters. Back in January, Stewart told reporters during the show’s TCA press panel that he would consider subsequent appearances after Picard‘s final episode streams.

“If we can maintain the work we did on seasons one, two, and three, than yes. There is still enormous potential in the narrative. And there are doors left open,” he said.

Kurtzman added at the time that while the show was always envisioned as a three-year mission, “anything is possible.”

When McFadden spoke to us, she expressed her hope that even as Star Trek continues to expand into the 25th century, it still has a place for the TNG cast. “I read all those 10 scripts and I didn’t see it as a send-off as much as we are engaged in the present of the world,” she said. “It’s a new world, things have changed, and there is so much yet to be done.”

“You can do anything you want to do [with Trek],” added Dorn. “You never know what’s in studios’ minds, but it seems like it’s the right thing [to continue with the characters.]”

Ed Speleers in STAR TREK: PICARD

(Photo by James Dimmock/Paramount+)

Matalas, for his part, suggested more stories set in the new century may happen. For one, Ed Speleers (pictured above), who has appeared in Outlander and Downton Abbey, plays a new character in season 3 of Picard.

“What [this season of Picard] does feel like is a completion of the Star Trek Next Generation arc. It does feel like a passing of the torch to sort of a ‘next generation.’ I think that these legacy characters should be a part of that [and] I would love nothing more than to see [it happen].”

He continued. “I don’t want to say what happens to Beverly Crusher [as an example], but let’s just say that she has a role in, possibly, the future of the Federation that’s important. And so it is very much an ending and a beginning at the same time.”

And, just as it seemed on those now 10-year-old Blu-ray bonus features, the future of Star Trek and the Next Generation characters is something the cast welcomes if and when the call comes to join Starfleet once more.

97% Star Trek: Picard: Season 3 (2023) premieres on Thursday, February 16 on Paramount+.

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