Picard Season 3’s TNG Reunion Is Making 1 Big Mistake

Picard Season 3's TNG Reunion Is Making 1 Big Mistake

The cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation is set for an exciting reunion but Star Trek: Picard season 3 is making a big mistake by exiting the show’s original cast to make room for the TNG icons. Star Trek: Picard season 2 was an epic time travel adventure that delved into the secret history of Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and allowed him to move past his greatest regret so that he can have a chance at a romance with Laris (Orla Brady). Star Trek: Picard season 2 also brought back Guinan, played by Whoopi Goldberg and Ito Aghayere, and it gave a touching denouement to Q (John de Lancie) along with a surprise appearance by Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher.

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Sadly, as of the end of Star Trek: Picard season 2, Alison Pill (Dr. Agnes Jurati), Santiago Cabrera (Cristobal Rios), Evan Evagora (Elnor), and Isa Briones (Soji/Kore Soong) all confirmed that they won’t be part of Star Trek: Picard season 3. This leaves only Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine) and Michelle Hurd (Raffi Musiker) to meet TNG’s returning Jonathan Frakes (Will Riker), Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi), Gates McFadden (Beverly Crusher), LeVar Burton (Geordi La Forge), and Michael Dorn (Worf). Meanwhile, Brent Spiner was part of every season of Star Trek: Picard and he will return for season 3, although not as Data, who died in Star Trek: Nemesis and received a final farewell at the conclusion of Star Trek: Picard season 1. Star Trek: Picard season 3 will be the first time The Next Generation’s cast will be fully reunited since 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis and this one last adventure together is obviously meant to give the living legends a fitting farewell.

Related: Star Trek: Picard Season 2 Ending Explained (In Detail)

Ironically, Star Trek: Picard season 3 being TNG redux is precisely what the series was originally intended not to be. Patrick Stewart didn’t want to rehash The Next Generation when he signed on for Star Trek: Picard, which is why season 1, which was overseen by showrunner Michael Chabon and was met with mixed reviews, was so different. Star Trek: Picard season 2 enlisted Terry Matalas and Akiva Goldman to deliver more of TNG’s greatest hits – Q, Guinan, time travel, the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching) – and it was, indeed,  a crowd-pleaser. But since season 3 is the final season and the last opportunity to give Star Trek: The Next Generation a big goodbye, Star Trek: Picard season 3 has all but completely eschewed the original characters and concepts it started with. Here’s why this is a tragic mistake even if Star Trek: Picard season 3 turns out to be the best season of all.

Soji Meeting The Rikers Is Picard Season 1’s Best Episode – And Is What Season 3 Will Miss Out On

Soji Rikers Picard Season 1

The best episode of Star Trek: Picard season 1 was “Nepenthe,” where Picard and Soji took refuge with the Troi-Rikers. Of course, seeing Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis together again with Patrick Stewart as the iconic Riker, Troi, and Picard was the high point of season 1 because of the TNG nostalgia it evoked. This reunion – along with Captain Riker back in uniform to save the day in Star Trek: Picard season 1’s finale – obviously sparked the overwhelming desire to eventually bring back the entire TNG cast.

But “Nepenthe” was also remarkable because Soji met the Troi-Rikers, including their brilliant young daughter, Kestra (Lulu Wilson). Soji, who is Data’s synthetic daughter, was literally the next generation meeting The Next Generation cast. It was thematically ideal and could have set the stage for Jean-Luc Picard’s second family to meet his Enterprise family in Star Trek: Picard season 3. After all, The Next Generation is now the forebearers and Admiral Picard spent the past two seasons cultivating a new crew who could have become future legends. But because Star Trek: Picard’s cast won’t be in season 3, the passing of the torch from TNG to Picard’s motley crew won’t happen, which is a loss for Star Trek and the audience.

Picard’s Cast Exiting Season 3 Leaves Their Stories Unfinished

Star Trek: Picard season 2 left most of its core characters in odd situations that will not be resolved. Agnes Jurati merged with the Borg Queen in what was arguably Star Trek: Picard season 2’s best storyline and they returned with a new Borg Collective to help Jean-Luc save the universe. Yet Alison Pill, who now physically embodies the Borg Queen, won’t be back, which means Star Trek: Picard season 3 will either write her out in a possibly awkward manner or ignore the Queen altogether. Similarly, Soji, who was the central focus of season 1, was simply abandoned and forgotten at the start of Star Trek: Picard season 2, putting an end to her story. Meanwhile, Kore Soong has become a Traveler but whether that means Isa Briones’ newest character will cameo in Picard season 3 or Kore is also written off is anyone’s guess.

Related: One Q Scene Saves Star Trek: Picard Season 2

While Soji was cast aside, Elnor was completely ill-served by Star Trek: Picard season 2. The young Qowat Milat was unceremoniously killed off in the third episode, and the tragedy of his sudden death was simply a plot device to give Raffi something to regret throughout the season. Although Elnor made fleeting cameos, returned as a hologram, and was ultimately resurrected by Q, the saga of the Romulan warrior-turned-Starfleet Cadet is now abruptly over. It seems like Picard season 2’s showrunners had no ideas or interest in the series’ two youngest characters, which is a failure of imagination that betrays and squanders their great potential.

At least Cristobal Rios got an ending that was fitting for his misfit starship captain since he fell in love and stayed behind in the 21st century with his newfound family. But the investment that the audience made in Star Trek: Picard’s characters over two seasons is now meant to be forgotten because it’s time to switch focus to our beloved TNG icons in Picard season 3. Not to mention that Alison Pill, Santiago Cabrera, Evan Evagora, and Isa Briones are remarkably talented and charismatic actors who will be sorely missed in Star Trek: Picard season 3.

No Picard/TNG Team-Up Weakens Season 3

The biggest loss of Star Trek: Picard’s cast exiting season 3 is that it means there won’t be a big crossover with the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast. The magic of Soji meeting Will and Deanna in Star Trek: Picard season 1 could have played out on a macro scale by Jean-Luc’s motley crew meeting his original Enterprise family. It’s sad to think of the team-ups, interactions, banter, lessons learned, and heroic feats that are now lost because Soji, Elnor, Jurati, and Rios won’t meet Worf, Geordi, Dr. Crusher, and the Troi-Rikers.

Thankfully, Star Trek: Picard season 3 wisely retains Seven of Nine so that the most popular character from Star Trek: Voyager will meet The Next Generation crew, at last. Raffi, who is also crucially important to Picard and Seven, also gets to meet the TNG cast. It’s up to the two lovers, Seven and Raffi, to carry the torch for their departed Star Trek: Picard castmates opposite The Next Generation crew in season 3. It’s also exciting that Seven of Nine is personally representing Star Trek: Voyager in this dream crossover with the TNG icons.

Related: Picard: Seven of Nine’s Season 2 Ending Fulfills Janeway’s Starfleet Promise

Picard Season 3 Will Still Be Great (But It Should Have Been Even More)

Picard Finale Cast Farewell

No doubt, there are practical and budgetary concerns that led to the Star Trek: Picard actors leaving to make room for the TNG cast. From a creative standpoint, it was likely an overwhelming challenge to juggle over two dozen principal characters and still tell a cohesive 10-episode story that is meant to bring closure to the 35-year story of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It will certainly be wonderful to see the entire TNG cast back together to boldly save the galaxy one more time, and to see them joined by Seven of Nine, to boot. And there are bound to be some big Star Trek surprises along the way.

Yet Star Trek: Picard season 3 embarks without many important characters who deserved to be along for this final journey. The absence of developing characters in lieu of established fan-favorites could, despite best intentions, ultimately ring hollow. Hopefully, season 3 will be worth who and what was lost along the way and will soar beyond the sense that Star Trek: Picard season 3 won’t quite be everything it could have been.

Next: Picard’s Season 2 Ending Leaves Behind 10 Big Star Trek Questions

Star Trek: Picard Season 2 is streaming on Paramount+. 

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About The Author

John Orquiola
(2306 Articles Published)

John Orquiola is a Features staff writer and interviewer who has been with Screen Rant for five years. He began as a director’s assistant on various independent films. As a lover of film and film theory, John wrote humorous movie reviews on his blog, Back of the Head, which got him noticed by Screen Rant. John happily became the Star Trek guy at Screen Rant and he leads Feature coverage of the various Star Trek series, but he also writes about a wide range of subjects from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to Cobra Kai. His other great nerdy love is British TV series like The Crown, Downton Abbey, and Killing Eve. John can be found on Twitter @BackoftheHead if you want to see photos of the food he eats.

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