Star Trek: Picard Season 3 will finally give us the reunion fans have wanted since day one, and it looks like the Enterprise-E (seen in Star Trek VII – X) will be along for the ride as well. The Trek Universe panel at San Diego Comic Con this weekend not only showed how large the universe Gene Roddenberry created has expanded (thanks to two new shows on Paramount+), it confirmed that fans are eager to revisit the franchise’s past. Perhaps the most talked-about segment of the panel addressed Picard, during which Patrick Stewart, Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher), and executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Rod Roddenberry appeared and provided some insight on what’s to come, according to TrekMovie.com. The full panel, hosted by Lea Thompson (who directed two episodes of season two), is included below.
The panel not only debuted a new teaser trailer, it revealed lots of new facts about the final season of the series. One of the more intriguing aspects is the confirmation that not only will the Enterprise E NCC-1701-E be seen in the new season, there will be more than one. “There’s more than one Enterprise and that makes it a little complicated,” Stewart said when asked if he sits in the Enterprise’s captain’s chair again. “But we do return to the original Enterprise for a while.” While we assume this means that the Enterprise-E (last seen in Star Trek: Nemesis) will be seen, it could mean an older, possibly decommissioned Enterprise will also appear. Picard Season 2 confirmed that the saucer from the Enterprise-D (which crashed in Star Trek: Generations) was brought back to Earth for a museum display, so that could be seen as well. Stewart mentioned walking on carpet again on the bridge, a feature of the older ships.
It was also confirmed that the series has finished filming, and will debut sometime in 2023, although a premiere date was not announced. 2022 marks the twentieth anniversary of the last adventure of the Next Generation crew in Star Trek: Nemesis, and the characters have notably changed. Worf in particular is sporting a much different look from when we last saw him. Kurtzman also indicated that the season will feature a female villain that dominates the entire season, and will have an impact much like Ricardo Montalban’s Khan had in the original series and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Stewart and McFadden also had a mini-panel of sorts with Entertainment Weekly, in which they discussed the impact of Star Trek and the relationship of Picard and Crusher. Stewart also pointed out to Entertainment Weekly that what we will see is not merely a Next Generation reunion for nostalgia’s sake, but season three is a whole new story that will bring all of the Enterprise crew back together. In a surprise statement, Stewart seemed to indicate that we may not see all of the characters together until later in the season.
Picard has earned the ire of long-time fans who felt the series had strayed from the optimistic view of the future Roddenberry crafted with the original Star Trek series and The Next Generation, and had become too cynical and dark. According to Rotten Tomatoes, although 86% of critics approved of Picard, only 40% of fans voted their approval. They were also upset that the only constant from the TNG was Stewart himself, who was also a more cynical, almost depressing Picard, a far cry from the character they once knew. They missed the dynamic of the original cast, and season three seems to attempt to rectify that. Thankfully, Kurtzman promises this will not be mere cameos from the TNG cast, as we have seen previously, but rather “significant roles” in which they are vital to the story. “We wanted to whet appetites a little bit to see them come back together. So at the beginning of the season, the crew is in different places around the galaxy… and slowly we see them come together,” he said. The panel also revealed that Brent Spiner (who isn’t in the trailer) would indeed return in a new role, although it wasn’t said who he would play. He had played Data, Altan Inigo Soong, Adam Soong during the first two seasons.
As we have seen in previous seasons, Picard Season 3 will explore the psychology and inner workings of Star Trek’s greatest captain (apologies to William Shatner). “We carve out new territory in Picard,” Stewart said at the panel. “We are breaking boundaries all the time and reflecting life as it might possibly be,” he said. Stewart, as you might know, is an executive producer on the series and has significant say in the narrative direction it has taken. He also indicated that he may yet again play Picard after this season, if a film with the right story comes together, he would eagerly play him again.