Sir Patrick Stewart and Gates McFadden did a series of video interviews in addition to their panel at San Diego Comic-Con. Just as we did for Strange New Worlds, we have gathered together all of the highlights about what they had to say about season 3 of Picard and beyond.
Don’t call it a reunion
The big news about season 3 of Picard is the return of the main cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation, with the first reveal of how the characters will look shown at the Comic-Con panel. However, Patrick Stewart and Gates McFadden bristled a bit when asked about the season being a “reunion,” telling EW:
Stewart: I don’t mean to disappoint you, but it’s not about a Next Generation reunion. It really isn’t. It’s part of a narrative, a very serious narrative that develops throughout season 3. And indeed, does bring us together, I can say right at the end because you’d like to know that. It’s not just a walk down memory lane, remotely.
He had a similar response (with McFadden backing him up) when asked by TV Insider about a reunion:
Stewart: I think it’s important to say that the third season is much more than a reunion season. Much, much more. It’s intense. It’s personal. It’s social. It’s a family. And it gets very serious.
McFadden: It does indeed. It’s quite an adventure. And it’s a brilliant story how they unfold us getting together and what happens. I was thrilled. I think it’s a super season and I’m sure the fans would love it.
The characters have evolved… and there’s some tension
Both actors also wanted to make it clear that the TNG characters have changed over the years, dropping a curious tidbit to EW:
McFadden: I was approached and [showrunner] Terry Matalas told me this incredible story that involved Crusher on Picard, and it was something very different that I had not explored on the [The Next Generation]. And that’s what made it so exciting… our characters have evolved as we have evolved as humans. And I think that makes it incredibly rich, also very different.
Stewart: And so far as Picard is concerned, a secret history is acknowledged as well.
McFadden offered more on how the characters have changed to TV Insider,:
McFadden: All the characters have evolved because we as people have evolved, and obviously that’s going to be reflected in our characters. But we had a blast and laughed a lot and got silly, as always. And we also had some very moving moments. So I think the story is quite brilliant and very powerful, actually. I was thrilled with the story, and I hope the fans will be too.
To IGN, Stewart confirmed there are some tensions between some of the characters:
Stewart: Yes, there is stress in the relationships. And that’s, I think, after how many 25 years, that’s entirely appropriate. You cannot be confident that you know the same person that you knew all those years ago. Nevertheless there is a tiny little celebratory aspect to it. Not huge. But, it’s there. Personally, for us, it was wonderful to be on the set again with those actors who played such an important part in our lives 35 years ago, is extraordinary. And we’re all still here.
McFadden said it was great to have everyone back together even with some tension between them, telling EW:
Everybody is fantastic in it. Worf, Troi, Riker. And it’s very special to have that kind of a bond and then to revisit it, but in a very different way. And also with Star Trek. I love being involved in this franchise. I really do because it stands for something. It stands for our universe and our possibilities of the future and we’re good role models. And we need that now.
Beverly and Jean-Luc haven’t kept in touch… but have a Shakespearan connection
McFadden confirmed in multiple interviews that Jean-Luc Picard and Beverly Crusher had not seen each other for around 25 years ahead of the events of Picard season 3. However, to EW, she talked about the strong bond they continue to have:
McFadden: Picard and Crusher have had this very particular love relationship. It’s very strong. Very unique. And it’s almost Shakespearean, to me. It’s almost like in the sonnet [#116] “That looks on tempests and is never shaken.” It’s that sort of thing. And I’ve always thought that, but to actually be in a situation where we have to rediscover and reanalyze how do we feel about each other? We haven’t seen each other for 20 to 25 years… that was really strong.
Stewart: Yes, very strong.
And with IGN, the pair talked about how their dynamic has changed:
Stewart: There is dynamic. It will not be the same as it was.
McFadden: Right, which is great. I mean, we have a great chemistry and it was so much fun shooting our scenes.
And to TV Insider, the pair said they may still argue, but the nature of the discussions has changed:
McFadden: She’s older, and wiser, and just as argumentative as always, sadly.
Stewart: But the discussions are often of a personal nature, a family nature, which I can’t tell you about.
Dr. Crusher has been busy helping people… and another character hasn’t been
The pair of actors offered some insights to IGN into what Dr. Crusher has been up to during decades after her last appearance in Star Trek: Nemesis, with Stewart hinting that one of the other TNG characters may not be held in such high regard:
McFadden: I think Beverly is somebody who keeps going forward and really does want to do good in the world. Especially when you realize through the Webb Telescope images how vast and unfathomable the universe is. I think she has been exploring a lot of things and she is a very intelligent woman and I think you’ll find out she’s been doing a lot of things.
Stewart: She has also been researching and investigating and helping people too, which probably can’t be said for all of the Next Generation [characters].
McFadden: Well she’s a scientist as well as a doctor. The Hippocratic Oath is obviously important, but it’s unexpected that they get together but it’s quite a story.
What about Wesley?
As for if we will see Wil Wheaton’s Wesley Crusher return to Picard (as he did in season 2) and reunite with his space mom in season 3, McFadden kept it vague:
McFadden: My space son, that’s what I call Wil Wheaton. He calls me his space mom, which is a privilege. He and I are talking all the time. He is a doll. I am so happy to have him in my life, but no I didn’t see him on the last season, but you’ll just have to see what happens in the third season.
Coming in 2023
Star Trek: Picard season 3 is expected in early 2023. Picard streams exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. and is distributed concurrently by Paramount Global Content Distribution on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories and in Canada, airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.