The highlight of the Star Trek Universe event at New York Comic Con was the Picard panel, which reunited the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. On hand to join Picard executive producers and star Sir Patrick Stewart were Gates McFadden, LeVar Burton, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, and Michael Dorn, all of whom gave details on what we can expect from their characters in season 3. Since this is the final season of the series, there was also discussion about what could come next for this cast.
Season 3 has three villains… including Brent Spiner as Lore
Star Trek: Picard executive producer and showrunner Terry Matalas said that there were three villains for season 3. The main villain is Vadic, a new alien character played by Amanda Plummer, who Matalas said: “is a bit of a mystery and has a deep-seated yet sympathetic reason for wanting vengeance against Picard and the Federation.” The second is Daniel Davis returning as Professor Moriarty. “I just had to have Moriarty back,” Matalas said.
The third villain, according to Matalas, is Lore, Data’s evil android brother, played by Brent Spiner. This may be the biggest reveal of the NYCC Picard teaser trailer given that Spiner was not part of the San Diego Comic-Con character teaser released in July—but it appears there may be more to the story than simply the return of Lore, according to Brent Spiner.
Spiner: Lore is in it in a very complicated way which I think you’ll find out ultimately when you watch the show. What else can I tell you? Really nothing because we were informed long ago—we signed these NDAs.
Things have changed for all of the TNG characters
The actors talked a lot about their NDAs and were careful about what they could say about season 3, but each offered at least some insight into how things have changed for their characters.Marina Sirtis had this to say about returning as Deanna Troi:
Sirtis: My storyline is so wrapped up in what we can’t talk about. Troi’s back… There’s stuff that you’re going to recognize and be familiar with in what she does. But I have some very wonderful stuff with my Imzadi here [indicates Jonathan Frakes] and there’s some really great stuff that we have between the two of us. It’s different. That’s all I can say.
Jonathan Frakes talked about how Will Riker’s relationship with his former captain has changed:
Frakes: I can talk about Riker and Picard… Riker and Picard were often like brothers. Riker was always very supportive of Picard, I always thought… Now [Picard] asked me to help [him], and yet – may he rest in peace, Gene Roddenberry who hated conflict on our show, would be watching this sort of antagonistic – we had a difference of opinion, let’s say. That’s all I can say.
Showrunner Terry Matalas jumped in to add some context: “If you’re familiar with the movie Crimson Tide, then you might understand tactically, they might have a difference of opinion in this situation with Amanda Plummer [Vadic].” When pressed for which character was more like Denzel Washington’s as Lt. Cmdr. Hunter and which was like Gene Hackman’s Captain Ramsey, Matalas would only say “You have to wait and see.”
LeVar Burton gave praise to Matalas for a change he made to Geordi LaForge:
Burton: We are blessed to have had Terry Matalas, who loves this cast… And he has righted what I thought was a longtime wrong in that Geordi was never involved in a healthy relationship with anyone. And I’m happy to report when we meet him, Geordi is not only married, he has two daughters. Both have followed him in the family tradition. One, Sydney, is played by the lovely actress Ashlei Chestnut. And Alandra, the other daughter, is played by none other than my own daughter, Mica Burton.
The trailer shows that the main story kicks off with Dr. Beverly Crusher, and Gates McFadden explained where we find Beverly at the start of the season:
McFadden: She’s been off somewhere in the universe doing a sort of new Doctors Without Borders thing… She’s been working hard trying to do good work. And she’s being hunted. And that’s all I can say. But I love everything that I get to do in this season. And I love everybody here. And I’m just so proud to be part of it.
The trailer also showed that Worf has now adopted a new philosophy of pacifism, a big change for the character. Michael Dorn talked about the process of developing Worf.
Dorn: Worf is on a journey. He’s always been on a journey. And I was very fortunate that the producers kind of incorporated both of our ideas about where he’s going to be and where he’s going to go. There’s a lot of things that I wanted to keep, and a lot of things that they actually convinced me to change about the character. And I think that we will recognize a lot of Worf and we won’t recognize a lot of Worf. Which is wonderful. I love that in terms of as an actor.
Jean-Luc Picard’s “bombshell” arc in TNG sendoff season
Matalas spoke about how he had similar character development conversations with all of the returning cast, which all started with convincing Stewart himself. It turns out he has another big surprise in store when it comes to the arc for Picard.
Matalas: The first conversation began with Patrick in season 2 saying, “This is where we want to go, this is where we want to end Picard’s journey.” And Patrick has a bombshell idea that has not been revealed about this season yet, but just you wait.
The showrunner talked a bit more about how he worked with the rest of the cast:
Matalas: And then it was about sitting down with all of them, because they know their characters even better than we do and the fans… As long as they were happy, that was a major part of it. And it worked out, I think it’s a pretty satisfying conclusion to these arcs.
It’s been widely discussed since before the show premiered that Patrick Stewart was initially reluctant to do the Picard series as he didn’t want to repeat himself, and he certainly didn’t want to just recreate Star Trek: The Next Generation. But the actor (and executive producer) said that what was done for season 3 turned him around.
Stewart: Yes, at the beginning I had been uneasy about it being a reunion. But as I worked with one after the other of my dear beloved colleagues, I saw how important it was and how well it was working. And so we agreed, yes, at some point, let’s being everyone back and, who knows, even everyone together.
Alex Kurtzman added to this discussion, explaining how the 10-episode structure of a season allows each character to have their own story and not get shortchanged as they might in a feature film.
Kurtzman: Terry Matalas was so in love—in the most beautiful way—with the idea of saying, “I want to see that last Next Gen movie, that movie that I never got to see.” But let’s tell that story over 10 episodes and make it one big blowout. And he really delivered on that. Because the truth is, if we had sat down and said let’s do a Next Gen movie and you’ve got two hours to introduce all these characters, then everybody would have been shortchanged. There’s no way it would have worked. And so I think the fact that we got to do it over these 10 hours with this farewell, to me, it’s a love letter to what Picard was. It’s a love letter to all fans of Star Trek and to this to the legacy of this incredible show.
But they still want to do another movie
During the audience Q&A, a fan asked if season three will truly be the final chance to see these characters, which resulted in the following illuminating exchange:
Sirtis: Who knows?
McFadden: I would love it to go on forever. It would be fun.
Frakes: Yeah, we are not dead yet.
Sirtis: We are not dead, just old.
Patrick: And just in case… I know there are some Paramount+ people here and also from Paramount Pictures, we could still make a movie.
Frakes: I understand there is a Star Trek slot in the Paramount menu, if you will… an open slot.
Spiner: As long as Paramount+ are here, I wouldn’t mind having my own series.
Frakes’ comment about the “open slot” is referring to how Paramount Pictures recently removed their planned fourth Kelvin movie from their 2023 release calendar. This morning, Frakes—the actor and director of two Star Trek feature films—stirred the pot again when the official Paramount+ Star Trek account promoted the Picard season 3 trailer as “the final journey,” and he responded with “Maybe not final.”
— Jonathan Frakes (@jonathansfrakes) October 9, 2022
Matalas and Kurtzman didn’t join in on the open lobbying for another movie (or series), but earlier in the panel when asked if season 3 “passes the baton” to a new generation, Matalas replied, “Yes, absolutely.” As we reported earlier, Kurtzman also spoke in the Prodigy section of the panel about how there was an idea under discussion about how to bring Kate Mulgrew back to play Admiral Kathryn Janeway in live-action. It’s possible this idea for Mulgrew’s Janeway could bring back some or all of the TNG characters as well.
More Star Trek from NYCC
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