The final moment of the new NYCCC Star Trek: Picard teaser trailer had a surprise reveal: the return of Moriarty, the holographic Sherlock Holmes adversary who plagued the USS Enterprise-D on a couple of occasions. Actor Daniel Davis has come back to the role after almost three decades, and in a new video, he reveals more about Moriarty’s return including some minor spoilers.
The return of Moriarty is “threatening”
The hologram of James Moriarty played by Daniel Davis was created in the second season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Elementary, Dear Data” by Geordi La Forge, who tasked the Enterprise’s computer to create an opponent that could defeat Data. The result was a hologram that became self-aware and tried to take over the ship. Davis played the character again in the sixth season’s “Ship in a Bottle,” which ended with the hologram being stored in a cube that ran a simulation so he would believe he had escaped the USS Enterprise.
Now the character is returning in season 3 of Picard; showrunner Terry Matalas says he is one of its three villains (the other two being Amanda Plummer’s Vadic and Brent Spiner’s Lore). During the NYCC panel, show star Sir Patrick Stewart was asked to talk about working with Daniel Davis again, but Matalas jumped in to try to prevent any spoilers, saying, “He can’t.” Stewart did say this: “Moriarty being back again is both entertaining and threatening.”
Moriarty is different on Picard
In a new Cameo video from Tim Roy, Daniel Davis said he was happy to finally be able to talk about it but also revealed that he only appears in a single episode of Picard.
I have to say a hallelujah because my non-disclosure agreement was lifted yesterday at the New York Comic Con with the announcement that Moriarty would be returning. I’ve had to sit on this information since last December when I went to Los Angeles to film the episode. It was a fantastic experience as it always is… The work was was wonderful. It was just one day of shooting.
While his time in the season appears to be limited, Davis dropped a very interesting clue:
The one thing I think I can tell you is I think the fans will enjoy what happens more if they understand that it’s a bit of a callback to an earlier season, way before Moriarty even appeared actually—the first meeting between Riker and Data. You should remind yourselves of that.
It appears Davis is talking about the scene in the Next Generation series premiere “Encounter at Farpoint” when Riker meets Data for the first time in the holodeck, where Data was trying to master whistling. Davis also indicates that in Picard season 3, he has a scene with Jonathan Frakes’ Riker:
As Riker says in the script in the scene that we did, “This is not the Moriarity that we know from the Enterprise.” And in fact, that is true. And that’s all I can tell you. It’s a different different kind of Moriarty, but it’s still Moriarty. It’s very exciting.
Even though Davis only shot for a day, he was impressed by the scale of the production and attention to detail. He recalled for Moriarty on TNG they used a costume rented from the famed Western Costume Company, but for Picard the production sent someone to his home in New York to measure him for a custom costume.
They had tailor-made the outfit for me and it fit like a glove. It was absolutely astonishing, including an Inverness cape. It was an amazing costume. And then of course, you are treated so wonderfully by the company.
He also recalled being able to spend some quality time with Sir Patrick Stewart.
That day when I finished my fitting, I was on my way back to the parking lot and I ran into Jonathan Frakes and he was standing outside Patrick Stewart’s trailer, and Patrick Stewart poked his head out and he had finished his work for the day and he said [in perfect Stewart voice], “Oh, Daniel, how wonderful that you’re back” and I was invited into his trailer, and we sat and had a conversation for maybe 90 minutes… Patrick and I have a similar background in the theater and we are both acquainted with Ian McKellen. Of course, they are very close friends And I stood by for Ian in Amadeus on Broadway. So we had a lot to talk about the theater and about his plans and what he’s currently involved with—and I can’t tell you about any of those things either. But we had a wonderful time together.
The final season of Picard premieres on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., with new episodes of the 10-episode-long season available to stream weekly on Thursdays. 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 it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.
Keep up with news for the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.