There is a whole lot going on in the final Star Trek: Picard season 3 trailer released on Sunday. We have already reported on some immediate follow-ups from the Picard team, but there is much more to go over in detail. Usually, we do our own trailer breakdown, but this time we thought it would be fun to bring in a ringer in the form of executive producer and showrunner Terry Matalas.
This season is his vision and he also worked on putting together this trailer. So we present our exclusive trailer breakdown with Terry Matalas, mostly in a linear fashion, starting at the beginning.
Bringing back that naval feel
The trailer kicks off with Admiral Picard and Captain Riker being welcomed onto the USS Titan by an officer using a boatswain whistle. Matalas talked about why he brought back this bit of tradition:
I very much prefer Starfleet to feel like the Navy. And certainly, The Original Series and a lot of what [Star Trek II and VI director] Nick Meyer did feels like that the most. And the trailer, as does the first episode, starts with an air of pomp and circumstance. So it’s just getting a feel of what I think Starfleet should feel like. It’s the military. It’s serious. There are protocols. And that sort of permeates throughout the season.
And could this be the actual same whistle seen in Star Trek VI?
It felt like those whistles are usually traditional and are passed down from ship to ship to ship. So we thought that might be the case here. I suppose it could be the same one [from Star Trek VI] or just an older, hundreds-year-old model.
Seven is finding her way in Starfleet
It has previously been revealed that Seven of Nine is now a commander in Starfleet and the first officer of the USS Titan, the main ship for the season. We see her greeting Picard and Riker and presenting them to the bridge crew in a bit of an awkward moment. Terry gives a brief glimpse into what’s going on with Seven in season 3:
It is very much a conflict for her as to how fast she was inducted into Starfleet and whether or not she truly feels as though she belongs, and [whether] her captain feels as though she belongs.
Titan’s captain warns Picard not to expect action
The captain of the USS Titan is played by Todd Stashwick. With all the prior speculation that he had tapped this member of his 12 Monkeys cast, Matalas joked it was the “worst kept secret in Star Trek,” but he also predicted:
I think he’s going to be a fan favorite.
The scene with the captain (we still don’t know his name) showed him being a bit flippant with Picard and Riker, quipping they would find their inspection “boring” before referencing “blowing things up” and other harrowing feats. Matalas noted:
Again, harkening back to what I said earlier about this being the military and how legacy characters like Picard and Riker tend to be able to throw their weight around within this organization and get special treatment doesn’t always sit well with everyone within the Navy.
While the Titan captain recalled classic moments from The Next Generation and the TNG movies, his comments were intercut with phaser firefights and ship action from Picard season 3. Matalas did confirm we can expect more this time:
There is certainly more action than seasons 1 and 2.
Too many captains?
When Seven is introducing Picard and Riker, she announces “Admiral on the bridge,” and after Riker clears his throat to show his annoyance, she follows up with “…and captain on the bridge.”
So the Titan has two captains and an admiral on board. In addition to the actual captain of the Titan, we have seen shots in this and other trailers of Seven, Picard, and Riker in the captain’s chair. When asked if there is an element of “too many cooks” in that kitchen of a bridge, Matalas replies:
That definitely comes into question early on, yes.
Cut around a shot of the Titan’s bridge at red alert and Stashwick’s captain saying “battle stations,” we hear Worf in voice-over saying, “There is something coming… some kind of attack. And Starfleet could be the target.” Matalas has previously said that the season’s main plot is tied into the aftermath of the Dominion War from Deep Space Nine. And for our trailer analysis, he does confirm this connection:
Yes, absolutely [Worf is connected to the main plot]. He is still dealing with the fallout of the Dominion War.
Enterprise F is there… but not the focus
Worf’s warning cuts to a shot of the USS Enterprise-F, the successor to the USS Enterprise-E which appeared in 3 TNG movies. The Enterprise-F joins other ships as Worf warns about an attack on Starfleet, but Matalas wanted to make it clear that the Enterprise-F is not the hero for the season:
The Enterprise-F is not at all the focus of the season, although it does appear in very, very important moments. It is not the focus. The Next Gen cast does not all gather on the Enterprise-F and go have a bunch of adventures. The hero ship of this season is the Titan, an underdog.
Ed Speleers is part of Crusher’s crew
The trailer also introduced a new (still unnamed) character played by Ed Speleers. He’s seen a few times, at one point holding a phaser to Riker. Later he can be seen angrily asking someone, “Is anybody you know still the person you knew?” Matalas did offer a bit more about this mysterious character:
He is a crewman on the Eleos, Beverly Crusher’s starship. And he is a member of Beverly’s sort of ‘Doctors Without Borders’ group who’s helping people on worlds that Starfleet has forgotten.
In another voice-over we hear Deanna Troi saying, “There is a darkness, an all-consuming darkness.” Troi can be seen at various other points in the trailer as well. Even though Worf’s warning has a direct connection to his history with the Dominion War fallout, Matalas said that all of the returning TNG crew have their own connections to the story:
They all fit into the main plot. This won’t feel like a bunch of disparate stories that don’t come together. Everything here is connected to one singular idea. So she is definitely feeling the main threat of the season.
Raffi’s new journey
A shot of Raffi (no longer in Starfleet uniform as she was at the end of season 2) appears to show her putting something into her eye. The character has a history of substance abuse, so could this indicate she has fallen off the wagon? Matalas would only say, “That’s a good question.”
But the showrunner did offer some insight into what’s in store for the character in season 3:
We definitely reinvent Raffi quite a bit this season. She is on her own journey in a really interesting and surprising way.
Beverly only trusts Picard
It has previously been reported that the season kicks off with Beverly Crusher and an attack on her ship the Eleos, and that she hasn’t been in touch with Jean-Luc Picard in many years. In this new trailer, she sends an encrypted message and “ENCRYPTED COORDINATES” to her former captain with the warning “Jean-Luc, trust no one.” Matalas notes there is a reason she chooses now to finally make contact with her former captain:
There is a reason that Beverly will only reach out to Picard here. There’s a reason that she can only trust him. Something is going on that is dire enough to reach out to Picard in this way. The stakes are very high.
There is more to Vadic and her gang
The main villain of the season is Vadic, played by Amanda Plummer, who says in the trailer: “Jean-Luc Picard… we will have vengeance.” Vengeance is a common theme for villain motivation both in Star Trek and outside of Trek; however, Matalas made it clear there is a lot more going on:
There’s infinitely more to it. Just because there’s a line in the trailer that references vengeance doesn’t mean people have to roll their eyes about Khan. If I were to include more of Vadic’s dialogue it would be spoiling too much of her motivation. And I’m not in the business of spoiling things for fans that are part of the plot and the reveals that make the story satisfying. So for now, vengeance is certainly part of what she has to say, but certainly not all.
Vadic can also be heard as her ship the Shrike attacks the USS Titan, then we cut to a shot of Vadic and her masked soldiers. Matalas draws a connection between their look and her ship:
Her masked folk are symbolic of her ship, being the Shrike, that sort of bird-like skeleton on them. And part of her philosophy, which you’ll hear more about when you watch the season.
This really is the end, but…
Riker says to Picard, “You and I have traveled to the far reaches of space, but something’s different now. This is the end, my friend” as the trailer cuts to a title card with “THE FINAL VOYAGE BEGINS.” When he first revealed the TNG cast were returning for season 3 last year, Matalas said he was inspired to give them a “proper sendoff.” In fact, the message of “THE FINAL SEASON” is on all the promos and posters. However, members of the cast (and even Alex Kurtzman) have hinted that there could be more beyond season 3. Matalas clarified how these two things fit together:
There’s no question that this will feel, by the time it’s over, like the final voyage of the Next Gen cast. And without going into spoilerrific detail, that doesn’t mean to say that a kind of Next, Next Generation show couldn’t continue with legacy characters. A kind of “Star Trek: Legacy” if you will, where these characters can continue to interact with a whole new generation. And when I say that, I also mean characters from Deep Space Nine and Voyager as well. But again, I will remind fans, this is just my dream of dreams. And it’s not currently in development in any way. But should it ever be, I would be there in a New York minute.
Geordi has a new rank… and family concerns
There are a few shots of Geordi in a new Starfleet uniform in the trailer and Matalas confirms he is playing a Commodore.
After a voice-over from Picard saying “This is life or death,” a very skeptical Geordi (on viewscreen) replies, “It’s always life or death, Jean-Luc… When has it not been?” Of this moment, Matalas reveals:
By the time Picard shows up at his door, Geordi has very strong concerns about what might be next for him and his family.
It has previously been revealed that in season 3, Geordi now has a family, including two daughters. Ensign Sidney La Forge is played by Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut and is the eldest daughter of Geordi La Forge and helmsman of the U.S.S. Titan. She can be seen briefly in the new trailer being manhandled by a one of Vadic’s goons.
Mica Burton (LeVar’s real-life daughter) plays Ensign Alandra La Forge, Geordi’s youngest daughter who works alongside her father. The pair can be seen together in the new trailer.
Crusher phasering, but mostly doctoring
A number of trailers (including this one) show Gates McFadden’s Dr. Beverly Crusher holding and firing a phaser rifle. However, Matalas notes she will also be doing what she does best:
You will primarily see Doctor Crusher this season. She has a whole lot of doctoring to do, for sure. However, that is not all she will do. Our first glimpse of her will be surprising and adrenalized.
Worf and Raffi in the underworld
There is a dramatic moment showing Worf and Raffi fighting it out. In voice-over, we can hear Worf say, “I too was once irrational, violent.” Matalas only added this intriguing tidbit:
Worf and Raffi will cross paths in the criminal underworld.
Yes, that’s Moriarty and Lore, again
Right before we see the Worf and Raffi fight, there is a quick shot of Daniel Davis as TNG’s holographic Professor Moriarty decrying “such pathetic old warriors,” which cuts to Worf, although the different lighting indicates these are two totally different scenes. Matalas didn’t have anything to add about Moriarty, just reconfirming comments from NYCC that Davis is back from TNG, playing one of the other adversaries this season.
There are also a couple of shots of Brent Spiner in the new trailer. Here again, Matalas would only reconfirm what was said at the NYCC panel: Spiner is playing Lore, Data’s nefarious brother android. One shot of Spiner’s Lore just shows him smirking—and plugged into something.
The other shot has him talking to someone while behind a glass door, saying “Survival… human nature, pal.”
Galactic and personal stakes
Intercut with lots of sci-fi action, we see Picard on the bridge of the Titan saying to Riker “We fight, or we die.” While there is certainly a big threat posed by Vadic, Matalas said there is more at stake for this season:
The stakes are very personal with galactic consequences. But they could not be more personal.
This personal connection is highlighted by the next moment in a bit of an homage to a TNG classic briefing room scene, with Admiral Picard addressing his old Enterprise crew, saying, “I need you. All of you.”
He said the thing
The main trailer wraps up with one final call to nostalgia: Picard is in the captain’s chair of the USS Titan (with Riker at his side). With a twinkle in his eye, Jean-Luc says, “Engage.”
… and a little bit of fun
After the final title card, there is a bonus bit showing a fun moment on a shuttle with Picard asking Riker, “Are you enjoying this?” Riker deadpans (with his own twinkle), “Of course not, are you?” The TNG series was known for a good amount of humor, often from Worf and Data. Picard as a series has not been known for humor, yet even with the big stakes at play in season 3. Matalas assures us that he still found time for the funny, but in different ways:
Worf is pretty hysterical this season, don’t you worry. There is humor everywhere. But you want to find that organically. The fact that these characters haven’t been in the game for a while and they’re coming back to it, there is always humor there. And Jonathan Frakes brings a certain level of charisma and spark in his eye and so that last moment is just a moment that would happen naturally with Patrick and Jonathan. So why not write towards it?
A trailer for everyone
The new trailer was released to coincide with a much-hyped edited version airing during Sunday night’s NFL AFC Championship Game on CBS. However, Matalas says it was not necessarily tailor-made for this audience:
The trailer is not designed for any particular group. We actually would probably have cut it a little differently if we knew this was going to be for the football folks. We probably would have teased it a little differently. So no, this is just what we thought was a great trailer.
The showrunner went on to explain the team’s goals:
We just cut a trailer that we thought didn’t divulge too much about the surprises of the plot and was entertaining and teased enough about what we felt the tone and the cinematic vibe of the season was.
Watch the trailer again
[International version available at startrek.com]
The third and 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. It will debut on Friday, Feb. 17 internationally on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories. In Canada it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.
Keep up with news about the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.