Michelle Forbes Opens Up About Returning As Ro Laren For ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Season 3

The big surprise in last week’s episode of Star Trek: Picard was the return of Michelle Forbes. The actress and showrunner are talking about the return of Ro Laren to Star Trek and why it was essential for the season.

Forbes talks Ro’s return

Michelle Forbes appeared in seven episodes spanning the last three seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation as the Bajoran ensign Ro Laren. Producers wanted Forbes to continue the role as a series regular for the spinoff series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but she declined. Three decades later, she did return for a single episode of Star Trek: Picard (last week’s “Imposters”). The actress offered her thoughts on Ro and her return with a photo slide show on Instagram, saying in part, “Ro taught me a lot. I’ve held those lessons close.” Forbes also talked about how she was happy to reunite with Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Frakes “and eat breakfast and laugh together again!” She also offered up her thanks to Gene Roddenberry for creating the Star Trek universe and for TNG producers Rick Berman and Jeri Taylor for creating the character of Ro, adding “It’s been sweet to carry and hold her for decades. She’s such a deep part of my heart and I love that we share that.”

You can scroll through some of her pictures from the set in her Instagram post below…


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A post shared by MISHKA (@iammichelleforbes)

Bringing Ro back was essential

The episode “Imposters” focused on exploring the Changeling conspiracy within Starfleet when security was sent to investigate the events on the Titan. Speaking to Collider, showrunner Terry Matalas explained how putting Ro in charge of that investigation made it all come together.

This story was always—the pitch that I had for it was, “How great would it be to do a paranoia thriller with someone that you have all this baggage with?” The only way to be sure you’re sitting across from the person that you hope you’re sitting across from is to get through your trauma with them. I thought that if we could pull that off, we’d have a really interesting episode of television. But that required us getting Michelle Forbes and convincing the studio and the network it was the right idea, and educating a lot of people on who Ro Laren [was].

Michelle Forbes as Ro Laren in “Imposters”

Matalas talked to Entertainment Weekly about how bringing back Ro was an opportunity to provide closure to the character’s arc (and her relationship with Jean-Luc Picard) following her final appearance in the season 7 episode “Preemptive Strike.”

There was nothing I wanted to do more than bring Ro Laren back. It felt like such a hanging chad from Next Generation. That episode to me is very special. It’s the idea of doing a paranoia thriller… The only way to be sure that the person that you’re talking to is actually the person you hope they are is by getting through a catharsis of trauma of the past of this relationship, [which] to me felt like it could be really good television. That was Ro and Picard, and I so desperately wanted to see the conclusion to that relationship.”

Michelle Forbes as Ro Laren and Patrick Stewart as Picard in “Imposters”

On Tuesday, Paramount+ released a clip on social media showing the tension between Picard and Ro.

You can buy Ro’s Bajoran earring

One of the plot points in “Imposters” regarded Ro’s Bajoran earring, which she gave to Jean-Luc Picard before departing the USS Titan. Ro wearing a Bajoran earring was part of their history together, plus this particular earring contained all of her files so Picard and the team on the Titan could continue her investigation.

Ro gives Picard her Bajoran earring in “Imposters”

Star Trek licensee Rock Love Jewelry has announced the release of a replica of this earring. Thanks to collaboration from Picard prop master Jeffrey Lombardi, the replica uses the exact same sculpts as those made for the show. The Rock Love version is sculpted in solid sterling silver, plated in polished genuine rose gold, with three glittering cubic zirconia crystals. The Picard Bajoran Cuff Earring replica is available to buy from Rock Love for $95.

Rock Love Picard earring

Ro’s pre-Picard story told in new comics

You can find out more about Ro Laren in the just-launched Star Trek: Defiant comic series from IDW. Set before the events of Star Trek Nemesis, it’s a spinoff of IDW’s ongoing Star Trek series launched in 2022. In Defiant, Worf leads a new team with his own mission on the USS Defiant and his crew includes Ro Laren.

Ro and B’Elanna Torres on the B cover for Defiant #3

The third and final season of Picard premiered on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., and Latin America, and on February 17 Paramount+ in Europe and elsewhere, with new episodes of the 10-episode-long season available to stream weekly. It also debuted 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.

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One of the best moments of this season was Picard and Ro’s moment of realisation through their own trauma that they each were who they said they were! “You broke my heart” the first time since Tasha Ya’s death I have shed a tear watching Star Trek. Granted I was a very young child when I first saw that.

Exactly. This is how you do emotion without turning it into a weepy melodrama like Discovery feels like every season. It was emotional but not overdone or drawn out. I loved how they both genuinely had grievances with each other but the situation they were under made it feel more tense. They were both angry at each other but at the same time wasn’t even sure they were even talking to the real person until they realized they were. Just so well done.

I love Disco but they was a masterclass in emotional Trek. Such a satisfying scene.

This was such an earned return of Ro. Executed perfectly and loved every minute of it,

Am I mistaken or does her nose – in the last of her Insta pics – look different from how it looked on the Picard episode?

It seems the low, ambient lighting may have lost the detail that we see in a brightly lit makeup trailer.

It really looks like less ridges, spaced further apart and more pronounced, than what I saw on screen. Could’ve been form a make-up test.

Yeah, that’s what I thought… 👃🔍🫤 It looks a lot more pronounced with larger ridges, and in the episode itself, much more subdued.

If it’s still a small prosthetic, I wonder why they changed it so drastically from how she looked on TNG, especially the stern “V” at the top between the eyebrows, that’s now completely disappeared. Curious. 🤔

I was hoping she’d be featured on The Ready Room in a behind-the-scenes interview, but all they made time for was a trivia question about the character.

The stern V as you call it was gone a long time ago, since that part of the prosthetic kept peeling off on actors, due to sweating. None of the later Bajorans have them any more. But I do wish they would’ve gone with the more pronounced nose in that pic for her final look.

I do remember them doing away with the “V” for Bajorans, but always thought that Ro Laren retained hers until her final appearance. I just checked… and nope, it’s just the zig-zag on top. But it looks like she didn’t even keep that exact shape for her final performance, did they? 🫤

Thankfully, it’s not as severe as what they did to the Trill; but I would’ve still preferred a bit more consistency, so that we don’t have to head-canon the issue… 👃🤛 …she lived quite dangerously, after all! 😅

The whole topic reminds me of what they did with the various Romulan looks in PIC season 1, depending on what area/region they’re from — I thought that was a clever, respectful way to honor everything that came before.

I was genuinely happy to see her again. Michelle Forbes is great.

I was, too, and yes, she is! 🤩

Very talented and attractive actress, imo. She’s had a lot of great roles over the years. Post Trek, I especially enjoyed her turn as a villain in True Blood. It was great to see her again in PIC.

I rewatched “Pre-emptive strike” this week for the first time in many years. What a disappointment. the actors playing Maquis were awful. No conviction, no real emotion. The scene in the ship with the woman Maqui was silly. And the soap opera with the old guy. Last weekend’s Picard’s show was orders of magnitude better in terms of script, performance, emotion, dramatic acting, character development, well … everything. But killng off Ro was a disappointment and, frankly, superfluous. I think we already understood the seriousness of the conspiracy without that.

The way you describe Preemptive Strike is pretty much ’90s Trek in a nutshell. I liked the death of Ro myself. It gave nice closure to the relationship, and capped off some powerful scenes, while also raising the emotional stakes (you’re focused on plot, I’m focused on character).

Well said, it was a very clever and emotional plot to the episode and how it it brought Worf and Raffi into the story line was great

The magnitude of the conspiracy is one thing, but now Picard can’t let Ro’s death be in vain, especially after the two of them just had their emotional breakthrough. Without that, Picard is really only emotionally motivated to protect Jack, which by itself probably wouldn’t be enough to stop the Changeling/Mystery Villain Big Threat.

Also, it follows the themes of the season: family, loss, and legacy.

at the heart of most of ST

Well…..maybe she’s stuck in the transporter buffer.

If she does reappear, we can’t be sure if it’s her. I don’t think they have time to go over that again.

I was very happy to see Ro Laren again. However, the story about the Changelings is closely linked to DS9, so I’m hoping for surprises here as well. A visit to DS9 would be wonderful.

Great! Now do Tom Riker

I’m still not certain Will isn’t actually Tom.

It looked like they were setting that up in the beginning, but too many character beats for Will have happed that just wouldn’t work for Tom at this point.

On paper, this should have worked. . . yet Ro’s reappearance after all these years just didn’t feel believable to me. Perhaps another episode to allow the personalities to play out might have helped, but her abrupt appearance and departure within one episode mainly felt like fan service to me.

I was thinking the same thing here she is one minute and at the end..gone. Actually, I was thinking she was going to be a Changeling until her ties to Worf was confirmed. Also, being unable to escape the shuttle seemed a little unconvincing. She could have donned a space suit and jettisoned out.

The other ship didn’t put up its shield to protect it from the shuttle explosion/impact? Come on. You’d think there’s a 24th century equivalent of various collision avoidance features on a Starship like we do with the newest cars today.

As Admiral Cain on the new Battlestar Galactica she was INCREDIBLE.

Her return here is VERY welcome and while sad in-universe, brings much needed closure and the discussion she ALWAYS had to have with Picard. GREAT acting in the 10 forward scene and so powerful.

I’m very happy she agreed to return. Not at all fan-service but very organic story-telling.

LOVING this season!

I also have to wonder if they asked her if she’d ever be interested in being a recurring/regular character again, and once she said no, they made the decision to kill her off.

Yes she was terrific as Cain. So much the strength of Ro and yet so much unlike her in every way.

Yeah it was great to see Forbes back as Ro. Of course I assumed she could come back and I thought it was a possibility but I never really thought it would happen.

And I actually rewatched both Preemptive Strike and Imposters together over the weekend. Those episodes really line up in terms of the stakes and emotions. I forgot how much of a hardass Picard was to her when she was having doubts over her mission and it really tied in great with how she felt Picard treated her and he was always too far up Starfleet’s butt lol, then and now. I also liked how you can tell Riker had a lot more sympathy for what she did then and still defended her in the episode.

I can tell some people are bothered by her death but I think they handled it well by showing how much she did ultimately care for Starfleet and her friends. They probably could’ve drawn it out to another episode, but that’s the problem when you only have ten episodes and you have to keep things moving…in this case literally.

Overall though all the legacy characters have been handled so well on this show IMO. It’s just great to see them all back and can’t wait for the next surprise appearance.

I agree, Ro was handled incredibly well,
given the time restraints of the season.

Sooo excited for the next one! ✊️💫
It’s just a few more hours away… 😁

I thought the next episode was even BETTER than this one!!! We are living in good times my friend! :)

I actually always felt Episode 6 was the weakest, but still really good. Glad to heat you liked it. Curious what the broader sentiment is.

I probably need to rewatch it a few more times to make up my mind, but weaker than all others in the season it was not, IMO.

And I usually don’t mind fan service all too much, but this was the mother lode… ALMOST too much with all the ships, Genesis, Kirk, and Attack Tribbles, even with a TNG-pilot-clip flashback, and the DataLalLoreB4Soong revival. 😵‍💫💫

But then again, I feel like celebrating it, instead of needlessly lamenting… 😄🎉

From a narrative/writing perspective it was the weakest. It was definitely the most fan-squealing, even for me. Aside the ships, seeing Geordi meet Data gain, seeing Picard with Geordi, etc. Heck, even the final revelation was kind of cool.

But overall, it wasn’t as strong as past episodes. The lack of Shaw was a big reason :)

I liked it too, I think. Maybe even loved it? Still digesting it all from last night… they really laid it on thick, that’s for sure! 😅

I’m VERY curious to hear your thoughts. Not so good with names, but if I recall, you’ve been hard on the show (or was that someone else?). That you liked this, is interesting!

I really expected a big backlash from it. But it seems Terry really gets what fans want.

I’ve been hard on the dumpster fire that’s DSC. PIC, I’ve mostly liked from the start. Not entirely the first season, but it had its moments. The second season, I probably liked better than most commenters on here. The third, though, is fantastic so far.

Sure, there are minor logic flaws here and there, but you can tell that the writers’ room took the story through the wringer, while making sure that the entertainment value stays high, pretty much consistently, which is why I can appreciate this last episode’s LD-level of nods and Easter eggs (after all, the holiday takes place early this year)! 😉🐰🥚

Yeah, I think keeping your audience entertained with well written characters that have wits and/or heart (and aren’t just virtue signaling on steroids), and a compelling story that continuously sheds its revelatory layers like an onion being peeled (instead of the hasty plot dump near the very end), are key to this season’s success.

Ro or Michelle’s performance was just fantastic and reminiscent of one of Discovery’s best characters, Admiral Cornwall

One of the best moments on the show was seeing ro again. One of the worst moments in television history was writing this character to be stupid as their exit. She was a marquis! Somehow she forgot to think? She could have simply ejected into space and beamed over the titan. Did no one else think that as an almost reflex reaction to that situation?

Where was Troi when you needed someone “EJECTED INTO SPACE!!!!”

I… don’t even know how to respond to this. Eject into space? Are you serious? When have we ever even heard of that as a viable option?

Besides…her sacrifice made perfect sense precisely BECAUSE she was a Maquis. She doesn’t want to save herself, she wants to achieve the mission, and if that means sacrificing her life to give Picard and his team a chance to get away and finish that mission, that’s exactly what she’s going to do.

People can survive a few seconds in space and it will only take one or two to beam her aboard. Her “sacrifice” meant nothing because it could have been done without dying. “keep a lock on me, I’ll be blowing the hatch.” she sets shuttle course, blow the hatch, titan beams her over. There are instances of people surviving in vacuum of space. One instance is from season 5 of tng called “disaster” where crusher and LaForge ejected the contents of shuttle bay and were exposed to the vacuum of space until the bay shields were reactivated. If that’s a viable option to remove something from the bay, why is it unimaginable to eject yourself to get yourself away from something?

I’m not ashamed to say that I teared up a lot when Ro died. The tragedy of lost opportunities in relationships, how the actors brought that home in those last moments, was just absolutely brilliant. The realization of what they really meant to each other, and that they wouldn’t get to act on that.. heartbreaking.