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Things We Want To See In Star Trek: Picard Season 3

When Season 2 of "Star Trek: Picard" landed in 2022, there were high hopes that it could improve on what many felt was a hit-and-miss debut in 2020. While critics seemed to enjoy the sophomore installment, audiences were less than enthused. But any disappointment Trekkies may have had gave way to excitement pretty quickly, because before Season 2 had finished airing, a third season was announced with a surprise trailer.

The first teaser for Season 3 revealed that "Picard" is doing what once seemed unthinkable — reuniting the entire cast of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" for one last adventure. Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis (who returned as Will Riker and Deanna Troi in Season 1) are back once again, and this time they will be joined by Gates McFadden, Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton, and Brent Spiner. Further trailers have revealed that for the first time in the series the action will be set on a Federation starship, with a new threat prompting Jean-Luc Picard to assemble his old Enterprise crew.

There's still much we don't know about Season 3 of "Star Trek: Picard," which will begin airing in February 2023. While we wait, we've compiled our list of hopes for the final season: What changes we want to see, what characters we hope are revisited, and even some story possibilities. So activate the viewscreen and open hailing frequencies — these are the things we want to see in Season 3 of "Star Trek: Picard."

A story worthy of The Next Generation

After two seasons of "Star Trek: Picard," a vocal part of the fandom criticized the series for an uneven pace, which is particularly problematic for single-story seasons. Muddled subplots in Season 2 left many fans frustrated with an inconsistent narrative and a confusing conclusion that saddled audiences with more questions than answers.

Some of these problems were caused by the behind-the-scenes shuffling of creative teams: Season 2's showrunner Terry Matalas revealed that he handed the series off to Akiva Goldsman halfway through the story so he could focus on developing Season 3. With the final year bringing back the entire cast of "The Next Generation" in a long-awaited, crowd-pleasing return, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that can't afford to be bungled.

We're hoping that Matalas put his time away from Season 2 to good use and has crafted the kind of streamlined, strong, well-paced story that he was so praised for with his previous series, the critically acclaimed "12 Monkeys." Thankfully, with his track record and vocal love of "The Next Generation," we have faith that Matalas can deliver on this one.

The TNG crew united

Fans of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" finally got the news they'd been hoping for ever since "Picard" was first announced when it was made known in April 2022 that the entire cast of "TNG" would join "Picard" for its third and final season. But, so far, teaser trailers have shown very little of the crew in action, and not one shot has featured any of the likes of Riker, Troi, Dr. Crusher, Worf, or Geordi together, the way we saw them for seven seasons on "TNG."

Now, it's possible — even likely — that producers are being careful not to show too much. We also know it might be a lot to ask that Season 3 feature the entire Enterprise-D crew together on the bridge for the whole season. But we're still hoping that the season doesn't simply have each character popping up one by one for individual appearances, because what we want to see is a final mission for the entire crew united one more time.

Of course, they will likely be without the android Commander Data, following his final demise in Season 1 of "Picard." However, actor Brent Spiner is returning in an undisclosed role, and it sounds like he'll be playing yet another new character. Which leads us to...

A satisfying role for Brent Spiner

With actor Brent Spiner unable to reprise his role as Commander Data, it means the actor's inclusion will indeed see him return as a different character. Early speculation was that he might return as Soong son Altan Inigo, who appeared in Season 1, or perhaps as Data's evil twin Lore, who recurred throughout "The Next Generation." However, showrunner Terry Matalas has confirmed that Spiner's part in the series will be someone entirely new, so we're hoping it's someone compelling and worthy of Spiner's inclusion.

We're hoping it's not another unseen Soong, as Spiner has now played Data, his human creator Noonian Soong, his android twin Lore, his human half-brother Altan Inigo Soong, 22nd century ancestor Arik Soong, and 21st century forebear Adam Soong. We're not sure there's room — or interest among fans — in seeing him back as yet another member of the Soong family. It needs to be someone whose connection doesn't feel too forced, and whose existence isn't a strain on believability. It might be the toughest problem for the writers to crack, but Spiner's range has us confident that no matter who it is, he'll give a strong performance.

A familiar Enterprise

With the entire cast of "The Next Generation" back in action for Season 3, it seems only appropriate that the show would also return us to the bridge of the '80s era Enterprise-D, seen for seven seasons on "TNG." Though part of the ship was destroyed in the 1994 film "Generations," there's no reason the saucer section couldn't have been repaired and given a new secondary hull, perhaps now sitting in a Starfleet salvage yard or even a Fleet Museum. It's also possible we could see Picard and crew in a holodeck recreation, or on another ship of the same class for old time's sake.

Though we don't want the show to be too hard on nostalgia, this is one callback we'd like to see, even if it's just in an epilogue in the final episode. According to one member of the cast, it may actually be on the cards, with LeVar Burton suggesting they will indeed be back aboard the old Enterprise. "We spent three days on a bridge that they built that was a replica of the Enterprise that we had during the series," the actor said at San Diego Comic-Con (via TrekMovie). "We went back to our bridge. It wasn't exactly — the ramp was a little steep, but the feeling that it invoked in us, that sense of coming home was real."

Despite Burton's comments we're still keeping our hopes in check on this one, as showrunner Terry Matalas has played down expectations, telling fans on Twitter that "it's not what you think."

A new Enterprise

A cornerstone of the "Star Trek" franchise, the starship Enterprise is as inextricably linked to the final frontier as transporters, phasers, and photon torpedoes. Though there have been movies without the Enterprise, and shows about other vessels, there's arguably no starship more recognizable or iconic in science fiction, and it's been nearly 20 years since we've seen a new ship that bears that name.

Though we've seen a few new starships, and even the original Enterprise re-appearing in "Strange New Worlds," we still want to see the ship that carries the Federation banner in the 25th century. It's perhaps our greatest wish that Season 3 of "Picard" introduces the next Federation Flagship to follow the Enterprise-E that was seen in the "TNG" feature films.

While showrunner Terry Matalas' denials of returning to the Enterprise-D weren't exactly definitive, he also hinted that we may indeed meet the new Enterprise, saying in the same tweet, "What the F are they talking about?" before making his subtle clue clear, "Get it? What the F? *cough!" If Matalas' sarcastic hint is to be believed, it sounds like we will indeed step aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise-F.

A tease for a new spin-off

The thrilling announcement of the addition of the entire "TNG" cast to Season 3 of "Star Trek: Picard" was coupled with the disappointing news that it would be the series' final season. It didn't exactly come as a complete surprise, as series star Patrick Stewart made it clear when he signed up in 2018 that this wouldn't be a long-running series, so we feel lucky that the show has gone on for as long as it has. But its conclusion next year is going to leave a gaping hole in the franchise's schedule of shows, and we'd love to see Season 3 contain elements that could serve as a backdoor pilot to a new spin-off series.

Whether that's a series set aboard the U.S.S. Titan starring Jeri Ryan, who is back as Commander Seven of Nine, or the fabled Captain Worf spin-off long pursued by actor Michael Dorn, the possibilities are endless. Showrunner Terry Matalas suggested that such a spin-off could be coming while appearing on the Inglorious Treksperts podcast. "To me, this is a period of time in the 'Star Trek' universe that I would love to spend more time with," Matalas acknowledged (via TrekMovie). "I would love nothing more than to stay in [the year] 2401 to tell more 'Star Trek' stories in this universe. And so that's all I will say."

A compelling villain

Despite three teaser trailers to date, we still know very little about the story we'll see in Season 3 of "Star Trek: Picard." But from bits and pieces we've heard and seen so far, the danger will hit Dr. Crusher first, and see her reach out to Picard for help. As revealed by producer Alex Kurtzman at San Diego Comic-Con, the story will be centered not on a broad threat but an individual villain.

"We do have a singular villain this season," Kurtzman said. "I won't say too much other than that she is amazing." Following in the footsteps of Q, the Borg, and the Romulans in the first two seasons, we're hoping this villain will be someone impressive, and better than lackluster enemies from the movies like Shinzon or Ru'afo. More in the spirit of "Star Trek," we want someone who is less pure evil; an antagonist whose goals are in some ways admirable but at odds with Picard and his crew, helping drive a thematic link between them. So far, who the villain is and what they want remains a mystery.

What we do know, thanks to showrunner Terry Matalas' very active fan engagement on Twitter, is that the villain will be someone new — and played by a familiar actor. "It is a new character," he confirmed. "Played by someone you've seen a million times before. Someone I've always wanted to work with. And... wow. You're not ready." Let the speculation commence.

Surprise guest appearances

Seeing as this is a reunion of the "TNG" cast, we'd love to see the long-awaited return of some recurring favorites. After all, with Season 3 possibly being the last time we'll ever see Jean-Luc Picard on screen, it will be the last opportunity for Patrick Stewart to share the stage with former "TNG" stars. Whether that means finding a way for Denise Crosby to reprise her role as Tasha Yar, an appearance by Chief O'Brien, or a cameo from engineer Reg Barclay, they'd all be a welcome sight.

The biggest appearance we're really hoping for is not from a character, but a location: Deep Space Nine. We haven't heard much about it in more than 20 years, and though "Lower Decks" is taking us back, we want to see it in live action. Considering Worf served there for several years and he's back in action in Season 3 of "Picard," there could be some logic to revisiting the former Cardassian station orbiting Bajor. This too would segue perfectly into an appearance from one-time Picard protégé Ro Laren, the fan-favorite Bajoran officer played by Michelle Forbes.

No matter who might pop up, we want producers to keep any cameos a surprise and not spoil them in trailers or pre-release marketing. There's something to be said for a surprise guest appearance, and we're hopeful there will be at least one or two of them in Season 3.

The resolution of some lingering plotlines

Now we're certainly not suggesting that the final season be used to tie up every loose end from "The Next Generation," but it would be nice to get some resolution on a few lingering questions. For starters, we'd like for Jean-Luc Picard and Beverly Crusher — the series' longstanding will they/won't they" couple — to finally address the status of their relationship and whether they ever did get together since when we last saw them. 

It was teased more than once, most notably in the "TNG" finale "All Good Things," that the pair would be married at some point in the future (at least in one timeline), but the matter has gone conspicuously unmentioned in the first two seasons of "Picard." Likewise, there are broader "Star Trek" stories that we've never heard much about since "Picard" brought audiences back to the 24th century, including the status of the Dominion following the events of "Deep Space Nine." Though we don't want the story to get too sidetracked, including some background details that fill fans in on unanswered questions can both satisfy our curiosity, help to provide good world-building, and set up future "Star Trek" shows at the same time.

A new Star Trek crossover

Yes, we definitely want a simpler, stream-lined story for Season 3, but that doesn't mean that cameos and surprises can't still be had. Beyond returning "TNG" favorites, we think there's room for one more jaw-dropper that we want to see: A crossover with the animated comedy "Star Trek: Lower Decks." Though we know that a mashup between the adult animated series and retro spin-off "Strange New Worlds" is also on the way, we're not suggesting anything like the time travel adventure they seem to be planning.

For "Picard" Season 3, we simply want to see characters from "Lower Decks" make an appearance, as "Picard" is set some 20 years later and could show where some of the Cerritos' crew will wind up down the road. Perhaps Jack Quaid, who voices Ensign Boimler (and is set to play the role in live-action for "Strange New Worlds"), could appear as veteran Captain Boimler in "Picard," or the Cerritos' captain Carol Freeman could pop up as an Admiral.

Such crossovers between "Star Trek" shows are what have often made the franchise so special, even when they're just name-dropped on a viewscreen. Given this is the series swan song, we're hoping the producers of "Picard" will have a little fun and give us a hint of what lies ahead for the crew of the Cerritos, though we admit this one is a bit of a longshot.

Screen time for Picard's own cast members

With all the excitement surrounding the return of the "TNG" crew as regular cast members, some have forgotten that "Star Trek: Picard" already has a strong supporting cast. This includes former "Star Trek: Voyager" star Jeri Ryan as ex-Borg Seven of Nine, Starfleet commander Raffi (Michelle Hurd), Picard's Romulan caretaker Laris (Orla Brady), and the Romulan warrior Elnor (Evan Evagora). While the likes of Soji (Isa Briones), Captain Rios (Santiago Cabrera), and Jurati (Alison Pill) had their stories go off in new directions that may be followed up elsewhere, we're hoping the series doesn't forget about the rest of the "Picard" cast.

In fact, Raffi and Seven did pop up in the most recent Season 3 trailer, but we want them to do more than just appear at the beginning of the season, or in a simple token subplot. Instead, we want them to be in the thick of the action right from the start, alongside Picard and his Enterprise mates. As for Laris, we've heard from Terry Matalas that she will show up, and we're hoping to learn more about her budding relationship with Picard. We'll also be sorely disappointed if now-Cadet Elnor doesn't play a key role, as he was one of the more compelling characters in the series and was sadly given little to do in Season 2.

Everyone getting the chance to shine in a proper send-off

Producers, writers, and showrunner Terry Matalas have made no secret about why they brought back the cast of "The Next Generation" for the third season. Even though the series finale of "TNG" was a strong capper in its own right, their last collective appearance was the abysmal "Star Trek: Nemesis" in 2002, which was met with scathing reviews from fans and critics and remains the worst performing "Star Trek" film of all time. "I had always felt like the 'Next Generation' characters never got their due finale," Matalas said on the All Access Star Trek podcast. "'Nemesis' didn't feel like the end. I was always hoping they were going to get [another]."

Season 3 of "Picard" is a chance to give the cast of "TNG" a send-off worthy of their greatness. But if this is truly going to be a grand going-away party for the cast of "TNG," we're hoping it gives everyone something important to do and concludes each of their decades-long stories in a satisfying manner. The "TNG" films rarely gave the likes of Dr. Crusher or Counselor Troi much screen time, for example, and "Picard" Season 3 is a chance to make up for past mistakes. While we've already seen from trailers that the good doctor will play a key role, we want to see everyone get a chance to shine.

No major deaths

As the grand send-off for the "TNG" crew, there's likely going to be some temptation to kill off at least one major character. But Season 1 of "Picard" already killed off fan-favorite Hugh (Jonathan Del Arco), and was capped off with the demise of "TNG" regular Data and the death of Picard's human form. Season 2 also included a few major deaths, with Elnor killed off early in the story. While he was ultimately resurrected thanks to time travel, John de Lancie's Q met his end in the season finale in a heartbreaking moment that concluded his character's decades-long journey on screen.

With all of the deaths of beloved characters we've already seen in the series, we're hoping the final season will go down a different route. In short, we don't want any major cast members or even fan-favorite guest stars to be killed off. We want to see everyone — perhaps even the villain — survive the season and live to see another day. Not because we want to leave open the possibility that the likes of Picard, Riker, Dr. Crusher, and Worf could return (that's just an added bonus), but because "Picard" has already had its dreary, downbeat endings, and we want the series to close out on a more positive note.