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Star Trek: Picard's Showrunner Says Ro Laren's Return Was Always The Plan

Contains spoilers for "Star Trek: Picard" Season 3, Episode 5 — "Imposters."

"Star Trek: Picard" Season 3 is the reunion that "Star Trek: The Next Generation" fans have been waiting for, with the return of characters like Worf (Michael Dorn), Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), and Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden). While it's great to see the main cast together again, Season 3 got even bigger with the return of one recurring character from "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

"Star Trek: Picard" Season 3, Episode 5 "Imposters" reintroduces Ro Laren (Michelle Forbes) 30 years on from her betrayal of Starfleet in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" Season 7, Episode 24 "Preemptive Strike." She is now a Starfleet commander who is on a mission to tell Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) that the Titan is not the only ship dealing with Changeling attacks. Since Changelings can change into anyone they want, Picard is skeptical of her news. But Ro convinces him she is real and later dies to save the Titan from an attack.

Showrunner Terry Matalas told Collider that when they were putting together Season 3, Ro was always in his pitch for this story, calling it a paranoia thriller. "The only way to be sure that 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," he said. And Forbes herself was excited to return to the final frontier.

Michelle Forbes is reflecting on her return to Star Trek

After Episode 5 aired, Michelle Forbes took to Instagram to share her thoughts on her return to "Star Trek." "[I was] very happy to be back in Patrick [Stewart and Jonathan Frakes'] arms and eat breakfast and laugh together again!" she wrote, adding that she learned a lot from Ro.

Ro first appeared in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" during Season 5, Episode 3 "Ensign Ro." She is assigned to the U.S.S. Enterprise after the Bajoran destroy the Federation colony on Solarion IV. Jean-Luc Picard (Stewart) is aware of Ro's past, including an incident on Garon II. Despite his objection, Ro is brought on board. She becomes a beloved member of the U.S.S. Enterprise crew. But Season 7, Episode 24, "Preemptive Strike" finds Ro having to a make decision between following Starfleet orders or defending the Maquis, who she has been ordered to infiltrate and later lead into a trap.

Terry Matalas told The Popcast that Ro's storyline felt like a loose end that needed to be tied. While Season 3 of "Star Trek: Picard" is all about giving "The Next Generation" cast another big adventure, he told IGN that it's not really Season 8 of "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

"This feels more like a continuation of the serialized arcs [of] 'Star Trek: The Next Generation.' Much more deep character dives. So, in some ways, yes, it is about 'The Next Generation,' the cast. But really it's a continuation of maybe where we left off with them cinematically," Matalas said.