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Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Originally Had Bigger Plans For Ro Laren's Storyline

Considering that "Star Trek: Picard" was intended to give the cast of "The Next Generation" the ending they deserved after the failure of "Star Trek: Nemesis," second chances abounded just about everywhere in its third and final season. Jean-Luc (Patrick Stewart) gets to know the son he never knew he had, Jack (Ed Speleers), and Data (Brent Spiner) is not only literally brought back from the dead, but gets the chance to be the human he had always longed to be. 

But there were redemption arcs that were probably even more surprising to fans. Showrunner Terry Matalas said that the particular redemption arc of Ro Laren (Michelle Forbes) had always been the plan for Season 3, but it turns out that the original version of that plan had featured her even more. Speaking with Variety, he said that, rather than having her sacrifice herself to give Picard and the rest of the Titan's crew a chance to flee from a Starfleet near-fully infiltrated by the Changelings, earlier iterations had her surviving. 

"There were things that we just simply didn't have the time and money to shoot," said Matalas. "In the very first iterations of [the] script, we had discovered that Ro Laren had in fact survived, and had been beamed off of her shuttle and was still being used by the Changelings for information."

There was a lot more that Matalas wanted to do with Picard

Ro Laren's appearance in Episode 5, "Imposters," was already a bit of a surprise. When last seen in the final season of "TNG," she was turning her back on Starfleet and going over to the enemy, much to the heartbreak of Jean-Luc Picard. That she had not only been rehabilitated and re-integrated into Starfleet — but had come to genuinely warn Jean-Luc of the conspiracy — made for a notable twist.

According to Terry Matalas, the original scripts — those that more prominently featured Ro — had to be cut down primarily due to budgetary and timetable issues. "It was already too ambitious of a schedule," he elaborated to Variety, "so we weren't able to be able to pull that off." Apparently, there was a lot of originally-intended material that had to be cut for exactly that same reason, including bringing back other characters from earlier seasons of "Picard." 

"We had a scene with Soji [the synth considered to be Data's daughter from Season 1, played by Isa Briones] and Data that we were also not able to shoot," said Matalas. "We have wanted some more 'Voyager' folks to come be part of Seven of Nine's promotion to captain. It comes down to how many pennies you have left in the piggy bank after building a Borg cube and an Enterprise." Rebuilding the bridge of the Enterprise was, as producers and designers have noted elsewhere, already quite the undertaking.