Paramount+ dropped a massive bombshell today that will surely thrill “Star Trek: The Next Generation” fans across the galaxy. The First Contact Day surprise is that “The Next Generation” stars LeVar Burton, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Jonathan Frakes, and Brent Spiner will all reunite with Sir Patrick Stewart in the third and reportedly final season of ‘Star Trek: Picard.”
The news is exciting on numerous fronts. One, since “Star Trek: Picard” wrapped production several weeks ago, it means that all of the returning actors did their work on set in secret… a secret that was somehow never ruined. In the age of ubiquitous cell phones and cyber sleuths, it’s an absolute miracle that nothing got leaked, especially with so many familiar faces driving to and from the studio and working on the set. Two, Paramount+ released a “Picard” season three teaser trailer… right in the middle of season two. That’s a remarkably rare occurrence. Three, Frakes has directed several episodes of “Picard” and already reprised his role as Riker, while Sirtis returned as Deanna Troi, and Spiner has recurred in both seasons one and two, playing Data once again (through to the beloved character’s demise at the end of season one) and a couple of Soongs.
Everyone Is Back
So, season three will herald the returns of Burton as Geordi La Forge, McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher, and Dorn as Worf — in action with Stewart as Picard for the first time since the release of “Star Trek: Nemesis.” And if Worf is back, fan demand for a Captain Worf series surely won’t be far behind. Also, fans can start anticipating answers to the question of what went so very wrong in Picard-Crusher marriage. And we’re guessing that Burton will not be sporting Geordi’s signature VISOR.
“I remember watching the premiere of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ almost 34 years ago with my father like it was yesterday,” said Terry Matalas, season three showrunner and executive producer, said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “It was the spark that ignited my love for science fiction. So, it’s most fitting that the story of Jean-Luc Picard ends honoring the beginning, with his dearest and most loyal friends from the U.S.S. Enterprise. It would be an understatement to say that giving these characters a proper send-off is an honor. The entire ‘Star Trek: Picard’ team and I can’t wait for fans to experience this final, high-stakes, starship-bound adventure in season three!”
Jonathan Frakes was the first of the “TNG” cast to post about the big news:
Who Else Might Appear — or Not?
A lot can be read into the Paramount+ teaser trailer about “Next Generation” actors participating in season three of “Star Trek: Picard.” Or, more to the point, a lot can be read into what is not noted in the teaser trailer. For example, it does not mention either John de Lancie or Whoopi Goldberg. That could mean that viewers will have seen the last of them as Q and Guinan, respectively, by the end of season two. It’s also not clear how much of the returning actors viewers actually will see. Will the cast all appear in a single episode? Will several of them turn up in several episodes? Will they beam in one at a time for a last bow with Sir Patrick? And, might Wil Wheaton — who currently hosts the “Star Trek” after-show, “The Ready Room” — pop up as Wesley Crusher, too, in season three? How about Denise Crosby as Tasha Yar or Sela?
Crazier things have happened on the Final Frontier.