Actor Santiago Cabrera said that when he first met about taking on the role of Cristobal “Chris” Rios for the first season of “Star Trek: Picard,” he wanted to make it clear that he wasn’t just rehashing the same old sort of character.
If the folks working to create the series weren’t careful, Rios could have been the “Star Trek” version of Han Solo from “Star Wars,” or Starbuck of “Battlestar Galactica” or even Wolverine from the X-Men. Rios still is the swashbuckling loner, who occasionally plays cards or chomps on cigars — like those other three — but Cabrera and the writers made him more than just that.
“There has to be something like … it’s these characters are so big … larger than life,” said Cabrera. “The history of ‘Star Trek’ as well. So he needs to live up to that. We have to find something within that … something unique … something that sets him apart. Even though it’s familiar, there had to be something unique there.”
Cabrera Working on ‘Picard’
Cabrera said on the call that the second season of the show is quite different from the first for a few reasons. Fans won’t have to spend time and episodes meeting the characters for the first time (in the case of Raffi, Elnor, Soji, and Rios) or learning where the character has been for the past 20 years (Seven and Picard).
“You know, you’re more invested in it,” said Cabrera. “A lot of things land differently. There’s more of a feeling of ‘I know these people’ — between ourselves as well. So it’s great. The good thing is that you’ve just got more stories, and you can dig in deeper and more places to go, and you want to find new colors, a new layer, a new storyline. We found, definitely, some fun stuff in Season 2.”
Rios and the rest of the main cast on “Picard,” which includes Allison Pill (Dr. Agnes Jurati), Evan Evagora (Elnor), Michelle Hurd (Raffi), Jeri Ryan (Seven), and Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard), find themselves in some sort of situation with Q, which requires time travel to the past. Thanks to the “Picard” trailers, fans know a little bit about the adventures the crew will have in what looks like the present — the 2020s.
‘Picard’ Season 2
Cabrera hinted that fans could expect a real adventure from Season Two.
“For me, I felt that we hit the ground running,” said Cabrera. “It was just action-packed, and I also thought the details on how we relate to each other was so much deeper. And we also all got to explore something new.”
“I can only speak for myself. But there’s a whole new side of Rios that we see. He’s got a different journey and an arc that will have a payoff in the end.”
Since part of Rios’ journey is backward in time, Cabrera shared that his character and his crewmates were all affected somehow by the experience.
“The audience is in on the gag with these characters where you’re not from this place, but you have to pretend to be,” Cabrera said. “That was a lot of fun to play. And then also to be able to shine a light to what we are going through to what is really happening in the world that we live in today.”
“Also, in the eyes of these characters that come from a world that’s kind of, in many ways … where there’s much more acceptance and respect for each other. It’s a much more evolved aspect of humanity and for living beings in general.”
“It’s like they are regressing back, and they are saying, ‘I can’t believe this is going on today,’” said Cabrera. “It was great in both aspects to shine a mirror into reality today and to also play with that idea of not being of this time.”