Michael Chabon, a showrunner and executive producer for Star Trek: Picard, revealed some new and interesting details about Thad Riker-Troi, the son of William T. Riker and Deanna Troi. The character was first introduced in the first season of Picard during the episode entitled “Nepenthe.”
A Closer Look At Thad’s Childhood
In a Medium post earlier this week, Chabon gave fans some more details about Thad’s childhood aboard the Titan, the ship that his father commanded. He grew up surrounded by non-humans from other worlds throughout the galaxy. From a young age, he was fascinated by the stories they told about their home worlds and the unique languages they spoke. The crew adored Thad and spent countless hours teaching him about their languages and their cultures.
Thad, who was essentially a nomad from birth, became obsessed with the idea of having a home-world. His parent’s background made it hard for him to identify with a single home-world as his mother grew up on Betazed and his father grew up on Earth. So, he decided to make up his own home world, which he dubbed Ardani.
His first effort to make Ardani real was the creation of a native tongue, which he called Kelu. Eventually, Thad developed Kelu into a very complex language and he spoke it frequently. He even taught it to members of the Titan crew and Kelu became a kind of jargon onboard the ship.
The rest of Chabon’s post detailed the Ardani home world and the Kelu language with few additional details on Thad’s life. However, he did confirm that Thad died when he was only 15 years old, three years before Picard and Soji’s visit to the Riker-Troi homestead.
The Significance of Thad’s Full Name
Chabon also divulged a small detail in the post that has huge significance to fans of the Star Trek franchise. In the post, he referred to Thad by his full name — Thaddeus Worf Riker-Troi. Trek superfans know that Worf is the name of the Klingon warrior and Starfleet officer who served with both Riker and Troi on the U.S.S. Enterprise-D, the starship which was the focus of the show Star Trek: The Next Generation.
For several years, Worf was the chief security officer of the Enterprise. He was highly regarded as a powerful warrior, an honorable officer, and a loyal friend to his crewmates. He often accompanied Riker on away missions and the two bonded over their off-ship experiences. They often socialized in their off-duty hours as well, spending time in Ten Forward or playing Ten Forward. The two also enjoyed participating in athletic endeavors together. They often played parrises squares and trained together in the Holodeck.
Worf was also very good friends with Troi, and eventually developed a romantic relationship with her. Their relationship began in the episode “Parallels,” which featured an alternate timeline where Worf and Troi were married. They dated for a few years after that, but their relationship eventually fizzled, perhaps because Troi was always truly in love with Riker.
Riker and Troi’s decision to give their son the middle name “Worf” indicates just how important he was to the both of them. It also hints at the fact that Riker didn’t hold a grudge over the fact that Worf and Troi dated.
The Sad Story of Thad Riker-Troi
Fans first learned about Thad and his tragic death in the seventh episode of Picard. After Jean-Luc Picard and Soji fled the Borg cube, they headed to the planet Nepenthe, where Picard knew they could find refuge. When they arrived on the planet, the duo headed to a house deep in the woods, which was occupied by the Riker-Troi family — his former crewmates and their daughter.
After their touching reunion, Troi showed Picard around the house, and they paused for a moment in Thad’s room. Pictures that appeared to be drawn by a child hung on the walls. One of the drawings was a map of Ardani. Picard recalled meeting Thad when he was four or five years old and remembered that he would often speak a made up language. Troi then pulled out a picture of Picard holding an infant Thad, reminding him that he’d met the boy long before that particular moment.
Tearfully, Troi told Picard that Thad’s birthday was the week before and that he would have been 18.
Later in the episode, while Troi was in the garden with Soji, she explained what had happened to Thad. He contracted a rare disease that could have easily been cured if the ban on synths, which was enacted after the synth-led attack on Mars, hadn’t prevented the creation and use of positronic matrices. After they found out about Thad’s incurable condition, Riker and Troi left their starship — the Titan — and moved to Nepenthe. Thad had always longed for a home world, so they gave him one for the last months of his life.
Will Fans Learn More About Thad’s Childhood?
So far, none of the canon Trek series have taken place during Thad’s short lifetime. The events of Picard take place after Thad’s death, while the events of season one of Lower Decks take place before Thad’s birth. However, Riker and Troi’s appearance on Lower Decks took place just one year before Thad was born. Since one of the main characters on that show, Brad Boimler, has been transferred to the Titan, it follows that Riker and Troi will be mainstays in season two of the show.
So, fans might get to see a pregnant Troi or an infant Thad in the next season of Lower Decks. For now, that’s just speculation.