The cast of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” will reunite next season on “Star Trek: Picard,” and during an interview with Heavy on Star Trek, “Picard” executive producer and overall “Star Trek” television boss Alex Kurtzman confirmed that the returning actors and actresses will not merely be making cameo appearances. He did not say how many episodes would feature Brent Spiner, Marina Sirtis, Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton, and Gates McFadden joining Patrick Stewart, but he made it clear that fans can expect more than fleeting glimpses of them as they reprise their respective roles. Kurtzman made his comments to Heavy on Star Trek while meeting the press as he walked the red carpet at the “Star Trek: Strange Worlds” premiere in New York City on April 30, 2022.
“It’s like the dream that everybody has wanted, if you are a ‘Next Gen’ fan, for a very long time, which comes with a huge responsibility because you now have to deliver something that feels worthy of all that expectation,” Kurtzman said. “I can tell you that all the writers, the showrunners, and the cast themselves had a lot of input in that. We tend to want to be collaborative, especially with those members of the cast, because they were the ones who originated the characters.
Kurtzman Talks about Keeping the Big ‘Picard’ Secret
“They’re the ones who are taking the personal journey from an experience that none of us had,” Kurtzman added. “They got to make ‘Next Gen’ and then bring it over here. In a way, they’re always going to be the best keepers of their own flame. So, that conversation was constant. I think the balance works well.
“I think people will be satisfied,” Kurtzman continued. “And it’s definitely not a cameo.”
Spiner has been a steady presence on “Picard,” playing Data, Altan Inigo Soong, and Adam Soong across seasons one and two, according to Memory Alpha. Data died in “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2,” the first-season finale, with Picard at his side. Frakes and Sirtis also already have appeared on “Picard,” with Frakes reprising his role as Riker in “Nepenthe” and “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2,” and he was joined by Sirtis as Deanna Troi in “Nepenthe,” according to Memory Alpha. And though she was not a series regular and has not been announced as a third-season returnee, “Next Generation” fan favorite Whoopi Goldberg played the enigmatic Guinan again in “The Star Gazer,” the second season opener of “Picard;” actress Ito Aghayere, according to the Internet Movie Database, has appeared in several subsequent episodes as a younger version of the character.
The news that the full “Next Generation” cast would return during the upcoming third and final season of “Picard” broke on April 5, 2022. Paramount+ released an 84-second teaser trailer that featured the voices of all the main cast and then a fleeting image of Frakes as Riker. Just before the names of the “Next Generation” cast flashed on the screen one by one in alphabetical order after Stewart, Riker was shown asking, “Ready?” to which Picard, now visible as well, replied, “As ever.”
The ‘Picard’ Video Revealing the ‘Next Gen’ Cast Reunion
In a statement included in an April 5, 2022, story in Variety about the big announcement, “Picard” showrunner Terry Matalas said, “I remember watching the premiere of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ almost 34 years ago with my father like it was yesterday. 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.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise about the homecoming of the “Next Generation” actors is the fact that the production was able to keep it secret from the public, the paparazzi, and even the very technically-savvy “Star Trek” fan base for the better part of a year. That meant that somehow, even with the actors having to come and go to set each day, and cast and crew likely using their cell phones to document the experience in videos and pictures, absolutely nothing got out until Paramount+ made their announcement.
“Very (surprised),” Kurtzman said on the “Strange New Worlds” red carpet. “I was honestly stunned because people are always taking photos on the set and things are always leaking online. I was stunned.”
Paramount+ has not yet announced a premiere date for season three of “Picard.”