Star Trek: Picard Goes Behind the Scenes with Director Lea Thompson

The previous two episodes of Star Trek: Picard in "Assimilation" and "Watcher" were directed by Lea Thompson. Paramount+ released a featurette highlighting the cast singing her praises the way she handled herself leading the set with comments from Michelle Hurd, Evan Evagora, Ito Aghayere, Santiago Cabrera, and Jeri Ryan. As it breaks down some of the major events of the episodes, this is your major spoilers warning.

Star Trek
Pictured: Sir Patrick Stewart as Picard and Ito Aghayere as young Guinan of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: PICARD. Photo Cr: Trae Patton/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

"Lea is so enthusiastic and so cute and fun," Ryan, who plays Seven of Nine, said. "Just the energy and the mood on set is so, just, light. She's just a lovely energy to have around. And she's a fan, which is fun and we were all fans of hers from 'Back to the Future', and I think she kind of knows the time travel bit. She gets it." Hurd (Raffi) and Evagora (Elnor) broke down the bond between their characters and the handling of a certain character's death. "[Lea]'s phenomenal. There's something about working with actor-directors. They kind of get the fact that maybe that actors are needy, and we just need a director to come in and say, 'You're doing good. You look pretty. It's okay, go on'. The scenes when Elnor is shot, it's just heartbreaking. You know, she—it's like a mother losing a son, and really, I leaned on her for the guidance of how I'll carry myself, which I love." "The scene we were trying to perform, I think Lea got the best out of me," Evagora added. "She was a great director. Everyone loved working with her. I felt so safe and trusted to give Elnor a great sendoff."

Star Trek: Picard Goes Behind the Scenes with Director Lea Thompson
Pictured: Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine, Santiago Cabrera as Rios, and Sir Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: PICARD. Photo Cr: Trae Patton/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

For Cabrera's Rios, the captain of the La Sirena not only had to deal with his injuries, but subsequent arrest at the hands of ICE when he's obviously unable to furnish any documentation… being from the future and all. "Lea Thompson's got a great energy," he said. "She was super fun, and I really enjoyed working with her 'cause it was when the character stuff started for Rios. The first two episodes were very much getting out of space and then—but once her episodes started to happen in 3 and 4, it was when Rios meets Teresa. But I was very happy to see these characters through a new lens. How did they adapt? How do they react in this new environment? This new world starts to happen for them so there was a few more of those character-driven scenes."

Aghayere's younger Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) played the older version earlier in the series and originally on Next Generation) was introduced in "Watcher". "Working with Lea Thompson for my first episode was such a gift," she said. "She didn't have to call me days before we were scheduled to shoot to talk through the episode and ask me what I thought about various parts of the script and different things. She didn't have to do that, but she did. She advocated for me and my take on the character and even played a really huge role in collaborating with the production design team to make my bar, Ten Forward, look like it was owned by a Black woman from 2024. I mean, shout out to the production design team. And so, to walk into a space that felt so lived in, that felt so right, was transcendent. It was such a pleasure to work with her especially coming on to, you know, such a big franchise like Star Trek. It felt like she already welcomed me in this family." Star Trek: Picard streams Thursdays on Paramount+.

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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