There's a little irony when it comes to the Paramount+ series Star Trek: Picard since it prided on not trying to be more of the same repeating The Next Generation. The final season will reunite the entire cast for one last adventure along with confirmed returns from Michelle Hurd (Raffi) and Jeri Ryan (Seven). Hurd remains the only original cast member of the series to remain throughout that's not a legacy character as Ryan's Seven was introduced in UPN's Voyager. Picard executive producer Terry Matalas spoke with Inglorious Treksperts (via Trek Core) about what to expect from the third and final season including some possible additional faces from the franchise's past.
"There are some people from 'Star Trek' who come back in this season who aren't the 'Next Gen' [primary] cast. I mean there's one character who is in 'Next Gen' who I was like… I really want THIS character to come back," Matalas said. "And when they did [agree to return], that was weirdly more thrilling than everything else in totality." TNG cast members Jonathan Frakes (William Riker), Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi), Brent Spiner (Data), and Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) already appeared in the first two seasons to reprise their roles. While the Ready Room aftershow host remains mum on season three, star Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard) & company will be joined by Gates McFadden (Beverly Crusher), LeVar Burton (Geordi LaForge), and Michael Dorn (Worf).
"Uhh…. uhh…. [pause] …if this was a printed interview, you'd say, 'The showrunner smiled devilishly.' I think, to me, this is a period of time in the 'Star Trek' universe I'd love to spend more time in. There's nothing less than 30 legacy characters across 'Deep Space Nine,' 'Voyager' and 'Next Gen' that you'd love to check-in and see — you can't get to them all in ['Picard'] Season 3," Matalas said on his future beyond Picard. "We don't get to Miles O'Brien (Colm Meaney). I'd love to get to Miles O'Brien! There are people though — I could say one name to you right now that comes back, and [you'd be] like, 'Oh my god, I want to know what happens!' You're going to find out. So I would love nothing more than to stay in the 2401 year to tell more 'Star Trek' stories in this universe… so that's all I will say."
On the departing original Picard cast members in Evan Evagora (Elnor), Isa Briones (Soji/Kore), Alison Pill (Jurati), and Santiago Cabrera (Rios), "We just don't have infinite cash — or run time — to do justice to infinite characters," Matalas said. As far as what Picard intends to do, "Season 3 is very much the passing of the torch from one generation to the next. I love the moment where old Bones is walking around the Enterprise with Data [in 'Encounter at Farpoint']. I love when Spock came on [in 'Unification'] and had that arc with Picard. The tapestry feels much richer when that happens. I think there are opportunities to tell the story of the next generation that crosses with the last."
For more on Matalas' feelings on 2002's Nemesis, what reactions from McFadden, Burton, and Frakes had about their characters' arcs, and comparing every season of Picard, you can check out the rest of the interview here.