Star Trek: Picard Showrunner Updates Crusher, La Forge, Worf & Riker
Star Trek: Picard EP and showrunner Terry Matalas offered updates for TNG's Beverly Crusher, Geordi La Forge, William Riker & Worf.
Not that there wasn't already pressure on Star Trek: Picard executive producer and showrunner Terry Matalas, but he's focused on making sure The Next Generation crew gets the proper sendoff they never got in 2002's Nemesis. Among various topics discussed with Entertainment Weekly, he broke down what's going on with some of the crew members, including Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden), Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), Worf (Michael Dorn), and Riker (Jonathan Frakes).
Star Trek: Picard: What Is the Crew Up To?
One of the lingering storylines during TNG was the on-and-off again relationship between Enterprise Chief Medical Officer Crusher and then Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). "It feels like, 'Why didn't they for decades?'" Matalas asked himself. "It felt like it should have gone there in a feature film. Now that you're here at the end, wouldn't it be great to see, 'Oh, they went there alright.'" As far as being able to finally resolve that after two seasons without even a mention, "We get to see the fallout of that," as well as 'a coming together' in the final season," Matalas explained. "I also think that Beverly really never got her due," he adds. "That was one of the ideas I had from the beginning: The first person you actually saw this season was Beverly Crusher popping in the frame and defending her doctors. She was still a doctor, but she wasn't traditionally the kind of doctor you expected her to be. A lot of time and a lot of discussion with Gates went into that."
When we see Burton's La Forge return in the trailer, we see him with two daughters who serve with him in Ensign Alandra La Forge, played by Burton's real daughter Mica Burton, and the elder sibling Ensign Sidney La Forge, played by Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut. "I was fortunate that, creatively, we were very aligned," Matalas on his creative discussions with the TNG cast. "They know their characters better than I do." Upon Matalas' pitch to the actor and Reading Rainbow host, "I remember vividly the Zoom conversation I had with LeVar Burton, where I took him through the 10-episode arc I had envisioned for him," he recalled. "I pitched to him this big moment at the end of the season, and by the time I was done, there were tears in his eyes. It dawned on me that I just made Geordi La Forge cry with this story. And then I started to cry."
For Dorn, there was published content that updated Worf, like taking up command of the Enterprise-E after Jean-Luc left in a Star Trek: Picard prequel novel, but the EP had other specific plans. "We didn't want to say no to any of those ideas, but we certainly had a vision of where he was now," Matalas notes. "I see him as a samurai. I actually see him with this Klingon sword on his back. I also see him, although this doesn't quite line up with Klingon lore, with a white beard." If this isn't an ominous foreshadowing, "He's like, 'Do you mean like Pai Mei from Kill Bill?' I was like, 'That's a way to go.' And he goes, 'I love it.'"
Matalas' inspiration for where to go with Picard and Riker was the 1969 classic Western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in the Robert Redford and Paul Newman roles. "I thought it was important not to just get them all together in the first moment, but to earn each one of these character stories, to give each one of these characters their moment before they come together," he said. "If you were going to do a last Next Generation movie, you would really only have two, maybe three hours to do that. That's what's beautiful about a 10-episode sort of 'mini-series. You can explore all of them and see how they're different and pair them up."
For more, including how Matalas defines the kind of villain Amanda Plummer's Vadic is, having Enterprise alum Todd Stashwick as U.S.S. Titan-A Captain Liam Shaw, and more, you can check out the rest of the interview here. Star Trek: Picard season three premieres on Paramount+ on February 16th.