This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
Captain Picard is returning to our screens soon in a new solo show – our first substantial glimpse of the Star Trek: The Next Generation era since Star Trek Nemesis. That means two things: firstly, that Earl Grey manufacturers are about to experience a severe uptick in demand, and secondly, that Picard will be back in a world potentially filled with familiar names and faces.
Of course, we’d all love to see him interact with his old Enterprise-D crewmates Horny Beard, Angry Forehead, and the ASMR Space-Cheerleader, but what about the less well-explored characters? Which of TNG’s popular (and perhaps not-so-popular) supporting players should return to give Picard just one more moral quandary to wrestle with?
We thought about it. And here’s our list of suggestions…
Did you even need to think about this one? Mischievous, godlike, and therefore a gift to any writer looking to set up a moral contrivance, Q was the first antagonist Picard faced as captain of the Enterprise and the last he faced in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Would an older Picard be as willing to play Q’s games? Could he find himself tempted by the limitless power that Q sometimes offers? Or would an aging Q’s own mortality prove his last great adventure? We’d love to see these characters butt philosophical heads one last time – if only for a chance to hear John de Lancie’s magnificently smarmy voice again (and hey, if Q could somehow reference Twilight Sparkle it’d have the added effect of validating a million fan-theories).
Picard loved many women. Not physically, of course, but in theory. Of all of them, only Vash managed to turn him into a lovestruck teenager. Ironically, it was the promise of adventures with Q that lured her away from her romance with our favorite captain, though she even tired of HIM later on.
Far from Picard’s idea of what his life partner would be like, there was no denying the passion between them or their shared love of extreme archaeology. It’d be interesting to see whether the fiery romance Picard and Vash shared could be rekindled – and whether they’ve both calmed down enough to make it work.
As bad as Star Trek Nemesis was, the upshot of it is that Data is canonically dead. Or as dead as robots get anyway. It’s not exactly hard to write around, but bringing Data back to life doesn’t necessarily suggest any interesting story ideas.
What DOES, however, is putting Picard back in contact with Lore – Data’s evil twin – who might be perturbed to realize his brother died on Picard’s watch. The moral quandaries such a return would pose are fascinating: Lore is now virtually unique in the universe, and similarly might be the key to actually bringing back Data – but as you might expect from the original techbro, he’s also EVIL! Very evil! Like Elon Musk evil! The only obstacle to making this happen is Brent Spiner’s age (which was why he decided to quit playing Data in the first place) but maybe Lore’s been through a lot since we last saw him getting dismantled at the end of “Descent Part II.”
Strong-willed and extremely principled, Ro Laren was a sometime protégé of Picard whose belief in the Maquis cause forced her to quit Starfleet and join the terrorists/freedom fighter group. The relationship between Ro and Picard is a major loose end, and his failure to prevent her throwing her life’s work away in support of a futile cause is only made more poignant by the fact that the Maquis rebellion was brutally and permanently crushed by the Dominion.
Is she in prison? Is she a fugitive? Is she even alive? Whatever her fate, you can guarantee it’s something that weighs on Picard. And hey, who doesn’t want to see Michelle Forbes back in the role in which most of us first met her?
Of all the characters on TNG, Guinan’s story is the one with the most loose ends. Her past with Q, the Borg and Picard himself tie her to all sorts of Star Trek lore – not to mention her advanced age, which places her alive during the TOS era with all the Star Trek Discovery crossover promise that entails.
Whoopi Goldberg was a fan of Star Trek before she was in it, so one can only assume she’d be keen to come back and revisit an iconic role. Few people would have the perspective on changing times like a person several hundred years old, and it’d be good to see Picard seeking advice from his oldest friend, even if she’s no longer serving drinks in Ten Forward.
Do you remember Nella Daren? First (and last) seen in the TNG season 6 episode “Lessons,” Daren was a recent transfer to the Enterprise who entered into a brief relationship with Picard. When Picard was faced with the dilemma of putting her in mortal danger for the good of the ship he realised he would be unable to do his job with her around, and she transferred away, though they promised to stay in touch.
Of course, being part of episodic television, she might as well have died on the way back to her home planet for all we saw of her afterwards. You could go any number of ways with a follow-up story, but the obvious one is to explore exactly how she might feel about being a subordinate employee essentially forced by circumstance to leave a cushy job on Starfleet’s flagship for the sake of a relationship that immediately fizzled out. Not cool, Captain.
They’ve never shared the screen before (bar Janeway’s brief video-screen cameo in Star Trek Nemesis) but if we’re revisiting TNG it’d be great to get a follow-up on how Admiral Janeway adjusted to life in Starfleet after successfully bringing the USS Voyager home.
Picard and Janeway were very similar captains – fiercely moral and dedicated to Starfleet’s principles – so would they work together or apart? One thing that might get in the way of their alliance is the small problem of precedent: as soon as anyone gets promoted to Admiral in the Star Trek universe they immediately become a mad, corrupt psychopath, so perhaps it’s up to Picard to put Janeway down permanently. Although in an ideal world it’d be great to see the pair also team up with Sisko and unleash the dragon, Avery Brooks’ famous disdain for Star Trek means he’s unlikely to give it a chance.
The Borg / Borg Queen
Although the Borg Queen was presumed killed in an episode of Star Trek Voyager, you can’t keep a good collective intelligence down. Picard’s transformation into Locutus at the hands of the Borg remains one of the defining moments of both his life and Star Trek’s canon, and it would be tough to bring the character back without addressing it in some way.
Either he could reflect on his lack of closure after someone else defeated the Borg without him, or he could contact and explore whatever the Queen and her collective has become – perhaps even be the person to finally reform it. The Borg are, after all, TNG’s most beloved addition to the franchise. Who better that Picard to start a new chapter for them?
Talk about a dangling plot thread. All through the first season of TNG there were hints that something was rotten in Starfleet, and indeed there was: brain cockroaches that had taken over the admiralty. In the episode where Picard finally defeated them (in what most people would agree was a needlessly graphic confrontation) the final shot hinted that the parasites had called their home planet to signal Starfleet’s readiness for attack. And then… nothing. No follow-up, barely another mention. Sure, non-canonical works have milked this plot thread for years and it’d be a shame to crush a cottage industry, but also we’d really love to see the official version of what happened next. It’s exactly what we’re here for.
Young Ensign Crusher’s journey may have parted ways with the rest of the crew’s during TNG’s tenure as the main Star Trek show, but (bar a brief cameo in Star Trek Nemesis) Wesley’s last appearance saw him ascend to another plane of existence alongside the strange alien, the Traveler. So what happened next? And how would Picard feel about the man Wesley – for whom he felt so much responsibility – has become? If nothing else, it’d give Wil Wheaton a chance to get some closure with Star Trek as a franchise, although given the way it screwed him up the first time around he might not want to risk it…
Picard and the crew of the Enterprise D outsmarted a malicious hologram based on Sherlock Holmes’ legendary foe James Moriarty twice, but the fact remains that under Picard’s supervision Moriarty – who had become sentient by this point – was ultimately imprisoned in a simulation that only resembled the outside world. At the time it was a necessary compromise, but this seems like a decision that’s just waiting for the repercussions to bite back. All I’m saying is that if you trap a criminal genius in a prison, don’t be surprised when he breaks out and comes looking for you.
Do you remember Gul Madred? Perhaps not by name, but almost certainly as the Cardassian who insisted that Picard saw five lights during a protracted torture in the two-part TNG episode, “Chain Of Command.” We never did find out what happened to Madred following his failure to break Picard, and last we heard Cardassia Prime had been effectively razed by the Dominion. The fate of its former military leaders is unlikely to be an upbeat one. Madred and Picard are sure to have a score to settle with one another, but Picard doesn’t hold grudges and Madred may yet regret his part in a war that no longer matters. At the very least, we’d love to see Madred assure Picard that there were only four lights, whatever consolation that could offer.