Star Trek: Picard Makes an Unseen Next Generation Adventure Canon

Jean-Luc Picard talks about facing the Hirogen in his Star Trek: The Next Generation days, but when the hell did that happen?

Jean-Luc, William Riker, Beverly Crusher, and Jack Crusher in Star Trek: Picard Season 3
Photo: Trae Patton/Paramount+

This Star Trek: Picard article contains spoilers.

Star Trek: Picard is covering a lot of ground in its final season. Not only is the show a proper sendoff to The Next Generation crew but a continuation of conflicts from Deep Space Nine and even a postscript to the movie First Contact. There’s a lot going on in the Alpha Quadrant, and the latest episode of season 3, “No Win Scenario,” ups the ante even more by including a major reference to a classic Voyager villain.

In a flashback, we watch as retired Admiral Jean-Luc Picard has his meal interrupted by a group of excited Starfleet cadets who have tons of questions about his past adventures. Picard recounts a few for them, including his encounter with the Tamarians in the classic Next Generation episode “Darmok.” But then he references an adventure we’ve never seen before: a conflict involving the Hirogen, a race of hunters from the Delta Quadrant best known for antagonizing Captain Janeway and her crew in Voyager. But with most of the Enterprise missions taking place in the Alpha Quadrant, this has left some fans wondering how and when exactly Captain Picard and his crew met this predatorial species.

Unfortunately, the episode doesn’t really dive into the Hirogen incident beyond a brief mention. That said, it’s not unreasonable to assume that, since the Hirogen are a nomadic people with no homeworld to keep them tethered to one part of the galaxy, these hunters eventually traveled into other Quadrants. Since their culture became so intertwined with the USS Voyager throughout that show’s run, it’s possible the Hirogen somehow followed them out of the Delta Quadrant and into Federation space. The Next Generation and Voyager featured the Barzan wormhold, which sometimes (but not always) connected the Alpha and Delta Quadrants, allowing for starships to travel the extremely long distance between the two in moments. It’s certainly very easy to imagine rogue Hirogen traveling through this space phenomenon, and then terrorizing unsuspecting and defenseless colonies in deep space, forcing the Enterprise-D to eventually respond to the threat posed by the faction.

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Whatever actually happened between the Enterprise and the Hirogen, Jean-Luc’s exploits clearly became one of the many legends the cadets now tell each other at Starfleet Academy. Perhaps now that we know this adventure exists thanks to Picard, it’ll lead to a novel or comic that tells us the whole story of how Captain Picard survived a fight with one of the deadliest races in the galaxy?

And another, even bigger question: now that Picard has established a direction connection with the events of Deep Space Nine, and even brought in some new aspects of Worf’s history, is Voyager closure the next focus for Picard? This show has quickly become a sort of series finale for the entire ’90s era of Trek, and with Seven of Nine already such an important part of the story, we’d say the time has come to revisit the classic voyage to the Delta Quadrant.

Star Trek: Picard season 3 streams on Thursdays on Paramount+.