“These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.” The Star Trek franchise may be filled with beloved characters, who serve on a wide range of ships and stations, but it always comes back to the Enterprise. Even the sequel series Star Trek: Picard, which has kept the titular Captain away from the ship he commanded for seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation and four feature films, will feature the Enterprise-F in its third and final season.
First introduced in the video game Star Trek Online as the Enterprise of the 2400s, the ship’s inclusion in Picard season 3 will finally make it part of the Star Trek universe’s main canon. As you might expect, the arrival of the Enterprise-F to live-action has certainly filled TNG fans with the hope that they’ll finally see their beloved captain and crew back on an Enterprise bridge.
But in an interview with Trek Central, showrunner Terry Matalas clarified the ship’s role in the show and cautioned that fans should adjust their expectations accordingly. “I would caution fans [that the] season does not take place on the Enterprise-F,” Matalas explained. “It is important, I will say,” he clarified. “But it’s not the focus of the season.”
According to Matalas, the focus of the season will be on the lives of the many returning TNG crew members. In addition to Will Riker, Deanna Troi, Data, and Wesley Crusher, all of whom showed up in the first two seasons of Picard, season three will bring back more of Jean-Luc’s friends: Worf, Geordi LaForge, and Dr. Beverly Crusher. But they won’t be in quite the same place where we left them in 2002 as the credits rolled on Nemesis.
Although Matalas wouldn’t give specifics about the characters’ current ranks and whereabouts, he did offer some clues. Unlike the future shown in the Next Generation finale “All Good Things…,” Crusher is not a Captain, nor is she an Admiral as imagined in some books. “We knew she’d always be a doctor,” said Matalas. But he also assured viewers that she’ll be continuing her mission. “If we compare to Star Wars and think ‘What’s in the Outer Rim,’ surely Starfleet has not helped every world. Surely there would be something like ‘Doctors Without Borders.'” In other words, it sounds like Dr. Crusher has continued to explore strange new worlds but through medicine.
While Crusher’s story deviates from the expanded universe, Matalas will be pulling from the books for Worf’s adventures — much to the surprise of actor Michael Dorn. When Matalas told him that Worf eventually became captain of the Enterprise in Star Trek books, and would hold that rank in Picard, Dorn was taken aback. After all, Worf’s actions in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine would have disqualified him from commanding his own ship, as Captain Sisko made clear. But Matalas assured fans that the show would take these issues into account, while also giving the Klingon a more complex position in Starfleet.
It remains to be seen if these stories will appease fans hoping for more of the Enterprise-F, but Matalas seems confident. “I think they’ll be rewarded,” he declared. We’ll find out for sure when Picard season three premieres on Feb. 16.