Look, everyone knows that it’s lonely work being a Starfleet captain. Seeking out new life and new civilizations doesn’t leave a lot of room for romance (or if you’re Kirk, Riker, or Trip Tucker, lots of room for romance, but nothing long-term). Benjamin Sisko found a way to make it work with Kasidy Yates, despite the Dominion War and the will of the Prophets, but for most captains, their ship is their one true love.
Of course, the creators of Star Trek: The Next Generation did hold out the possibility of love for Captain Jean-Luc Picard, tracing across the series a “will they/won’t they” relationship between him and Dr. Beverly Crusher. Although the two shared a mutual love and respect for each other, they never got together, and not just because of the Captain’s guilt for his involvement in the death of Beverly’s husband Jack Crusher. In fact, if you look at the four movies starring the Next Generation crew, you might think that writers completely forgot about the pair’s romantic potential. Sure, Picard got to romance Donna Murphy and Tom Hardy/himself, but when the dust of his dune buggy races settled, he had no time for Beverly.
But Star Trek: Picard showrunner Terry Matalas intends to correct that omission in the third season of the Paramount+ show, which sees Picard reunite with his beloved bridge crew.
“It feels like, ‘Why didn’t they for decades?'” Matalas enthused to EW. “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.'” But rather than simply give fans a happy ending for the couple, Matalas plans to explore the duo’s distance from a character perspective. “[W]e get to see the fallout” of their failed romance, promised Matalas, as well as “a coming together.”
Of course, viewers did get to see a little post-romantic tension between Picard and Crusher in the TNG finale “All Good Things…” In the future glimpsed in that episode, the Starfleet-crossed lovers did get married but eventually divorced for reasons that are not entirely clear.
For Matalas, the lack of romance stories meant that Crusher did not get as much attention as she deserved. “I also think that Beverly really never got her due,” he said. This doesn’t mean that Matalas intends to reduce Crusher to a mere love interest for the dude whose name is in the title. Rather, he plans to show all aspects of the character. “The first person you actually saw this season was Beverly Crusher popping in the frame and defending her doctors,” he revealed. “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.”
That last observation should be very good news, even for those who prefer to see Picard with Vash or Crusher with Scottish ghost/alien/candle Ronin. Gates McFadden will get the opportunity to show off her tremendous acting skill. And what’s not to love about that?
Star Trek: Picard season 3 hits Paramount+ on Feb. 16.