Picard Series Finale Easter Eggs Bring New Enterprise Lore to TNG Canon
The Picard series finale pulls out all the stops. Here’s the end of The Next Generation, complete with a lot of love for the entire Star Trek franchise.
This Star Trek: Picard article contains spoilers.
In 1994, the finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation was titled “All Good Things…” and now that ellipsis has been completed, with the inevitable phrase “…must come to an end.” In the series finale of Picard one era of the franchise very clearly comes to an end, while sneakily setting up a very hypothetical next next generation, too. Although the future of Star Trek in the 25th century remains unclear, and the franchise is once again expanding in other directions, it seems that for now, the story of the 1990s era has come to a close.
But the end of an era doesn’t mean the end of excellent callbacks to this golden age of Star Trek shows. Here are the biggest easter eggs, references, and shout-outs in “The Last Generation.”
Star Trek Intro Is Episode-Specific
After launching a boiler-plate Star Trek intro for each series in 2022 — with each series featuring the hero ship for that specific show — Paramount+ does something unique for this episode, by swapping the Titan-A out for the Enterprise-D, adding a Borg Cube, and changing the music entirely. Here, the music echoes the Jerry Goldsmith Borg themes from First Contact, as the Star Trek brand logo gets totally assimilated.
President Anton Chekov
The opening voice over comes from Trek legend Walter Koenig playing the son of Pavel Chekov, the unseen Anton Chekov, who we learn is the President of the United Federation of Planets in 2401. “Anton” could be a tribute to the Russian author Anton Chekhov (different spelling!) but it also references the late Anton Yelchin, who played Pavel Chekov in the three reboot films.
As Chekov tells everyone, “do not approach Earth,” (a line borrowed from The Voyage Home), we get that familiar blue nebula-ish space-scape straight from the opening credits of The Next Generation. This image occurred in every episode of TNG, starting with the season 3 premiere, “Evolution.”
The flyby of the Enterprise-D at the start of the episode gives us a very brief glimpse inside of Ten Forward as well as the conference room behind the main bridge. In the series, and in Generations, we never quite got this kind of look at these rooms from outside the ship.
“Over 35 years ago…”
Picard says, “What began over 35 years ago…ENDS TONIGHT!” This refers to the fact that the events of “The Best of Both Worlds” happened in 2366, which would be exactly 35 years before the present of Picard season 3 in 2401. By “over” he probably means that the Enterprise encountered the Borg the year prior, in 2365, in the episode “Q Who.” In real life, it’s been 36 years since the debut of The Next Generation in 1987, so that number connects to our world, too.
Portable Beaming With Phasers
Seven and Raffi use phasers to activate the transporter beam. This happened before in the TNG episode “Gambit,” when a group of pirates used phasers to beam up things just by firing at them. At that time, everybody thought Picard was dead when he’d actually been beamed up!
Geordi Takes Command
Although Data was third-in-command of the Enterprise-D during the run of TNG, Geordi is given command of the ship here. Why? Well, this version of Data doesn’t even have a rank yet. On top of that, Geordi is a Commodore, which means he outranks even Riker at this point. The TOS episode “The Doomsday Machine” established that Commodores had more pull than Captains, but less than Admirals.
“The Unimatrix Array”
Picard refers to the “Unimatrix Array.” This concept comes from Voyager, specifically the episode “Scorpion Part 2,” which introduced Seven of Nine by this designation: “Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One.” A Borg Unimatrix was simply a specific division of the hive. The Voyager episode “Unimatrix Zero” established a secret part of the Collective, where the Borg tried to hide their minds from the Queen. It didn’t last.
“They’re Engaging the Borg”
When the 1701-D Enterprise pops up on the Titan’s sensors, Seven says, “They’re engaging the Borg.” This references Picard’s line from “The Best of Both Worlds Part 1,” when he says, “We have engaged the Borg.”
Alice Krige’s Borg Queen: “There Was No Collective Left”
One very, very relevant world-building detail is dropped by the Borg Queen when she says, “Up until recently, there was no Collective left.” This makes it clear we’re dealing with the Prime Universe Collective, defeated by Janeway in Voyager’s “Endgame.” This is also why the Queen is voiced by Alice Krige and why the Borg needed the help of the Changelings all season long.
“Watch Your Future’s End!”
As in First Contact, the Queen rejects Picard offering himself to the hive and also says, “Watch your future’s end!” The Queen clearly loves the place of power she had in that movie and is going back to being her best self.
“We Go With Data’s Gut”
Geordi letting Data pilot the Enterprise on instinct alone feels like a clear reference to The Voyage Home, when Kirk gives Spock thruster control, despite the fact that Spock is kinda guessing at his calculations.
When the Enterprise reaches the Borg Beacon, Geordi says, “Data are you seeing this?” This is a quick reminder that Geordi’s implants — which replaced his VISOR — still allow him to see way more than a normal range of human vision. Basically, he has super-vision, which is matched only by the sensors of the ship, or maybe, Data.
A Good Day to Die
Worf says, “It is a fine day indeed to die with honor,” when he and Riker think they’re doomed. Klingons saying, “today is a good day to die,” or variations thereof, began in the TNG episode “Sins of the Father.” Worf famously said it the last time he fought the Borg in First Contact when he bellowed, “Perhaps today is a good day to die! Prepare for ramming speed!”
Deanna Takes the Helm
Because Deanna can sense where the crew is inside the cube, she takes over the helm to guide the Enterprise to their location. Deanna became more proficient in technical Starfleet duties in the episode “Thine Own Self.” And, famously, piloted the Enterprise-D in Generations.
Titan and Enterprise Side-by-Side
After the Borg are defeated, we get a beautiful shot of the Enterprise-D and the Titan side-by-side. This shot is very reminiscent of the Excelsior and the Enterprise-A flying next to each other in The Undiscovered Country. Riker’s voiceover log here is also similar to Kirk’s from that same film, insofar as the themes are all about passing adventures from one generation to the next.
Crusher’s Old Job
We’re told that Beverly has been promoted to Admiral and she’s the new head of Starfleet Medical. This is very similar to what happened when Gates McFadden didn’t appear in TNG season 2 and was said to be working at Starfleet Medical.
Tuvok Lists the Crimes of Seven and the Crew
Luckily, Tuvok did not die when the Changelings kidnapped him, and here he reads a list of charges against Seven and the Enterprise crew, saying, “The command crew of the USS Enterprise are receiving a full pardon for commandeering, better yet, hijacking this very ship [the Titan] with your help.” This list of charges feels close to what the classic Enterprise crew was accused of in The Voyage Home.
After this moment, when Tuvok plays the hologram recording left by Captain Shaw, Seven is promoted to captain, an idea that was foreshadowed in Picard season 2, as well as the first episode of Picard season 3. As Tuvok playfully says, “Resignation denied,” we hear Jerry Goldsmith’s theme from Voyager.
Klingons Don’t Cry
When Worf talks to Raffi, he says that he’s never wept. This jokingly refers to the idea that Klingons don’t have tear ducts, which was established in The Undiscovered Country.
The Enterprise-D in the Fleet Museum
As Geordi, Riker, and Picard put the Enterprise-D in the Fleet Museum, we get to hear Majel Barrett’s voice again as the classic ship computer. Geordi says that the ship “always took good care of us,” which seems like a nod to “Encounter at Farpoint” when Bones told Data “treat her like a lady and she’ll always bring you home.”
The music that plays as Geordi shuts down the ship is Dennis McCarthy’s theme from Generations, which was the last music we heard in the previous appearance of the Enterprise-D in that 1994 film.
The Titan Becomes…the Enterprise-G
Similar to the revelation of the Enterprise-A in The Voyage Home, it is revealed the Titan-A has been renamed the Enterprise. Previously, small details in the first episode of Picard season 3 revealed the Enterprise-F was scheduled for decommissioning. And after we saw it get taken over by the Borg in episode 9, it makes sense that it was time for a new Enterprise.
The Crew Gathers in Ten Forward
As the TNG crew parties in the LA version of Ten Forward, we get several shout-outs and easter eggs, including the fact that Guinan is lurking around there somewhere, giving them the “side eye.” We’re told Crusher is drinking Klingon bloodwine and she encourages Worf to have more prune juice, a reference to TNG’s “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” when he called that “a warrior’s drink”
Worf says he has a lecture on “Mugato meditation,” which references the horned ape-monsters from the TOS episode “A Private Little War,” while Data begins to recite a dirty limerick from the TNG episode “The Naked Now.”
The Poker Game
It all ends with Picard quoting from the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar, which is the second time a Picard season has ended with Patrick Stewart delivering a Shakespeare speech. (In season 1, he quoted from The Tempest.) But the final word isn’t just a speech. Because, then, when Jean-Luc busts out an ace of spades, everybody sits down to play poker.
This references the final moments of the TNG finale “All Good Things…” when Picard joined the crew’s poker game for the first time. Showrunner Terry Matalas has revealed that this final scene was the result of 45 minutes of ad-libbing and just letting the cast play poker for real. Apparently, when the show hits Blu-ray, we may get an extended cut of this scene!
Q in the Post-Credits!
As Jack settles into the new Enterprise-G, we see him put a photo down of Picard and Crusher, which, in reality, is clearly a photo of Patrick Stewart and Gates McFadden attending a formal event in the 1990s. Jack’s got his personal phaser with him too, as well as a small model of the Enterprise-D.
But then Q appears! John de Lancie’s outfit in this scene has shades of his judge’s robes from “Encounter at Farpoint” and he teases that Jack’s trial is just beginning. Q is back (or never left?), and even if the Continuum is done with Jean-Luc, they’re keeping a close eye on what Q is now calling “the next generation.”