For the first time since the Nineties, two different Star Trek TV series will have new seasons in the same year. After the epic (and classic Enterprise-centric) season 2 finale of Star Trek: Discovery, the franchise of the final frontier will trade Sixties nostalgia for Nineties nostalgia with the debut of a post-Next Generation series: Star Trek: Picard. Little is known about the new series, other than the fact that it takes place roughly 20 years after the end of Star Trek Nemesis, at the very end of the 24th century. Jean-Luc Picard is no longer a starship captain and has left Starfleet, and —as evidenced by a brief teaser-trailer—is chilling-out on his family’s vineyard. There’s also a mystery surrounding the “rescue armada” he’s mentioned to have led, which is rumored to be connected to the destruction of the planet Romulus. (According to producer Alex Kurtzman, “Picard’s life was radically altered by the dissolution of the Romulan Empire.”) Early casting information also indicates Picard is totally getting himself involved with some folks who are a little off-the-grid relative to the buttoned-up Starfleet crews we’ve been used to, and maybe even some criminals…
If you’re a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, all of this is freaking awesome and totally fascinating. Why is Picard getting himself mixed up with criminals? What happened to make him leave Starfleet? And, most important of all… is his barber still that blue alien named Mott??
It seems likely that at least some characters from Picard’s past might show up on our screens again—here are 25 Next Generation characters ranked from least likely to most likely that they’ll beam-in and hang out with Jean-Luc.
Because Data was destroyed in the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, it feels really unlikely he’ll show up in Picard. However, at the end of that movie, Data did download his memories into his duplicate, B-4, and in the 2009 IDW Star Trek comic book series, Countdown, it was revealed Data was “reborn” in B-4’s body and became the captain of the Enterprise-F. (Recent IDW comics have continued this continuity, too.) Still, because Countdown isn’t really canon, we don’t actually have any idea if Data is still “alive” in 2399. For that reason alone, Data seems the least likely to show up in Picard. He’s not alive!
24. Miles O’Brien
Perhaps the most successful secondary character in all of Trek canon, Chief Miles O’Brien went from being an unnamed officer in “Encounter at Fairpoint,” to being a huge regular cast member on Deep Space Nine. But throughout DS9 and TNG, O’Brien actor Colm Meany had a pretty busy acting career outside of Trek. It would be great to seem Colm back as Miles, but it feels like a long shot.
23. Reginald Barclay
What if Star Trek: Picard is just like the A-Team? Jean-Luc gets falsely accused of a crime, and then, like Hannibal, he has to escape a maximum security Federation facility. Enlisting Barclay in Picard’s quest (whatever it is) would make sense. Barclay is great with holograms, and as the second season of Discovery proved, it’s easy to fool Starfleet with holograms.
In TNG Vash was an archeologist and adventurer; the Irene Adler to Picard’s cool and controlled Sherlock Holmes. Bringing her back into his life would be amazing, even if it was just in a flashback. Better yet, make Vash part Picard’s merry band of outlaws! (This will never happen, which is too bad.)
21. Geordi LaForge
Everyone loves LeVar Burton and everyone loves Geordi. Plus, in The Next Generation series finale, “All Good Things…” it was Geordi who was the most concerned about Picard’s mental state. Meaning if Picard is super depressed in this new show, it would make sense for Geordi to come and check on his old Captain. It just doesn’t feel like it’s going to happen though, does it? I mean, because Geordi hit-up the Picard family vineyard in the alternate future in “All Good Things…” doing it again in this series might be too obvious.
Bringing Worf into Star Trek: Picard would make a certain amount of sense, simply because if Picard is going off-the-grid, he might need a loyal Klingon warrior by his side. Then again, bringing Worf into another Trek spinoff is kind of played out. Not only did Michael Dorn star as his own ancestor Col. Worf in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, but he also joined O’Brien on Deep Space Nine as a permanent cast member. So no, as cool as Worf is, his presence in the Picard show feels very unlikely.
Q is great. And as time goes by, the Q episodes of both TNG and Voyager just get better and better. But having a character who is basically a space wizard/god in a new Picard show that is theoretically grounded in psychological drama doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I just can’t picture Michael Chabon and Alex Kurtzman sitting around with Patrick Stewart and saying, “You know, we really need to bring Q into this.” That said, some of the best episodes about Picard’s character (“Tapestry” and “All Good Things…” for example) do involve Q has a foil for Jean-Luc. So, who knows?
18. Deanna Troi
Now we’re getting into the not-likely, but maybe territory. If Picard is depressed, it would be beyond reasonable for him to seek out the guidance of the shrink who, you know, lived on his starship back-in-the-day. However, Marina Sirtis has gone on record saying she hasn’t been approached about the show (literally all the TNG main cast said the same thing, too, though any of them could be lying to protect a spoiler). Plus, last year Siritis visited the set of Discovery when Jonathan Frakes was directing an episode. So she’s been around, and it seems pretty reasonable to assume that she would just say yes if asked.
17. Alexander Rozhenko
Oh yeah! Guess how old Worf’s son Alexander is during the timeline of Star Trek: Picard? That’s right, he’ll be 33-years-old. So, if Picard can’t get Worf’s help, maybe he’ll pay a visit to Alexander. Last we saw Alexander he was serving with the Klingon Defense Force, so who knows. He’s still pretty young for a Klingon at this point and having a Klingon partially raised by humans might provide the right blend of sympathy and badassery that Picard needs.
I know, I know, the EMH (Emergency Medical Hologram) isn’t really a Next Generation character because Robert Picardo’s famous cantankerous photonic Doctor originated on Star Trek: Voyager. But! One version of the EMH did appear in the TNG film Star Trek: First Contact, and there are rumors that some version of a new EMH could show up on Star Trek: Picard. Finally, Robert Picardo’s last name is Picardo. The idea that CBS would just bring him back for that reason alone feels 50/50 to me.
The little Borg drone who split away from the collective and started a revolution against the Borg is totally still alive when The Next Generation concluded. We last saw Hugh in the season 7 episode “Descent Part II” in which Picard basically left him in charge of a group of rogue Borg drones. Busting out some rogue Borg drones might not be the most obvious move for Star Trek: Picard, but seeing Jean-Luc team-up with Borg would be tight.
This is my favorite idea and I will be so crushed if it doesn’t happen. What if, somehow, Data’s pet cat Spot just survived to 2399 and Picard kept the cat as like a tribute to Data? Look, Star Trek canon has previously floated the idea that pets can live a lot longer in the future. In the 2009 J.J. Abrams reboot, Scotty mentions beaming “Admiral Archer’s prized beagle.” Now, we know that’s supposed to be Jonathan Archer, the Captain of the NX-01 from the show Enterprise. But, of course, everyone assumed that the dog couldn’t be Porthos, because beagles couldn’t live that long, right? Well, what this theory presupposes is: maybe it was Porthos? And maybe, all pets have extended lifespans in Star Trek’s future, meaning yes, Spot the cat should totally show up in Star Trek: Picard.
(Sidenote: Spot also switched genders during the run of TNG and looked like a totally different cat on numerous occasions. I am not going to assume what their gender is in 2399, that would be rude. But, the point is, assuming Spot is just a conventional 21st-century cat is foolish.)
They’re never going to do this, but I want it to happen so badly. In the film Star Trek: Insurrection, Picard was so into this immortal woman Anji (Donna Murphy) that he literally danced the mambo in his room by himself. But, what if something bad happened to Anji? Or, worse, what if she dumped him for a hot Romulan? BURN.
12. Thomas Riker
Thomas Riker is a transporter duplicate of Will Riker, and he is seriously a badass. In the Deep Space Nine episode “Defiant,” this Riker tried to rip-off the starship Defiant so it could help out his cause with the rebellious Maquis. We assume this guy is serving out some kind of life sentence for pulling this stunt somewhere. Obviously, this would be one of two clever ways for Jonathan Frakes to return.
11. Simon Tarses
Oh hell yeah! You remember Simon Tarses! He’s your favorite! And he’s also that half-Romulan dude that almost got framed for treason in the TNG episode “The Drumhead.” Why I am ranking this guy so high on this list? Because if the show is all about Picard’s connection to the Romulans, and how he was trying to make peace with them, then Simon Tarses is like the poster-child for all of this stuff. There’s also a rumor that a Romulan is part of Picard’s crew anyway and that young Romulan idolizes Picard. Could this rumored-Romulan be Simon Tarses’s child? If so, rad.
10. Mot the Barber
Come on. You know you want it. Bald guy haircut jokes rock.
9. Wesley Crusher
Wil Wheaton is a cool enough person and big enough force in the nerd universe that not having him cameo as Wesley on the new show feels like a mistake. Plus, Wheaton has publicly said he is not in the show, which makes me think he’s lying. Maybe I’m just hoping for too much here, but an adult Wesley dealing with burned-out Picard could be really juicy stuff. Most importantly, having Wesley in a mature storyline would finally end years and years of “shut up Wesley” jokes—Wesley could just say “Shut-up Jean-Luc!”
Before he was the most famous grumbler on the planet, Tom Hardy played a young clone of Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek Nemesis, the plot of which dealt with the Romulans in a big way. Of course, Shinzon died in that movie, and there’s no way Tom Hardy is coming back to do Star Trek again. (There’s just not.) But, what if there were other Romulan clones of Captain Picard, other Shinzons floating around? Here’s the best part to this theory: a second (or third) Shinzon clone could just be played by Patrick Stewart.
7. Ro Laren
Of all the secondary TNG characters, Michelle Forbes as Ro is by far one of the best. The last time we saw Ro, she betrayed Picard to join the Maquis. If Picard is on the wrong side of the law, Ro could be one of the greatest allies he has. Plus, Forbes is great and proved in Battlestar Galactica that she can play scary-unhinged space officer really, really well. This feels like it should happen mostly because it would be amazing to see these two actors together again.
6. The Cloned Emperor Kahless
More clone wild cards! In the TNG episode “Rightful Heir,” the Klingons cloned their space Jesus: Kahless, otherwise known as the guy who Tyler can’t stop talking about on Star Trek: Discovery. Why would he matter in Star Trek: Picard? Well, if the Romulans are totally wiped out, it seems like a huge intergalactic power struggle could be happening across the Alpha Quadrant. If Kahless is still the figurehead Emperor of the Klingon Empire, the idea that he could get in on the political intrigue isn’t crazy. Plus, who knows, maybe there could be a reference or two made to Boreth, since it was his birthplace and also, was a big deal in Discovery season 2.
5. Lily Sloane
So, Lily feels like a long-shot from a plot point-of-view, but when you consider how great Alfre Woodard is as an actress, it might be the perfect cameo you don’t see coming. I’m not saying time travel needs happen to make this cameo work, either. Maybe there’s a descendant of Lily’s who is alive in the 24th century and she comes to comfort Picard? This would be sort of like when David Tennant sees the granddaughter of Nurse Redfern (Jessica Hynes) in his final Doctor Who episode.
4. Beverly Crusher
Gates McFadden is one of the all-time underused actors in Star Trek history. Because of Dr. Crusher’s romantic tension with Picard (and tragic backstory—Picard sent her husband to die in space) having a reunion for these characters would bring down the house. Plus, if Picard is shattered, Beverly’s return could really mean something for the character and the story.
Regardless of how you feel about Whoopi Goldberg, the character of Guinan was essential to understanding how we viewed Picard on TNG. If you’re doing a show about Picard and Guinan isn’t even mentioned, it’s a mistake. Plus, we know Guinan is totally immortal, meaning you can have her show up literally in any way-shape-or-form that you want. (Including, by the way, in Discovery season 3…)
In The Next Generation, Sela was half-human/half-Romulan officer who, through an alternate universe time travel incident, was also the daughter of Tasha Yar, Picard’s security chief on the Enterprise. (Poor Tasha basically died twice in two different timelines.) Sela was very opposed to Picard and Spock’s plans to reunify the Vulcans and the Romulans in TNG, and it stands to reason that if she’s around in 2399, that she’s not too crazy about Picard (or Spock) at this point, either. Bringing Sela back would be a chef’s kiss moment for Star Trek: Picard because not only would it allow fan-favorite Denise Crosby (the beloved Cros!) to return to the canon, it would also be the smartest way to bring a familiar face back to Trek; as a sympathetic villain.
1. Will Riker
After directing two episodes of Discovery season 2, Jonathan Frakes is back directing two episodes of Star Trek: Picard. Guys, he’s right there! He’s on set! So, I ask you, is Number One really not going to drop in on his former captain? Come on. If there is one character on this list that should appear, it’s Beardo Numero Uno. Let’s bring back Riker! And make sure he sits on a bunch of stuff he’s not supposed to sit on while he’s at it!
DISCO Bonus Round: Klingon Time Keeper Tunavik from Star Trek: Discovery
Okay, okay. Remember how L’Rell and Tyler’s son existed like totally out of the regular flow of time in the last season of Discovery? Well, if Picard did make his way to the Klingon planet Boreth, then maybe Tunavik could help out another Starfleet captain whose name starts with a “P.” The Klingons weren’t even down with Pike at all, but they already love Picard.