Ricky Church on Star Trek characters we’d like to see returning in Picard…
With Star Trek: Picard now two episodes into its first season, there have been plenty of Easter eggs and ties to Star Trek: The Next Generation that have popped up in the show so far. From the mention of various characters or places, there has been a few things left for fans to ponder over, especially with some familiar faces to the Star Trek franchise. We already know Picard’s former first officer and counselor Will Riker and Deanna Troi will be making an appearance alongside the former Borg drone Hugh and Voyager‘s Seven of Nine, and Whoopi Goldberg will be reprising her role as Guinan in Picard‘s second season, but what other TNG characters might we see in this season and beyond? Aside from Dr. Crusher and La Forge, who are likely to appear at some point anyway, let’s break down other potential characters we’d like to see return.
Some Picard spoilers follow!
The most likely return in Picard‘s first season is the Starfleet cyberneticist Bruce Maddox, who was not only name-dropped in the first two episodes but seemingly plays an important role in the story as Picard searches for Data’s ‘daughter’ which Maddox seemingly created. He first appeared in the TNG episode ‘The Measure of a Man‘, where he initially wanted to take Data and dissect him to create more androids like him. The episode saw Maddox view Data as Starfleet property and a tool to be used as he fought against Data’s sentience, but he eventually came around and began viewing Data as a unique being, even forming something of a friendship with him as later episodes revealed Data kept in contact with Maddox on his experiences.
It would totally make sense for Maddox to reappear, especially since he has gone missing in the wake of the Mars attack and the ban on synthetic lifeforms. From what we’ve learnt so far, he was just as crushed by Data’s death as Picard and the other Enterprise members and tried using his experiments to bring him back in some way. The fact he created Data’s daughters and falsified records for them is a pretty big part of the story thus far. Hopefully we’ll see him before the season is out and it’s enough to wonder if Maddox actor Brian Brophy will return as well.
The Romulans were one of TNG‘s primary villains throughout its run and though they have lost their home planet, as explained in the 2009 Star Trek film reboot when their sun went supernova, they are still proving to be menace to Picard despite the potential for peace Nemesis ended on. We’ve already seen one Romulan infiltrate Starfleet command and possibly working with a high-level commodore, but it is still very possible we’ll see more Romulans working against Picard. The fate of one in particular is unknown and it would be very interesting to see the return of Sela to the series.
Sela was the daughter of the Enterprise’s late security chief Tasha Yar from an alternate timeline where Tasha helped the Enterprise-C avert a war between the Federation and Klingon Empire in the past, but was taken prisoner by the Romulans. Sela may be half-human and half-Romulan, but she is completely Romulan to the core as she helped execute her mother when Tasha tried escaping from Romulus with her in tow. Sela became an important figure in the Romulan military and on two occasions plagued Picard as she tried to destabilize the alliance between the Federation and Klingons and invade Spock’s home planet of Vulcan. She has a personal hatred for Picard as the alternate version of him allowed Tasha to go on the suicide mission and ‘indoctrinated’ her with the Federation’s ideals enough to choose it over her. Since quite a few Romulans, as well as Picard, blame the Federation for the loss of life when Romulus was destroyed, it would be very interesting seeing Sela return, with Denise Crosby playing her again, and how her view on Picard might have changed or intensified.
Admiral Katheryn Janeway
Though not a face from TNG, Voyager‘s Captain Katheryn Janeway, who would later be promoted to Admiral on the Voyager’s return home, seems like an ideal fit into Picard. Janeway did make a cameo appearance after all in Nemesis to assign Picard his mission, establishing a shared history between the two. Like Picard, Janeway also honours Starfleet’s mission statement and the ideals of the Federation. Due to this, it would be very interesting to see how Starfleet’s decision to leave Romulus to its fate, even if it was a possibly reluctant one, affected her. However, there is another, more intriguing, possibility to Janeway’s return should she and Kate Mulgrew do so.
Picard is, without a doubt, Starfleet’s expert on the Borg after his assimilation. The only two people who have just as much experience as him, if not arguably more, is Seven of Nine and Janeway. Though Janeway was never assimilated herself like Picard and Seven (that would be left to a future alternate version of Janeway), she fought against the Borg multiple times in the unknown regions of space on their journey home. With the now Romulan Free State in control of a derelict Borg cube, complete with possibly hundreds of drones to study, it seems like the Borg could potentially return should something go awry with their experiments. Should they return, Janeway seems a likely candidate to fight them alongside Picard and Seven with her knowledge.
Captain Benjamin Sisko
On the note of returning Star Trek captains, the fate of former Deep Space Nine commander and later captain Benjamin Sisko is still very much in the air. Sisko was last seen in the DS9 finale bidding farewell to his wife as he entered the Bajoran Celestial Temple in the heart of the wormhole, promising he would return one day.
Sisko’s effect on the Star Trek franchise has been quite a long-lasting one with him being a fan-favourite captain. However, it can be argued that Sisko’s choices in the later years of DS9 led the Federation into something of a moral decline. He made a planet uninhabitable for a group of Starfleet rebels and, most glaringly, engaged in a covert and off-the-books mission to manipulate Romulus onto their side in the Dominion War, a plan which resulted in the death of a Romulan ambassador that Sisko was unwittingly party to. Sisko isn’t entirely to blame for some of these decisions, but his choice to enact these plans were certainly unlike anything the Federation normally condones. Starfleet does have a history of its own of being a little self-serving, but it can be argued the Federation began losing its way during the Dominion War. It could have easily led to the decision to abandon Romulus to its fate rather than trying everything in their power, even after the Mars disaster, to rescue as many Romulans as they could. Sisko’s reappearance would offer some nice reflection on when exactly the Federation began losing its way and, given his own complicated history with Picard (under Borg assimilation as Locutus, Picard led the attack that killed Sisko’s wife), Avery Brooks’ return to the role has some great potential.
Ro Laren was a former member of the Enterprise under Picard’s command, a Bajoran who suffered under the Cardassian occupation of her home planet and joined Starfleet because “it was better than prison”. Ro was a tough as nails officer who didn’t have an easy time opening up to her fellow crew, but the years aboard the Enterprise slowly chipped away at her. However, she later left Starfleet while on an undercover mission to infiltrate the Maquis, a rebel group most made up of former Starfleet personnel fighting against both Starfleet and Cardassia, and she grew to sympathize too much with them. Picard blamed himself for her defection, but never got the chance to see her again. During the Dominion War, the Dominion launched a brutal offensive against the Maquis that essentially wiped them out, leaving Ro’s fate unknown.
Ro Laren, played by Michelle Forbes (who would later go on to play the incredibly cold and ruthless Admiral Cain in Battlestar Galactica), was certainly an interesting addition to the Enterprise that created some conflict given her background. Her relationship with Picard was one that evolved into something of a friendship, making her betrayal sting harder. Ro’s view on the galaxy and the politics of the Federation were sometimes bitter ones after witnessing what the Cardassians did to her people, one of the reasons Picard picked her for the undercover mission as they felt she would be the most authentic spy and why she ultimately defected. Though most of the Maquis were killed, a few pockets of cells survived long enough to escape or be imprisoned by the Federation. With the Federation in the current state that it is, and Seven of Nine’s Jeri Ryan stating in our interview Seven is now part of a mercenary group, it is entirely plausible that Ro, if she survived and escaped imprisonment, would find her way to them.
One element of TNG that was widely criticized at the time was that of the young Wesley Crusher, the son of Dr. Beverly Crusher and an exceptionally bright member of the Enterprise crew who was implied to have a greater destiny. Wesley was a promising Starfleet cadet, but later left Starfleet to pursue a journey with a mysterious being known as The Traveler across the universe to fulfill his destiny, though a brief cameo in Nemesis showed Wes had rejoined Starfleet at some point in time.
The father/son dynamic between Picard and Wesley became a fairly significant one as Wes went up in Starfleet ranks, not to mention along with Picard and Beverly’s friendship (which in the series finale alternate future had become a marriage for a time). Given that Wes initially left Starfleet because he felt it wasn’t right for him, Picard’s new perspective on Starfleet and its crumbling philosophy might be another thing they both share. Wes’ return would also just be good vindication for actor Wil Wheaton, who faced some unjust criticism from some fans for his role. It would be nice to see where Wes is now and if he still is part of Starfleet or, much like his mentor, left after facing even more disillusionment.
Last but most certainly not least, is the omnipotent and extra-dimensional Q, a trickster who has bothered Picard on multiple occasions. Would it really be Star Trek: Picard without an appearance from Q?
Q did not think very highly of mankind, viewing them as a “dangerous, savage child race” and put Picard through some rigorous tests to prove humanity’s worth. Over the years, however, his mood slightly changed and he began viewing Picard as his best friend, much to the captain’s displeasure. While Q would later appear in a couple episodes of Voyager, his finale appearance with Picard was in the TNG finale ‘All Good Things…‘ where he promised Picard he’d keep an eye on him and perhaps drop in on him from time to time.
Q’s return would not only be an incredibly welcome one, but could fit great into the story Picard is telling. Though Picard is disillusioned with the Federation, it seems he still believes the best in humanity, a fact that may be put to the test through this season. He could feel the sting of Q’s words regarding humanity as a savage race as they turn a blind eye to another planet’s needs and fight to prove Q wrong even more. Of course, there is also the other lesson Q tried to impart to Picard in the finale on the possibilities regarding existence. With Picard set to save a new form of life and the last remnants of Data, he could see the truth in Q’s words of discovering the limits of existence and what else humanity could achieve through the mind. But really, it would just be amazing to see John de Lancie pop up again as Q and give Picard a huge dose of cynical sarcasm in this new setting.
Those are the Star Trek characters we’d like to see in Star Trek: Picard who have a ton of potential. Are there any others you want to see return in the show? Let us know below or on Twitter @flickeringmyth….
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