Sir Patrick Stewart, in an emotional surprise speech this month at the 2018 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention, announced that Jean-Luc Picard is back. CBS, on their All-Access subscription streaming channel, will be gifting us a new Star Trek show centered around the beloved Picard character. It’s set to premier in the fall of 2019, to appear roughly 20 years after the end of Star Trek IV: Nemesis.
Some actors from previous Trek incarnations are still quite active and energetic about their characters and involvement in Star Trek as a whole, on many forms of media. When we look into the future of the 24th century, I’m positive there will be more than one familiar face as either cameos, regular guest appearances, or even as full-fledged cast members. In fact, CBS will probably have to beat these actors off with Klingon Pain Sticks. There are a lot of characters to choose from who could conceivably be still alive and around.
I’ve got my theories on who we’ll see again. I’m basing this list of who’s been continually active in this (or any closely-related) franchise.To the list!
Characters from Star Trek that will probably appear in the as yet unnamed Jean-Luc Picard series:
- Jean-Luc Picard. Naturally. It’s his show. But it’s super doubtful he’s still a Captain, or even anywhere near the flagship Enterprise. In The Next Generation (TNG) series finale, Picard went on to be a Federation Ambassador, a role the ever diplomatic, passionate, and suited-for-speechifying Picard seems born to play. While the future events seen in All Good Things never came to pass, I’m going to go on a short limb and say Picard is more likely now an ambassador than an admiral (he doesn’t seem to like very many of the admirals we’ve seen), an archaeologist (one of his lifelong hobbies), or something random, like an underground radical (not unlike Spock, in TNG’s Reunification).
- William Riker. Jonathan Frakes LOVES Star Trek. His TNG character kept on coming, in the TNG feature films, as Tom Riker in Deep Space 9, and as his original role in Enterprise’s finale (and name-dropped by wife Deanna Troi in Voyager). Frakes also directed a lot of Trek, is STILL directing Trek (for the CBS all-access show ST: Discovery) and even episodes of fan favorite TNG expy The Orville. No way will Riker not be in this.
- Deanna Troi. Marina Sirtis, of TNG, appeared in the feature films, was a frequent regular on Voyager, and will probably appear with Riker.
- Reginald Barclay. Lt. Barclay, ostensibly a TNG character, was on Voyager enough times to be an honorary member of that crew. Actually, the crew DID nominate him for that role. Last we saw, Reg was working on the Pathfinder Project, although if Voyager series finale Endgame is to be believed (in an alternate timeline), he’s now a teacher at Starfleet.
- Worf. Michael Dorn played his stoic Klingon as a full cast member on both TNG and Deep Space 9, and in the Trek movies. He’s racked up more episodes in Star Trek than any one actor in the entire franchise. Of course, he’s been off the map since DS9/Nemesis ended, but one can hope the Klingon Ambassador is still around.
- Geordi LaForge. Aside from the films, I’m basing this on TNG engineer Levar Burton’s one captaining guest role he played on Voyager‘s fine episode Timeless, and his directorial interests. I bet he turns back up as that captain.
- Kathryn Janeway. All I have for hope on the Voyager Captain (Kate Mulgrew) showing up is her fun little cameo in the otherwise awful Nemesis, but she was a Vice-Admiral then, and could still be one.
- Tuvok. Not only has Tim Russ had multiple roles in Trek, but he’s returned to his Voyager Vulcan roots in several fan spinoffs online. He’s clearly still interested.
- Q. John deLancie reprised his awesome TNG regular Q on Deep Space 9 and Voyager, as well as appearing in several online fan Trek shows.
- The Doctor. The talented Robert Picardo could bring his Voyager hologram back anytime. He had a role on The Orville last fall, which shows he’s still interested in Trek-like work.
- Wesley Crusher. Wil Wheaton is still young, and the actor is both an internet celebrity and a regular on the very popular, long-running, geek-oriented show The Big Bang Theory (as a version of himself). The character himself might be still wandering through space and time, as we saw him last in TNG’s Journey’s End, but that even makes things easier: he travels as easily as a thought. Literally. He saw Picard as a father figure, so there could be stories to mine.
- Data/B4. Brent Spiner made an appearance on Enterprise as his own creator’s ancestor, and played himself on The Big Bang Theory. While Data himself is dead (if you accept Nemesis as canon), early “Data” version B4 could still be traveling with Picard, maybe as his attache or something. B4 might even be just like Data by now, and for all purposes BE Data. Okay, please?
Less Likely: Characters from The Original Series and Enterprise
Could anyone from The Original Series pop in? The problem here is that 1. said characters would have to be alive and long-lived, and 2. their actors would need to still be alive and in good health.
This counts just about everyone out, in one form or another, unless we use flashblacks, time-travel, or other well-worn sci-fi tropes. Sulu is a possibility if we go with one of those (George Takei had a well-received flashback episode on Voyager — named, appropriately, Flashback — and is a very active on the internet celebrity). There is also Chekov (although Walter Koenig has been conspicuous in his acting absence). William Shatner’s Kirk is long dead, though the actor remains hale and is still acting, so….maybe? Note: I’m going to use the Prime Timeline-verse here. That would muddy up the spaceways too much.
It’s even less likely we’ll have anyone from Enterprise on the new show, since their timeline is set even earlier than TOS. However, as these actors would be younger than anyone from TOS, TNG, DS9, or VOY, a flashback/time travel appearance could surprise us. One problem is that Enterprise is the least-loved, least watched show of all the old Treks, and producers probably want to sweep the memory of this one under the carpet.
What about Star Trek: Discovery?
This brings us to the much-derided Star Trek: Discovery. Even a die hard Trek fan like me won’t watch this show. I caught the free first episode on television, and HATED it. Nothing I heard since seems good: it’s still dark, it’s still weird, and it doesn’t feel anything like the Star Trek we know. But since it’s going to be playing concurrently with Picard’s show, CBS showrunners will probably create a cross-over anyway.
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