For old-school Trekkies, the main selling point of "Picard" season 3 may be that it's getting the band back together for a full-fledged "Star Trek: The Next Generation" reunion. For the first time since the 2002 film "Star Trek: Nemesis," Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is being joined by all the principal members of his old "Next Generation" crew (or their evil android brothers), with Worf (Michael Dorn), Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), and Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) appearing on the show for the first time alongside the returning William Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), and Data Lore (Brent Spiner). However, as much as the third and final season of "Picard" might trade on our nostalgia for these characters, it's also looking to the future.

In a new SFX Magazine cover story, "Picard" showrunner Terry Matalas first discussed the lack of "Next Generation" movies or even TV specials since "Nemesis," despite the crowded slate of "Star Trek" shows that have popped up on Paramount+ in the days since producer Rick Berman was shepherding the franchise on network television. He told the magazine:

"That's the way of the world, whether that be Indiana Jones or 'Ghostbusters' or anything else, you don't always get to see more of those kinds of stories. It's hard to get everyone back together, to convince the studio and network that they should spend money and invest in it. You get everybody in a room, of course, you're gonna say, 'Let's do another movie.' I'm the first person to say these stories, in this time period, particularly this 'Picard' timeline, in a post-Berman universe, could continue. That's certainly where I'm the most passionate at the moment."

'A Passing Of The Torch To The Next Generation'

While previous trailers for "Picard" season 3 have leaned heavily on the novelty of seeing the "Next Generation" cast reunited, the final trailer also showed some new faces. Elsewhere in the interview, Terry Matalas alluded to the possibility of seeing some characters again "in a kind of Next, Next Generation story." However, in the same way that the first two seasons of "Picard" saw Patrick Stewart's character surrounded by a new, younger cast, Matalas suggested the third one may leave the door open for further adventures of that sort:

"This season is very much a passing of the torch to the next generation. So it will really be up to the fans to decide if they want to see more. 'Star Trek' has always been up to the fans. The fans brought back the original series characters into feature films and conventions and kept it alive, it will have to be the same here. So we'll see."

With the exception of Stewart, 82, most of the "Next Generation" cast are now in their 60s and 70s, roughly the same age as when the cast of "Star Trek: The Original Series" began retiring from their roles in the 1990s. It makes sense for them to pass the baton, and we know that fresh-faced Starfleet personnel like Geordie La Forge's daughter, for instance, will be ready to take the baton — and the ship's helm — in "Picard" season 3. There are also returning cast members like Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) who could potentially help lead the new generation.

In the meantime, at least "Next Generation" fans will be able to enjoy one last voyage with the former crew of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D). "Star Trek: Picard" season 3 premieres February 16, 2023, on Paramount+.

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