It shouldn't come as a huge surprise to anyone who's been watching "Star Trek: Picard," but the upcoming third season is going to be a whole lot darker than "Star Trek: The Next Generation." In an interview with /Film's Vanessa Armstrong, stars Patrick Stewart and Gates McFadden talked about how things had changed since the last time the whole crew of the "Next Generation" Enterprise were together onscreen, and apparently the tone has shifted despite the comfort of old friendships. After all, "Picard" hasn't been the happiest series in the franchise, and season 2 was more than a bit of a downer. While "Next Generation" could be dark on occasion, there were also plenty of goofy holodeck episodes and weird Q shenanigans to lighten things up. (Q, played by John de Lancie, did show up in season 2, but it's difficult to call his involvement "shenanigans" this go-around).

The good news is that while season 3 of "Picard" is going to take the "Next Generation" crew to some dark and disturbing new places, at least they will have some familiar faces to spot in the darkness and help guide their way. The premiere of season 3 (read our review!) will warp onto Paramount+ on February 16, 2023, with new episodes every Thursday.

Getting The Gang Back Together

While quite a few members of the cast have appeared on "Picard" in past seasons, including Jonathan Frakes as Will Riker, Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi, and McFadden as Beverly Crusher, the third season will also see the return of LeVar Burton as Geordi La Forge and Michael Dorn as Worf, Son of Mogh. Dorn probably has some practice dealing with heavier content from his time on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," but they haven't done it all together, and it probably hasn't gotten this dark. When McFadden shared how great it was that they were still working together after all of these years, Stewart pointed out that they're not just still working together, but still growing together:

"And working together and with that work, challenging one another, both as characters and as actors, too. It's not just become cozy and familiar. There's so much underground and people being pulled at and torn at and in danger and risk, which was much, much more intense than it was in 'The Next Generation.'"

"Picard" has dealt with genocide, substance abuse and addiction, totalitarian dystopias, and more, so it's not a huge shock that season 3 will continue to dig into some heavy topics. At least the cast will have their old friends there to lean on, and there's always the group text that McFadden revealed they all have. Can you imagine being in a "Next Generation" group text? Or honestly, any group text with Jonathan Frakes? They're living the dream, no matter how dark season 3 gets.

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