Star Trek: Picard will revisit the era that defined the franchise in the nineties. The new adventures of the titular former captain will jump back into the future world of the 24th century, which is a huge opportunity to revisit a slew of familiar Next Generation faces. Some beloved characters are already set to return, while others could come back, but have yet to be confirmed.
Who’s in? Who’s out? And who’s a sweet, sweet long-shot? Let’s take a look.
No spoilers for Star Trek: Picard ahead. That said, wild speculation can lead to accidental spoilers!
Confirmed TNG-era characters returning
Since the show is called “Picard,” we know it’s going to feature Sir Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard, former captain of both the Enterprise-D from TNG and the Enterprise-E from the TNG movies. Brent Spiner is also reprising his role as Data, even though the character died in Star Trek: Nemesis. Spiner has mentioned in interviews that the android parts seen in one of the trailers are from a duplicate of Data called B-4, who, to date, as only appeared in Star Trek: Nemesis.
Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Deanna Troi(Marina Sirtis) will also return, though it’s not clear how big their roles will be. It’s also thought that Frakes will direct the Riker-focused episodes. Previously, Frakes directed First Contact and Insurrection. More recently, he directed a few episodes of Discovery. Right now, other than Picard, Riker, Data, and Troi, none of the main cast has been confirmed to return.
Although she was decidedly not on The Next Generation, former Borg drone and Voyager crewmember Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) will have a reoccurring role. She’s a contemporary of Picard, and may have been aware of him when he became Locutus in the TNG two-parter “The Best of Both Worlds.” (Seven of Nine is in a unique position to know Picard as both a fellow drone and Starfleet officer.)
Hugh(Jonathan Del Arco), another former Borg drone once known as Third of Five, will also appear in Picard. Hugh was rescued by the Enterprise in the TNG episode “I, Borg,” became friends with Geordi La Forge (Levar Burton). Picard later released Hugh back into the collective, only for him to reappear in the two-part episode “Descent,” where he was briefly allied with Data’s evil twin brother Lore. By the end of that episode, Picard left Hugh in charge of the rogue Borg, in the hope that he would help everybody get along.
So, there you have it: three former Borg and three former Enterprise crewmembers, and that about does it for confirmed returning characters. So, what about unconfirmed characters?
Before Data, Riker and Troi were confirmed for Picard, every single cast member of The Next Generation — including Spiner, Frakes, and Sirtis — publicly denied having anything to do with the series. (Nobody even thought to ask Jeri Ryan, since she wasn’t even on TNG.)
The point is, even though Worf, La Forge, and Crusher are not confirmed for Star Trek: Picard, there’s no reason to think Michael Dorn, Levar Burton, and Gates McFadden aren’t keeping secrets tucked away in their Starfleet jumpsuits. Both Burton and McFadden attended the Hollywood red carpet premiere of Picard, which means they’re either just supporting an old friend, or Geordi La Forge and Dr. Beverly Crusher are totally in the show. Dorn has also mentioned that he thinks a Worf series would be perfect right now, so who knows, maybe he’s there, too.
It seems like Wesley Crusher is a no-go, simply because Wil Wheaton is hosting a CBS after-show called The Ready Room. It seems unlikely and weird for Wheaton to do both.
Wesley’s status at this point in the timeline is also really confusing. In the TNG episode “Journey’s End,” Wesley left the hang-out with the Traveler, an interdimensional being kind of like a Doctor from Doctor Who. Welsey randomly had a cameo in Nemesis, but nobody really asked him what it was like being an interdimensional being who can just travel through space and time by thinking about it.
Because Picard takes place in 2399, every character alive at the end of Nemesis, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager could potentially cameo. So, although it’s a longshot, it wouldn’t be crazy to have Miles O’Brien (Colm Meaney) beam-in, seeing as he served with Picard in TNG and was a regular on Deep Space Nine. O’Brien’s working-class vibe might be perfect with Picard seemingly going off-the-grid.
Similarly, the last time we saw Ro Laren (Michelle Forbes), she had betrayed Picard and Starfleet to join the freedom fighters of the Maquis. If Picard is looking for old friends who aren’t so buttoned-up, Ro would be an amazing character to revisit.
But what about Picard’s frenemies? This list could get long really quick, but one interesting possibility is the half-human/half-Romulan daughter of Tasha Yar, Sela.(Denise Crosby). In two Next Generation two-parters — “Redemption” and “Unification” —Sela was a major mover and shaker in the Romulan government. We already know the Romulans are going to be a very big deal in Picard. It seems kind of crazy the return of Denise Crosby wouldn’t have been announced sooner, but it might be a cool spoiler being kept under wraps.
Finally, one of the best characters to bother captains Picard, Sisko and Janeway was the omnipotent entity known as “Q.” ( John de Lancie, otherwise known as Krysten Ritter’s dad on Breaking Bad).
Anyway, Q bookended Picard’s journey in The Next Generation, testing him in “Encounter at Farpoint,” and showing him a possible future in the final episode, “All Good Things.” Now that Picard is around the same age he was in that alternate future, you have to wonder if this space god will show up again with a snap of his fingers. One thing is for sure, fans would FREAK OUT with joy if he did.
Who is totally out?
Given the timeline, we probably won’t see Spock. A decade prior to the events of Picard, Old Spock (Leonard Nimoy) attempted to help Romulans save their planet with the aid of Red Matter. However, because Nimoy is sadly no longer with us, it feels unlikely we will see any version of Spock, or anyone from 23rd-century Trek. Which, of course, includes anyone from Discovery.
Then again, in The Next Generation episode “Sarek,” Picard did mind-meld with Spock’s dad, Sarek, who we now know was also Michael Burnham’s (Sonequa Martin-Green) dad. So, who knows? Could Picard have a repressed memory of Burnham, and could that be the craziest cameo nobody sees coming?
The first episode of Star Trek: Picard hits CBS All-Access on January 23.