Make It So

Picard cast reveals why Season 2 is Star Trek’s boldest pivot yet

Patrick Stewart, Jeri Ryan, John de Lancie, and the rest of the Picard team explain how Season 2 is very different than Season 1.

In Star Trek: Picard Season 1, Jean-Luc Picard doesn’t leave Earth until the end of the third episode. But in the forthcoming Season 2, Jean-Luc and his allies quickly cover a lot more ground (and space), and for fans who found the pacing of Season 1 slow, know that Season 2 kicks Picard into warp speed.

“Last season was filled with yearning,” producer Akiva Goldsman tells Inverse. “This season is about fixing. And fixing is more active.”

Ahead of Picard Season 2, we caught up with the cast to discuss why this year is so different than Season 1, what the characters are doing now, and what fans can expect from this bold new trip into the world beyond The Next Generation.

The La Sirena crew has split-up

The crew of the La Sirena in the last shot of Picard Season 1.CBS/Paramount

As Jeri Ryan mentioned in a video from Paramount+, there’s “a bit of a time cut” between the seasons. Roughly a year and a half have passed, and the motley crew who came together in “Et in Arcadia Ego Part 2,” have split up. Picard (Patrick Stewart), Raffi (Michelle Hurd), and Rios (Santiago Cabrera) have all returned to Starfleet, and Elnor (Evan Evagora) has enrolled in Starfleet Academy as the first Romulan cadet.

Meanwhile, Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) is once again working for the independent peacekeeping alliance dubbed the Fenris Rangers and is flying Rios’ freighter, the La Sirena, while assisted by a holographic version of Rios.

Raffi (Michelle Hurd) and Picard (Patrick Stewart) both working for Starfleet again.CBS/Paramount

But don’t expect the cast to stay separated for long. In real life, the Picard ensemble is even tighter-knit than they were last time around. Season 1 didn’t bring the entire cast together in one place until the finale, but now the vibe feels much more like a sequel to The Next Generation.

[The audience] really knows everyone now,” Santiago Cabrera tells Inverse. “You’re really sitting with these characters. You're coming in at a completely different stage of the story.”

“Toward the end of Season 1, we really melded in a really wonderful way,” Isa Briones adds. “Coming together is like a sigh of relief.”

In Season 1, Evan Evagora admitted to being extremely nervous to work with Patrick Stewart. But this time, he says, “I crushed him with a giant hug on the first day.”

For longtime fans of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager, the first episode of Picard Season 2, “The Star Gazer,” will feel like a jolt of optimism straight from ‘90s Star Trek. Just don’t expect things to stay cozy for long.

What happens to Seven and Raffi?

Jeri Ryan and Michelle Hurd as Seven and Raffi in Picard Season 1.CBS/Paramount

At the end of Season 1, we saw Raffi (Michelle Hurd) and Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) connect romantically. Now it seems like they’re broken up again. What happened? Will they get back together?

“We don't connect in like, holding hands and skipping down the sidewalk and licking a lollipop,” Michelle Hurd tells Inverse. “We connect in the passions that are about righting wrongs and having each other’s backs.”

Jeri Ryan wants fans to know that despite the off-screen break-up, Raffi and Seven are with each other a lot in upcoming episodes.

“In most of Season 2, as you’ll see... we’re together,” Ryan tells Inverse. “I love these characters. I love the way they interact.”

More Soji Synth duplicates?

Isa Briones as Soji in a new promotional shot for Picard Season 2. But is she only playing Soji? CBS/Paramount

At the beginning of Picard Season 2, we’ll see Soji (Isa Briones) in a new role for the Federation, which Briones hinted at in a Paramount+ video. But there’s a bigger question here. Because Soji is an android (or, in Picard terms, a Synth), are there more versions of her out there? By the time Season 1 was complete, Briones had portrayed three distinct characters, all Synths with distinct personalities. Will Isa Briones play additional characters this time out?

“Why would you think that?” Briones says with a sarcastic laugh. “Well, I could not fully confirm that, unfortunately. But in reading all those scripts, I can tell you it was definitely surprising. There are a lot of twists this season.”

Unraveling Q’s mystery

John de Lancie as Q in a promotional image for Picard Season 2.CBS/Paramount

As Briones hints, the audience will experience several twists and turns, and at least one big upset has seemingly been caused by the famous trickster god known as “Q” (John de Lancie) in the first episode of Picard Season 2.

Introduced back in 1987, in the very first Next Generation episode, Q has always challenged humanity’s right to exist given our barbaric flaws. He’s even put the human race on trial, and in the final TNG episode Q told Jean-Luc, “the trial never ends.” This phrase is repeated in the trailers for Picard.

In Q’s later appearances, he’d softened somewhat on humanity. So what’s changed? Actor John de Lancie wants fans to know that while Q is back, you shouldn’t expect to suddenly know all his secrets.

“I am more of a catalyst in the show than perhaps I would have wanted to be,” de Lancie explains. “I move things along. I don’t think you’ll get much satisfaction — if you want to call it that — to find out more about Q.”

However, de Lancie hints that not all is as it seems with Q. His actions could be read as fatalistic. “Q is drawing upon an intensity and desperation,” de Lancie says. “It’s what we all feel as time gets shorter. I’m being fueled by that and talking to Picard about that issue, too.”

Jean-Luc Picard’s journey

Picard and Admiral Whitley (April Grace) in a tense moment in the debut of Picard Season 2.CBS/Paramount

This season is still mostly focused on Jean-Luc Picard himself. As Patrick Stewart hinted on The View, we’ll see certain facets of Picard’s past, as well as new developments in his present, including the possibility of “romance.” Although Season 2 is concerned with alternate timelines and time travel to the 21st century, there’s also a look into Jean-Luc’s previously unseen childhood.

Patrick Stewart told Inverse that the way “the narrative leaks that information” to the audience is part of the twisty structure of Season 2.

Co-showrunner and producer Akiva Goldsman tells Inverse that he crafted the basic story for Season 2 with Season 1 showrunner Michael Chabon and Season 2 showrunner Terry Matalas, a writer who’s worked on Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, and the 12 Monkeys reboot.

“Michael [Chabon] actually built some of the ideas,” Goldsman explains. “But Michael, Terry, and I spent months in a room developing the story. It was a very harmonious transition.”

But beyond the time travel and the mysteries surrounding Jean-Luc’s childhood and Q, what is this season really about? It’s in this question that Goldsman highlights the biggest difference between Picard Season 1 and Picard Season 2.

“[In Season 1] we were sort of doing a resurrection story,” Goldsman says. “And this year, it's definitely more of a redemption story... [it] requires both a figurative and literal return to what has come before. And so, that means a lot more motion.”

Star Trek: Picard Season 2 premieres March 3 on Paramount+.

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