Picard Season 3's Alternate Ending Could Have Given One Star Trek Character Justice
What if Picard had ended like this?
Despite the absolutely triumphant ending of Picard Season 3, even the most ardent advocate for the entire series would agree that taken as a whole, this Trek spinoff is thematically incongruent. Season 1 told a bold story about the rights of sentient AI, forced to live in secret. Season 2 was a psychological story about Jean-Luc’s trauma, wrapped up in a time-travel romp. And then, Season 3 was a classic Star Trek galactic action-adventure mystery with personal stakes for the entire Next Generation crew. Each of these seasons, essentially, had a different showrunner, Michael Chabon in Season 1, Akiva Goldsman in Season 2, and then, Terry Matalas, with complete control in Season 3. (Though Matalas worked on Season 2, also.)
For most fans, the journey of Picard had an endpoint that very clearly stuck the landing: Seeing the Next Generation crew all together, playing poker, just like in 1994’s finale episode “All Good Things...” That said, it seems that there was one other ending in mind for Season 3, one which Sir Patrick Stewart himself suggested. And, within this alternate ending, it seems possible that one discarded character could have made a big comeback.
On October 3, 2023, Patrick Stewart’s memoir, Making It So, will hit bookstores everywhere. And, ahead of that publication, Time published an excerpt specifically about Picard Season 3, and Stewart’s original conception of how the final episode would actually end.
Picard Season 3 alternate ending
According to Stewart, writing in his memoir, here’s how this alternate scene would have played out:
It is dusk at Jean-Luc’s vineyard. His back is to us as he takes in the view, his dog at his side. Then, off-screen, a woman’s loving voice is heard: “Jean-Luc? Supper’s ready!”
Is it Beverly Crusher’s voice? Laris’s? Someone we don’t know? It isn’t made clear. But Sunny [Stewart’s real-life wife] was set to record the lines. Heeding his wife’s call, Jean-Luc turns around, says to his dog, “C’mon, boy,” and heads inside. Dusk fades to night, and Picard fades into history.
For fans of the series Picard, the newer characters introduced in Season 1 and Season 2, were all eventually excised from the core storyline of the series, that is all except Raffi (Michelle Hurd) who played an integral part in the Season 3 storyline. And although Laris (Orla Brady) appeared in the first episode of Season 3, “The Next Generation,” we didn’t see her at all for the rest of the season. So, on some level, this alternate ending, maybe, could have saved the Laris storyline.
The saga of Laris
Introduced in Season 1, Orla Brady’s feisty portrayal of Laris — basically Picard’s Romulan bodyguard — instantly connected with fans. In 2022, Brady told Inverse that she believed it was the fans' belief in her that gave her an expanded role for Season 2. However, in most of Season 2, Brady didn’t appear as Laris, but rather, as Tallinn, an ancestor of Laris who lived in secret on 21st-century Earth. In the new commentary on the Blu-ray for Picard Season 3, showrunner Terry Matalas noted that he wished that Tallinn had been Laris, and not the other way around.
So, even within the Picard circles, there was regret that Laris didn’t appear more in both Season 2 and Season 3. Obviously, Stewart’s assertion about keeping Picard’s wife vague could mean that this alternate ending might not have been Laris. But, the ending of Season 2 and the beginning of Season 3 certainly indicated that Laris was the person that Jean-Luc was settling down with.
According to Stewart, this ending was never shot, mostly because the production team ran out of time, and it was later determined to go in a different direction. Stewart has gone on record many times saying he did eventually did prefer the ending we got. And yet. Considering everything that Seasons 2 and 3 had set up, it seems that even as a bonus post-credits scene, it would have been great to get a hint that Laris was still around.
Should the rumored Picard sequel series — Star Trek: Legacy — actually happen at some point, it seems like bringing back Laris is a no-brainer. And, even if she doesn’t end up romantically attached to Jean-Luc Picard, this unique Trek character deserves more adventures in the final frontier.