Picard Season 3 Post-Credits Scene Reboots A Classic Star Trek Concept, 36 Years Later
Why is he back?
After the curtain falls on the finale of Star Trek: Picard Season 3, there’s one last surprise in store. In a twisty post-credits scene, we revisit a classic theme from the very beginning of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Here’s what happens, how it tweaks Trek canon, and what it might mean for a possible Picard spinoff series. Spoilers ahead.
Generally speaking, the Star Trek franchise avoids post-credits scenes. Lower Decks Season 3 had a quick one, but none of the Trek films have indulged, and even the 2018 Discovery scene where Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) joined Section 31 was released separately as a “bonus scene.” But now, with “The Last Generation,” Picard Season 3 delivers a true post-credits scene in the Marvel style that seems to tease a new storyline, complete with a very familiar character.
Picard Season 3 Post-Credits Explained
After Geordi La Forge, Will Riker, and Jean-Luc Picard park the Enterprise-D in the Fleet Museum and play a game of poker, we jump to Jack Crusher settling into his quarters on the newly christened USS Enterprise-G. But suddenly, Q (John de Lancie) appears.
Jack wonders why Q isn’t dead, and Q says, “I was hoping the next generation wouldn't think so linearly.” So this is either a version of Q from before his death in Picard Season 2, or something else entirely. Q also implies that he’s putting humanity back on trial. Jack protests, saying, “You told my father humanity’s trial was over.” Q retorts, “But I’m here today because of you. You see yours, Jack, has just begun.” Q implies that Jack is about to have some kind of trial, though whether that means Jack is being judged or will undergo some tribulations is unclear.
Either way, Picard has brought things full circle. In Next Generation’s “Encounter at Farpoint,” Q appeared and framed the entire series as the trial of humanity. And now, through Jack, that concept has been rebooted. Or has it?
Picard's post-credits scene could set up a new Trek— but there’s a catch
A spinoff to Picard Season 3 has not been formally announced. In fact, as showrunner Terry Matalas made clear in several interviews, “there is nothing in development.” While it’s possible Paramount could greenlight a Picard spinoff, the concept isn’t on the large slate of Trek shows currently rolling out.
So is the post-credits scene just a tease? Does Matalas actually have an idea for where this new Q story with Jack Crusher would go?
“I know exactly,” Matalas tells Inverse. “I know how this would all go if we were lucky enough to come back.”
So, there is a story in mind that would continue from this post-credits scene. But whether we’ll actually see it remains up in the air.
Is Picard Season 3 Channeling the MCU?
Because Picard Season 3 has several codas and endings, and a legit post-credits scene, it might seem like Terry Matalas intentionally pushed this season of Trek into MCU territory. After all, back in the ’90s, The Next Generation was responsible for a burgeoning shared universe that would eventually span three different TV shows and several feature films, a scope unheard of for sci-fi franchises back then.
“I love, love that comparison,” Matalas says of likening Picard Season 3 to Marvel. “We did try to make this big and grandiose. But I’m not sure it was entirely conscious on my part, though that is the kind of storytelling I gravitate to. There was a sense of finality to it that we were hurdling toward for sure. We wanted to make this feel like a gigantic final [TNG] movie.”
But unlike Endgame, Picard’s grand finale very pointedly didn’t kill off any of its major characters. The big seven of Jean-Luc Picard, Will Riker, Worf, Beverly Crusher, Deanna Troi, and Data all lived, as did Seven, Raffi, Jack Crusher, Alandra, Sidney La Forge, and most of the remaining crew of the Titan. The writing of “The Last Generation” only made you think some of them might bite it.
“It’s good old fashion manipulation,” Matalas laughs. “We put some scenes in there that are scenes you play where characters are going to die; those goodbye scenes. Honestly, it would be very easy to kill off one of these characters, and it would be entirely appropriate. But I didn’t have it in me to do it. In a weird way, I wanted the surprise ending to be that it was a happy ending.”
Star Trek: Picard Season 3 streams on Paramount+.