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Star Trek: Picard Showrunner Explains Approach to Dr. Crusher’s Return

The Next Generation’s cast is returning for Star Trek: Picard season 3, and special care was taken with how Dr. Beverly Crusher would return. Star Trek: The Next Generation’s cast is returning for Star Trek: Picard season 3, and special care was taken with how Dr. Beverly Crusher would return, in particular. TNG is the second live-action Star Trek series, airing from 1987 to 1994. The show followed a new Enterprise crew led by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), and its success helped spawn the long-running Star Trek franchise that exists today.

The continuing popularity of The Next Generation cast led to four feature films, the last being 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis. In 2020, Captain (now Admiral) Picard returned with his own series on Paramount+, and for two seasons Jean-Luc has gone on wild adventures with a largely new cast of characters. For Picard season 3, the show’s final season, Jean-Luc is reuniting with much of his old crew, including William Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), Worf (Michael Dorn), and Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden). Brent Spiner is also returning, though his role remains unknown. Previously, Spiner has played other characters on Picard and reprised Data in dream sequences. Frakes and Sirtis have also previously appeared in Picard season 1, but this will mark the first time the main TNG cast will reunite since Nemesis.

For the return of Beverly Crusher to Jean-Luc’s life, Star Trek: Picard showrunner Terry Matalas says he thought extra hard about her story in an interview with Inglorious Treksperts (via Collider). Matalas notes that perhaps more than any other Enterprise crew member, Dr. Crusher’s return will have the biggest impact on Picard. Read Matalas’ comments about bringing back Dr. Beverly Crusher, below: “For Gates [McFadden], I wanted to make sure that Crusher really had a very strong story. That was a fascinating—it’s a fascinating character who let her son go off into the universe, who had once had a romantic relationship with Captain Picard. And where are they now?”

La Forge, Picard and Dr. Crusher in sick bay in Star Trek TNG
There are still many questions about how the returning Next Generation cast will factor into Picard season 3. The few details we have learned—like Geordi’s story being so emotional it made Burton and Matalas cry—suggest this reunion will do right by the characters and give them fulfilling backstories to explain what’s happened since they were last all together. Beverly and Jean-Luc’s reunion, in particular, is an important one given the two were romantically involved prior to TNG and a rekindled romance was teased many times. Could Picard season 3 see them finally get together? It’s possible, but that would also put a damper on Jean-Luc’s budding romance with Laris which Picard’s season 2 finale heavily implied would develop further.

There is also the matter of what happened to Beverly’s son, Wesley, who while initially joining Starfleet and serving on the Enterprise, ultimately joined a group of mysterious travelers who oversee the proper flow of time. Welsey isn’t among The Next Generation characters expected to return in season 3, but actor Wil Wheaton did return in Picard season 2 for a scene of Wesley recruiting Kore to also join the Travelers. Welsey becoming a time-traveler who oversees the universe could very well be to be a topic of discussion between Beverly and Jean-Luc, and it’ll be interesting to see if Wesley’s destiny has changed Beverly’s outlook on space-faring adventures. There’s quite a bit of history between Picard and his Next Gen crewmates, and with Beverly Crusher especially, and returning to these relationships is sure to make Star Trek: Picard’s final season hit all the harder.

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