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‘Star Trek: Picard’ Theory Analysis: Who Is Vadic Working For?

Recently 100% Certified Fresh, season 3 of Star Trek: Picard has reignited interest in the show after seasons 1 and 2 barely made it out of spacedock. Even with only two episodes aired, fan theories are running wild—from conspiracies about Jack Crusher’s real lineage to Captain Shaw’s mysterious past to Vadic’s potential puppet master(s). More on the first two another time, but for now, we’re going to focus on who fans think the “big bad” of season 3 could be. We scoured the far reaches of the Internet to analyze the best (and worst) Picard season 3 fan theories. This analysis may contain potential spoilers.

“To be or not to be” the villain
Even before appearing in episode two, Amanda Plummer’s Vadic and her bird-mask-wearing soldiers had fans wondering who she is and where she comes from. After seeing her in episode two claiming to be a “bounty hunter,” we are starting to get the first hints. With the mention of an unknown weapon on board the Shrike, Vadic’s story is almost certainly connected to Raffi’s investigation into stolen tech from Daystrom. The first two episodes also have hints that Vadic is connected to a larger network that extends into Starfleet, evidenced by her having inside knowledge about Picard and Shaw. Beverly did warn Picard to “trust no one, including Starfleet.”

Amanda Plummer as Vadic
Many questions still remain about the season 3 villain, like why Vadic wants Jack Crusher, son of Beverly Crusher and Jean-Luc Picard, and why she wants him alive. Is she working alone or is she working for someone else? What’s the story behind her powerful and pointy ship, the Shrike? If Vadic is working for someone else, who could that be and why? Let’s look at a handful of fan theory suspects (including some of our own), keeping in mind the new clue from today’s preview of episode three about how Raffi and Worf “uncover a nefarious plot from a vengeful enemy Starfleet has long since forgotten,” indicating the true nature of the villains is something from Star Trek’s past.

The primary suspects
There are a lot of theories running around,;we have narrowed the list down a bit to focus on a handful that keeping coming up, with two particular ones top of mind.

“Each time, they had different faces.” In episode one, Jack Crusher told Picard and Riker that he and his mother were being hunted by people with different faces. Was that line meant to be taken literally? Could the Changelings from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine be back? Showrunner Terry Matalas has stated “the fallout of the Dominion War is important in the plot.” Hmm. That seems to be a big clue and puts the “changing faces” along with Jack’s comment about different groups hunting the Eleos—including Fenris Rangers, Klingons, and Starfleet Officers—into a different context. Also, in the first episode, Riker noted the residue left by the soldiers Beverly vaporized was unusual. These clues have many people pointing figures at the Changelings.

The Dominion War wrapped up in the Deep Space Nine series finale with the Dominion’s Founders surrendering and Odo (a Changeling himself) leaving the station to join the Great Link, curing the other Changelings of the morphogenic virus manufactured by Section 31 to eradicate them. The defeat and insidious attack by Section 31 could have instilled resentment in some Founders, and perhaps there are some wanting to seek revenge on the Federation and Starfleet even decades later. With Odo himself part of the Great Link, it’s unlikely he would be part of any such plot, but perhaps there is a breakaway faction of Changelings that are not part of the Great Link, and perhaps they are still dealing with the after-effects of the Section 31 virus, which could explain Vadic’s scars and her soldier’s masks.

Female Changeling leader affected by the morphogenic virus
Extending this line of thought, there is another Changeling with a certain disdain for solids. What if Laas (from the DS9 episode “Chimera”) found the rest of “The Hundred” and created a new Great Link like he wanted to do? Could they be the Changelings behind a new attack?

Laas with Odo
One could describe Vadic’s network as a conspiracy, and if you are looking for a conspiracy, why not look to “Conspiracy,” arguably one of the few bright spots (“The Big Goodbye”) in an otherwise shaky (“Code of Honor” oof) first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The episode showed there was a race of parasitic creatures infecting key members of Starfleet, and it went all the way to the top until it was discovered by Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-D. The episode ended with Commander Remmick (host to the parasite mother creature) attempting to send a message into deep space to the parasite homeworld, and the crew determined it was indeed transmitted before he died—and it was a homing beacon. This is just the kind of low-hanging fruit ripe for a follow-up that would intrigue someone like superfan Matalas. There is also a passing similarity between the design of the original parasites and Vadic’s ship, The Shrike. And Beverly’s warning to Picard sounds ominously close to Captain Keel’s warning to Picard: “Don’t trust anyone.” Both warnings specifically noted that Starfleet itself could not be trusted, making this the other big fan theory.

One of the “Conspiracy” parasites
The parasites would for sure qualify as an “enemy Starfleet has long since forgotten.” It’s unclear how the parasites would tie into the Dominion War, but perhaps the show could do a bit of retcon to make a connection like season 2 did by connecting the Travellers with Gary Seven. It’s plausible that the parasites made their way back to the Alpha Quadrant and have been secretly infiltrating Starfleet once again. Like the time Changelings appeared on Earth, anyone and everyone could be compromised. From now on, I’m going to start checking everyone’s necks for gills. Although maybe they learned their lesson and figured out a way to mask their telltale gills. One other fun connection to this episode is that the late Walter Keel is the one who introduced the late Jack Crusher to Beverly Howard.

Other suspects
This may be a corollary to the Changelings, but if there is any group that has reasons for being angry at Starfleet, it would be Cardassians, specifically the military who controlled the Cardassian Union and chose to side with the Founders in the Dominion War, which followed the earlier Federation-Cardassian War. With over 800 million Cardassians killed, it’s safe to say that the Dominion War had a more devastating impact on Cardassia than it did on the Founders themselves. So perhaps there is a faction of angry Cardassians out there who are seeking revenge on the Federation and Starfleet. This may not be mutually exclusive with the Changeling theory as there could be a coalition of former enemies from the Dominion War working together, maybe even with the Breen too. The only real evidence in Picard pointing to the “Cardies” is Vadic’s pointy ship itself, with the Shrike possibly being an evolution of the Cardassian aesthetic. Also, the new season 3 credits feature a LCARS scan of the Shrike with details written in Cardassian language.


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