Sir Patrick Stewart aka Jean-Luc Picard, be he Captain, Admiral, Ambassador, or just Mr. Picard, is returning to Star Trek. And, for me at least, the biggest question that goes along with that news is, "Who else is coming with him?"
It would seem strange if we got Picard but nobody else from TNG. And, frankly, if we're finally dipping our toes into stories that, gasp, actually take place after Star Trek: Nemesis, doesn't it seem like an opportunity for characters from other Star Trek series to make guest appearances, too?
I asked people on Twitter what they thought, and SYFY WIRE's own Editor in Chief revealed what a huge dork he is:
Here's my (far superior) list for the Star Trek characters, across multiple series, I think merit at least a ready-room-style communique.
Should someone from The Original Series appear in the untitled Picard series? I honestly don't know. We're not even sure who is officially still alive. Kirk is dead. Spock traveled back in time, so he's out. Scotty is probably still alive after surviving that prolonged transporter stasis, but the man who originally played him, Jimmy Doohan, is long since passed. I don't know Simon Pegg, but my gut says he'd have some reservations about donning a fat suit and age makeup to portray the non-Kelvin timeline Mr. Scott.
I would contend there are three potential options at this point: Uhura, Chekov, and Sulu. Cases can be made for any one of them.
Here's why I landed on Hikaru.
We know (and have seen) Sulu be a captain. We know that Sulu, like Picard, is a more measured and diplomatic leader. If we're counting non-canonical books (and, in this case, I think it's worth it), Sulu not only became an admiral, but, eventually became the Federation President for three terms.
Like Picard, Sulu has also done his fair share of defying the Prime Directive, of taking ships where they don't belong, and of just generally breaking the rules.
If indeed this "20 years later" Picard is going to be different from how we remember him, perhaps even at odds with who he is and what he's done, he's going to need someone who's asked a lot of the same questions of himself. And it's easy to see Sulu as a man who once had regrets, but who has also made peace with who he is and what he's done.
Is Sulu dead? I don't know. The possibility is hinted at in the Voyager episode, "Flashback," but it's never been confirmed. In reality, George Takei is still very much alive, and very much an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. So, meta-textually, as the most public figure, I think Takei makes the most sense, too.
It would seem crazy not to at least consider someone from The Original Series. So there you go. Sulu is my choice. Moving on.
WILLIAM T. RIKER AND DEANNA TROI
First of all, if Jonathan Frakes isn't already basically committed to direct at least one episode of this Picard series, I'll eat my 24th-century hat. And even though he doesn't do a lot of acting these days, I find it almost impossible to believe that Frakes wouldn't throw on a Starfleet uniform and reprise his role as Picard's number one at least once. If there's anyone who'd jump in the ring for Picard, it's his surrogate son, Will.
And last we heard, Riker was the captain of the USS Titan, where he resided with his wife (and counselor) Deanna Troi. Troi also frequently acted as confidante for Picard back in the Enterprise D days. Once again, if Picard is going through something, it would be bananas if she who loves chocolate sundaes wouldn't have his back, or at least be telling him really obvious things about people's emotions.
If I could only pick one person from Picard's past to appear in his new series, it would be Guinan. Sir Patrick and Whoopi Goldberg had some crazy good on-screen chemistry back in the day, and, moreso than Troi, Guinan is definitely the unofficial therapist who actually gets Picard. But we only got a few episodes of these two performing together. And I'm selfish: I want more.
What has Guinan been up to? Does she know what's up with Picard? Is she involved with whatever he doing now? Were they in love the whole time?! That's my pet theory, but don't let me go off on that, I'll never stop. The point is: These two actors are phenomenal and more of them is good for the soul.
This is my last TNG pic. I know! They should all show up! But these are the ones I need personally. If Picard is lost in something, if he's skipped a groove and doesn't know how to get back, then there's really only one entity to take the case: Q!
Picard can be very stubborn. Q is the only one who can get Picard to see something from a different point of view with the literal snap of his fingers. And that means the opportunity not just for great drama, but also for some good laughs, too. However different this new series may be, I hope we can retain some of the humor that was so quintessentially TNG.
First things first, I desperately want to know what happened after Kira took over Deep Space Nine, because it was a long time coming. For all the ways that Ben Sisko was reluctant to be in charge before embracing his ability to lead, I think Kira had a very similar trajectory. She started out as a freedom fighter, she worked in small cells but sometimes alone. She didn't want to be a part of the system, but eventually figured out how to work within it.
And I suspect that Picard might be in the opposite spot. He's always been kind of a company man, even when he broke the rules. He was the captain the Federation's flagship after all. But if this is a different Picard, one who is no longer a captain, he might need help from someone who knows what it's like to work against the system instead of from within. And assuming that Ro Laren still isn't an option, well... you can't get much better than Kira.
I know! A shocking twist! Where's Ben? Where's Nog? Listen, man. Calm down! This is my list. You can put those two on yours. But, for the record, Avery Brooks doesn't seem like he wants to be involved with Trek anymore and, while Nog would make a great first officer, he just wasn't my personal pic. If he does show up, it'll be great, though.
However, Jake makes my list specifically because he's not a Starfleet officer. Jake is not a military guy at all. Jake is a writer. Jake is someone who can write short stories, biographies, and articles, and that's a character type we haven't explored enough in the world of Trek. Journalists! I am not biased when I write this!
Really, though, I think it would be really interesting if Jake came to interview Picard, which helps us learn some of what we've missed from the last 20 years. Maybe Jake has a high opinion of Picard. Or... maybe, like his father, Jake doesn't think much of Picard or the choices he's made. The idea of a sympathetic antagonist to Picard could be really compelling.
Alright. Look. Leaving aside the fact that the last time we saw Janeway she was an, ugh, admiral, despite all the rules she broke for seven damn years on Voyager. Leaving aside how wildly inconsistent Janeway was as a character, we are left with one truth: Kate Mulgrew is the bomb. And even Janeway's lesser moments had gravitas because of said bomb status. And the bomb? STILL ACTIVE. Just watch Orange is the New Black if you have any doubts about how great Mulgrew remains.
And I'll tell you something else: Picard and Janeway are a lot alike. They're both scientific minds, they both have a dry sense of humor, and they both need their caffeine in the morning to keep them going.
Just imagine the debate of Earl Grey vs. coffee! That alone is worth a guest appearance.
SEVEN OF NINE
I briefly considered putting The Doctor from Voyager on this list because it would be nice for Picard to have another bald dude to relate with. But I wanted to go deeper. They don't care about baldness in the 24th century, ALLEGEDLY. So, alright. FINE. Sven of Nine it is.
And here's the thing. There aren't exactly a ton of people we know who have been truly assimilated by the Borg and then changed back. If First Contact is anything to go by, that's definitely something that still haunts Picard. And, for all we know, the Borg might crop up in this new Picard series since they're his most notorious adversary.
So, if there are Borg or Borg-related stories, then you gotta have Seven of Nine in the mix. She and Picard understand The Borg in a way very few do, and also, isn't it time Jeri Ryan got to reprise that role while wearing a uniform that isn't a body-destroying catsuit? Her showing up works on multiple levels is what I'm saying.
NO DATA, PLEASE
Hi. Data is an immortal android. Brent Spiner is a mortal man. Data doesn't age. Brent Spiner does. Also, Brent Spiner has pretty consistently said in Q&A panels that he feels like there are no more Data stories left to tell. Now, maybe he has changed his tune on that since there's the possibilities of a high profile gig in the air, but I kinda think past Spiner was right.
Data was great on the show, he was mucked up with that ridiculous emotion chip in the movies, and then he died. Do we really need more? I don't think so. Far better for Picard to miss his friend and for us to remember the good old days when he didn't sing that @#$ing life forms song.
And that's my list! Here are some other ideas people had.
Obviously those are all... very inventive ideas. What are yours?
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.