Star Trek: Picard's Patrick Stewart and the Next Generation Crew Talk About Reuniting for the Final Season — Watch

It’s been two decades since we’ve seen Jean-Luc Picard on a starship alongside his Next Generation crew… but it was worth the wait.

The third and final season of Star Trek: Picard (debuting this Thursday on Paramount+) doubles as a Next Generation reunion, with star Patrick Stewart reteaming with his old co-stars Gates McFadden (Beverly Crusher), Jonathan Frakes (Riker), Michael Dorn (Worf) and LeVar Burton (Geordi La Forge) for the first time since 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis. In the video above, Stewart admits to TVLine he didn’t initially want to bring everyone back on Picard: “I was adamant that I didn’t want it to be a reunion of Next Generation. We’d done it! I’d said everything I wanted to say about Jean-Luc Picard. What, 157 episodes? There was nothing more to say.”

Star Trek Picard Season 3 Beverly CrusherBut Picard showrunner Terry Matalas crafted a story for Season 3 that Stewart couldn’t say no to, and Burton credits Matalas with making the final season more than just a nostalgia tour: “Terry’s been really, really clever in constructing the story. He brought us stuff that was really fun to play.” As Frakes notes, Matalas “really knows” the Star Trek characters, “and loves them.” For Burton, “that made a huge difference in the storytelling.”

Stewart hints that Jean-Luc and his Enterprise friends are brought back together by a serious emergency in Season 3: “We are thrown together by a situation, by a potentially tragic and disastrous situation. And it’s because Picard and Riker both believe that it is only with this assembly that we can perhaps create a future.” That leads to a bit of unexpected friction between the old shipmates, but as McFadden points out, “even when there’s conflict between the characters, we all pull together, and we work towards solving the problem and trying to save humanity, which is a continuing principle.”

Star Trek Picard Season 3 WorfSo how was it getting back on the bridge of a starship together? “Coming back was delicious,” Burton says with a smile, adding that the years of experience he and the other actors have gained in the meantime have enriched the story: “What I did not count on, and certainly didn’t expect, was that our work as actors is as a result a lot more nuanced and a lot deeper and richer. And I didn’t expect that.”

Just as the actors are coming back together after years apart, so are the characters, which made for some nice parallels, according to Burton: “For Geordi and the rest of the crew, it’s bonus time. It’s something that they couldn’t have anticipated, and us coming together again and playing these characters is something that we didn’t anticipate, either.”

But even if they didn’t come back for the final season of Picard, the Next Generation cast is still tight after all these years, Dorn reveals: “We talk to each other all the time. We’re having lunches and dinners and little Christmas parties all the time, so it’s not like we don’t see each other. So it’s just that we see each other on the set, in different clothes.”

Press PLAY to hear the Next Generation crew talk about reuniting on Picard, and beam down to the comments to share your hopes and predictions for Season 3.

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