“All Good Things…” must come to an end, goes the famous Chaucer quote and episode title for the finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Recently, there’s been confirmation for Star Trek: Picard that the show’s tenure is coming to an end. If you’re not on Twitter, you might have missed it. As production wrapped for season 3, the crew and cast shared the news that it would be the final season, with many pictures and tearful goodbyes.
Now, this is not totally a surprise. In January, Patrick Stewart and Trek-honcho Akiva Goldsman told SFX magazine that Season 3 would be the character’s conclusion. But just because Picard is ending, it doesn’t mean we have to say goodbye to the characters we’ve come to love.
Season 3? What About Season 2?
Let’s back up a moment – when the news broke in September of 2021 that we were getting a Season 2 of Picard, we got a happy bonus with news that we were also getting a Season 3. At the time, the two-season pickup was announced for practicality’s sake. The seasons would be in production concurrently and film back to back to control costs and manage a busy production schedule. Considering that reports at the time put costs per episode at $8-$9 million, this was, well, logical.
The Picard Plan
But according to Jeri Ryan, the actress who plays Seven of Nine/Annika Hansen, ending with Season 3 was always the plan. She told us so when an eager fan on Twitter asked about the possibility of season 4 or 5. And in a recent weekend interview with TrekMovie, showrunner Terry Matalas talked about Season 3’s conclusion to Picard’s story.
“But I think—I hope—we’re concluding Picard’s story in the best, most appropriate, most satisfying way.” – Terry Matalas
It makes sense, then, that “All Good Things…” must come to an end. The opportunity to tell and conclude a Picard-focused and intensely character-driven story is something the stars were aligned to make happen. It wouldn’t have been possible without the 81-year-old Patrick Stewart’s availability and the existence of the Paramount+ streaming platform.
And plainly, there’s no Star Trek: Picard without Stewart. In 2020, when asked about the show’s future, Akiva Goldsman told Collider as much.
“I mean, I think we have discussed it as both a 3 season show, a 5 season show, a “let’s just keep going forever” show… But we certainly… Star Trek: Picard, in my view, will go as long as Patrick Stewart wants to do it….”
Could there be a Picard Spin-off for some characters?
Season 1 of Picard introduced new characters that quickly became fan favorites. The assumption has been that their stories would end when Picard ended, but perhaps that assumption was premature. There are new breadcrumbs and hints that the stories will continue for the characters from the show. After Picard ends, I believe we will see more from the crew, and here are the reasons why.
Actresses Michelle Hurd and Jeri Ryan starred in the recently released Paramount-backed audio drama No Man’s Land (available on Audible). It’s about their characters, Raffi and Seven of Nine, and picks up where Picard season 1 ends.
Exploring their characters’ backstory as an audio drama is particularly interesting because, in the world of IP, audio dramas are often used as a proof of concept for interest in a show. If the audio drama is successful, it’s not unreasonable to think that we could see a show or even a “television movie” with Raffi and Seven/Annika in the forefront in the future. For proof of where this worked, look at Limetown, or any other podcast picked up and turned into a show.
Story-wise, Paramount’s choice to explore the time between Season 1 and 2 of Picard with No Man’s Land is particularly juicy. In season 1, we discovered that Seven was part of the Fenris Rangers organization.
The Fenris Rangers are a unique faction and they’re a vigilante group that protects a chaotic sector of space. Even now, we don’t know that much about them. The audio drama fills in some of the blanks and offers a really compelling and fresh place for Star Trek to go. It also fills in some of the blanks about what was a burgeoning relationship between Raffi and Seven.
What’s also unique about the audio drama is that it focuses on two people. Up to this point, the Star Trek universe has been filled with motley crews. Even Picard in Season 1 assembled a team on La Sirena. A dual lead space adventure, particularly female-led, would be different from what we have seen.
In a show of Paramount’s confidence in this audio drama experiment, they gave proverbial keys to the kingdom to Picard creator Kirsten Beyer. Beyer is a seriously successful TV writer and came up through the ranks of Star Trek: Discovery. She is also an accomplished fiction author, penning a number of Star Trek and Buffy novels.
These factors add up to a simple fact – Paramount appears to be gauging interest in exploring the continuing stories of these new (or, in the case of Seven, old) characters.
What do you think? Is this audio drama gauging the interest in a Fenris Rangers series? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments or on Twitter at @MyCosmicCircus.
Sources: TrekMovie interview with Picard Showrunner Terry Matalas / Hollywood Reporter / Collider Interview with Akiva Goldsman / StarTrek.com No Man’s Land Launch