Patrick Stewart on the Picard season 2 finale cameo, the Next Generation reunion, and more
Warning: Spoilers from the Picard season 2 finale are discussed in this interview.
It's time for another captain's log with the man himself, Patrick Stewart.
Picard season 2 came to a close with "Farewell," an episode in which a lot went down, starting with Jean-Luc's crew thwarting Soong (Brent Spiner) and seeing Renée (Penelope Mitchell) off safely to the Europa rocket to safeguard the future, even at the loss of Tallinn (Orla Brady).
After then making nice with a dying Q (John de Lancie), the team are transported back to the present where they find that the Borg Queen is actually Jurati (Alison Pill), who's trying to stop a space anomaly from destroying the sector. They, too, stop that from happening by allowing Borg Jurati to control their fleet's ships and unite their shields. In what will now be Pill's final scene on the show, since the actress won't be returning for season 3, Jurati requests entry into the Federation in order to be a gatekeeper of the anomaly.
What else are we missing? Oh yeah! How about Wil freaking Wheaton? The actor, who played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, pops in for a surprise cameo in the finale. He's now a traveler of space and time, and leads the Supervisors, who protect the spacetime continuum. He wants Kore (Isa Briones) to join them.
EW spoke with Stewart, the show's star and an executive producer, to unpack some of these big moments, in addition to Picard ending with a season 3 that will bring back stars of The New Generation.
We heard recently that season 3 of Picard will be the final season. Did you always have the expectation that there would be three seasons of this show?
That was always something I was a little uncomfortable about, whether we would be able to expand into season 2 and maybe season 3. My idea always was that three seasons were what we really needed to tell what was left of Jean-Luc Picard's life and what had become of him. It seems perfect because it has all the years that have passed to look at. And it has changed natures, changed personalities. Perhaps the most remarkable one is John de Lancie and the work he did. There is, in this second season, a transformation in the character of Q, which I think John does brilliantly. I was so moved by John's scenes.
The news of the final season also brought word that you guys are reassembling the ˆ crew in season 3. Do you know how all of that was orchestrated?
Well, yes. We will meet them, but it's not a reassembling at all. It's not just a reunion. Everybody has a function, and that's really all I'm allowed to say, because what's coming up in season 3 I think is very exciting. And, of course, a lot of it will involve the way that the characters we've known for so long have evolved.
Did the idea for a Next Generation reunion in season 3 come out of the fact that some of the Next Generation actors were already involved in season 1 and season 2 of Picard?
Yes, they were. I think it was our mutual experience — producers, directors, actors, and writers — that it was a different world we were in, and what had to be examined, and what activated The Next Generation crew was not just a walk down memory lane. Not remotely, but the fun and the excitement of what we did in 2 and 3 was that it was new and it was different. We had to approach it differently.
I also wanted to ask you about the surprise cameo that we get in the season 2 finale with Wil Wheaton coming back. What was that like to have him back on set?
It was marvelous. I had great respect for Wil and the work that he did in Next Generation. There was, in a sense, probably mostly at the beginning, that he was the kid in the show. But as I got to know him, I found that, apart from the fun he loved to have, he wasn't a kid. He was a very, very mature 13-year-old when we first met him. He might have been 12. I'm not sure. And so, to have this grown-up man back… I mean, he has interviewed me several times for his own show, and I have been astonished by his articulacy and his thoughtfulness and wisdom with regard to The Next Generation and what we did. I hope that he hasn't given up acting, performing. I hope that we see him again, because I think Wil brings a very significant quality to the screen.
You've had a lot of cameos on Picard over seasons 1 and 2. Are there specific ones that will always stick with you when you think back on your experience making the show?
All those encounters have had an impact. But I think the strongest one, this may surprise you a little bit was... Well, no, not the strongest one, because that was John de Lancie. What John brought to Q in the second season was extraordinary. Who would've thought that Q could touch you so deeply? He was just somebody who irritated. And this time now, of course, he was vulnerable and open. Also, it was the work that Alison Pill had done. Alison wrapped the series at the end of season 2, and I was very moved by her last scene in episode 10. Brought tears to my eyes.
Was it a different experience filming that scene with Alison?
Yes, it was a different relationship with Alison and with her character. She was changed by her Borg experience, and because Picard had an understanding of that, it connected them in a way that others could not be connected, because they had not been Borg. She's just a remarkable performer, as were all of the new people we had on the show. Santiago Cabrera and Michelle Hurd, wonderful work they did.
How do you think episode 10 of season 2 puts us in a good place to launch into the story of season 3?
When I read for the first time the ending of season 2, I do remember one of the things that I said was, "Where the hell are we going to go from here?" Because it almost seemed that there was a conclusion. I wondered for a moment, "Oh dear, are we going to be wrapped early, and the show will disappear?" But we did not. And season 3, in many respects, proved to me to be among the most interesting of episodes and moments that we had in the whole show.
Picard season 2 is currently streaming on Paramount+. Season 3 is being planned for a debut in 2023.
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