TV

It’s Time for Star Trek to Let Jean-Luc Picard Rest


It’s time for Star Trek to look beyond the past and let Jean-Luc Picard rest.

Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: Picard
Photo: Trae Patton/Paramount+

The conclusion of Star Trek: Picard was perfect. Say what you want about the series’ first two seasons—and there’s plenty to criticize, trust me—its third was the show we all wanted it to be from the very beginning. A deeply satisfying exploration of who our favorite characters from The Next Generation had become in the decades since the original series aired, Picard concludes by both embracing the legacy they share and looking toward the future they’ve helped to forge. It’s an ending that’s hopeful, heartfelt, and just a little bit bittersweet, in all the best ways. But it’s a peace fans sadly might not get to enjoy for long. 

In the wake of Picard season 3’s success, reports have already begun to surface that another feature film featuring The Next Generation cast is in the works. Patrick Stewart himself has said a script is currently being written, and he sounds rather enthusiastic to put on Jean-Luc Picard’s uniform one more time. This is…ominous for many reasons, but primarily because we’ve absolutely reached the point where his story, at least as a series lead, feels pretty darn complete. 

It’s maybe an odd thing to say in our current entertainment landscape, driven as it is by existing franchises and known quantities. Our multiplexes are filled with sequels, and our streaming services with spinoffs and reboots. Our pop culture, in general, has never been all that good about letting things go. Yet sometimes, it’s okay, even necessary, to admit when something has reached its end. All good things do come to an end because that’s part of the natural cycle of storytelling. It’s okay for all of us—even that story’s star—-to admit that it’s over.

Look, Stewart is an icon. No doubt about it. But he’s also proved to be a rather unreliable interlocutor when it comes to what’s best for the franchise he shepherds. His influence on the Next Generation movies led to some seriously cringe moments (Picard racing dune buggies) but also illustrated a glaring disconnect between the types of stories fans wanted for his character and those he found most interesting to play as an actor. He was initially resistant about bringing his former castmates back to Picard at all, a preference which, well, gave us…whatever season 2 of the show was. That he seems to think we need another Picard-focused movie is probably all the evidence necessary that we really, really don’t. 

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