Star Trek: Picard theories – week 7

Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Picard Seasons 1-2 and casting information for Season 3. Spoilers are also present for the following Star Trek productions: DiscoveryVoyagerFirst Contact, and The Next Generation.

Monsters was not my favourite episode of Star Trek: Picard. It wasn’t irredeemably awful, but it didn’t seem to bring a lot to the table in terms of advancing the main (and most interesting) narrative threads of the season, and its attempt at depicting Yvette Picard’s unnamed mental health condition was poor. Despite that, though, we have a few changes on the theory list this week!

In addition to one confirmed theory and one debunking, we have several theories that saw significant movement – either because of events that unfolded on screen or, in a couple of cases, because of things that we didn’t see!

As always, we’ll start off with the theories that are making their exit from the list this week.

Debunked theory:
My various Watcher candidates.

Picard and Tallinn.

I had speculated about the Watcher’s identity before Picard met her at the end of the episode Watcher. After Picard met Tallinn and it was revealed that she worked for the same mysterious faction as Gary Seven had in The Original Series episode Assignment: Earth, several of those possibilities seemed to remain in play.

However, Monsters revealed to us that Tallinn is a Romulan, and unless we get any further information about the organisation she works for, I think that’s as far as her identity goes. She may be an ancestor of Laris, but she isn’t Laris herself – and she clearly isn’t a Q, a Prophet, or anything like that!

Confirmed theory:
Teresa learned the truth about Rios.

Teresa after arriving aboard La Sirena.

We can debate Rios’ decision to tell Teresa (and her son Ricardo) the truth about who he is and where/when he’s from. But I successfully predicted that Teresa would find out the truth one way or another – and this week she did!

I enjoyed Rios’ “I just work in outer space” line in Monsters; a riff on the lines spoken by Dr Gillian Taylor and Captain Kirk in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. That film ended with Kirk bringing Dr Taylor with him to the 23rd Century… so is it possible that there’s more to come from Rios and Teresa? Read on to find out!

So those theories were debunked and confirmed.

Now let’s jump into the main theory list, beginning with those theories that are either new or that saw movement in Monsters this week.

Theory #1:
The Q Continuum has been attacked.

Guinan and Picard attempted to summon a Q.

There are several pieces of evidence that Monsters gave us that can arguably be used in support of this theory. Firstly, Guinan mentioned a “cold war” between her people – the El-Aurians – and the Q Continuum. Given that the El-Aurians appear to be a humanoid race who were conquered by the Borg, the fact that they were able to pose any kind of threat whatsoever to the Q could suggest that the Continuum is not entirely impenetrable.

Secondly, the fact that Guinan’s attempt to summon a Q failed. One interpretation of what Guinan said about the magic bottle/ritual could be that it would’ve summoned Q himself – but a more likely use for that item, at least in my view, is that it would make the entire Q Continuum aware that an El-Aurian wants to speak to them, and they would send a representative. Rather than just Q himself being affected, the fact that no one from the Continuum was able to be summoned could mean that they’re all losing their powers – or that many of them are already dead.

The Q Continuum as it appeared in Star Trek: Voyager.

We also have the conversation between Picard and Tallinn after the former awoke from his coma. Picard suggested that Q had put him in a coma deliberately, hoping to use the traumatic memories he re-lived as some aspect of the “trial.” But Picard turned that concept on its head and suggested that maybe there’s something in his past or his mind that could indicate a weakness or vulnerability in Q – something that Picard had never considered before.

There’s also a line from Discovery’s fourth season that could be relevant: Admiral Vance noted that the Federation hadn’t encountered the Q Continuum in 600 years as of the 32nd Century… could that be because the Q have either gone extinct or recused themselves from galactic affairs as a result of the events currently unfolding in Picard Season 2?

Although from our perspective Q and the Q Continuum appear godlike, it no longer seems impossible that someone – perhaps the Borg – could’ve discovered an exploitable weakness. If so, maybe the entire Q Continuum has come under attack, and if something Picard did or didn’t do is connected to those events, that could explain why Q is so angry and why he felt the need to punish Picard. It could even explain Q’s desire to radically alter the timeline.

Theory #2:
The FBI Agent who apprehended Guinan and Picard is a temporal agent or Starfleet officer.

Agent Wells, FBI.

Monsters continued a season-long trend of individual cliffhanger endings when Picard and Guinan were arrested by the FBI. Agent Wells, the man who led the operation to bring them in, had uncovered evidence of Picard using a transporter to beam into Los Angeles, and understandably wants to figure out who Picard is and what’s going on!

But the actor who plays Agent Wells – Jay Karnes – is not a newcomer to Star Trek. In the Voyager episode Relativity, he played Lieutenant Ducane, a 29th Century Starfleet officer aboard the Federation timeship Relativity. Is it possible that Agent Wells and Lieutenant Ducane are the same person, and that Ducane is on a mission of his own to the 21st Century?

If so, perhaps this could line up with Discovery’s temporal war arc, or even connect to Enterprise’s temporal cold war. We’ve seen Starfleet acting as a kind of temporal police before, as well as the organisation that employed Daniels also attempting to police the timeline. Perhaps one of these organisations is aware of Picard’s temporal transgression and they dispatched Agent Wells to figure out what’s happening.

Theory #3:
Rios will bring Teresa and Ricardo to the 25th Century.

Teresa and Rios at the clinic.

Rios has clearly abandoned the idea of making as little impact on the timeline as possible! Just like Kirk did for Dr Gillian Taylor in The Voyage Home, perhaps Rios will seek to bring Teresa and Ricardo forwards in time. Teresa may have her clinic to attend to – although its status is in doubt after it was raided by ICE earlier in the season – but she may want to leave the world of the 21st Century behind to head into a more optimistic future.

If Teresa and Rios continue to pursue a romantic relationship, and Rios begins to offer himself as a father figure to Ricardo, maybe the stage will be set for Teresa heading to the 25th Century. It wouldn’t be the weirdest or wildest possibility, especially not now that Teresa and Ricardo are both aware of Rios’ true identity and the existence of La Sirena.

Theory #4:
Teresa and Ricardo are Rios’ ancestors.

Teresa with Rios in Monsters.

This could be a heartbreaking end to Rios and Teresa’s burgeoning romance! In true Back to the Future style, perhaps Rios will learn that Teresa and Ricardo are his distant ancestors, bringing their relationship to a screeching half and preventing either of them from taking things further.

We’ve seen Star Trek deal with time travel on many occasions, including fixed moments in time and people too important to be changed or killed. And in a story in which Picard has already met a distant ancestor of his own – Renée – there could be a kind of poetic symmetry if Rios were to discover a connection to Teresa and Ricardo. If this pans out, I hope Rios and Teresa discover the truth before they… y’know!

Theory #5:
Rios will be killed and Picard will assume command of the new USS Stargazer.

Rios in the captain’s chair of the USS Stargazer.

One thing I can’t figure out at the moment is what sort of role the new cast will have in Season 3. If you somehow missed the cack-handed announcement, it’s been revealed that the main cast of The Next Generation (sans Wil Wheaton and Denise Crosby) will be reuniting in Season 3, and that they will have major roles to play. If that’s the case it seems all but certain that the main cast of Picard will be sidelined. We’ve already seen that happen this season with Elnor killed and Soji missing in action, so that really only leaves Dr Jurati, Raffi, and Rios.

If the teases and hints about Season 3 that we’ve heard so far prove to be true, it seems as though Picard and the crew will need a ship… so could that ship be the new USS Stargazer?

New sets were built from scratch for the Stargazer, including a conference room, bridge, turbolift, and corridors, yet so far those sets were only used in a single episode. Even if Season 2 sees the crew make it back to the 25th Century relatively soon, that’s still a massive investment for relatively little screen time! So my theory is that the new sets will be used more extensively in Season 3 when Picard assumes command of the USS Stargazer. Why would there be a vacancy in the captain’s chair? Because Captain Rios is going to be one of the characters shuffled out of the way to make room for the returning crew of The Next Generation.

Theory #6:
Q is dying.

Q’s powers seem to be failing.

This theory could tie in with the one above about the entire Q Continuum having been attacked – or it could be something that only affects Q himself. Regardless, one possible interpretation for Q’s apparent loss of powers and his comment to Dr Soong about running out of time could be that he’s dying.

Picard had noted as far back as Penance that there’s something different or off about Q, and the generally darker, angrier, and more aggressive presentation of the character could all be indicators that Q is reaching the end of his life.

Q while posing as Renée’s therapist.

This could explain the apparent loss of Q’s powers – or the decreasing control he has over them. If he wanted to prevent Renée Picard’s mission, for example, Q should simply be able to snap his fingers and turn her spaceship into a block of cheese, or make it so that Renée was never born, or change her desire to become an astronaut into a lifelong passion to become a pro YouTuber. Instead, he’s resorted to trying to talk her out of it and trading favours with Dr Soong. Why? Could it be that Q’s declining power is indicative of his declining health?

If one of the defining characteristics of the Q as a race is immortality, what might have caused Q to be approaching death? Is it a punishment inflicted on him by his own people, or the result of some other outside force? Is it natural or artificial in nature? And what does it have to do with Picard?

Theory #7:
Q and Picard will have to work together to stop the rogue Borg Queen.

The Borg Queen is in control of Dr Jurati’s body.

I said in my review of Monsters that I felt the episode kind of had the wrong focus. The fact that the Borg Queen is slowly assimilating Dr Jurati’s body, and is now on the loose in 21st Century Los Angeles, feels like a much more exciting story – and one that’s incredibly urgent for Picard and the rest of the crew to deal with!

The Borg Queen could begin assimilating humans in this time period, and that would wreak havoc with the timeline. Whatever Q’s objective was by preventing Renée’s mission and establishing the Confederation timeline, the total assimilation of humanity in the 2020s wasn’t part of his plan – and that could lead to a big twist in the season’s storyline with three episodes remaining.

Q and Picard together in Penance.

Instead of Q being the “big bad” of the season for Picard and the crew to defeat, a weakened, less powerful Q might have to team up with Picard to stop the Borg Queen. This could happen either because the Borg Queen interfered with part of Q’s plan, or Picard could be the one to reach out and ask Q for help.

Without his powers, or with his powers in a weakened and/or unreliable state, Q wouldn’t just be able to snap his fingers and unassimilate Dr Jurati! But his knowledge of the Borg and how they operate could be invaluable to Picard and the crew of La Sirena if the mission parameters change!

Theory #8:
The masked, hooded figure from The Star Gazer is not the real Borg Queen.

The Borg Queen?

The Borg Queen – the hooded figure who materialised on the bridge of the Stargazer – was absolutely terrifying, evoking feelings for me that the Star Trek franchise hasn’t hit in decades. The way this character was presented, with her shrouded face, flowing robes, monochromatic aesthetic, and blend of humanoid and decidedly non-humanoid mechanical features was simultaneously riveting and frightening!

This character was presented as the Borg Queen in the episode, and the Borg have no reason that we know of to lie about that. But at the same time, she was very different not only from how we’ve seen the Borg Queen in past iterations of Star Trek, but also from the Borg Queen that Picard and the crew met in the Confederation timeline. Could this character actually be someone else – perhaps someone that the Borg have assimilated?

The events of Two of One and Monsters in particular could be argued to be setting up Dr Jurati for this role – but there are other candidates that we could consider.

“Borg Queen” Candidate #1:
Dr Jurati.

Dr Jurati and the hallucinatory Borg Queen.

Dr Jurati’s assimilation has progressed over the past few episodes, and the Borg Queen has really sunk her claws (and tentacles) into her. This new “endorphin rush” angle is an interesting one, and Seven of Nine believes that it could be key to the creation of a new Borg Queen. Putting two and two together would seem to make Dr Jurati the obvious Borg Queen candidate.

“Borg Queen” Candidate #2:
Renée Picard.

Renée at the gala.

Renée could be the Borg Queen if she’s assimilated. Perhaps she will be attacked and assimilated during the course of the Europa Mission, or maybe the Queen will try to get to her to gain possession over the Europa Mission’s spacecraft. If La Sirena is damaged and unusable, the Europa Mission vehicle could be the best option for the Queen to get into space in this time period. Renée being the masked, hooded Borg could explain why the Borg were asking for Picard by name, and why Non, je ne regrette rien played shortly before the Stargazer’s self-destruction.

“Borg Queen” Candidate #3:
The time-travelling Admiral Janeway from Endgame.

Admiral Janeway and the Borg Queen.

Admiral Janeway was assimilated by the Borg Queen as part of her plan to introduce a neurolytic pathogen into the Collective, and appeared to have been killed when the Borg Queen’s complex exploded. But is there a way she could have survived?

Her assimilation could have been a turning point for the Borg. She did untold damage to the Collective, but also potentially gifted them knowledge and information about future events and technologies that were decades ahead of their time. Just like the Borg once chose Captain Picard to become Locutus – their “spokesperson” or representative – perhaps they might have chosen Admiral Janeway to fill a similar role during this latest incursion. Admiral Janeway could even have been incorporated as part of the Borg Queen.

“Borg Queen” Candidate #4:

Soji in Season 1.

The Borg seek “perfection” through the synthesis of organic and synthetic parts; if Coppelius synths like Soji have something that the Borg want, perhaps we’ll learn that they assimilated her to get it. The anomaly from which the Borg vessel emerged was not a standard transwarp corridor, and was specifically noted to emit some kind of temporal radiation. Thus the Borg vessel could be from a future date after Soji has already been assimilated. We could even learn that the super-synths from the Season 1 finale are actually the Borg; that could be how they first became aware of Soji and the Coppelius synths.

Theory #9:
The Borg Queen/Dr Jurati will steal La Sirena, stranding Picard in the past.

La Sirena on approach to the sun in Assimilation.

The Borg Queen’s next move isn’t clear, although the events of Monsters seem to suggest that she needs to continue to trigger endorphins in Dr Jurati’s body in order to speed up or complete the assimilation process. She may not be fully ready for an armed confrontation with Picard and the crew just yet, so she may need to bide her time and prepare.

But once she is prepared, what next? She certainly could stick around in the 21st Century, assimilating modern-day humans and establishing a new Borg outpost. But she has no way to contact or connect with the Borg Collective in this time period, as they’re thousands of light-years away in the Delta Quadrant. If restoring the Collective is part of the Queen’s plan, then surely she’ll want to get back in touch with the rest of the Borg as soon as possible.

The Borg Queen as she appeared in Assimilation.

One way she could do this would be to steal La Sirena. Borg code has already been planted in the ship’s computer, and it’s possible that the Queen managed to hide even more malicious code that Seven of Nine hasn’t been able to find and purge. Part of the reason for doing that could be in preparation for commandeering the ship!

Whether the Queen plans to head off-world to the Delta Quadrant to link up with the 21st Century Borg Collective or whether she plans to return to the 25th Century, armed with new knowledge about humanity, stealing La Sirena is her best bet – and with most of the crew no longer aboard, it could be relatively easy for her to do so.

Theory #10:
Picard and the crew of La Sirena will “borrow” Renée’s Europa Mission spacecraft to get back to the 25th Century.

Renée in training aboard a Europa Mission simulator.

If La Sirena is stolen by the Borg Queen – or otherwise damaged and rendered unusable – Picard and the rest of the crew will need to find another way to get back to the 25th Century. Could they hitch a ride on Renée’s Europa Mission spacecraft?

Earlier in the season, Picard seemed to imply that no one really knows what happened to Renée and the Europa Mission ship after she discovered signs of life in the outer solar system, so does that mean it would be possible for her ship to simply disappear without corrupting the timeline? Perhaps the reason why history has no record of what happened to Renée after the Europa Mission isn’t because of World War III and the loss of that information, but because she and the ship simply disappeared while in space.

There’s nothing that we know of to suggest that the slingshot manoeuvre can’t be performed by a ship like Renée’s, and the fact that she’s an astronaut at all with her own spacecraft could open up a vital doorway for Picard and the crew if they suddenly find themselves in need of a new way home.

So those theories are new or saw movement this week.

Up next, I’ll recap all of the other theories that are still in play. Some of these may seem less and less likely as the season’s storylines evolve, but for now I’m not striking any off the list.

Theory #11:
Q is not responsible for changing the timeline.

Q at Château Picard.

Q is clearly trying to affect some kind of change to the timeline by interfering with Renée Picard’s mission. But his declining powers could suggest that he isn’t as directly involved with the change and the creation of the Confederation timeline as he implied. Q may no longer be capable of doing something on this scale – and even if he was, we still have no idea what his motivation for doing so would be.

The Confederation timeline and the 21st Century don’t seem like typical Q puzzles. He described sending Picard to the Confederation timeline as a “penance,” but what exactly he’s punishing Picard for and why is still not clear. In short, we still don’t know why Q would want to do something like this, and as of Fly Me To The Moon, it’s no longer clear that Q has the ability to do so either.

I have a longer article that goes into more detail about this theory that I wrote before the season premiere, and you can find it by clicking or tapping here.

Theory #12:
Q shielded Picard and the crew of La Sirena from changes to the timeline.

A very young-looking Q!

Regardless of who changed the timeline and why, it seems more and more clear that Q is responsible for ensuring that Picard and the crew of La Sirena were the only ones unaffected by the change. If his goal was to change the timeline to punish Picard that makes sense – but it also leaves open the possibility that Picard will be able to figure out what happened and prevent it. That could be Q’s goal.

I’m not quite ready to call this one “confirmed,” though. I think we need to spend more time with Q to understand what he’s done, what he hopes to do next, and why.

Theory #13:
Who is responsible for damaging the timeline, then?

Did the super-synts do it?

If Q isn’t the one who changed the timeline, the obvious question that raises is “who did it?”

In theory, it could be any one of a number of different Star Trek factions. We’ve seen the Klingons having access to time travel in the early 25th Century, for example, in the Voyager episode Endgame, and various time travel stories and stories depicting powerful alien races could all theoretically yield suspects. But considering what we know about Star Trek: Picard specifically, in my view the main suspects are as follows:

  • The Borg. The Borg could be one of the season’s main antagonists after their emergence in The Star Gazer, and we’ve seen in past iterations of Star Trek that they can travel through time.
  • The Zhat Vash. While the Zhat Vash may not have been shown to possess time travel tech, they were the primary antagonist last season, and arguably were not defeated in the Season 1 finale.
How about the Zhat Vash?
  • The super-synths. The super-synths from the Season 1 finale are a wildcard; we don’t know much about them except that they seem to be technologically powerful. Travelling back in time might be on their agenda – but erasing the prime timeline could result in the erasure of the Coppelius synths.
  • The Romulan government or the Tal Shiar. With or without the support of the Zhat Vash, the Romulan government could have taken action against the Federation in response to the events of Season 1.

There are undoubtedly other Star Trek factions who could be implicated, and if we had a free choice we could suggest the likes of the Dominion or the Sphere-Builders. But I think those are far less likely when considering the elements Picard has brought on board.

Theory #14:
Kore Soong will team up with Picard and the crew of La Sirena.

Kore Soong.

I wasn’t wild about Kore’s storyline in Two of One. It felt repetitive and derivative of the story we saw Isa Briones bring to screen so well as both Dahj and Soji in Season 1, as Kore learned that parts of her life may be a lie and that her “father” – Dr Adam Soong – is a mad scientist who seems to have somehow created her through artificial means.

However, this story could set the stage for Kore to team up with Admiral Picard. If she feels betrayed and realises the extreme lengths that Dr Soong has been going to by teaming up with Q and trying to sabotage the Europa Mission, Kore may start to work against him and his interests. If she somehow became aware of Picard’s presence, she could join up with the crew for the remainder of the mission.

Theory #15:
The Confederation is run by augmented humans.

A recording that Kore found of Dr Soong in which he discussed his genetic experimentations.

After an enjoyable and complex presentation when he first appeared, Dr Adam Soong feels like he’s close to slipping into being a “mad scientist” archetype, someone who’s been messing around with forbidden science for years. I feel that’s not a great way for the story or the character to go, but his genetic experiments could be crucial to explaining how the Confederation was so different to the Federation of the prime timeline.

As we saw with augments like Khan, genetic engineering can lead to despotism and a sense of superiority. We saw that first-hand in the leadership of the Confederation, with its xenophobic anti-alien ideology. However, it wasn’t clear how the Confederation managed to conquer so much of the galaxy, defeating races like the Klingons, Cardassians, and even the Borg. Augmentation could be the answer and could explain how humanity in the Confederation timeline was so powerful.

This could be another part of the divergence in time: Q helps Dr Soong perfect augmentation, and augmented humans go on to conquer the galaxy. This would also explain why Dr Soong appears to be a revered figure in the Confederation – being celebrated presumably centuries after his death.

Theory #15-B:
There will be a connection between the augments and Strange New Worlds.

La’an Noonien-Singh, a new character in Strange New Worlds.

One of the few things we know about Strange New Worlds at this early stage is that there will be a character named La’an Noonien-Singh. This new character seems to be related in some way to the iconic villain Khan, and if Khan or Khan-inspired augments play some kind of a role in the Confederation’s power structure, perhaps that will set up a connection between Picard Season 2 and Strange New Worlds.

As things stand right now, Strange New Worlds Season 1 will premiere on the same day as the finale of Picard Season 2, at least in the United States. Could a crossover be on the cards?

Theory #16:
Dr Adam Soong will create the Borg.

Dr Adam Soong.

Dr Soong’s research seems to be primarily on the genetic side of things, and that could tee up a storyline about human augmentation – as we’ve already discussed. However, now that Q has become involved, we have to question what his motives are and what he might be pushing Dr Soong to do. Could Q give Dr Soong nanotechnology, perhaps, in an attempt to save or prolong his life?

If so, maybe Dr Soong’s experiments will somehow lead to the creation of the Borg Collective.

Theory #17:
The Federation is responsible for creating the Borg.

A rather incredulous-looking Borg seen in The Next Generation.

This is a total wildcard, but I’m just throwing it out there!

The Borg Queen – and the Borg in general – appear to have a fascination with humanity and with Picard. Could it be that the explanation for that is that the Federation and/or humanity are somehow responsible for their creation? With time travel on the agenda, it’s not impossible to imagine a scenario in which the progenitor of the Borg – perhaps even the Queen herself – is able to travel back in time, founding the Collective.

Nanites used by the Control AI.

As suggested above, this could be what Q is manipulating Dr Soong into doing in the 21st Century. The Borg could therefore be a human creation, the offspring of one of Data’s ancestors. Could that link be the key to defeating them? Maybe that preserved knowledge and the veneration of Dr Soong is how the Confederation was able to defeat the Borg in their timeline!

Discovery Season 2 ran a story with the Control AI that could have also been a Borg origin story. Was it known as early as 2018-19 that Picard wanted to tell a story like this, and if so, could that explain why the Control storyline ended the way it did? I have a write-up of Discovery’s abandoned Borg origin story that you can find by clicking or tapping here.

Theory #18:
The mission back in time won’t last all season.

Los Angeles, 2024.

We’re beginning to run out of time for Picard and the crew to figure out what happened and repair the damage to the timeline, but it’s still possible it’ll happen! Perhaps this one is as much a wish as a theory – time travel stories that visit the modern-day have never been my favourites in Star Trek – but I wonder if there could be something truly unexpected coming up.

As suggested above, it’s possible that the next phase of the season’s story will see Picard and the crew wrangling with the Borg Queen – and if she escapes back to the 25th Century, they’ll have to follow her. There are other ways that the mission back in time could end, though… and with the glimpse of the 25th Century that we saw at the beginning of the season being so tantalising, I hope it happens soon!

Theory #19:
The Borg ship from The Star Gazer crossed over from the Confederation timeline.

The Borg vessel identified as “Legion.”

As far as we know at this stage, the Confederation timeline replaced the prime timeline thanks to someone or something changing the past. But timelines and parallel universes often go hand-in-hand in Star Trek, and after we learned about the Borg’s defeat in the Confederation timeline, I wonder if their ship from the season premiere might have found a way to punch through or cross over into the prime timeline.

If the Borg were facing defeat, as their message seemed to suggest, perhaps that could explain why. Also, the anomaly that the ship emerged from was not a typical transwarp conduit; we’d seen transwarp corridors as recently as Season 1. Finally, the Borg Queen of the Confederation timeline was aware of Picard and the history of the prime timeline – perhaps the Confederation timeline Borg knew of the prime timeline and this was a last-ditch effort to survive.

Theory #20:
The Borg are fighting a war – and they’re losing.

The Borg vessel using its transporter-weapon on the USS Stargazer.

Possibly connected to the theory above, one explanation for the Borg’s message and appearance in The Star Gazer is that in the prime timeline the Collective has found itself on the losing side of a war. Penance told us that the Confederation had been able to defeat the Borg using technology that Dr Jurati believed was roughly equivalent to the Federation’s in the prime timeline – so clearly it’s possible to fight and beat the Borg.

Could mentions of Gul Dukat or Martok in Penance be hints at something to come later in the story? Both characters were major players during Deep Space Nine’s Dominion War arc; maybe the Cardassians and/or the Dominion have been aggressively attacking the Borg in the late 24th Century. The other big culprit is the Confederation – assuming that it’s possible for the two timelines to mix!

Theory #21:
The Borg are aware that Picard is now a synth – and his synthetic status is part of the reason why they waited until now to make contact.

Picard awakened in a new synthetic body in Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2.

As mentioned above with Soji, the timing of the new Borg incursion is interesting, especially considering that they asked for Picard by name. Are they aware of his newfound synthetic status? And if so, could Picard’s transition to a new synthetic body be the reason why the Borg chose to launch their attack?

The Borg seek “perfection” through a synthesis of organic and synthetic components, and while Picard’s new synthetic body is a far cry from the Borg drones we’ve seen, the idea of an organic mind in a synthetic body isn’t a million miles away from that same basic idea. Although Picard’s body was said to be comparable in practically every way to his original one, synthetics can have enhanced abilities that allow them to easily overpower humans – and, as we’ve seen with Data on more than one occasion, they can outmatch individual Borg drones as well.

A Borg drone losing a fight against Data.

Perhaps the Borg want to re-assimilate Picard now that he’s synthetic. If the Collective is still reeling from the damage inflicted upon it by Admiral Janeway or if they’re on the losing side of a war, perhaps they hope to use fully-synthetic bodies like Picard’s to replace damaged or destroyed drones, or as cannon fodder on the front lines. There are many reasons why the Borg might be interested in synthetic technology, and that could explain their re-emergence.

Even if the Borg don’t plan to assimilate Picard or the Coppelius synths, the timing of their appearance is certainly interesting and there could be a connection.

Theory #22:
Q is angry with Picard for “giving up.”

Grumpy Q.

Over the course of The Next Generation, Q took a particular interest in Picard. More so than anyone else, Q seemed to see potential in Picard as a representative of the human race, someone who potentially showed him what humanity could be… with a little prompting and guidance. Q seemed fascinated by that idea, so seeing Picard’s fall from grace may have shocked him and left him feeling disappointed and bitter.

Picard spent more than a decade away from galactic affairs, retiring to his vineyard and seemingly just waiting around to die. Someone like Q might take that personally; he might feel that Picard was not living up to the potential he had. Perhaps Picard’s absence had some kind of unknown consequence, something that harmed Q or the Q Continuum. In any case, Q’s animosity to Picard seems to be personal – could disappointment at Picard’s attitude in the years prior to Season 1 be the cause?

Theory #23:
Picard and the crew will have to actively trigger World War III to save the future.

World War III soldiers as glimpsed in Discovery Season 2.

Although the Bell Riots are the main event of 2024 that we know about in Star Trek’s internal timeline, the 21st Century was arguably dominated by another event: World War III. The war may have kicked off as early as 2026 (as suggested in The Original Series) and concluded by the mid-2050s as seen in First Contact. The “post-atomic horror” that followed was the backdrop for Q’s trial in Encounter at Farpoint.

World War III is integral to Star Trek because without it, it’s hard to see how warp drive would’ve developed and how humanity would’ve made peaceful first contact with the Vulcans. Just like the end of the Second World War brought about major technological and societal changes that ultimately made the world a better place, Star Trek’s World War III is integral to the events that led to the founding of the Federation. If it were prevented, the timeline would change dramatically.

We now know that Renée Picard’s mission seems to be the divergence in time. But her mission could be connected, somehow, to the outbreak of hostilities. By sending her on her way and preserving the timeline, Picard and his crew may be committing to the outbreak of war. You can find a full write-up of this theory by clicking or tapping here.

Theory #24:
Romulans are spying on Earth in the 21st Century… and could be time-travelling Zhat Vash.

A young boy encounters a Romulan or Vulcan.

In the third pre-season trailer, a young boy wearing what seemed to be 21st Century clothing was seen encountering a Romulan or Vulcan. If the Zhat Vash are involved in the story somehow, perhaps this individual is a Zhat Vash operative. This could confirm that the Zhat Vash were able to travel through time, or send a message back in time to their 21st Century counterparts. The Romulans had achieved interstellar flight centuries earlier, so travelling to Earth to spy or place operatives seems plausible for them.

Theory #25:
The Vulcans are on Earth in the early 21st Century… as stated in Discovery Season 4.

A meeting of senior Federation and allied officials in Discovery Season 4.

Another theory about the unnamed Romulan or Vulcan is tied into the Discovery Season 4 episode The Galactic Barrier. This could easily be a complete overreaction to a throwaway line, but at the beginning of the episode, the enigmatic Federation leader Dr Kovich stated that Vulcans were on Earth for decades prior to official first contact taking place.

This one line could be a reference to Carbon Creek, an episode of Enterprise that saw Vulcans crash-land on Earth in the 1950s. But the timing seems odd given the scene mentioned above from the Picard Season 2 pre-season trailers! If the character seen above is a Vulcan, perhaps there will be a connection of some kind between Discovery and Picard.

Theory #26:
The USS Stargazer will make an appearance.

The original USS Stargazer.

Okay, technically the USS Stargazer has already appeared, but not in the way I expected! Captain Rios is (or was) in command of a new USS Stargazer, and not only that but he had a model of the original vessel in his conference room! So that’s it. Theory confirmed, everybody can move on to the next one!

Just kidding. The inclusion of a brand-new USS Stargazer brings the ship and its legacy back to the fore. Picard himself commented in The Star Gazer that the original vessel was his first command, and as far back as Season 1 we had a reference to his time in command through the character of Dr Benayoun. All of these things could be leading to some bigger role for the original USS Stargazer – and with a story that seems to include time travel and a strong focus on Picard’s own personal history, a flashback or even a visit to the ship could be on the agenda!

Theory #27:
The Borg Collective was badly damaged in the Voyager episode Endgame and has been unable to recover.

Dr Jurati decoded the Borg message in The Star Gazer.

In The Star Gazer, it seemed as if the Borg Collective was reaching out, asking the Federation – and Picard specifically – for help. If so, the question is why? Was it just a shallow ploy to launch another attack on Starfleet? Or is there at least a degree of truth to the Borg’s request?

Endgame, the final episode of Voyager, depicted a time-travelling Admiral Janeway introducing a neurolytic pathogen – a type of virus – into the Borg Queen, seriously damaging her, her base of operations, and several Borg vessels in the vicinity. Because the Borg hadn’t been seen since – until The Star Gazer, that is – we never got to learn just how deadly Admiral Janeway’s actions were.

Admiral Janeway in Endgame.

I’ve always assumed that the Borg Collective is vast enough, powerful enough, clever enough, and most importantly adaptable enough that Admiral Janeway’s actions weren’t going to strike a fatal blow. Whatever damage she had done seemed like something the Borg could eventually fix – and their existence 25 years later during the events of The Star Gazer seems to prove that. The Borg’s technology and weapons are still streets ahead of anything Starfleet has at its disposal… but even so, it’s still possible that the Borg are on their last legs facing defeat.

If that’s the case, maybe we’ll discover that it was Admiral Janeway who’s responsible – that her actions in Endgame are either wholly or partly to blame for the Borg’s weakened state. Dr Jurati seemed to know that the Borg Collective isn’t as strong as it once was, so that could be another clue pointing to this theory.

Theory #28:
Elnor will be restored to life when the crew returns to the 25th Century.

A hallucinatory Elnor.

The decision to kill off Elnor so early in the season certainly succeeded as a shocking story point… but I’m not so sure he’ll stay dead. Is Raffi’s belief that restoring the timeline will save his life something that the series has carefully set up so it can be paid off later? Or was it simply part of her reaction to his death; the bargaining stage of the grieving process? I’m not sure!

Elnor is a character who had potential – the first Romulan to be a main character on a Star Trek series (or the second, after Narek) and the first Romulan to enlist in Starfleet. If the Star Trek franchise were to stick around, I could happily follow his adventures as a Starfleet officer over the course of several years, giving him an arc somewhat comparable to someone like Tilly in Discovery, growing into his new role.

But Elnor is also a character who was underused in Season 1, and the decision to make him a Starfleet cadet at the beginning of Season 2 was only the beginning of a new arc for him. His death didn’t hit as hard as it could’ve because we don’t know Elnor very well – and I wonder if that could be a reason to bring him back later in the season.

Theory #29:
Seven of Nine will choose to remain in 2024.

Seven of Nine in Los Angeles.

For the first time in her life, Seven of Nine is feeling a sense of freedom. Not only is she free from her Borg implants, changing the way she looks, but she’s also unencumbered by her Borg past. No one she meets in 2024 will be aware of the Borg, and she’s clearly enjoying the way that makes her feel.

In The Star Gazer, Seven spoke to Picard about feeling judged by the ship’s crew – and in a broader sense, by practically everyone in the 25th Century. Her Borg past is a hurdle for her; she feels the weight of unspoken criticisms and judgements made against her. Her Borg implants are the biggest physical manifestation of this, but the fact that most people she meets in the 25th Century know who she is and where she came from is a burden – one she no longer feels in 2024.

With that in mind, could Seven choose to remain behind when Picard and the crew of La Sirena are ready to leave? Even if she’s ultimately talked out of it (or even forced out of it), I wonder if she’ll try to stay in the past.

Theory #30:
The season will end on a cliffhanger.

Because Seasons 2 and 3 went into production back-to-back, that made me wonder if they might form one continuous story – or if the final act of Season 2 might set up the story for Season 3. That still seems plausible to me, but the ill-timed announcement about the return of the main cast of The Next Generation in Season 3 may make it less likely.

However, it’s still possible that the two seasons will form one continuous story, or that the final act of Season 2 will lay the groundwork for the story of Season 3. There could also be a minor cliffhanger that is connected to just one character, or that is unrelated to the main story.

Theory #31:
At least one character from The Next Generation will make an appearance.

The main cast of The Next Generation Season 2.

As above, this theory has been knocked by the Season 3 announcement. It seems less likely now that we’ll see major roles for any of the characters announced for Season 3. However, the final act of Season 2 could bring back some or all of these characters if it’s going to set up the next phase of the story, and cameos and smaller appearances still feel possible.

Theory #32:
The Federation will use information from the Confederation timeline to defeat the Borg.

A battle over the planet Vulcan in the Confederation timeline.

Depending on how the end of the season shapes up, this may be a theory we’ll need to come back to next year! But for now, suffice to say that the Confederation’s defeat of the Borg in their timeline is one of the most intriguing unexplained events in the entire series. How did the Confederation – an organisation with technology comparable to the 25th Century Federation – manage to defeat the Borg Collective?

If a Borg invasion is coming – as we seemed to see in The Star Gazer at the beginning of the season – the Federation will need every advantage at their disposal to fight back. Technology, tactics, and information from the Confederation’s own battle against the Borg could prove invaluable, and if Picard and the crew manage to take La Sirena back to their own time, maybe they’ll bring with them just what they need.

Theory #33:
The loose ends from Season 1 will be tied up.

Whatever happened to Narek?

The Star Gazer already crossed off two things from the list of Season 1 leftovers! Dr Jurati’s legal status was clarified, as was her relationship with Captain Rios. There are still a number of points that I’d like to see addressed before the season ends, though, as Season 1 unfortunately left quite a lot of story on the table thanks to a rushed and underwhelming finale.

Here are the main ones:

  • What will become of the synths on Coppelius, and will they have to be relocated for safety?
  • Did Starfleet attempt to visit Aia and shut down the beacon at the centre of the Zhat Vash’s prophecy? Leaving it out in the open seems dangerous.
  • Will Starfleet contact the super-synths and attempt to make peace or convince them that they pose no threat?
Dr Bruce Maddox in Season 1.
  • Why did Bruce Maddox go to Freecloud?
  • With the Zhat Vash plot exposed, what will become of their crusade against synthetic life?
  • Did Federation-Romulan relations suffer as a result of the Zhat Vash’s attack on Mars and attempted attack on Coppelius?
  • What happened to Narek after he was captured by the Coppelius synths?
  • Who controls the Artifact and what will happen to the surviving ex-Borg?

So that’s it!

Picard and Guinan in Monsters.

With three episodes remaining, the theory list has grown again! Right now, the story feels like it could go in several different directions, and I’m curious to see whether Q or the Borg Queen will turn out to be the “big bad” of the next phase of the story. The season feels like it took a while to reach this point, and with so much story to potentially resolve and only three episodes left to do it, I’m at least a little concerned that the mistakes of Season 1 will be repeated. Let’s hope not, though!

I always like to end these theory lists by saying that I do this just for fun. I enjoy writing, I enjoy Star Trek, and spending more time in this world is an escape and an enjoyable distraction. But for some folks, fan theories can be frustrating or unenjoyable, especially if they get very attached to a plausible-sounding theory that ultimately doesn’t pan out. I have no “insider information” and I’m not trying to claim that anything suggested above can, will, or must be part of Picard Season 2. I fully expect many of these theories to be debunked and for the season to go in wildly unpredictable directions!

Star Trek: Picard Season 2 is available to stream now on Paramount+ in the United States, Scandinavia, Latin America, and Australia, and on Amazon Prime Video in the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. The Star Trek franchise – including Picard and all other properties mentioned above – is the copyright of Paramount Global. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.