Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Picard Seasons 1-3. Spoilers are also present for the following Star Trek productions: The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Discovery, and Prodigy.
So this is it, then! This is the last theory update for Season 3, the last ever theory update for Star Trek: Picard in general, and the final part of a series of theory-crafting articles that I began writing when Picard’s first season kicked off in January 2020. Are you as emotional as I am?
There were two pretty big theory culls earlier in the season, so we arrived at the finale with only eleven theories that remained on the list. Of these, one counts as confirmed, but the rest were debunked – or simply ignored entirely. With no more Picard on the schedule, we’ll have to retire all of these theories.
If Star Trek returns to the 25th Century in the next couple of years – perhaps with a Picard spin-off that fans have been asking for – it’s possible, I suppose, that such a series might revisit characters, locations, and factions from Season 3. But I wouldn’t bet on it… and some of the things we were hoping to see resolved from Season 2 (and even Season 1) are all but certain to be abandoned now.
One of the disappointing things about Picard as a whole series is the abandonment of certain characters and storylines, particularly main characters and story points that appeared to be major. Although the way Season 3 was structured always meant that it was a remote possibility that any of that could be addressed in the final episode, there are still things I’d wanted to see resolved!
But all of that is for the birds now! Our task today is to wrap up the remaining theories so we can draw a line under this series of articles. Although we netted some big theory wins this season, we’re finishing up with a whole lot of theories that didn’t pan out. I wouldn’t say I was overly attached to any of them – but several would’ve been fun had they come to pass.
As I always say, this has just been a bit of fun! Serialised storytelling has its drawbacks, but one thing I’ve enjoyed across all three seasons of Picard has been that the show has lent itself to this kind of theory-crafting and speculation.
Without any further ado, let’s jump into the list for one final time!
At least one more unannounced character will appear.
I’m claiming this one as a win for both Q’s appearance in the epilogue and for Walter Koenig’s audio-only role as Anton Chekov! The son of Pavel Chekov, Anton was the Federation President whose message was heard as the crew of the Enterprise-D raced to Jupiter to confront the Borg. It’s fantastic to think that, more than fifty-five years after his first Star Trek appearance, Walter Koenig was able to return and play a role in the finale of Picard.
However, I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see anyone else. There were multiple mentions of Admiral Janeway in earlier episodes, and a perfect opportunity presented itself in the epilogue for Guinan to appear at her bar. A returning character could’ve also joined the crew of the Enterprise-G under Seven’s command, or we could’ve seen a familiar face battling the assimilated fleet over Earth. Picard did well with cameos and returning characters across Season 3 as a whole, though.
Debunked theory #1:
The absences of characters from Seasons 1 and 2 will be explained.
I held out hope all season long that someone, somehow, in some way, might’ve explained why Elnor, Soji, and the Borg Queen-Dr Jurati hybrid weren’t joining Picard’s mission or taking part in the story. However, none of these characters – who played major roles in Seasons 1 and 2 of the series – were so much as mentioned. The finale was the last chance for it to happen, but it didn’t.
In the future, when we dissect the troubled, disjointed production of Picard in more detail, I think we’ll have to talk about the waste of characters like Soji and Elnor – characters who absolutely could have been included here. Think how much more impactful it might’ve been to see Elnor as one of the assimilated youngsters, having spent three whole seasons with him, instead of the relative newcomers that we got in the story. There’s a lot more to say about this – but we’ll leave it for another time when we can discuss it in more detail.
Debunked theory #2:
The Borg and/or the rogue changelings are responsible for the mysterious anomaly seen in Season 2.
Another abandoned idea that Season 3 didn’t revisit was the mysterious anomaly from Season 2. This storyline – like others from both Seasons 1 and 2 – is now orphaned, unlikely to be revisited. Though it was long past time for the mysterious anomaly to have been incorporated into the plot in a big way, I still felt there was a possibility that it might be mentioned. Someone might’ve explained that it was the Borg’s first attempt to attack the Federation, for example.
Getting more detail on the mysterious anomaly was one of my requests of Season 3, and it’s disappointing that this storyline was abandoned with no resolution. The anomaly kick-started the plot of Season 2, and it was one of the few potentially interesting narrative points from an otherwise disappointing season. Being left with no explanation for something so seismic is disappointing – and another piece of evidence for how poorly-managed Picard’s overall production has been.
Debunked theory #3:
Picard will donate his golem body to Jack.
I came up with this idea when Jack was first misdiagnosed with Irumodic Syndrome earlier in the season. Even though that diagnosis was later proven to be incorrect, the brain abnormality that Picard and Jack shared still had the potential to prove fatal – as it did for Picard in Season 1. With that in mind, I wondered if the only way Jack could be saved would be for him to be transferred into a golem body.
Picard could have made the ultimate sacrifice for his son, donating his golem to Jack as a final act of parental love. There had been speculation for years that the series would end with Picard’s death, but after the fake-out in Season 1 I felt it would have been hard to pull off killing Picard for a second time. This was one way it could have happened, though! However, the epilogue explained that Dr Crusher came up with a cure for the Borg modification, and that’s that.
Debunked theory #4:
At least one main character will be killed.
As much as I’d been expecting this, in the end it turned out that the finale and Season 3 as a whole were a bit of a throwback! Television storytelling has gone through a significant evolution since The Next Generation premiered in 1987, and main characters should no longer be considered “safe” just because of their status. With a dangerous mission at hand – and the Borg involved – it seemed plausible to think that at least one of our heroes would be killed off.
Season 3 did find time to kill off Ro Laren and Captain Shaw, but none of the main characters from The Next Generation found themselves on the chopping block. In fact, the season actually resurrected the long-dead Data and even the Enterprise-D, meaning that by the time the credits rolled the death toll for main characters stood at -2!
Debunked theory #5:
The Jurati-Borg will ally with Picard and the Federation.
At the end of Season 2, Dr Jurati’s Borg faction asked for provisional membership of the Federation and promised to watch over the unexplained anomaly. With the Federation seemingly staring defeat in the face as a huge assimilated fleet attacked Earth, I wondered whether Dr Jurati’s Borg might show up to render assistance. The anomaly seemed to be relatively close to Earth, based on its Season 2 depiction, so it seemed possible that she might’ve been able to help.
We knew going into Season 3 that Alison Pill wouldn’t be reprising her role – so that always meant that this theory was unlikely, I guess. But even so, it feels incredibly wasteful to have abandoned that Borg faction and the mysterious anomaly, especially when they could have been incorporated into the story in some way. Even if they showed up too late, after Picard had already saved the day, it would’ve been a fun addition.
Debunked theory #6:
Deanna Troi will use her “pain removal” skill on Jack.
Earlier in the season, it had been established that Troi had the ability to “enter” someone’s mind and remove pain – a skill superficially similar to Sybok’s, I suppose. With Season 3 dedicating time to this revelation, I wondered whether it might come into play at a crucial moment later on, with Troi using this skill to aid Jack in some way. She might’ve been able to sever his connection to the Borg or even cure him of his Borg-induced brain abnormality.
None of that came to pass, however. In fact, Troi’s role in The Last Generation was one of the episode’s least impressive and most clichéd moments, as seemingly from nowhere, as if by magic, she was able to use her empathic ability to pinpoint the location of Riker and the rest of the away team. I’m not disappointed that this “pain removal” angle wasn’t included… but I am a tad disappointed in the way Troi was used in the finale.
Debunked theory #7:
Floaty McFloatface will be back.
Because of the truly abrupt way in which Vadic’s story ended, I wondered if we might get to learn a little more about Floaty McFloatface – the nameless character who may have been some kind of envoy or go-between for Vadic and the Borg Queen. Although Vadic had died and the Shrike had been destroyed, we hadn’t seen Floaty McFloatface killed – nor was it even clear what Floaty McFloatface was – so it seemed possible, at least, that we might’ve got some kind of resolution to this partial character.
The Last Generation barely mentioned the changelings at all, with a very brief appearance of a rogue changeling being detained in the epilogue being all we got. There was definitely more to say about this faction, including how they came to work with the Borg and what will happen to the surviving members of the conspiracy.
Debunked theory #8:
Floaty McFloatface isn’t a changeling.
As above, I speculated that Floaty McFloatface may not be a changeling itself, but might’ve been a Borg or some kind of representative of the Borg sent to Vadic by the Queen to keep an eye on her. Floaty McFloatface clearly had power over Vadic – both in a figurative and literal sense – and I’d have liked to know at least a little more about how all of that worked.
We’ll have to discuss Vadic in more detail on another occasion now that the season has ended, because there are some pretty big issues with the way her involvement in the story ultimately landed. But for now, suffice to say that this theory is debunked and we can assume that Floaty McFloatface either died with Vadic or died when the Shrike was destroyed a few moments later.
Debunked theory #9:
Odo will make an appearance – somehow.
Odo had been mentioned by Worf – albeit rather obliquely – earlier in the season, and with the changelings playing a significant role in the story that, in spite of Vadic’s death, was yet to be wrapped up, I felt it was at least possible that the show’s writers might’ve included Odo in some kind of epilogue sequence. It didn’t happen, though – and I’m actually really glad about that!
Season 3 didn’t lean into Deep Space Nine as heavily as I’d expected after the first two or three episodes, and all of the returning characters were from The Next Generation or Voyager. There was scope to do more with the Deep Space Nine and Dominion War angles, but I’m glad that Odo wasn’t digitally recreated or recast on this occasion.
Debunked theory #10:
Other old/classic starships will join the Enterprise-D to face off against the Borg.
As cool as it was to see the Enterprise-D standing alone against the Borg… imagine how much fun it could’ve been if the ship had been joined by other older vessels. We could’ve seen some of the ships from Geordi’s fleet museum, for example, with the Enterprise-D and Enterprise-A fighting alongside one another for the first time ever. Now that would have been spectacular!
I’m a sucker for the “desperate last stand” story trope no matter how it’s written, and The Last Generation did its thing pretty well. But it would have been amazing if Picard and the Enterprise-D could have been joined by even just one or two other classic/retired starships for this final fight. There must be other ships in Starfleet that weren’t upgraded in addition to those at the museum. Oh well!
So that’s it!
We’ve wrapped up our remaining Picard theories now that the season has come to an end. Although there were a lot of debunkings, across the season I did manage to make a few successful predictions! And above all, I had fun speculating about where the story might go. That was the point of all of this, really, and I’m glad to have been able to follow along with Picard from beginning to end, sharing my theories and speculation with you.
So what’s next? Although my theory lists and episode reviews are over, there’s still a lot to say about Picard’s third season and the series as a whole. When the dust has settled I’d like to re-watch all three seasons of the show in one hit to see how well it works (or doesn’t work) in that format. And I already have a few articles and essays that I’m tentatively sketching out in my head, talking about the third season, some of its narrative decisions, potential spin-off ideas, and much more. So although Picard has come to an end, I hope you’ll check back to see some of that!
And of course there’s more Star Trek to come! Strange New Worlds Season 2 will premiere in June, and we have Discovery’s fifth and final season in early 2024 – plus Prodigy, Lower Decks, Starfleet Academy, and Section 31 to look forward to as well!
For now, though, I’ll end by saying that I hope you had fun following along with my theories this season – and across Seasons 1 and 2, too. I had a great time keeping the theory list up-to-date, coming up with ideas, and speculating about the story that Picard was telling. And who knows… if a certain Legacy pitch gets picked up by Paramount, maybe some of my theories will return in the future! Watch this space, and live long and prosper!
Star Trek: Picard Seasons 1-3 are available to stream now on Paramount+ in the United States and other countries and territories where the service is available, and on Amazon Prime Video in the UK and around the world. The Star Trek franchise – including Picard and all other properties discussed 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.