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, and Voyager.
Right off the bat, here’s perhaps my biggest theory ahead of the next episode of Picard: it’s going to be a big one! Why do I say that? Well, ahead of Season 3 being broadcast, quite a lot of reviewers, critics, fans, and even some YouTubers were treated to the first six episodes – as you may have gathered if you check out other fan sites and social media channels. But they weren’t able to see the rest of the season beyond episode six… so that could mean that the next episode is going to introduce something big, perhaps an unexpected character or surprising twist!
Yours truly, however, was not invited by Paramount to check out the season ahead of time. I wonder why that could be? Surely it isn’t because I’ve spent several years writing articles criticising the corporation for its mismanagement of Paramount+ and Star Trek, at least one of which included the phrase “useless bag of dicks” to describe the executives and board members? Now that I think about it, maybe that does explain it…
As the second half of the season gets underway, we still have a bunch of theories in play. The Bounty took several big ones off the board… but it also added several new theories to take their place! It’s a merry-go-round at the moment – but that’s to be expected from some of these mid-season episodes.
This week we have a whopping eight debunked theories and one theory that I’m rather generously calling “semi” confirmed! And as always, that’s where we’ll begin.
Picard and the crew re-activated Lore.
This didn’t go quite the way I’d expected, but nevertheless it fell to Picard’s crew to re-activate the golem containing Dr Soong, Lore, B4, Lal, Data, and possibly other Soong-type androids. I had initially speculated that Picard and the crew might have been seeking out synthetic allies – perhaps because they felt they needed trustworthy friends in light of the rogue changelings seemingly being all over Starfleet.
The final pre-season trailer seemed to hint at Lore being aboard the Titan, and it was based on those clips that I first put this theory on the list. Earlier it had seemed plausible to think that Lore might’ve been on Vadic’s team – which could have been interesting in and of itself. But then the final trailer came along and seemed to blow that away. I didn’t get the specifics right, and I was wrong that Professor Moriarty would be included here as well. But I was close enough to call this one “semi” confirmed!
Debunked theory #1:
Picard and the crew need to find synthetic/AI allies.
When both Lore and Moriarty appeared in pre-season trailers, I wondered what role they might play. It seemed plausible to think that the fact that they were both artificial life-forms could have been relevant, and that feeling only grew when the rogue changelings were revealed as part of the story. With the rogue changelings crawling all over Starfleet, and Picard and the crew not knowing who to trust, it didn’t seem like much of a reach to think that they might turn to synthetic life-forms for help.
As far as we know, changelings have never been seen to mimic synthetic life-forms, so it seemed a logical guess – at least to me! But we learned in The Bounty that Picard and the crew didn’t even know that Data/Lore was present at Daystrom Station, and that Moriarty was (disappointingly, I must say) not even real. I’m glad this didn’t pan out, though, as it would have made the absence of Soji and the other Coppelius synths incredibly glaring and obvious. But it was an interesting, plausible theory for a while there!
Debunked theory #2:
Professor Moriarty is the “sophisticated AI” at Daystrom Station.
Based on what we glimpsed of Daystrom Station ahead of The Bounty, and combined with Moriarty’s clips in pre-season trailers, it seemed like a sure thing that we’d encounter him this week – and so it proved. But as noted, Moriarty’s role was much less than it could have been – and much less than I’d personally been expecting based on his appearances in the trailers.
It seemed plausible, based on what we’d seen, that Moriarty could have been the sophisticated AI that Raffi and Worf mentioned – essentially filling the role that we now know was taken by the Data-Lore golem. It could have been interesting to see Picard and co. come face to face with Moriarty after all these years – and perhaps having to apologise for trapping him in a simulation. Freeing Moriarty from Section 31’s control could have been a fun story, and a way for Picard to make up for imprisoning Moriarty in the first place. Regardless, it didn’t happen!
Debunked theory #3:
Ex-Terran Empress Georgiou will be found at Daystrom Station.
There were easter eggs aplenty at Daystrom Station – and seemingly multiple corpses being kept there, too. But my theory that the Section 31-operated facility might lead to Picard and the crew coming face-to-face with Georgiou wasn’t to be!
In truth, this always felt like a heck of a long-shot. Newly-minted Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh has spoken of a desire to return to Star Trek since leaving Discovery a couple of years ago, but no announcement has been made as of yet. It could have been a heck of a surprise and a really fun way to tee up the Section 31 show’s escape from development hell, though!
Debunked theory #4:
Vadic’s crew are Jem’Hadar.
In a short (and unimpressive) scene at the beginning of The Bounty, Vadic spoke to her crew and seemed to confirm that the masked characters are all changelings – seemingly removing any possibility of an appearance by Jem’Hadar or Vorta. If these are rogue changelings then it makes sense that the Dominion’s troops would have remained loyal to the Founders… but it seemed possible that some might have followed the renegades, or that they’d been able to establish a cloning facility somewhere.
I think it’s still possible that we might encounter Jem’Hadar or Vorta this season, especially if the rogue changeling plot is the precursor to an all-out assault on the Federation. But as far as we can tell right now, Vadic’s crew are changelings.
Debunked theory #5:
Several members of La Sirena’s crew have joined Captain Vadic.
As above, we can now safely assume that Vadic’s crew are changelings. However, when we first saw that the crew of the Shrike were all wearing face-concealing masks, I wondered if the reason could have been that at least some of them were familiar characters. The crew of La Sirena came to mind first and foremost as they’re no longer involved on Picard’s side of the story.
This theory was always unlikely because of announcements from most of the actors that they weren’t involved in Season 3. And as the rogue changelings storyline unfolded, its likelihood decreased even more! But it was a fun idea to consider for a moment – that Picard might find himself, somehow, caught between his old crew and his new friends.
Debunked theory #6:
Lore and Moriarty were stolen from Daystrom Station.
Going into The Bounty, this theory still felt plausible. Vadic is still the only named villain on that side of the story – and no, Floaty McFloatface doesn’t count! To give the villains a bit more interest, having Lore and Moriarty on their team would have been an interesting idea. Perhaps Vadic and the rogue changelings could have been looking for allies – or for entities that were familiar with Picard.
Vadic did steal someone from Daystrom Station – but not Lore or Professor Moriarty! Instead, we now know that she stole the original body of Jean-Luc Picard. And don’t worry, I have an idea or two as to why she and the rogue changelings might want a Frenchman’s corpse!
Debunked theory #7:
Vadic is not a changeling.
When we first saw Vadic cut off her hand and speak with Floaty McFloatface, I felt certain that meant she wasn’t a changeling – but rather a humanoid who had some kind of changeling appendage. I was wrong about that, though, and The Bounty provided final confirmation that Vadic is indeed a changeling.
However, I maintain that she’s unlike any other changeling we’ve ever encountered! Her relationship with Floaty McFloatface is intriguing, and the role she may play in the rogue changelings’ scheme is still up in the air. She’s a powerful changeling, yes… but she isn’t top dog. Her eccentric personality (and over-the-top performance) are still aspects of her characterisation that the series needs to explain.
Debunked theory #8:
Other background ideas for Vadic.
Before Season 3 aired, I put together a list of ideas for who Vadic could be – and crucially, what her relationship could be to Jean-Luc Picard in a series all about him! Now that we know Vadic is one of the rogue changelings, that seems to rule out all of the remaining ideas that were still in play.
I had suggested that Vadic might’ve been a member of Picard’s crew – perhaps someone who had been injured or left for dead while serving under his command. I liked this idea the most, to be honest, because it would have given Vadic a powerful connection to Picard, and a real reason for hating him. But there were other plausible ideas, too, including connections to the Romulans and Sela, DaiMon Bok, Insurrection’s Son’a, and even the weird parasite-aliens from the episode Conspiracy!
So those theories were (semi) confirmed and debunked.
Phew, that was a lot of debunkings! But this kind of theory massacre was always going to happen sooner or later – and there are still plenty of other theories on the list to be similarly debunked in the weeks ahead!
Up next we’ll jump into the main theory list, beginning with theories that are new or that saw significant movement as a result of events that transpired in The Bounty.
Picard will donate his golem body to Jack.
The revelation that Jack has the terminal and incurable Irumodic syndrome was a surprising inclusion in The Bounty – and it tied into that episode’s theme of the relationship parents have with their children, and what kinds of things children inherit from their parents. Irumodic syndrome was the most obvious example of a “flaw” passed from parent to child.
But this story could have also set up the endgame – not only for Season 3, but for Jean-Luc Picard himself. In short, I’m suggesting that Picard will donate his golem to Jack, sacrificing himself to save his son’s life in one final act of parental love. This will come after Vadic and the rogue changelings have been defeated – and will mark the definitive, conclusive end of Picard and the show’s title character.
There has been speculation ever since Picard was announced that the series would end with his death – and while I’ve said it would be hard to pull off after the fake-out death at the end of Season 1, this kind of sacrifice could be one way to make that story work.
Jack is a Dominion War-era “sleeper agent.”
As I noted in my review of The Bounty, Jack’s diagnosis of Irumodic syndrome feels like only part of the explanation of what’s been going on with him. His hallucinatory experiences and general feelings of aggression may be able to be waved away now that he’s been diagnosed – but how do we explain his glowing red eyes and his sudden combat mastery? Jack was able to defeat four changeling operatives at once – something that, as Captain Shaw noted, seems remarkable.
There was something about the way Jack’s combat prowess seemed to suddenly emerge, as if a switch had been flipped, that made me think of stories involving “sleeper agents.” Such an operative would be brainwashed, placed into a population, and could then be “activated” via a code phrase or some other method. This is a trope of spy fiction going way back – and a lot of the indicators seem to apply to Jack. If he is a sleeper agent, that could explain not only his combat abilities, but the rogue changelings’ interest in him.
Vadic is the female changeling from Deep Space Nine.
One unnamed changeling spearheaded the Dominion war effort in Deep Space Nine – and now that we have definitive proof that Vadic is a changeling, my left-field theory is that the two characters are one and the same! The last time we saw the female changeling, Odo had cured her of the genetic disease that had been created by Section 31, and was due to stand trial for war crimes after the Dominion’s final defeat over Cardassia. She didn’t return with Odo to the Great Link, and it was assumed that she would remain in custody for some time.
If the female changeling escaped – or was released after serving her sentence – perhaps she had been changed by her time in prison. She could have been lying to Odo, pretending to go along with his plan in order to receive the cure. She could also have suffered some kind of nervous breakdown after being away from the Great Link for such a long time – which could explain why Vadic is so eccentric!
I’m not sure about this one, to be honest, but it’s an interesting idea that would tie Picard even closer to Deep Space Nine.
The rogue changelings didn’t want Jean-Luc Picard… they wanted Locutus.
Why did the rogue changelings abscond with Picard’s corpse? And for that matter, why was Section 31 holding onto it to begin with? Perhaps the reason is that Picard was once Locutus of Borg – and his body may contain some residual Borg implants or nanoprobes that the rogue changelings want. If Jack Crusher also has Borg nanites in his system that could explain their interest in him, too.
We know that Starfleet has incorporated Borg technology into some of their newer vessels, and in The Bounty we learned that the entire fleet can automatically link up and communicate – which could be Borg tech. In Season 2, the Borg Queen seemed to be able to seize control of one Federation ship and then use that to command an entire fleet. Could that explain why the rogue changelings need Borg nanoprobes?
The rogue changelings want to hack the entire Federation fleet.
Tied to the theory above is the idea that the changelings may not want to destroy Starfleet outright, but rather hack into the ships and use them in some other way – perhaps to attack Federation or allied targets, or even to attack each other. If the ships are connected somehow, and the changelings could take over that connection, maybe they could seize control of the entire fleet at once.
This would be an interesting idea, as it would potentially connect the story to what happened at the beginning of Season 2. With many advancements in AI out here in the real world, it could prove to be quite a timely story, too!
Lore will betray Picard and the crew.
Although Data is back, he isn’t alone. Data is sharing a golem body with Dr Soong, Lore, B4, Lal, and possibly other androids, too. It was noted in The Bounty that no personality was dominant, and we caught glimpses of all of them at the end of the episode. But if one personality – Lore’s – were able to take control of the body, even just for a short period of time, he could end up betraying Picard and the crew.
Lore has always been a wildcard, but as we saw in his stories in The Next Generation, he’s also someone who considers himself superior to organic life. Having been deactivated and shut down for decades, Lore might want to seek revenge against Picard and the crew – or he might reckon his chances are better with the changelings than the Federation. There are multiple routes to a potential Lore betrayal!
The rogue changelings are trying to reach the Nexus.
One of the easter eggs in The Bounty showed us a glimpse of Captain Kirk’s body – or a readout on a screen, at least. As far as we know, only two corpses were stored at Daystrom Station: Picard’s and Kirk’s. Aside from both being captains of the Enterprise, what else do these two characters have in common? They both used the Nexus to travel through time. Picard travelled only a few hours, but Kirk jumped forwards in time by decades.
The Nexus hasn’t been mentioned since Generations, and it would be a less well-known part of Star Trek to bring back in some ways. But the timelines could kind of sync up here: if it’s been 30+ years since the events of Generations, and the Nexus returns every 39.1 years, that could work! The Nexus could also be phenomenally useful for the rogue changelings – if they wanted to travel back in time to prevent the Dominion’s defeat, for example.
Vadic has put together a “rogues’ gallery” of Star Trek villains.
This theory is barely hanging in there right now, especially now that we know that Vadic’s crew are changelings. However, I still think it’s a possibility that there could be other players involved in the rogue changelings’ conspiracy, and some of those could be familiar characters from past iterations of Star Trek.
I originally came up with this idea after we saw Lore and Moriarty in pre-season trailers, and made the assumption that they would be on Vadic’s side. Now that we know that isn’t the case, this idea feels another step further away! But there’s still a chance – so I’m not striking it off the list just yet.
If you want to see the list I wrote back in November, you can find it by clicking or tapping here.
Vadic is a veteran of the Battle of Wolf-359.
I know, I know. We’ve just spent a long time debunking Vadic backstory ideas – and knowing that she’s a changeling should invalidate this one, too. But I can’t shake the feeling that all of these references to Locutus and Wolf-359 are setting up some kind of bigger connection – possibly involving Vadic.
If Vadic was one of the hundred changelings that had been sent out by the Founders, it’s not impossible that she might’ve been present at the battle. She could have been injured there or even partially assimilated – and the trauma from that event could account for her eccentricity. It could also explain why she wanted to steal Picard’s corpse from Daystrom Station.
Unlikely? Undoubtedly! But not impossible… not yet.
Jack Crusher has changeling DNA… somehow.
We learned a couple of weeks ago that changelings can mimic humanoid DNA well enough to pass scans and screenings – so even though Jack was recently investigated by Dr Crusher, his being diagnosed with Irumodic syndrome shouldn’t rule out some kind of changeling DNA being present in his system. If Jack were a “sleeper agent,” as suggested above, that could explain why he has some changeling DNA. Or it could be as a result of something that happened to Jack and Dr Crusher during one of their medical missions.
I don’t think that the story could get away with saying that Jack is a changeling – and that he was never truly the son of Picard and/or Dr Crusher. That would be too hard a pill to swallow, especially after episodes like The Bounty focused extensively on the themes of family and relationships between children and parents. But Jack could still possess changeling DNA somehow – and that may account for the rogue changelings’ obsession with catching him.
Jack’s eyes, combat skills, and hallucinations are connected to the Borg.
As I said above, I feel that there’s more to Jack’s story than a diagnosis of Irumodic syndrome. The theft of Picard’s body – a body that was once assimilated by the Borg – could come into play here too. The feminine voice Jack has heard on more than one occasion could be the Borg Queen reaching out to him – and while Dr Crusher has given him medication that may treat his symptoms, if there’s a Borg connection here all that might do is mask it.
We don’t know whether there will be a greater Borg connection in the story – but it feels like there could be. There have been mentions and references to the Borg, and specifically to Picard’s assimilation experience, going all the way back to the season premiere. Jack could be the key to understanding why!
Jack has Borg nanoprobes in his body.
If Jack’s symptoms are connected to the Borg in some way, it stands to reason that he may have Borg nanites in his system. The question of how this could have occurred is still an open one – perhaps they came from Picard at the moment of conception, or perhaps Jack encountered Borg technology during one of his medical missions.
Again, this could explain the rogue changelings’ interest in him. We saw in Season 1 that many ex-Borg had been killed; butchered for parts. There may not be many individuals in the quadrant with any Borg technology in their systems – and that could account for the rogue changelings both stealing Picard’s body and chasing after Jack.
The Borg are involved.
We’ve talked a fair bit about the Borg already, and looked at a couple of ways in which they could be included. This theory has come about largely because of the frequent mentions of the Borg and the Battle of Wolf-359 in the story so far. The theft of Picard’s body could also be connected to this idea, as Picard had once been assimilated by the Borg. But why keep bringing up these Borg references if there’s no bigger connection?
It’s possible, but perhaps unlikely, that the rogue changelings have formulated some kind of deal or alliance with the Borg, as both factions would benefit from the Federation collapsing or being severely damaged. This seems less likely than a more subtle connection, perhaps, but it’s worth acknowledging the possibility!
Even if I haven’t figured out the exact way in which the Borg will be woven into the story, some kind of Borg connection feels like a distinct possibility.
Deanna Troi is a changeling.
The final scene of The Bounty saw Riker taken into custody aboard the Shrike – where he encountered a captive Deanna Troi. But is this the real Troi, or is the fact that she’s on a ship crewed by changelings a hint that she might not actually be who she appears to be?
It’s very easy in a story like this to become almost paranoid, and to see changelings behind every character’s mask! But right now, of all the characters currently in play, Deanna Troi aboard the Shrike feels like the most likely candidate for being a changeling imposter. Perhaps she will try to get information out of Riker, pressing him to choose between his family and his friends – only to reveal that it was all a ruse.
Irumodic syndrome is important to the rogue changelings.
At this point in the story, we know that the rogue changelings want Jack Crusher badly. And we’ve just learned that they’ve stolen Picard’s corpse from Daystrom Station. As Picard noted in The Bounty, he “died” of Irumodic syndrome back in Season 1. Irumodic syndrome is a big link between Jack and Picard right now – and because these two characters are the ones who seem to have gotten most of the rogue changelings’ attention, that fact could be significant!
Perhaps Irumodic syndrome can be used by changelings to mask their presence, or maybe it can somehow cure the genetic disease that Section 31 created. Irumodic syndrome could also be an indication that an individual possesses changeling DNA – or some other attribute that’s important to changelings.
A spin-off series will be announced.
The sad news of Discovery’s cancellation, which was announced earlier this season, seemed to suggest that Paramount might be slowing things down for Star Trek – perhaps as a result of financial pressures. But we learned recently that Strange New Worlds has been picked up for a third season, and that Lower Decks has also been renewed for a fifth season – so there’s still hope for Star Trek’s future after all!
Furthermore, Alex Kurtzman has suggested that more announcements may be in the offing “soon,” potentially including new series, mini-series, or even films. I’m still crossing my fingers for a Picard spin-off – or at least a project set in this same early 25th Century time period!
The 5th of April is “First Contact Day,” and in the past Paramount has marked the day in some way. Could an announcement be coming soon, then? I guess we’ll have to watch this space!
So those theories are new or saw significant movement in The Bounty.
Now, as always, we’ll recap the other theories that are still on the board. I find it helpful to keep the list all together in one place – even though these theories didn’t see much movement or attention this week.
Odo will make an appearance – somehow.
I don’t know how I feel about this one. It was sweet to see Worf make reference to Odo in Seventeen Seconds – though the connection could have been clearer, especially for more casual viewers – but I’m not convinced that we need to see Odo for ourselves. The reason for that is simple: the only way we could see Odo is either by re-casting the character or recreating him through some kind of CGI process.
Star Trek has successfully re-cast many characters over the years, so I don’t really take exception to that. But the death of actor René Auberjonois is still recent and fresh in our minds, so bringing Odo back without him just feels… uncomfortable. Although Odo is well-suited to a story in which the changelings are back, I think I’d rather he didn’t appear in person on this occasion. But I wanted to acknowledge that it’s at least a plausible development for the story.
Vadic will be killed by her own portal-weapon.
This idea is a pretty simple one: as often happens to villains in stories like these, Captain Vadic will end up being killed by her own powerful weapon. We saw the portal-weapon used against the Titan in Seventeen Seconds, and I can absolutely see a pathway to Picard and the crew capturing it or gaining control of it, and turning it against Vadic.
There can be something poetic about an evil villain being destroyed by their own weapon, so I can’t help but feel that Vadic may meet her end by being spliced through one of her own portals!
The absences of characters from Seasons 1 and 2 will be explained.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Laris was included in the season premiere, and while she won’t have a big role in the story of the season, it was great that the story didn’t just dump her as it raced ahead. Due to her importance to the story of Season 2, Laris was perhaps the character who I felt it was most important to include in some way, and I’m glad we got to see her.
But there are still several characters from Seasons 1 and 2 who haven’t been mentioned. Elnor and Soji could easily be name-dropped; a line or two of dialogue could clear up where they are, what they’re doing, and why they can’t join Picard on his current mission. The Borg Queen-Dr Jurati hybrid is a bit more complicated; her self-appointed role as “guardian” of the mysterious anomaly makes it a bit harder to just wave away her disappearance.
I hope we’ll get something that will acknowledge these characters’ absences. All were important in the first two seasons of the show, and simply abandoning them without any kind of goodbye was disappointing at the end of Season 2. If Season 3 could do something to rectify that, I’d appreciate it!
Not all of Raffi’s messages were from Worf.
As the changeling infiltration story deepens, I think it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that someone involved in the conspiracy – Vadic, perhaps – was sending messages to Raffi claiming to be her handler. These messages may have been false leads, irrelevant information, or other attempts to throw her off the trail. If so, it worked – Raffi wasn’t able to stop the attack on the Federation facility in time.
Narratively speaking, there was a good reason to keep Worf hidden until the end of Disengage: it made his last-second appearance all the more dramatic. But could there be another reason why Raffi’s messages came through in text form, read aloud by a disembodied digital voice? I wonder.
Someone on Picard’s crew will turn out to be an imposter.
I think we can safely say that Picard, Riker, the Crushers, Captain Shaw, and Seven of Nine aren’t changelings. But that still leaves several major characters who could potentially have been replaced!
With changelings on the move, basically anyone could have been replaced, and it won’t always be easy to tell. It seems possible that someone like Geordi, Troi, or perhaps even Raffi could’ve been replaced by changeling infiltrators before they linked up with Picard and the crew of the Titan, and it may not be possible to know who to trust.
With one changeling infiltrator storyline having already played out, though, it will have to be handled carefully so as not to feel repetitive! Still, I can’t help but wonder if a changeling imposter may be a big revelation in a future episode.
Captain Shaw will be killed.
Now that Shaw has had his explosive moment with Picard, revealing his involvement at the Battle of Wolf-359, the end could be near for the “dipshit from Chicago.” We’ve already seen how the Titan having multiple captains on board complicates the story, and if there is to be any kind of “Seven of Nine show” as a spin-off, it makes sense that Shaw might need to be removed from the captain’s chair in order to make that happen.
There’s still a lot of potential in Shaw, and he certainly could have more to contribute to the story. However, there are other potential reasons why killing him off could be on the agenda! If the writers want the impact of killing a major character, but don’t want the controversy of killing off a legacy character, then Captain Shaw could be on the chopping block. His death could raise the stakes significantly as the story has passed its halfway point.
The rogue changelings are planning to cripple Starfleet.
The precise number of ships that Starfleet has has always been a tad vague, adaptable to different stories. But I think we can safely assume that there are several hundred ships in Starfleet at any one time. Many of these, though, will be science vessels, ships of exploration, or even transport ships. The number of tactical vessels and combat-ready front-line ships is going to be a lot smaller.
With that in mind, a coordinated strike against these ships could cripple the Federation’s ability to defend itself. We already know that the rogue changeling aboard the Titan had a bomb that they used to severely damage the ship – if other rogue changeling operatives are similarly equipped, they could potentially take out Starfleet’s best and most powerful vessels in one fell swoop.
The rogue changelings are planning attacks on the Klingon Empire and the Romulans.
It wasn’t only the Federation that opposed the Founders during the Dominion War. The Klingons, Romulans, and later a Cardassian resistance movement all played significant roles in preventing the Dominion from conquering the Alpha Quadrant – so it stands to reason that the rogue changelings would be looking to get revenge on these powers, too.
Despite having had two full seasons of Picard already – one of which had a major Romulan theme – we still don’t know much about the state of the galaxy in political terms. Are the Federation, Romulans, and Klingons on friendly terms in this era, or has the Dominion War alliance of necessity fallen apart? After the Zhat Vash plot was exposed, what happened to Federation-Romulan relations? All of these things would be interesting to explore, and the rogue changelings’ plot could lead to such a storyline. For now, though, suffice to say I suspect that the Federation may not be the only target that the rogue changelings have in mind!
The rogue changelings may also be targeting the Bajorans and Cardassians.
These two factions played smaller roles during the Dominion War in some respects, with the Cardassians serving as Dominion allies (and members of the Dominion), and Bajor signing an official non-aggression pact with the Dominion. However, both the Bajorans and Cardassians later opposed the Dominion, and the Prophets – who are strongly aligned with Bajor – arguably turned the tide of the entire war.
If the rogue changelings are on the move, I would suspect that the Federation, Romulans, and Klingons would be their main targets as it was these powers who played the biggest and most obvious roles in the conflict. But Bajor and Cardassia may not be safe.
Again, we don’t know enough about the geopolitics of this era! Bajor may have joined the Federation, and even Cardassia could be under Federation protection. If so, that changes the dynamic.
The rogue changelings are responsible for the mysterious anomaly seen in Season 2.
It didn’t escape my notice that the events of Season 2 were referenced – albeit incredibly briefly – by Captain Shaw in No Win Scenario. That being said, this theory still feels like somewhat of a long-shot just based on how Picard seems to have moved on from what happened last year.
In short, what I’m suggesting is that the mysterious anomaly that was a big part of the story of Season 2 will turn out to be a weapon of some kind deployed by the rogue changelings, either as part of or as a precursor to their plan to attack Starfleet and the Federation. This would explain Dr Jurati’s comment that the anomaly seemed to be artificial in nature – and it would tie up a massive loose end from last season.
At least one main character will be killed.
The death of Ro Laren has shaken Picard and the crew… but it’s also shaken up this theory! The fundamental question is this: is Ro’s death a harbinger of things to come? Or is it simply a narrative device used to show how high the stakes are? I think there’s a solid case to make that Picard and the crew are in danger.
Television storytelling has changed a lot since The Next Generation premiered, and even main characters can no longer consider themselves to be safe if they wind up in dangerous situations! It would be a challenge to kill off a legacy character in a way that would be satisfying and would feel right – but it would be incredibly bold, and if such a story beat stuck the landing it could pay off a character arc that’s been running for well over three decades.
I made a list of who I thought could be in danger before the season began, and you can find it by clicking or tapping here.
At least one more unannounced character will make an appearance!
It was fantastic to see Ro Laren make a return to Star Trek in Imposters. But will she be the only unannounced character to appear? I’m not so sure!
There were surprises in both of Picard’s first two seasons, so I’m not convinced that we won’t see at least one more character making a return. There have been rumours, theories, and guesses from Trekkies for months as to who may or may not be included… and all I can really say is that Ro’s surprise return has increased the likelihood of this happening.
With the changelings involved in a big way, characters from Deep Space Nine would be perfect to include – but practically anyone from The Next Generation era could show up.
So that’s it!
As episode seven approaches, we have a pretty busy theory list – even as this week saw a significant culling of debunked theories! I think this could be a big week for the story, potentially with some explosive revelations or even a shocking death to really shake things up as the season – and the series – gets ready for its final act.
As a final note: 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 for me. But for some folks, fan theories can become 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 3. I fully expect many of these theories to be debunked and for the season to go in wildly unpredictable directions!
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.