Star Trek: Picard Season 3 theory – who is Captain Vadic?

Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Picard Seasons 1-2 as well as for announcements and trailers for Season 3. Spoilers are also present for the following Star Trek productions: The Next Generation, Voyager, First Contact, Insurrection, Nemesis and Discovery.

Today we’re going to talk about Captain Vadic, the villainous commander of the Shrike who appeared in the most recent trailer for Season 3. Based on the information that Paramount has released so far, Captain Vadic appears set to be the main adversary that Admiral Picard and the former crew of the Enterprise-D will face off against in the upcoming final season of the show, and I think we have enough evidence to put together a few theories about who she could potentially be.

One thing we can say for near-certain based on her appearance in the trailer is that Captain Vadic has become obsessed with Picard – and possibly with his former crewmates as well. Her desire to get revenge for some (real or perceived) wrong that was done to her seems to be her driving force, and as a result there are favourable comparisons to one of the Star Trek franchise’s most iconic villains – Khan. Vadic seems to channel much of the same energy as Khan did in The Wrath of Khan, with a passionate quest for vengeance that strays into near-madness.

Captain Vadic.

The question of why Vadic is so obsessed with getting revenge is inherently tied to who she is. Although past iterations of Star Trek didn’t ultimately connect to the big story arcs in Seasons 1 or 2 of Picard, it has to be at least possible that Captain Vadic has a connection to some character or event that we’ve seen unfold on screen before. She could even be a character that we’ve already met.

So that’s what we’re going to take a look at today! Who could Captain Vadic be? And tied to that question is the nature of her revenge plot – why is she seeking vengeance? What could Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-D have done to her in the past?

Theory #1:
An Ex-Borg

Ex-Borg in the Season 1 episode Nepenthe.

Captain Vadic appears to have scars on her face that superficially resemble those of the ex-Borg that we met in Season 1, so some kind of Borg origin feels like a possibility. We could learn that Vadic was among the survivors of the Artifact when it crash-landed on Coppelius at the end of Season 1, and that could be the beginning of her vendetta against Picard.

It’s possible that Vadic was assimilated by Locutus – Picard’s Borg designation when he was himself briefly part of the Borg Collective. If Vadic was assimilated at, for example, the Battle of Wolf-359, she may have spent years in the Collective before she was freed, and may hold Picard personally to blame for her traumatic experience.

Starfleet engages the Borg at the Battle of Wolf-359.

Seasons 1 and 2 both dealt with the Borg to an extent, albeit in different ways, so this could be somewhat of a continuation of that familiar theme. Although Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-D faced off against many enemies and opponents during their adventures, few are as ferocious or intimidating as the Borg, so there’d be something significant if the final foe they have to deal with has some kind of Borg connection.

If Captain Vadic is an ex-Borg, that could also explain her interest in both Picard’s crew and the Federation as a whole; she may blame the Enterprise-D and Starfleet more broadly for what happened to her.

Theory #2:
An augment.

A group of 22nd Century human augments.

We talked a moment ago about the superficial similarities between Captain Vadic and iconic Star Trek villain Khan… but what if there’s more to it than that? The end of Season 2 seemed to imply that Picard’s adversary Adam Soong would either begin or re-start research into Khan-inspired human augments, connecting his story to that of Dr Arik Soong in Enterprise. Could Captain Vadic be a descendant of one of Dr Soong’s augments – or perhaps even an augment who had been kept alive in stasis?

If so, her vendetta may be inspired by Dr Soong – she may blame Picard for changing the timeline and preventing Dr Soong from being celebrated in the Confederation timeline that we saw in Season 2. Successive generations of augments may have carried that grudge, or alternatively Captain Vadic may have been “programmed” to awaken in the early 25th Century by Dr Soong to get his revenge.

The “Project Khan” folder seen at the end of Season 2.

This would connect the story of Season 3 to what happened last time in a major way, and I think that would be to the show’s overall benefit. Season 2 could even look better in retrospect if it ends up being one piece of a larger connected story, so giving Captain Vadic a connection to what happened in Season 2 would be a net positive.

There’s also a possibility that Captain Vadic is an augment, but one who isn’t connected to Adam Soong or Khan. There are a couple of episodes of The Next Generation in which Picard and the crew tussled with genetic engineering and human augmentation: Season 2’s Unnatural Selection and The Masterpiece Society from Season 5. Perhaps Captain Vadic is one of the augments from the Darwin Genetic Research Station or one of the Moab IV colonists whose society was disrupted by the arrival of the Enterprise-D.

Theory #3:
A Romulan (or Romulan ally)

A Romulan commander in the 23rd Century.

I know, I know: Captain Vadic doesn’t have the right ears to be a Romulan! But as noted above, she does have significant facial scars – could those hint at some kind of cosmetic surgery to alter her appearance? The design of her warship, the Shrike, definitely feels Romulan to me. It evokes both Nero’s Narada (from the 2009 Star Trek reboot film) and the Scimitar, Shinzon’s flagship in Nemesis. Could that design hint at some kind of Romulan origin for Vadic… or at least for her ship?

Picard has dealt with the Romulans on multiple occasions, and thwarted major Romulan schemes to invade Vulcan, to end the alliance between the Federation and the Klingons, and to use a thalaron radiation weapon to attack Earth, just to name three examples. Then there’s Picard’s failure to aid in the Romulan evacuation in the aftermath of the attack on Mars – perhaps Captain Vadic blames Picard for the deaths of people she cared about. And finally there’s Sela: the daughter of Tasha Yar who was raised by Romulans and eventually held a senior role in the Romulan military. Picard outmanoeuvred and defeated her on two separate occasions.

Sela, a Romulan-human hybrid and enemy of Picard.

I don’t think we’ve seen all of the members of Captain Vadic’s “rogues’ gallery” of Star Trek villains just yet, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Denise Crosby reprise her role as Sela in Season 3. So at this point I don’t think we can say “Vadic is Sela,” although that’s a possibility. But she may be an ally of Sela, perhaps a relative or another child of Tasha Yar.

The Romulans played a major role in Season 1 of Picard, and bringing them back in some form in Season 3 could tie things together nicely. We could learn more about the Zhat Vash and Tal Shiar, and particularly what happened to the Zhat Vash’s anti-synthetic crusade after it was exposed. Maybe Captain Vadic is a Zhat Vash zealot who is unwilling to accept her faction’s defeat at the hands of Picard and his crew.

Theory #4:
A descendant of Adam and/or Noonian Soong

Adam Soong in Season 2.

We touched on a potential connection to the Soong family above, but rather than being an augment or genetic creation, could it be possible that Captain Vadic is a relative or descendant of the Soongs? This could explain how she managed to recruit Lore for her revenge quest, or how she was able to reassemble and reactive him after the events of The Next Generation two-part story Descent.

Clearly the relationship between Picard and the Soong family is complicated. On the one hand, Picard’s strong friendship with Data should mean that he and the Soongs would get along, but on the other hand his actions in Season 2 prevented Adam Soong from becoming one of the most important humans in history, and from establishing a dynasty that was still important in the early 25th Century. Surely some members of the family would want revenge for that – if they knew about it.

Dr Noonian Soong – the creator of Data and Lore.

Picard also tussled with Altan Inigo Soong in Season 1, disrupting his research into synths and potentially denying him a synthetic body of his own. Although Altan would eventually team up with Picard’s crew to stop Sutra and Soji’s plan to contact the unnamed faction of super-synths, it isn’t clear what happened after that to the Coppelius synths.

If things went wrong, maybe a relative or colleague of Altan Inigo Soong would want revenge. Perhaps Altan sought out and reactivated Lore in order to continue his research; the loss of Data’s neurons may have brought his work to an abrupt halt. Again, this could explain how and why Lore is back!

Theory #5:
A Son’a

Ru’afo, a Son’a commander in the late 24th Century.

There are a couple of reasons why the Son’a spring to mind as a possible origin for Captain Vadic. Firstly there are the facial scars that we’ve already discussed; the Son’a had to use technology to keep their skin stretched and to get rid of toxins in their bodies after losing access to the metaphasic radiation of their home planet. Although the Ba’ku believed their physiology would be restored if they returned home, it’s possible that there would be lingering physical effects of being away for so long.

Secondly, the most recent trailer showed off Captain Vadic’s ship, the Shrike, engaging in a battle against the USS Titan in a nebula that looked awfully similar to the Briar Patch – the location of the Ba’ku/Son’a home planet. After Picard was instrumental in defeating the Son’a, could some members of the faction hold a grudge against him personally?

Does this battle take place in the Briar Patch?

The Son’a had planned their revenge on their Ba’ku cousins for a long time – they had been living in exile for almost a century at the time of the events of Insurrection. Although the Ba’ku welcomed them back, it stands to reason that not every Son’a would have wanted to return home under those circumstances.

Ru’afo, the Son’a leader, was killed, and it’s possible that Captain Vadic may have been his partner or close friend. Even if she wasn’t a true believer in the Son’a cause, she may be seeking revenge for the loss of someone she cared about.

Theory #6:
A member of Picard’s crew

Captain Picard on the bridge of the Enterprise-D.

Could it be possible that Captain Vadic once served under Picard’s command? She could be an officer or crewman who served on the Stargazer, the Enterprise-D, the Enterprise-E, or during the Romulan rescue and the attack on Mars. Although Picard never deliberately endangered members of his crew – and would go above and beyond to help them on multiple occasions – during his time in command we saw a number of casualties.

Perhaps Captain Vadic was badly wounded during Soran’s attack on the Enterprise-D, or was left behind on Bersallis III during the firestorm that nearly claimed the life of Nella Daren. She could be a victim of the first Borg encounter when a slice was carved out of the Enterprise-D’s saucer section in system J-25, or an officer who was assimilated when the Borg took over the lower decks of the Enterprise-E. She could even be a familiar character, such as Ensign Sito, who was sent on a dangerous mission into Cardassian space by Picard.

Ensign Sito Jaxa.

The reality is that Picard has no shortage of “victims” – people who were killed or maimed while serving under his command going all the way back to his time on the Stargazer. Any one of them – or their close friends or family – could hold Picard personally responsible, even if he did everything he reasonably could have to prevent what happened to them.

I think this is an interesting idea. Starfleet is far from perfect, and we haven’t often seen the organisation or its leaders having to confront those left behind or caught up in conflicts, battles, or dangerous situations. Whoever Captain Vadic is, she clearly has a personal grievance against Picard, and if she had once served under his command, that could explain why.

Theory #7:
An ally of DaiMon Bok

DaiMon Bok.

One of the first villains that we ever saw Picard deal with was DaiMon Bok, a Ferengi captain who blamed Picard for the death of his son. Bok is similar to what we know of Captain Vadic insofar as his vendetta against Picard was deeply personal. After being defeated in the episode The Battle, Bok would tangle with Picard one final time toward the end of The Next Generation’s run in the episode Bloodlines – and while he suffered a mutiny from his crew, he was still alive as of the end of the episode.

Most importantly for this theory, Bok’s quest for revenge was left incomplete, his personal vendetta unfulfilled. Bok would almost certainly have carried this grudge for his entire life – and while we don’t know for sure that he would still be alive thirty years after we last saw him, there’s no reason to think he wouldn’t be. Perhaps Captain Vadic is an ally of Bok’s, and her quest for vengeance is connected to his.

Could DaiMon Bok be a member of Vadic’s rogues’ gallery?

Even if DaiMon Bok’s revenge mission isn’t the main factor driving Captain Vadic, I would consider it at least a possibility that Bok could be another of the hidden members of her rogues’ gallery. Few characters in Star Trek have such a strongly-felt personal animosity toward Picard, so if someone asked him to join a mission of this type, Bok would surely have jumped at the chance!

So whether Bok proves to be a big part of the story or not, it’s definitely possible that we’ll see him or hear of him in Season 3!

Theory #8:
A devotee of the super-synths from Season 1

Sutra became obsessed with contacting the super-synths.

The super-synths from Season 1 claimed to be “an alliance of synthetic life,” and they left behind at least one beacon to instruct other synths on how to contact them. Whether their offer to help the Milky Way’s synthetics was genuine or part of an elaborate trap was never explained, and the super-synths themselves were only glimpsed on screen very briefly.

But one thing we know is that their beacon – known to the Zhat Vash as the “admonition” – could drive organic minds to madness, and that madness could be so powerful that it could even damage an entire Borg cube if a Zhat Vash initiate was assimilated. Sutra’s behaviour after being exposed to the beacon’s message could also be argued to show that synthetic minds were not entirely immune from this, especially in synths with human qualities.

The device on Coppelius that the synths built to open a portal for the super-synths.

In short, whether she’s organic or synthetic, it’s possible that Captain Vadic has been exposed to the beacon on Aia – either before or after the events of Season 1. But rather than taking the Zhat Vash approach of fearing the coming of the super synths, maybe she had a different reaction: she wanted them to arrive. If she’s a synth, that could be because she wants to team up and attack organic civilisations – and that may explain why she’s teamed up with Lore and Moriarty, who are both artificial constructs. If she’s an organic, she may have simply been driven mad by the beacon’s vision and somehow come to worship the super-synths.

It was the intervention of Admiral Picard at the end of Season 1 that prevented the arrival of the super-synths at Coppelius, and if Starfleet took further action against the Zhat Vash in the aftermath of Season 1, such as shutting down the beacon on Aia, it may not be possible to construct another portal. Either way, as the person most responsible for stopping the super-synths, a devotee of theirs would surely hate Picard as a result.

Theory #9:
Someone entirely new

The super-synths and Zhat Vash were brand-new to Star Trek in Season 1.

In Season 1, both the Zhat Vash and super-synths were brand-new to Star Trek. Likewise in Season 2, a new story was told that didn’t rely on events or characters from past iterations of the franchise. So it has to be considered plausible – perhaps even more likely than not – that Captain Vadic is a brand-new character, and that the event in her past that kicked off her revenge obsession will also be new to us as the audience.

Modern Star Trek has, I feel, rather teased longstanding fans with implied or hinted connections that have ultimately failed to materialise. Discovery’s second season seemed to be setting up a possible Borg origin story – before that was ripped away in the season finale. Storylines in Seasons 3 and 4 also could have connected to events in Star Trek’s past, but decisions were taken to go in new directions again, despite seemingly teasing those potential ties. And as mentioned, both seasons of Picard have likewise not made major connections in terms of their main storylines.

Season 2 introduced us to a piece of Picard’s personal history that was brand-new.

Depending on your point of view, this can be a positive or negative thing! I would suggest, though, that after Season 2 spent a long time on an element of Picard’s personal history that was entirely new to us as the audience, it wouldn’t be a bad thing if Captain Vadic was connected to an event that longstanding Star Trek fans would be familiar with.

The “mystery box” style of storytelling can work very well, but it can also feel rather hollow if the story doesn’t pull out an excellent ending, and when a connection to past iterations of Star Trek has been teased – as it arguably has been with Vadic’s quest for revenge – it could feel underwhelming if we’re once again confronted with some brand-new story that bears no relation to anything from The Next Generation or other aspects of Picard’s past that we already know. So there’s a potential stumbling block here, I fear.

So that’s it!

Captain Vadic on the Titan’s viewscreen.

We’ve considered a few possibilities for who Captain Vadic could be and what her beef might be with Admiral Picard and his crew. As much as I like the idea of Vadic having a major connection to an event in The Next Generation or one of the films, if you forced me to place a bet right now, in November 2022, I’d have to put my money on her being someone brand-new, with her quest for vengeance stemming from an event that will also be entirely new to us as the audience. Two seasons of Picard in which Star Trek’s past didn’t matter (as well as similar things going on in Discovery) may have left me feeling a little jaded in that respect!

But regardless, it was fun to speculate. All of the suggestions I’ve made feel plausible at this juncture… based on what little we’ve seen of Captain Vadic in her sole appearance in one teaser trailer! It would certainly be fun, in a season that will bring back the main cast members of The Next Generation, if the villain they had to defeat was also someone from the past.

The Shrike, Captain Vadic’s ship.

As mentioned, I don’t think we’ve yet seen all of Vadic’s friends and allies in what I’ve termed the “rogues’ gallery.” The most recent trailer showed us Professor Moriarty and Lore, but there seem to be at least four others with Captain Vadic on the bridge of her ship in one of the clips – and her ship will need more than just a handful of people on its crew! I think it’s possible that other villains from The Next Generation era, such as Sela or Bok, could make appearances in Season 3.

I’m looking forward to Season 3, even though I was generally unimpressed with much of Season 2. A return to space and a villain who feels rather Khan-esque promises to be a good combination, one that should lead to a fun and exciting story. When Season 3 premieres in February, I hope you’ll join me for episode reviews and perhaps some theory-crafting, and if we get any more trailers or significant announcements between now and then, I’ll take a look at those as well!

Star Trek: Picard Season 3 will stream on Paramount+ in the United States and on Amazon Prime Video around the world beginning on the 16th of February 2023. Seasons 1 and 2 are available to stream now and are also available on DVD and Blu-ray. 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.

Star Trek: Picard Season 3 – Comic-Con trailer thoughts and analysis

Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Picard Seasons 1-2 and the trailers, teasers, and announcements for Season 3. Spoilers are also present for Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager.

At New York Comic-Con back in September, Paramount showed off a new trailer for the upcoming third season of Star Trek: Picard, and I’m finally getting around to taking a look at it! This time, I’m going to give my thoughts and analysis of what was shown off in the trailer, as well as speculate a little about what the plot of Picard’s final season might end up looking like.

The first thing to say is that Season 3 appears to be another standalone story, one that doesn’t follow on directly from the events of Season 2. Does that mean that we’ll never know who or what caused the anomaly that was so central to kicking off (and resolving) last season’s main story? And does it mean that the dangling story threads from Season 1 will also be left unresolved when Picard comes to an end? I hope not – but I have to say that, based on what we know of Season 3 at this stage, my hopes of the unresolved storylines from Seasons 1 and 2 being addressed are fading fast.

Will Season 3 provide a conclusion to unresolved stories from Seasons 1 and 2?

And before we go any further, I want to address that. Picard, despite having a lot of promise when it was announced and when it premiered, has been hit-and-miss so far; a rather disconnected series that has boldly tried some new and potentially-interesting ideas, but that hasn’t always managed to pull them off successfully. I still haven’t written up my full thoughts on Season 2 as a whole, but suffice to say that there were some pretty significant problems that seriously hampered my enjoyment. If Season 3 is, as I suspect, leaving all of that behind to rush off into another new story, for me that’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, spending too much time looking back at the underwhelming elements of Season 2 isn’t what I’d want to see… but on the other, Season 3 represents Star Trek’s last chance – at least in this iteration – to make more of some of those unresolved storylines. Season 2 could end up looking better in retrospect if it turns out to be one piece of a greater whole… but if Season 3 drops those stories to do its own thing, it will remain a disappointment.

I’ve already shared my thoughts on the way the casting situation has been handled, but as we’re diving back into Picard Season 3, I think it’s worth pointing out again that the return of The Next Generation’s main characters – all of whom got some screen time in the new trailer – has come at the expense of several genuinely interesting characters from Seasons 1 and 2 of Picard that we were only just beginning to get to know. As it seems unlikely that most of them will be seen in the franchise again – at least, not for a long time – I think it’s worth reiterating just how much potential has been squandered.

The cast of Star Trek: Picard Season 1 – most of whom are not returning this time around.

If the Star Trek franchise is to survive long-term, it can’t simply coast on nostalgia. Trying new things, innovating, and introducing new characters has been what the franchise has done since the 1980s, but the current crop of Star Trek shows all seem to be falling back on nostalgic crutches in a way that they really shouldn’t. Picard Season 3 may be the epitome of this backwards-looking take on the franchise, but it’s certainly not the only example.

But that’s enough about that for now! We’re here to look at the trailer rather than talk about Picard or the franchise in a general sense, and the New York Comic-Con trailer definitely raised a lot of interesting (or potentially-interesting) points!

The USS Titan at warp.

First of all, the season’s main villain, played by veteran actress Amanda Plummer, will be called Captain Vadic. Vadic was seen briefly in the trailer, and seems to have an almost Khan-like obsession with getting revenge on Picard and his former Enterprise-D crewmates. Exactly what her beef is with the retired admiral is unclear… but given who else is involved, surely there has to be a connection to The Next Generation, right?

Well, not so fast! In both Seasons 1 and 2, key storylines were ultimately not connected in a major way to Picard’s past… or at least, not to elements of his past that we were already familiar with. Speculation abounded regarding the Coppelius synths, the mysterious super-synths, the Borg Queen, the anomaly, and Q, but ultimately in both seasons the writers chose to go in a different and new direction. Captain Vadic could be connected to Picard either because she’s a returning character utilising a nom de guerre or because she’s related to or otherwise connected to a classic character. And don’t worry, I have plenty of ideas in that vein that we’ll talk about on another occasion! But I think we have to consider the very real possibility that this character, as well as whatever may have caused her to hate Picard and his crew, will be something entirely new to us as the audience.

The mysterious Captain Vadic.

I liked what I saw of Amanda Plummer’s performance in the trailer. She brought a ferocity to Captain Vadic that straddled the line between dedication and obsession, and had an almost animalistic or beastly quality that echoed not only Khan, but other great Star Trek villains too. Vadic has been described as an “alien,” though what species she could be if not human wasn’t clear. Could her scars suggest some kind of ex-Borg origin, perhaps?

Vadic’s ship, the Shrike, seemed to draw inspiration from Nemo’s Narada that we saw in 2009’s Star Trek reboot film, as well as perhaps from the Romulan vessels seen in Nemesis, which could all hint at a Romulan (or Reman) origin or connection. The sweeping, blade-like lines of the Shrike give the vessel a genuinely threatening appearance, and if what we saw from Picard and Riker in the trailer depicts them and their vessel in combat against the Shrike, Vadic’s ship seems to have the weapons to back up its intimidating look!

The Shrike, Captain Vadic’s ship.

Speaking of starships, we got a closer look at the USS Titan in the new trailer – and it looks absolutely fantastic! One of the criticisms some fans have had of Picard – especially with last season’s 21st Century story – has been the lack of starships, and in addition to the Titan we also caught a glimpse of Star Trek Online’s Enterprise-F. Though I dabbled briefly in Star Trek Online, MMO games aren’t really “my thing,” but I’m nevertheless happy to see the creative team take inspiration from the game on this occasion. Fans of Star Trek Online will be thrilled, undoubtedly!

La Sirena was also present, and may be being used by Raffi and/or Seven of Nine. I like the design of La Sirena and I hope the story will find a way to include the smaller vessel alongside bigger ships like the Titan and Enterprise-F. Rounding out the “starship porn” in the trailer was a beautiful shot of Earth Spacedock – bringing back memories of both The Next Generation and some of the Star Trek films in which the massive station was featured. Could a Search for Spock-inspired starship heist be on the cards? I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

The Enterprise-F, with a design borrowed from Star Trek Online.

Although the producers are keeping a pretty tight lid on the season’s story, the trailer did actually give us quite a lot to go on. Captain Vadic seems to be chasing Dr Crusher – perhaps to get to Picard or get his attention – and her reason for doing so seems to be connected to her hatred of Picard and his Enterprise-D crewmates. As I said, we’ll speculate more about her possible reasons in the days ahead.

As part of her anti-Picard vendetta, Captain Vadic appears to have put together what I’d describe as something of a “rogues’ gallery” of The Next Generation’s villains. We saw Professor Moriarty – the sentient hologram created in the Season 2 episode Elementary, Dear Data – as well as Lore, Data’s “evil twin.” Could there be more villains from The Next Generation era who’ll be brought on board? I think that’s a distinct possibility!

Professor Moriarty joins a “rogues’ gallery” for an anti-Picard vendetta.

Captain Vadic was seen speaking to a group of characters – most of whom had their faces covered or obscured – promising “vengeance,” so I think it’s at least possible that we haven’t seen the last big or surprising announcement of a returning villain! Several of the characters with Vadic seemed to be aliens, and I can think of no shortage of alien adversaries that Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-D tackled during their adventures. Could the promise of revenge combined with Captain Vadic’s powerful personality have convinced them all to work together?

Any time a television show brings back a number of past characters all at once, there’s a risk of some of them being overshadowed. If, as I suspect, Captain Vadic is someone wholly new connected to a hitherto-unseen event in Picard’s past, her dominant role as the leader of the rogues’ gallery could end up relegating the likes of Lore and Professor Moriarty to smaller cameos. Depending on how it’s handled that could be fine – or it could be a little underwhelming. Paramount is promising big things from this “explosive” final season of Picard… so I hope the series can deliver!

Lore makes a return!

We saw quite a lot of Riker in the new trailer, more than almost anyone else aside from Picard himself. The relationship between Riker and Picard was, in my view anyway, beautifully restored in the Season 1 episode Nepenthe, which saw the two men reuniting for the first time in almost twenty years (at least on screen). After seeing Riker out of uniform enjoying his family life and retirement, it’ll be great to see him back in action once more.

I feel that Worf’s appearance has the most potential to cause controversy out of all of the returning cast members. His statement in the trailer that he “prefers pacifism” and has abandoned the way of violence was played for laughs at first, but it represents a major departure from the character we knew through seven seasons of The Next Generation and four of Deep Space Nine. It’s definitely something that could feel like a natural progression if it’s suitably well-explained – some older Klingon characters, like Kor, for instance, seemed to mellow with age and become less quick to anger – but it’s definitely a move that could be controversial in some quarters. Could this be the producers and creators potentially setting up a calmer, more level-headed Worf for a leading role in his own series or film?

Worf in the trailer.

We didn’t see too much of either Dr Crusher or Deanna Troi, though the former seems to be a major driving force in kicking off the storyline. I expect we’ll hear of her distress signal in the season premiere, and that could be the moment where an off-duty Picard was approached by two Starfleet officers (was that scene in Guinan’s bar? I couldn’t tell!) As for Troi, she seems to be along for the ride with Riker, and her Betazoid senses were put to use describing the mood on what could be the Shrike as an “all-consuming darkness.” This ties into the themes of obsession and revenge that I touched on earlier.

Seeing Dr Crusher in some form of stasis pod was interesting; could her distress signal have been the lure to get Picard (and the others) back out into space? If Dr Crusher was the only one of the Enterprise-D crew who was on a deep space assignment, she would seem to be the logical target – as bait in a trap!

Dr Crusher seems to kick off the story.

Raffi also seems to be being hunted – can we assume it’s by the same adversary? If so, Captain Vadic may be doing more than simply targeting the crew of the Enterprise-D – she may be trying to get to Picard by attacking anyone he’s worked closely with in the past. As his former aide-de-camp from his time as an Admiral, Raffi certainly fits the profile!

But there could be more to it than that. We’re getting into some seriously speculative territory, but if the story of the new season involves a villain (and/or a rogues’ gallery of villains) trying to hurt Picard by targeting those close to him, we could potentially learn of the deaths of some friendly faces. Elnor and Soji spring to mind as possible victims – both worked closely with Picard and neither are scheduled to make a major appearance this time around. Could one or both of their deaths have sent Raffi into hiding? Or put her on the revenge trail?

Who is Raffi hiding from?

Finally we have Geordi La Forge. In the trailer his main moment came when he seemed to criticise Picard for dragging Worf and Riker into whatever crisis is going on… but it doesn’t end there. We know from casting – and briefly from an appearance at the Titan’s helm in the trailer – that Geordi will be joined by two of his children. One of his daughters will be played by LeVar Burton’s real-life daughter Mica, which is neat. Mica Burton hosted Star Trek Day 2021 alongside Wil Wheaton, and has been a fixture in the expanded Star Trek community ever since the franchise returned to the small screen.

Having covered the main characters – and speculated a little about some of them – we still have a few disjointed clips and images to assess from the trailer before we wrap things up! Starfleet Academy or Starfleet HQ appears to be attacked and destroyed at one point, but for some reason my gut instinct is to say that that may not happen in the real world. We could be looking at a simulation, dream, or plan rather than an actual attack. I don’t know exactly why I feel that way… but I do!

Is this moment real, or does it take place in a dream or fantasy sequence?

Amongst some wreckage in space we caught a glimpse of a derelict or abandoned starship. Could this be Dr Crusher’s ship – the one from which she sent the distress signal to Admiral Picard? The name and registry number was hard to make out from the trailer, and the design seemed similar to the USS Titan. The field of debris in which the ship was drifting seems too large to all have come from one (largely intact) vessel, so could this be the aftermath of a larger battle in which other ships were destroyed?

As mentioned, I can’t quite tell if the trailer’s opening shot sees Picard at Guinan’s bar on Earth (“Ten” on Forward Avenue in Los Angeles’ historic district that was featured in Season 2), but it certainly could be. Starting Season 3 in a location that was central to the story of Season 2 would go some way to tying the stories together if there isn’t a bigger connection between what seems to be two separate stories.

Is Picard dining at Guinan’s bar in this scene?

Some of the shots of the Shrike and Titan chasing one another and battling seem to be reminiscent of the Briar Patch from the film Insurrection, so could that be a clue? Starship battles that take place in nebulae have been a part of the franchise from The Wrath of Khan all the way through to Discovery’s most recent outing, so it’s by no means a cast-iron statement. But the colour and appearance of the clouds in the nebula certainly brought back memories of Insurrection for me.

The Shrike having the power to outgun the Titan could mean that the ship is incredibly powerful – like Nero’s Narada or Shinzon’s Scimitar, for example – but it could also speak to the Titan potentially being an older vessel, perhaps one that has been recently taken out of mothballs and potentially with only a skeleton crew aboard. While the Shrike definitely has the appearance of a warship or a hunter, it could be worth keeping in mind the Titan’s potential condition!

The Shrike engages the Titan.

After being given a field commission last season and assuming command of the USS Stargazer, Seven of Nine appears to wear the rank pips of a commander rather than a captain, though she does still seem to be on the command track. It wouldn’t be the first time that an officer below the rank of captain has been given a command, though, so Seven may yet prove to be in command of a vessel. Geordi, meanwhile, appears to hold the rank of either a commodore or perhaps a one-star admiral based on the single pip seen on his uniform collar.

I find it interesting, too, that Seven has chosen to remain in Starfleet while Raffi appears to have taken La Sirena on a mission of her own. Is this something that we’ll see her do during the season, or is this where her story will begin? If so, what could have caused her to abandon Seven, Elnor, and her role in Starfleet? And could this connect with my theory above about Captain Vadic potentially having attacked, kidnapped, or killed the likes of Elnor and Soji?

Seven of Nine wielding a phaser pistol.

By far my biggest question at this stage is this: who else, besides Moriarty and Lore, might be joining Captain Vadic’s rogues’ gallery? I feel all but certain that we’re going to see other villains of The Next Generation era coming on board if this is a quest for vengeance against Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-D. From the Duras family and Sela to DaiMon Bok and even the Maquis, Picard and his crew thwarted the nefarious schemes of many villains during their adventures – and if Captain Vadic is indeed putting together a crew of her own to seek revenge, there must be no shortage of applicants!

If Picard and the crew are going to go out with a bang, as we’ve been promised, facing off against a team of their most powerful and feared adversaries could absolutely make for an exciting, tense, and explosive season of Star Trek. After the slower pace of Season 2 and its focus on Picard’s innermost thoughts and his personal family history, something a bit more action-oriented this time around could be just what the doctor ordered. Although I’m still upset about the decision to ditch most of the main cast members from Seasons 1 and 2 in favour of this return to The Next Generation’s characters, I’m hopeful that what we’ll get will be a fun ride and a great way to say goodbye.

Season 3 is purportedly the final voyage for Picard and the crew.

The trailer shown off at New York Comic-Con looked action-packed and exciting, so hopefully that’s representative of the new season. Although Picard has its problems and I have some gripes, the trailer itself has raised my hopes, and I’m now definitely looking forward to the new season.

So that’s it for now! Although this summer and autumn has seen me writing less and making fewer posts here on the website, when Picard Season 3 kicks off in February I still plan to review each episode in turn, as well as crafting a few theories and giving my thoughts on how the season as a whole shapes up. So I hope you’ll stay tuned and join me for that in the new year!

Star Trek: Picard Season 3 will stream on Paramount+ in the United States and on Amazon Prime Video around the world beginning on the 16th of February 2023. Seasons 1 and 2 are available to stream now and are also available on DVD and Blu-ray. 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.