Star Trek: Picard’s second season finale was a bananas trip, messily running around trying to bring closure to the show’s remaining plot threads while throwing out some wild Hail Marys for the show’s future. But in the wake of its release, one weird trend has emerged: a seeming exodus of much of the show’s original cast.
In the past few days since “Farewell” bid, well, farewell to season two, multiple members of Picard’s supporting cast have announced that their time on the show has come to an end. Some of these are obvious, like Santiago Cabrera, whose character Rios chose to stay behind in the past of 2024 LA to be with his new love interest, Teresa — and whose death in the past we learn of when Guinan tells Picard about it in the 24th century. Cabrera took to Instagram to bid farewell, but he wasn’t the only cast member to announce they wouldn’t be returning for the third season.
Both Isa Briones — who played the androids Soji and Dahj as a central element of Picard’s first season, and played Korre Soong, daughter of Brent Spiner’s geneticist villain Adam Soong, in season two — and Evan Evagora, who played the Romulan religious mercenary turned Starfleet cadet Elnor in seasons one and two, also took to social media to confirm that their Star Trek journeys were over. These are both particularly weird, as their characters weren’t exactly written out with goodbyes; Dahj appeared in just a single episode of Picard season two, but Korre’s final scene saw her meet Wil Wheaton’s Wesley Crusher, and get whisked away to join the omnipotent transdimensional being known as the Traveller with him. Elnor meanwhile spent much of season two being dead, but was brought back to life in the finale to continue his training at the Academy with Raffi.
Perhaps even more peculiar than those exits was Alison Pill, who played Dr. Agnes Jurati and, eventually, the new Borg Queen in Picard season two. “I know that season three will be the end. I wasn’t a part of season three, so I don’t have much to say about it in terms of spoilers,” Pill recently told Movieweb. “I will get to watch along with everybody else.” This in particular feels like a wild move considering the season ended with Pill’s Borg Queen/Jurati hybrid formally asking for a temporary membership for the Borg Collective — rebuilt into a seemingly amicable force — to enter the Federation and safeguard a newly opened Transwarp Conduit. If you thought that might be a major part of season three, apparently not — or at least, not without the Borg Queen. Showrunner Terry Matalas has confirmed on Twitter that the third season of Picard begins roughly a year after season two ends, so maybe that’s just plenty of time for the Federation and the Borg to figure things out and go their separate ways, but still… it certainly seems like a peculiar departure from such an intriguing storyline and character.
As of writing, the only remaining Picard supporting actors rejoining Patrick Stewart for season three are Jeri Ryan, Michelle Ann Hurd, and Orla Brady, who play Seven of Nine, Raffi Musiker, and Laris, respectively. Although both Hurd and Ryan have confirmed their returns for season three, Brady has yet to (io9’s reached out to Paramount for comment on her return, and will update this post if and when we hear back). But why is Picard seemingly shuffling off so many of its original cast members off, some with storylines that don’t exactly feel ended just yet, before its final season? Well, one thing is obvious: the arrival of the original main cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. With six new primary cast members arriving — and we know they’re going to play substantial roles in the season already — trimming down the current cast in order to give characters time and attention makes sense.
But there’s still something a little weird and a little sad about seeing potential plotlines with characters unique to Picard itself seemingly being cut short in order to return to the characters we, and Jean-Luc, knew and loved during The Next Generation. Star Trek: Picard’s always grappled with how it wanted to approach its titular hero and whether it wanted to be something largely new or something in loving conversation with TNG — it would seem, in its final season, it’s at least decided to be the latter, as it says goodbye to much of the former.
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