Fans experience a special kind of joy when a favorite actor makes the jump from one beloved franchise to another. There are a lot of connections like that — Jolene Blalock of Star Trek: Enterprise showed up twice on Stargate SG-1, Walter Koenig of Star Trek: The Original Series played a recurring antagonist on Babylon 5, and Warwick Davis of multiple Star Wars projects once told The Independent his favorite role was one he landed on Doctor Who. Well, as of this week’s episode of Star Trek: Picard, James Callis — best known as the allegiance-shifting Dr. Gaius Baltar on the 2004 reboot of Battlestar Galactica — has joined the universe Gene Roddenberry made.
WARNING! The following story contains massive SPOILERS for Star Trek: Picard, season 2, episode 7, “Monsters”!
In the previous episode, Jean-Luc Picard was nearly killed when Dr. Adam Soong (Brent Spiner) tries to run over Jean-Luc’s 21st century ancestor Renée Picard. Jean-Luc pushes Renée out of the way and takes the hit himself. Still out of commission in today’s episode, Picard is stuck inside his own head, speaking to who he believes to be a Starfleet counselor along the lines of Deanna Troi. This is James Callis, and he ultimately proves to be much more than just a counselor.
In the season 2 premiere, we learn that Picard believes his father was an abusive man who used to hurt his mother. James Callis’ Star Trek character, however, helps Picard discover the truth. Jean-Luc’s belief that his mother was being abused was his young mind’s misunderstanding of his mother’s mental illness. In truth, Picard’s father was trying to protect his wife from herself as well as their children. We also learn Callis is the mental embodiment of Picard’s father. So while we likely won’t be seeing a lot more of this character in Trek, it was clearly an important one to one of the franchise’s most iconic figures.
James Callis isn’t the first Battlestar Galactica alum to make the jump to Trek. John Colicos — who played the villain Count Baltar in the original BSG — played the Klingon Kor, though in his case Trek had a claim over him first. Colicos originates Kor in the very first episode with Klingons: “Errand of Mercy” in Star Trek: The Original Series. That aired over a decade before the first BSG episode. Long after he’d appeared on BSG, Colicos reprised the role of Kor three times on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
After “Monsters,” Star Trek: Picard‘s second season only has three episodes left, but season 3 has already been filmed and almost the entire Star Trek: The Next Generation cast is returning for the show’s final season. Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, and LeVar Burton are all joining the season 3 cast. The announcement came last week, along with a teaser. You can watch the video below.
Perhaps one of the biggest questions about the reuniting of the TNG cast is the question of exactly who Brent Spiner will play. The actor was so adamant that Data’s final passing in season 1 of Star Trek: Picard be respected that he had it written into his season 2 contract that he would not play the character. It could mean he’ll be playing one of the descendants of Data’s creator Noonian Soong. Or, possibly he could play one Data’s “brothers” — B-4 or the villainous Lore.