The season 2 finale of Star Trek: Picard has finally arrived, and with it the death of John de Lancie‘s Q… or does he die after all? To anyone who’s been keeping track of interviews with the various cast and crew of the series, there was one pretty big thing missing from Picard‘s second season. Here’s a hint: it has to do with a scene that was promised to us by Jonathan Frakes, who has not only played William Riker in multiple Trek series and films, but has also become one of the franchise’s most prolific directors. It’s a scene that never arrived, and we think it may mean that Q will be returning for Picard‘s third and final season.
SPOILERS follow for the season 2 finale of Star Trek: Picard!
Back in January, Jonathan Frakes revealed what he said was his favorite scene in Picard‘s second season. He said that he got to appear in a scene as Riker alongside both De Lancie and Brent Spiner. As you know if you’ve watched all of Picard‘s second season, there is no such scene. It never happened. In fact, while Frakes directed two of season 2’s episodes, he doesn’t appear in front of the camera at all. It’s only speculation based on Frakes’ words, but we think the Riker actor wasn’t talking about season 2 — we think he was actually talking about a scene in season 3. If that’s the case, then it’s likely that means Q does not die in the season 2 finale, but that we will see him once more in the third and final season.
Why do we think Jonathan Frakes may have mixed up the seasons in the interview? Wouldn’t he know better than we would? First, we never see Q die in the season 2 finale. He claims sending the heroes back to the 25th century will drain him of most of the rest of his life force, and he presumably uses the remainder to resurrect Elnor (Evan Evagora), yet we never see his actual death. Second; it’s been confirmed that both Spiner and Frakes will be in the cast of Picard‘s third season, along with most of the rest of lead cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Third, we know that season 2 and 3 of Picard were filmed back-to-back, meaning Jonathan Frakes’ confusion — assuming it’s that and not intentional misdirection — would be understandable. Fourth and finally; while it’s possible the De Lance/Frakes/Spiner scene was filmed for season 2 but was cut for one reason or another, narratively it doesn’t fit. Most of Picard‘s second season takes place in the 21st century and Riker isn’t one of the characters sent back. How would his character have any interactions with Q and Adam Soong (or another of Spiner’s Trek characters)?
If we’re right and John de Lancie is due for another Star Trek return, it will be a welcome one. Not only is Q one of the franchise’s fan-favorite antagonists, there’s no attempt in season 2 of Picard to explain either how Q is dying or even why he’s even now capable of dying through natural causes. There’s no set premiere date yet for the third and final season of Picard, but with filming wrapped we’re guessing we’ll be seeing Jonathan Frakes and the rest of TNG‘s cast reunite with Patrick Stewart on Paramount+ some time in 2023.