Earlier this month came the reveal that almost the entire lead cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation will join Patrick Stewart for the third and final season of Star Trek: Picard. The latter series premiered two years ago, with a mostly brand new cast of characters aiding the eponymous hero. Now, with the conclusion of the second season approaching, we have a theory based on both the news of the TNG cast’s returns and the events of season 2, particularly yesterday’s episode — “Hide and Seek. The theory? Star Trek: Picard will write all or most of its season 1 and 2 regular cast — save for Sir Patrick Stewart himself, and possibly one or two others — out of the show to make way for the TNG veterans.
This is your official warning. SPOILERS follow for all of Picard‘s season 2 so far, including episode 9. We consider you warned.
Really, the culling of Star Trek: Picard‘s season 1 and 2 cast began before the current season. Isa Briones — who played Soji and a number of other synthetic characters in season 1 — went from regular to recurring cast in season 2, and only appeared as Soji in the season 2 premiere. For the rest of season 2, she’s only appeared a few more times as Adam Soong’s (Brent Spiner) “daughter” Kore.
Elnor (Evan Evagora) was killed off early in Star Trek: Picard‘s current season; in episode 3, “Assimilation.” Shortly after the episode streamed, Evagora made a comment to Newsweek hinting at a return. He said that after reading the script that included Elnor’s death, he spoke with the producers. The conversation left him “feeling a lot less stressed and a lot more reassured.” He also said that whatever the showrunners revealed to him was “a very big surprise.” As of yesterday’s episode, that “very big surprise” may have already been unveiled. To assist in defending the ship, a holographic version of Elnor is summoned in episode 8, “Mercy.” In fact, in yesterday’s episode, even though this new Elnor is a hologram, Raffi (Michelle Hurd) gets some relief from her guilt about Elnor’s death after speaking to him. Yes, this is a time travel story that may ultimately undo Elnor’s death, but the very fact that Raffi mentions that old trope right after the Romulan dies in episode 3 makes us suspect the Trek creators are actually making Elnor’s death permanent.
Jurati (Alison Pill) has been assimilated by the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching), and “Hide and Seek” ends with the Queen making a deal with Jurati and the heroes to take their ship and for the pair to remain assimilated. Meanwhile, there are hints that Rios (Santiago Cabrera) may ultimately choose to stay in the 21st century, because of his love for Dr. Teresa (Sol Rodriguez). So, the penultimate episode of Star Trek: Picard‘s second season ends with most of the regular cast’s characters poised to seemingly find permanent homes outside the rest the of the series.
Jeri Ryan, who plays Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager fame, confirmed on a March episode of The Talk that she will be in the final season of Picard, adding that she thought fans would be “extremely satisfied” with how the story of the eponymous Trek icon ends. We think there’s a chance Raffi will be there as well. So far, there’s been no obvious opportunity for an exit for her character, but there’s still one episode left. The season finale of Picard streams on Paramount+ next Thursday, May 5. The same day will see the series premiere of the episodic prequel show Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.