Star Trek: Picard Fought Studio To Bring Back Fan-Favorite Character

By Britta DeVore | Published

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The third and final season of Paramount+’s series, Star Trek: Picard brought a lot of familiar faces back to the fold. In a genius move from production, the last season gave Star Trek: The Next Generation both a reunion and a proper ending with characters like Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Data (Brent Spiner) popping up alongside Patrick Stewart’s revered Captain Jean-Luc Picard. By the time the episodes featuring The Next Generation cast aired, many knew that they’d be back in action, but one installment, in particular, saw the return of Michelle Forbes’ Ensign Ro Laren – a decision the producer had to fight Paramount to make happen.

Ensign Ro Is A Beloved Recurring TNG Character

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As a recurring character on The Next Generation, Ensign Ro brought a much-needed fresh perspective of uncertainty to the USS Enterprise. While she certainly shook things up and was an asset to the fan-favorite off-shoot, Star Trek: Picard showrunner Terry Matalas revealed that he had a difficult time convincing Paramount that Michelle Forbes should be given a chance to reprise her character.

Would The Fans Recognize Ro?

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The reason behind Paramount being such a stick in the mud? The network was worried that fans wouldn’t recognize her.

Before she reemerged on Star Trek: Picard, it had been nearly two decades since Ensign Ro was last seen in the May 1994 Next Generation episode, “Preemptive Strike.” Never one to follow the commands of Starfleet blindly, Ro was known for opening her horizons and considering other perspectives outside of her assigned group. It was in “Preemptive Strike” that audiences watched as Ro left her post to travel with the anti-Starfleet Maquis separatists, much to the chagrin of Captain Picard who was hoping that he finally had made it through to the stubborn yet talented Ensign. 

Ro’s Return

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Although Picard would have never known it, the years shifted Ro’s thinking as, when we were reunited with her on Star Trek: Picard during the March 2023 episode, “Imposters,” she had rejoined Starfleet. Going one step further, Ro was now a Commander who was on the trail of a possible Changeling infiltration. While she and her ex-captain exchanged some heated words, Ro showed her true colors by the end of her time when she lays down her own life to save Picard, his son Jack Crusher (Ed Speleers), and the crew of the USS Titan. 

Matalas Made It Happen

Despite receiving pushback from the network, Matalas went full-speed ahead with his mission to bring Ro onto Star Trek: Picard, a choice that paid off in the long run. As mentioned at the top, so many other featured characters from The Next Generation received their well-deserved send-offs through the off-shoot, with the re-introduction and rounding-out of Ro’s time – and what she’s been up to in the 100 years since we last saw her – the perfect completion to one of the most complicated characters in the history of the franchise.

Many Other Returns

Along with perfectly weaving in Michelle Forbes’ reprisal, the team behind Star Trek: Picard also brought back stars including the aforementioned Brent Spiner and Jonathan Frakes as well as Gates McFadden, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, and more. While the adventures of Captain Picard are over (at least for now), fans can stream all three seasons of Star Trek: Picard in their entirety now on Paramount+.