We may still have months to wait for Star Trek: Picard Season 2, but the folks making the show aren’t wasting any time. Executive producer Akiva Goldsmith told Trek Movie that production of Picard Season 3 began the day after Picard Season 2 wrapped, and thanks to photos posted by co-showrunner Terry Matalas, fans are getting an early look at Picard‘s third season. Of particular interest are shots from a new starship, including interiors that should look very familiar to fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Matalas has been teasing fans with the Picard Season 3 set pics for over a week. Most of the photos show a ship’s consoles — presumably, the consoles of a Starfleet ship — displaying the LCARS layout common to ships from the era of TNG. And if there was any doubt whether the ship was new or old, in at least one post, Matalas refers to “those old LCARS colors.”
One of the Picard Season 3 posts includes a video of the iconic Red Alert, letting everyone on board know the Borg are back, the Cardassians are attacking, the Romulans are being Romulan-y, or any other number of standard threats faced by Starfleet personnel.
Other Picard Season 3 preview pics from the mystery ship include a hypospray dispenser and the read out on Jean-Luc Picard’s (Patrick Stewart) replicator. As per usual, Picard’s tastes seem to be on the fancy side of things.
Of course, this is all great to look at but if you’ve seen the first season of Star Trek: Picard, then you know why these Picard Season 3 images are a little strange. Season 1 takes place in 2399 — 20 years after the events of the final TNG era film, 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis. The interior of La Sirena — the ship from Season 1 — looks nothing like this. So what’s going on?
The most obvious possibility is time travel. We already know from the trailer for Picard Season 2 that time travel will be a big element to the story. Apparently — even though Goldsmith says John de Lancie’s Q won’t feature in Picard Season 3 — the following season will likewise have a lot to do with bouncing around time.
There are also clues that it won’t just be to the TNG era that Picard Season 3 will travel. One of Matalas’ tweets shows a neon beer sign that may just seem a little familiar to fans of the original crew. Arcanis Lager had its most prominent mention in a scene in which the Spock-possessed McCoy (DeForest Kelley) frequents a bar in 1984’s Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
But possibly the most quietly revealing of the Picard Season 3 images is of a whistle — more specifically, a boatswain’s whistle. One just like it appears in the final film to feature the original series crew, 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The boatswain’s whistles featured in TNG are much smaller. Most revealing of all, the hand holding the whistle appears to be attached to someone wearing a 24th century Starfleet uniform — as opposed to the 23rd century, which is when the whistle is from.
It’s only speculation, but what we could be learning is that Picard Season 3 will be dealing with the Temporal Wars. The conflict is first referenced in the prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise and in season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery — when the crew of the titular ship jumps forward in time to the 32nd century — the Temporal Wars are alluded to a number of times. Few details are offered, only that the conflict is fought with various means of time travel, and that it’s so costly that afterward the Federation bans all forms of time travel.
Of course, before we know anything solid about Picard Season 3, we need to get to Season 2 first. Paramount+ subscribers will be able to watch the new season starting in February 2022.