Star Trek: Picard’s Real Villain Is One Of TNG’s Best Heroes

We have a theory that the real villain behind it all in Season 3 of Star Trek: Picard is Sela, the half-Romulan daughter of the late Tasha Yar.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

WARNING! SPOILERS follow for Season 3 of Star Trek: Picard!

Denise Crosby’s Tasha Yar died in Season 1 of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but the actress just couldn’t seem to keep away from the series. Not only would Crosby reprise the role of Tasha Yar in Season 3’s “Yesterday’s Enterprise” as well as in the TNG finale, but she also played the half-Romulan Commander Sela, Yar’s daughter. I think there’s good reason to believe that it will be Sela who proves to be Star Trek: Picard‘s true villain.

The first hint that Sela is the villain of Picard? Well, it comes straight from the proverbial horse’s mouth. Back in August, during last year’s Mission Star Trek in Las Vegas, Denise Crosby confirmed she would be appearing in the third and final season of Star Trek: Picard.

To be fair, Crosby specified it would be Tasha Yar returning for the Star Trek series, as opposed to the villain Sela. But saying Yar will appear isn’t necessarily saying Sela won’t, and in a post-Spider-Man: No Way Home world, I believe celebrities as much as I believe election forecasts (i.e., that means I don’t).

The second sign that Star Trek: Picard will see the return of Tasha’s villainous daughter is the choice of targets in a devastating terrorist attack in the Season 3 premiere. A Starfleet recruiting center on M’Talas Prime is hit with a quantum tunneling weapon which seemingly not only rips the center and the people in it out of the ground, but opens a new tunnel nearby that sends what was the center and the people inside crashing to the ground below. This same quantum tunneling tech is used by Vadic (Amanda Plummer) a number of times in her pursuit of the USS Titan.

Raffi (Michelle Hurd) figuring out the terrorists’ target in “The Next Generation” – Star Trek: Picard S3 E1

Raffi (Michelle Hurd) actually figures out where on M’Talas Prime the quantum tunneling tech will be used, though unfortunately she realizes it too late to help. Her only clue is the name, “The Red Lady.” This “Red Lady” proves to be a statue of the late Rachel Garrett due to be dedicated on the upcoming Frontier Day.

If the name Rachel Garrett sounds familiar then you’re likely a TNG fan. Tricia O’Neil plays the heroic captain of the Enterprise-C in “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” the same episode that sets the stage for the birth of the Star Trek villain Sela. In a dark, altered future that finds the Federation in a losing war against the Klingons — caused because of the Enterprise-C’s unintentional journey to the future — Garrett decides to take her ship back to the past, but dies on the way there.

With Garrett dead, Tasha Yar — who didn’t die in this version of the timeline — volunteers to go back to help the Enterprise-C face a battle with the Romulans. She survives, and births Sela with one of her Romulan captors.

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Tricia O’Neil as Rachel Garrett and Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard in “Yesterday’s Enterprise” – Star Trek: The Next Generation S3 E15

Not only would Garrett’s statue make the recruitment center a perfect choice for Star Trek’s forgotten Romulan villain Sela — considering Garrett is arguably partly responsible for Sela’s existence — but why else would it be chosen? If it isn’t Sela behind the attacks, why wouldn’t the bad guys choose something closer to Earth or perhaps even on Earth? Using the weapon at Starfleet HQ would be a lot more harmful than a recruitment center on a planet like M’Talas Prime.

Sela’s involvement would also make perfect sense because of another confirmed Star Trek: Picard villain — the Changelings. What would happen, hypothetically speaking, if Sela were to find out the secret machinations of Captain Benjamin Sisko in Deep Space Nine‘s “In the Pale Moonlight” that leads to the Romulan entry into the Dominion War on the Federation’s side? How difficult would it be for her to ally herself with the Changelings determined to continue to wage war on the Federation?

Finally, Sela’s inclusion into the final season of Star Trek: Picard as a villain would be brilliant thematically. With just three episodes streamed, it’s clear one of themes of this final season revolves around parents who have abandoned, neglected, and/or failed their children. Picard is dealing with meeting a son he never knew he had and Riker is still wrestling with the loss of his son Thaddeus.

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Ed Speleer as Jack Crusher, the son of Jean-Luc Picard and Beverly Crusher

What Star Trek character better represents a forgotten child than Sela? In fact, considering the fact that in “Yesterday’s Enterprise” the only member of the crew to remember the events is Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg), when we call Sela “forgotten” we mean it literally. None of the heroes knew she existed, or that her existence was even a possibility, until the events of the TNG Season 5 two-parter “Unification.”

Whether I have any idea what I’m talking about or I’m just flapping my gums like DS9’s resident motormouth Morn (Mark Allen Shepherd), we’ll all know soon enough. Episode 4 of Star Trek: Picard Season 3 streams Thursday on Paramount+.