It looks like Star Trek folks have a plan for bringing Robert Duncan McNeill's Tom Paris back into the franchise mix sooner than later.
Star Trek and Picard fans, in particular, have been getting all sorts of good news lately about the series, its potential future, and faces from the past who are going to rejoin the mix. The latest rumor has it that Robert Duncan McNeill has been in active talks to reprise a role he had for years on Star Trek Voyager. On the Primitive Culture Podcast (via TrekMovie), McNeill mentioned that he discussed the possibility of reprising his role as Tom Paris in an upcoming season of Picard. It would be another blast from the past for the franchise.
During the interview, Robert Duncan McNeil talked about the status of Tom Paris and whether we’d ever see him again when it came to any Star Trek property. He had quite a bit to say on the subject, having been in some active talks with now-showrunner Terry Matalas who, along with Akiva Goldsman is taking over duties from Michael Chabon who headed up Season 1. Duncan had this to say about what’s been discussed relative to a Tom Paris appearance.
I did talk to Terry Matalas about (Star Trek) Picard season two… And Terry had talked about bringing me over there as a director or as an actor bringing Tom Paris. But it’s really been about schedule. So I’d love to do Picard…They asked me to do an episode of Picard (in) the first season as an actor to play Tom Paris… I wasn’t available… It wasn’t a big sequence of scenes. It was a couple of scenes with Patrick. I think it was just like viewscreen or maybe it was in his office or something. It wasn’t a lot. They were trying to work it out so it wasn’t a lot so the schedule might work, but it didn’t pan out.
With the Star Trek: Picard folks, and the franchise in general, working hard to keep around folks who’ve been involved in the past, it makes sense that they would want McNeill to reprise the Tom Paris role in some way. Considering the timeline of Picard, the character would likely be around in this timeline. Heck, they brought Jeri Ryan back as Seven of Nine in the first season. Paris was a character on Voyager for all seven seasons and was critical to what happened on the ship and within the stories.
While it doesn’t sound like the plans were huge for Tom Paris in this respect, reading screens and whatnot, acting more as something of an Easter Egg/ hat tip than anything else, it’s warming to know they continue to actively consider bringing in the old crew. Kate Mulgrew who played Kathryn Janeway from that same series is reprising her role in animated form on Star Trek: Prodigy. Considering some of these iterations of the franchise overlap, it’s a bit easier to have folks step back into their roles.
And we also know that it isn’t just Tom Paris that the Picard folks have wanted in the mix. They locked up a huge addition to the cast when it was announced that John de Lancie was getting back into character as Q for this second season of the show. From initial teases, it looks like he will have a much bigger role than anything they planned for Paris. In fact, by the looks of things he could be central to the story.
Though Tom Paris isn’t coming back for the second season of Star Trek: Picard, there might be plenty of other chances going forward. Giant Freakin Robot had the exclusive that the folks at Paramount Plus are actively talking about extending the show through at least the fourth season. This would give quite the runway to bring back the casts of old in the continued story of the titular admiral. It’s an exciting time in the Star Trek universe where old fans continue to get the nod with legacy characters. There is no timeline for when Picard will be back available with new episodes on the streamer.