Picard Season 3 Was Written To Feel Like A Star Trek Feature Film

When "Star Trek: Picard" returns this month, it'll be for a final season that sees almost the entire "Star Trek: The Next Generation" cast reunited for the first time since 2002's "Star Trek: Nemesis." The Paramount+ series about an aging, mostly-retired Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) has featured castmates from the beloved '90s Trek series before, bringing back John de Lancie's Q and Whoopi Goldberg's Guinan in its second season.

But the show's last hurrah is set to be an all-star reunion of the Enterprise-D crew, and it's only fitting, then, that it's properly cinematic. "It feels like a feature film, a final feature film," showrunner and writer Terry Matalas tells SFX Magazine (via GamesRadar). While the "really more like a long movie" refrain has become all but meaningless in recent years, in the world of "Star Trek," it actually makes sense. The franchise has long since offered fans episodic shows, overarching season-long plots, and single-mission movies. All three formats co-exist rather well in the "Star Trek" world, and according to Matalas, the "Star Trek: Picard" sendoff feels more like a Trek movie than like episodic television.

The final season gets the crew back together

Part of the cinematic feeling may come from the fact that, after exploring intergalactic politics and character-driven drama for its first two seasons, "Star Trek: Picard" will now see the former Enterprise-D crew face down one Big Bad, who "Trek" franchise overseer Alex Kurtzman compared to Ricardo Montalban's Khan at Comic-Con last summer. "We do have a singular villain this season," the executive producer told the audience. "I won't say too much other than to say that she is amazing." He also called the "mind games" between Khan and Captain Kirk (William Shatner) in "Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn" the "north star" when it came to creating the new villain.

Any "Star Trek" show can have a great villain, but the new season of "Star Trek: Picard" also has the Avengers-type original crew lineup to go with its cinematic arc. LeVar Burton, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Gates McFadden, and Michael Dorn are all reprising their beloved roles this year, while Brent Spiner will reportedly once again play the villainous Lore. Jeri Ryan is also set to return as Seven of Nine.

According to Matalas, the new season will maintain the spirit of TNG and do something totally new with the characters and format. "If you're looking to feel like these are the Next Gen characters that you grew up with, you will see them everywhere," he told SFX Magazine. "If you're looking for something a little new, well, you get to catch up with them in unexpected ways as well. But you will get those 'Next Gen' feels back for sure."

If all goes well, this may not truly be the end

The new season of "Star Trek: Picard" apparently doesn't just feel like a movie, it could be the launching pad for an actual movie. Several of the castmates of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" have expressed interest in continuing with stories beyond this one, and Frakes has explained that the concluding season doesn't quite seem like goodbye forever. "It doesn't feel so much as an ending as the possibility of moving forward. I think there's a future," the actor told TrekMovie.

Matalas is in the same boat, telling SFX Magazine, "I think there are ways of seeing these characters again, in a kind of Next, Next Generation story." While he clarifies that not every character will make it out of season three alive, he also notes that science fiction allows for opportunities for characters to come back. "You get everybody in a room, of course you're gonna say, 'Let's do another movie," Matalas says, wondering aloud about why there haven't been more movies with the crew from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" in the time since "Nemesis." In the end, though, he says it's up to the fans to decide if they want to see more.

"Star Trek: Picard" is shaping up to be an intriguingly contradictory adventure: a show that feels like a movie, and an end that feels like a beginning. The new season streams on Paramount+ beginning on February 16, 2023.