Why Patrick Stewart Bided His Time On Bringing The Next Generation's Stars To Picard

When it was first announced that Sir Patrick Stewart would be reprising his role as the titular Starfleet captain on "Star Trek: Picard," it seemed inevitable that the rest of his castmates from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" would be involved in some capacity. And in a way, "Picard" definitely delivered: the series picked up threads regarding Data and his lineage, which of course merited the return of Brent Spiner as the android. The first season also brought Picard's trusted Number One, Riker (Jonathan Frakes), as well as Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), back into the fold. But short of a brief appearance from Picard's old confidant Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) in season 2, "Picard" had yet to facilitate the comprehensive "Next Gen" reunion that so many fans had been anticipating.

That is, until the series' third season. While it will be the last of Picard's adventures, "Picard" season 3 seems keen on going out with a bang. Not only are Frakes, Sirtis and Spiner all confirmed for Picard's last road trip — but so are LeVar Burton, Gates McFadden and Michael Dorn, reuniting on-screen for the first time in 20 years. The cast's return was announced in tandem with the series' season 3 teaser, and though it's exactly what "Next Generation" fans have been asking for, some are still asking why it took so long to get here.

The answer, according to "Picard" co-showrunner Alez Kurtzman, had a lot to do with Stewart himself, and his desire to "earn" the reunion that everyone has been waiting for.

'If we're going to do that, we have to earn it'

Kurtzman recently sat down with TrekCore to discuss the final season of "Picard," and the big questions surrounding the cast's return:

"When you take on Picard, the first thing you think is 'I want to bring everybody back,' right. Of course. But Patrick Stewart, and he really deserves the credit for it, equally wanted to bring everybody back, but I think was insistent from the beginning and saying if we're going to do that, we have to earn it. We can't just drop that all at once. It won't land in the right way because there won't have been enough time to set up what had changed about Picard and what had changed about all the other characters in the intervening years."

The first two seasons of "Picard" were all about setting up the former captain's world. "I think we felt that by the time we get around to Season 3, now you're like, 'Okay, we've established the world, we've established the characters,'" Kurtzman explained. It was also important that "Picard" had a "really good reason" to bring Stewart's old castmates back, though that reason is still something of a mystery to fans.

The third season of "Picard" is largely in the bag already, so it might not be long before we get more clues about the plot. And whatever this new adventure entails, it's really going to be great to see this old cast getting to play in such a new world.