Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Features The Best Material Yet For Dr. Crusher, According To Gates McFadden [Comic-Con]

It's taken three seasons, but "Star Trek: Picard" will finally be reuniting the whole Enterprise-D crew with their former captain (Patrick Stewart). Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, and Brent Spiner returned as William Riker, Deanna Troi, and Data during season 1, but season 3 will see the whole band come back together with the additions of Michael Dorn (Worf), LeVar Burton (Geordi LaForge), and Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher).

At the "Star Trek" panel at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, McFadden spoke with particular excitement about returning to her role and gave the fans high hopes for her comeback as Crusher.

Crusher's role in Star Trek

Season 1 of "The Next Generation" wasn't the best start for Beverly Crusher (as with most things on that show). She was mostly there to be the mother to Wesley (Wil Wheaton) and a semi-love interest for Captain Picard. She was even phased out during season 2, thanks to showrunner Maurice Hurley's dislike of character and actor both. Beverly was thus replaced with the pricklier, more McCoy-like Dr. Katherine Pulaski (Diana Muldaur), but when that character didn't take off with audiences or the cast, producer Rick Berman persuaded McFadden to come back.

Once Crusher returned in season 3, it was clear she was there to stay; her tenure even outlasted Wesley's, who left the show in season 4. She still didn't get that many focus episodes, but the ones she did get were quality, including "Remember Me" (where crew members start disappearing and she's the only one who notices), "The Host," (where she falls for a Trill ambassador), and the b-plot in "Ethics," where she spars with Dr. Russell (Caroline Kava) over whether to use experimental surgery on a newly paralyzed Worf. She even got a shot at commanding the Enterprise in the two-part season 6 finale/season 7 premiere, "Descent."

Beverly and Jean-Luc

Picard and Crusher's relationship didn't quite blossom into full-on romance, but the tension between them never went away. In "The Best of Both Worlds," Beverly is the first of the Enterprise crew to see the assimilated Picard and advocates for saving him. In one of the possible timelines of the finale, "All Good Things," Picard and Crusher even married, though they subsequently divorced.

"Star Trek: Nemesis," the fourth and (currently) final "Star Trek: The Next Generation" film, was an underwhelming finale for the cast. One of those reasons is because Crusher is relegated to the background; the film has no resolution for her and Picard's relationship. According to McFadden, "Picard" season 3 will be changing that. The actress said:

"I will say this script for season 3 of 'Picard,' I think it's the best stuff my character has ever had on a 'Star Trek' show, so I was thrilled about it and I hope the fans will be too, there's a lot of unexpected things that happen, there's a lot of unresolved issues between Picard and Crusher."

McFadden also noted that some of the characters haven't kept up with one another in the decades between "Next Generation" and "Picard." Considering her absence from the show so far, could she be referring to Picard and Crusher? We'll have to wait and see.