Star Trek: Picard Brought A Ton Of Franchise Vets Back For Final Season, But One Wasn't Even An Intentional Callback
Warning: SPOILERS for the Star Trek: Picard episode “Seventeen Seconds” are ahead!”
Although the first two seasons of Star Trek: Picard weren’t lacking for familiar Star Trek faces to feature alongside Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard, including Season 2 bringing back both Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan and John de Lancie as Q (the latter of whom had an emotional last day of filming), Season 3 has taken on the endeavor of reuniting Stewart with almost all the other main cast members from Star Trek: The Next Generation. So far, Jonathan Frakes, Gates McFadden, Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis have all reprised their respective characters, and Brent Spiner and LeVar Burton are still to come. As it turns out though, there was another Star Trek franchise vet who stopped by the latest episode of Picard, but unlike the others, their inclusion wasn’t meant to be an intentional callback.
In Star Trek: Picard Season 3’s third episode, “Seventeen Seconds,” it’s revealed that the Changelings, who were introduced in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, are back in play. One of these shapeshifting antagonists, disguised as Titus Rikka, was responsible for the attack on the Starfleet recruitment center on M’Talas Prime, but they were captured by Worf and Raffi. This particular Changeling was played by Thomas Dekker, who previously appeared in the 1994 movie Star Trek Generations as Jean-Luc Picard’s imaginary son seen in the Nexus. Picard showrunner Terry Matalas said the following to Digital Spy when asked if bringing Dekker back to the Star Trek fold was deliberate:
No, he just auditioned for the role and he's fantastic… It didn't actually dawn on us until we were shooting that that was the case, that [Dekker] had been [...] part of it before. But wow, is he good in that scene? Yeah. Like he's so good.
So we can tack on one more Star Trek: The Next Generation-related cameos for Star Trek: Picard, with Generations coming out in November 1994, just six months after The Next Generation concluded its seven-season run filled with plenty of WTF moments. Granted, Thomas Dekker wasn’t playing the same character as before, and his appearance happened by chance rather as a planned thing, but it still counts! Sadly, just like his outing in Generations, Dekker’s time in Picard was short-lived. After reverting back to its liquid form, Dekker’s Changeling character attempted to escape custody, only for Worf to vaporize them with a phaser.
In addition to the Changeling disguised as Titus Rikka, “Seventeen Seconds” also revealed there was one of these antagonists aboard the Titan sabotaging the ship while disguised as an ensign. This Changeling, on the other hand, was able to break free, so he’ll continue being a threat going into this week’s Star Trek: Picard episode. Between that and Amanda Plummer’s Vadic having severely crippled the Titan, our protagonists were in quite the pickle when last week’s episode concluded.
Paramount+ subscribers can catch new episodes of Star Trek: Picard on Thursdays, and that platform is also home to nearly all the other Star Trek movies and TV shows, including Discovery, which will be ending with its fifth season next year. Keep track of the other shows airing now or debuting soon with our 2023 TV schedule.