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On April 20, 2023, Star Trek: Picard concluded its third and final season, and thankfully, Patrick Stewart’s title character made it out of the Paramount+ show alive. As a nice callback to how Star Trek: The Next Generation ended in 1994, the final minutes of “The Last Generation” saw Jean-Luc Picard and his Enterprise-D family enjoy a game of poker together after having some drinks and sharing a toast. But as it turns out, this wasn’t the original Picard Season 3 ending, though Stewart has admitted that he’s ‘sort of to blame’ for this alternate version not being shot.
In an excerpt from hi his memoir Making It So (via Time), Stewart revealed that a few months prior to Picard wrapping, he envisioned Season 3 would end with Jean-Luc Picard in a different head space compared to where we saw him the finale that Paramount+ subscribers can stream, though not in a bad way. The actor told the writers:
What I’d like to see at the end of the show is a content Jean-Luc. I want to see Picard perfectly at ease with his situation. Not anxious, not in a frenzy, not depressed. And I think this means that there is a wife in the picture.
Because Patrick Stewart had found love in his life, he felt that Picard should do the same, and as such the writers crafted a scene set at the Picard family’s vineyard at dusk. The protagonist is enjoying the setting with his dog next to him, and then a woman’s voice is heard saying, “Jean-Luc? Supper’s ready!” However, it’s unclear whether we’re hearing Beverly Crusher, Laris or someone else, though Stewart’s wife Sunny was set to record the line. Regardless, Picard and his dog would then walk into the house, and the series would fade to black.
So why was this version of the Star Trek: Picard Season 3 finale ending never shot? Well, it started off because on the last day of shooting the series, Patrick Stewart realized eight hours in that this going to be a 14 or even 16-hour day, and he was already scheduled to fly to New York the next morning. So he instead suggested the following to the production team:
Look, the scene with the dog will take no time to shoot, but it will take hours to set up the lighting and the green screen and all that. We don’t have those hours. So let’s not shoot that scene today. I can come back at any time you like and take care of it. Just me and the dog.
Stewart recalled that the production team was “grateful and relieved,” so he flew to New York and expected to shoot that final scene after his trip was over. Instead, that delay ended up backfiring. No one ever called him to come back in, and when the actor inquired multiple times about what was going on, someone eventually told him that the studio wasn’t going to shoot the scene after all, feeling it was “too expensive” and “unnecessary.” This disappointed Stewart, as he felt this moment was “crucial to the completion of Picard’s arc,” but that’s not to say he was displeased with ending things with the poker game, which he called a “warm, emotional send-off to my favorite Starfleet crew.”
As for if we’ll ever Patrick Stewart reprise Jean-Luc Picard in the aftermath of Star Trek: Picard, right now, nothing is officially on the books. That said, fans are championing a Legacy spinoff series, and the Starfleet hero could easily pop back up there, especially if his son Jack Crusher, played by Ed Speleers, is one of the main characters. Stewart also mentioned in his time writeup that he’s “pushing Paramount” to make a Picard movie, and William Rider actor Jonathan Frakes is his first choice to direct. That sounds like it would make for a cool Paramount+ exclusive Star Trek movie to accompany the Michelle Yeoh-led Section 31.
If such a project is greenlit, we’ll let you know, but until then, Paramount+ is currently holding down the Star Trek front with Lower Decks Season 4, and Discovery Season 5 will follow sometime in 2024, though there's still some great TV left to hit our screens as part of the 2023 TV schedule as well.