Star Trek: Picard is set to give fans a glimpse of what became of Jean-Luc Picard after Star Trek: Nemesis - but what about his loyal crew from The Next Generation? It would have been hard to fathom when Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted in 1987, but the show's ensemble cast is arguably the best in the franchise's history, full of great actors playing thoughtful, consistently written characters.
While Star Trek: The Original Series revolved almost exclusively around the exploits of the three main characters - Kirk, Spock, and Bones - The Next Generation made its supporting characters just as compelling as the captain himself, sometimes more so. Some of the series' best episodes hinge on matters like defending the honor of Lieutenant Worf's family, Commander Riker's internal struggles with his own ambition, and Lieutenant Commander Data's endeavors to become more human.
The appeal of Star Trek: The Next Generation went well beyond Patrick Stewart's unimpeachable lead performance; that crew, more than on any other Star Trek series, felt like a family. Even the Enterprise-D's bridge looked like a cozy living room, brightly lit with cushy beige furniture and wood paneling. The show had the good fortune of having a deep bench; Doctor Crusher could carry an episode just as well as Picard or Data, a genuine rarity in television ensembles.
While we know Star Trek: Picard will delve deeply into the good captain's later life, it's unclear what role, if any, his fellow TNG crewmates will play. But, using what we know about these characters, it's possible to predict where life may have taken them by the end of the 24th century.
When we last saw Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) at the end of Star Trek: Nemesis, he was departing his longtime role as Captain Picard's trusted right-hand man on the Enterprise. Everyone's favorite bearded commander had been promoted to Captain, and following his marriage to Enterprise counselor and longtime love interest Deanna Troi, he took command of the USS Titan. His first mission as captain was to explore a possible peace negotiation with the Romulans, which could factor into the events of Picard in a big way.
Out of all of the Enterprise's former crew, Riker seems the surest bet to still be an important figure in Starfleet. Unlike some of his more alien comrades, Riker always had an effortless confidence, and felt right at home within the culture of Starfleet. The possible future glimpsed in The Next Generation series finale "All Good Things" saw Riker ascend to the rank of admiral and become a major power player in Starfleet Command, and that seems a likely outcome in Star Trek: Picard as well.
Riker also figures to be the Enterprise crew member most likely to make an appearance in Picard; Jonathan Frakes is already on board to direct two episodes of the series. Trimming up his beard and throwing him in front of the camera seems like a no-brainer; it's even possible Riker could be the person to give Picard his mission as the series kicks off. If Star Trek: Picard is going to bring any TNG crew members along for the ride, the odds are good one of them will be Will Riker - still awkwardly sitting in chairs across the galaxy.
Data (Or B-4)
In the strictest sense, Data (Brent Spiner) has no future. The beloved android sacrificed himself to save Captain Picard at the conclusion of Star Trek: Nemesis, blown to pieces along with the villainous Shinzon's warship. But much like another emotionless Star Trek icon, Data had a contingency plan for beating death. Early on in Nemesis, the Enterprise crew discover the disassembled B-4, a Soong android prototype that predated both Data and his evil brother Lore. B-4 was, to put it delicately, simpler than Data, with a less sophisticated brain and a toddler-like personality. Before his death, Data loaded a copy of his memories into B-4, hoping the information would help him to evolve beyond his original, limited programming. Nemesis ends with B-4 humming the song Data sang at Riker and Troi's wedding, suggesting the memories took hold and that Data could someday re-emerge from B-4.
Most post-Nemesis ancillary fiction has treated Data's eventual resurrection as a given, and it seems likely Picard will do the same if they intend to include Brent Spiner. Assuming Data was more or less fully restored, it's easy to imagine he picked up where he left off with his Starfleet career; two decades after Nemesis, Data would likely be at least a Starfleet captain - and who better to command the Enterprise?
We may actually know more about Worf (Michael Dorn) than any other The Next Generation cast member, and that's largely due to the assignment he took on after the destruction of the Enterprise-D. Michael Dorn spent seven seasons portraying Worf on TNG, but then spent another four seasons on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where his character was given unprecedented depth and nuance. Largely a supporting character on TNG, Deep Space Nine put Worf front and center during its acclaimed Dominion War seasons. Worf would go on to be a key player in Klingon politics, and found himself with two new families: he was welcomed into the House of Martok after the dissolution of the House of Mogh, and he married fellow Starfleet officer Jadzia Dax. The marriage would be short-lived, as Jadzia was killed by the Cardassian madman Gul Dukat. Worf ended his tenure on Deep Space Nine by becoming the Federation's ambassador to the Klingon homeworld - though he was back in Starfleet uniform a few years later in Star Trek: Nemesis.
Worf's fate is one of the more intriguing questions about the future of Star Trek. He may have returned to the Klingon Empire to become a trusted and powerful advisor in intergalactic politics, or he could just as easily be teaching combat training at Starfleet Academy, where he and Miles O'Brien swap stories about their kids and old times fighting the Jem'Hadar. The possibilities are almost endless for Worf, who has become one of Star Trek's greatest, most versatile characters.
Geordi La Forge
The Enterprise's trusted chief engineer, Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) may have been the hardest working man in Starfleet. He may have lacked Montgomery Scott's cartoonish charms, but he made up for it with his seemingly endless enthusiasm and his innovative ways of getting the ship out of trouble. Geordi was born blind, and for many years wore a cumbersome VISOR to help him see, though by the The Next Generation movies it had been replaced by artificial eye implants, much to LeVar Burton's relief.
Never one to seek out command, Geordi was more than happy to spend his days tinkering with Dilithium crystals and phase inducers. If Geordi is still in Starfleet by the time of Star Trek: Picard, he's likely either still a chief engineer somewhere in the fleet, or he's at Starfleet Command teaching the next generation of engineers what to do about coolant leaks and static warp shells.
While it wasn't explicitly said onscreen, a deleted scene from Star Trek: Nemesis confirms the good doctor Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) was set to leave the Enterprise to become the head of Starfleet Medical on Earth, a further wrinkle in that film's theme about endings. Not only was Beverly the Enterprise's medical extraordinaire, she was also Picard's occasional love interest, a potential romance that reached its boiling point by the end of TNG's television run. Curiously, their sexual tension - and indeed, their friendship in general - was completely ignored in the TNG movies, where Beverly was arguably the most poorly treated main cast member; in some of the films, like Insurrection and Nemesis, McFadden is a glorified extra.
Beverly deserves better than relative anonymity. The possible future glimpsed in "All Good Things" offered her a much more interesting path, where she became captain of a medical ship after marrying - and divorcing - Jean-Luc Picard. It will be interesting to see if Star Trek: Picard leans into the dynamic between the two, or if Beverly will be framed as the one who got away in the sad twilight of Jean-Luc's life.
After several seasons of saying preposterous things like "I sense the Romulans are being deceitful, captain," the empathic Counselor Troi (Marina Sirtis) came into her own in the later seasons of The Next Generation. Troi was eventually promoted to commander, which made her one of the highest ranking members of the Enterprise crew, ahead of even Data. Other than simply being a therapist - an important job for sure, but maybe not one that demanded a command chair on the bridge - Troi became a more well-rounded Starfleet officer, aiding in investigations and even playing a minor role in the recovery of the USS Voyager. Troi's romance with Riker was rekindled in Star Trek: Insurrection, and the two married at the beginning of Star Trek: Nemesis.
Troi joined Riker on the Titan following the events of Star Trek: Nemesis as that ship's counselor. Troi is almost certainly still a therapist and, assuming Riker now works at Starfleet Command on Earth, it's easy to imagine her leaving Starfleet behind for a more traditional private practice, as she never quite had the passion that some of her comrades did. Marina Sirtis has often said she and Jonathan Frakes would still be making The Next Generation if it was never canceled, so she certainly seems game for a cameo in Star Trek: Picard.
This one is complicated. The deeply irritating boy genius of the 24th century, Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) left The Next Generation during season 4; the character was going off to Starfleet Academy, and Wheaton wanted to try his hand at being a movie star. Wesley would guest star a handful of times during the remainder of TNG's run, including "Journey's End," a final season episode that was intended to tie off Wesley's story. The angsty cadet encountered the Traveler, a mysterious, powerful being that believed Wesley was something of a Chosen One; that episode ended with Wesley and the Traveler departing to explore new planes of existence.
Wesley apparently had a change of heart at some point, as he was back in Starfleet uniform at Riker and Troi's wedding in Nemesis. A deleted scene would have revealed Wesley was a lieutenant assigned to the Titan's engineering section - perhaps Riker calling in a favor for his old ward. Wesley was the closest thing Picard had to a child, but their relationship ran hot and cold over the years, and they never seemed as close after the events of "The First Duty," a classic TNG episode that saw Wesley fundamentally betray Picard's trust. It seems unlikely Wesley would play a large part in Star Trek: Picard - other than portraying himself on The Big Bang Theory, Wil Wheaton doesn't do much live action work anymore - but it could be a relationship worth exploring in the final years of Picard's life.