Butch Cassidy Was Star Trek’s Blueprint For Riker’s Arc In Picard Season 3

Sometimes, having a bona fide nerd at the helm of one of the nerdiest franchises ever created can come in handy. Like many fans, “Picard” season 3 showrunner Terry Matalas felt strongly that “The Next Generation” cast had unfinished business after the uneven ending provided by “Star Trek: Nemesis.” As Matalas told EW, “I think the original series had a final send-off with ‘Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.’ This cast never really had that. So that was the goal from the beginning, to send ’em off in one final adventure that was both thrilling and deeply personal.” The top priority, then, involved giving Picard and Riker one last ride that would take full advantage of a relationship that has grown “spicier,” in the words of Jonathan Frakes himself.

Matalas went on to explain his reasoning behind pairing up the old crew once again:

“I thought it was important not to just get them all together in the first moment, but to earn each one of these character stories, to give each one of these characters their moment before they come together. If you were going to do a last ‘Next Generation’ movie, you would really only have two, maybe three hours to do that. That’s what’s beautiful about a 10-episode sort of ‘mini’ series. You can explore all of them and see how they’re different and pair them up.”

So far, season 3 has returned Picard and Riker to the familiarity of a Federation starship, albeit with a much more shoot-from-the-hip approach this time around that both Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid would approve of.

“Picard” debuts new episodes on Paramount+ every Thursday.

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