Is Star Trek About to Recast Patrick Stewart's Picard?

Star Trek Patrick Steward Jean-Luc Picard New Actor Golem Android

Star Trek: Picard has come to its two-part season 1 finale. In this week's episode, "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1", Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his crew finally arrive at the major MacGuffin of this season: the hidden planet where Doctor Bruce Maddox secretly developed the next generation of synthetics. There were several key revelations waiting for Picard and his companion Soji Asha on planet Coppelius, which subsequently meant some big franchise reveals for longtime Star Trek fans. However, Star Trek: Picard episode 9 also dropped a major foreshadow for a big twist in Picard's story - one that has us now asking: is Star Trek about to re-cast Jean-Luc Picard?

Warning - Star Trek: Picard Episode 9 SPOILERS Follow!

Star Trek: Picard has thrown so many different storylines at fans, that it would be easy to forget one of the most important ones for the titular character. However, the first part of the season finale makes sure to remind us that Jean-Luc Picard is dying. Specifically Picard is dying from a terminal brain condition - a dire fate which just so happens to be set against a larger storyline about revolutionary advancements in synthetic technology. In "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1", we find out that the "mad scientist" behind that synth evolution is none other than Doctor Altan Inigo Soong (Brent Spiner), the biological son of Data's creator, Noonian Soong.

In one key scene (played nonchalantly), Altan Soong is speaking with Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) about the debt she owes, for killing the brilliant mind of Bruce Maddox. There also happens to be revolutionary discovery sitting in the room: Soong has developed "a Golem," which is basically an state-of-the-art android body, with no consciousness. In his conversation with Jurati, Altan Soong also revealed that he's on the verge of cracking another revolutionary leap: mind-transference.

Star Trek fans have been speculating if this was the endgame of Picard season 1, all along: the cure for Jean-Luc's brain illness being some form of transference, which gives Picard new life as a synthetic. Based on the first foreshadow of the Golem, it's fair to speculate that Star Trek could be setting the stage for this Synth-Picard to be played by a new actor!

It wouldn't be the first time the Star Trek franchise has cast an actor to play an alternate version of Picard; Star Trek: Nemesis actually had Tom Hardy play a clone of Picard, created by the Romulans. Since Nemesis set the stage for the events of Picard, this would be a nice full-circle connection.

More to the point: Patrick Stewart was gracious to return to the role of Picard, but as season 1 has shown, he's in it more from the dramatic bits, than the sci-fi action. At Stewart's age (and stature), green screen fights and harnesses are not necessary - and he's arguably taken this character even further than thought possible. It would be fitting for both the show's story and its underlying themes, if Jean-Luc Picard passes his character legacy of hope and discovery to a younger face to carry into this next generation (see what I did there?).

But who could play the new Jean-Luc Picard (besides James McAvoy)?

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Star Trek: Picard is now streaming on CBS All Access. New episodes are released every Thursday. Star Trek: Discovery will return for season 3 later this year.

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