Star Trek: Picard brought Jeri Ryan back to the Star Trek universe as Star Trek: Voyager's Seven of Nine, and Kate Mulgrew will return as Capt. Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek: Prodigy. Another Voyager star almost also appeared in Picard's first season. Trek.FM's Primitive Culture podcast had Voyager's Robert Duncan McNeill, who played Tom Paris, on a guest. Since Voyager ended, McNeil has become a director and producer working on shows like Chuck, Resident Alien, The Gifted, and Turner & Hooch. McNeill received an invitation to return to Star Trek, first as part of Star Trek: Discovery's first batch of directors. However, the timing for McNeil's return to the sci-fi franchise didn't work out.
"When Discovery was first coming together, I know there were some conversations about me directing on that show early on," McNeill says. "But I tend to spend most of my time producing now, and when I'm producing I'm on a show full time. I wasn't available when they were figuring out their first round of directors, and ever since then, the stars haven't aligned."
But now Star Trek: Picard is up and running as well. McNeill revealed he's spoken to season two showrunner Terry Matalas about working on the show, either as an actor or a director. He also confirmed that he almost appeared in the first season of the streaming series.
"I did talk to Terry Matalas about Picard Season Two," McNeill says. "He and I have had a few conversations recently and reconnected, which has been great. Terry had talked about bringing me over there as a director or as an actor, bringing Tom Paris, but it's really been about schedule."
He continues, "I'd love to do Picard. I actually loved that first season. They asked me to do an episode of Picard, the first season, but as an actor, to play Tom Paris. It wasn't a big sequence of scenes or whatever, it was a couple of scenes with Patrick. I think it was just viewscreen stuff, or maybe in his office or something, it wasn't a lot, but they were trying to work it out so it wasn't a lot so the schedule might work, but it didn't pan out."
It's interesting to consider what role Tom Parris may have played in the first season of Picard. Perhaps he would have followed in his father's footsteps and become an admiral. That may have put him in the position of being someone Jean-Luc Picard would have had to appeal to in trying to gain Starfleet's support in searching for Soji Asha. We can only speculate now, but fans assuredly would have loved seeing McNeill back in the role. Maybe the stars will align for McNeill to return to Star Trek eventually.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Star Trek: Picard's second season is now in production and will debut on Paramount+ in 2022. The show's first season is streaming now on Paramount+.