The biggest challenge for Star Trek: Picard season 3 is wiping away the bad memories and aftereffects of Star Trek: Nemesis. Picard season 3 reunites the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation for the first time since Star Trek: Nemesis failed at the box office in 2002. Two decades later, anticipation is sky-high for the long-awaited reassembly of TNG‘s icons, especially after only a few appeared in Star Trek: Picard season 1. Meanwhile, Star Trek: Nemesis is a ghost that Picard season 3 must exorcise for good.
No one set out to make Star Trek: Nemesis a bad film, but it permanently damaged The Next Generation. Although factors such as overall franchise fatigue were part of the Nemesis disaster, the 10th Star Trek movie ended up as the lowest-grossing of all-time, as well as being disliked by critics and audiences. Nemesis put an end to TNG as a viable movie franchise, and it would only be 3 more years until Star Trek: Enterprise‘s cancelation put an end to the TV franchise as well. There wasn’t another Star Trek movie until J.J. Abrams rebooted the franchise 7 years after Nemesis, but the next three Star Trek movies would be about younger, alternate timeline versions of The Original Series characters, not a continuation of TNG.
Why Nemesis Is Star Trek: Picard Season 3’s Biggest Challenge
Star Trek: Nemesis‘ failure is one reason why Star Trek: Picard didn’t immediately reassemble the TNG cast in season 1. Nemesis left the audience and the actors with the overall feeling that TNG was over. Picard was able to launch based on Patrick Stewart returning to his iconic role with a new cast alongside him, and season 1 was able to transcend the problems Nemesis left behind by dealing head-on with its most controversial element: the death of Commander Data (Brent Spiner). Star Trek: Picard season 1 laid Data to rest in the way Nemesis did not, and allowed Jean-Luc and the audience to say goodbye to the beloved android.
By bringing back the entire TNG cast (minus Data because Spiner is playing Lore), Star Trek: Picard season 3 is billed as a 10-hour movie to be the finale that Star Trek: Nemesis was not. Of course, Nemesis wasn’t designed to end the TNG franchise; it was supposed to just be the latest big-screen adventure for Captain Picard and the Enterprise. But Star Trek: Picard season 3 is now going to course correct for Nemesis‘ failure. If Picard season 3 is great, it will finally fix the lingering notion that Star Trek: The Next Generation went out with Nemesis’ whimper instead of with a big bang.
Picard Season 3 Can Give The TNG Cast Redemption
Star Trek: Nemesis was also not constructed to be the TNG cast’s finest hour. The film was focused on Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) facing his evil clone, Shinzon (Tom Hardy), while Data encountered his own doppelganger, B-4. Commander Will Riker (Brent Spiner) was left with little to do but avenge his wife, Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), after Shinzon psychically violated her. Worf (Michael Dorn), Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), and Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) were merely support with minor roles in the overall story.
Star Trek: Picard season 3 is said to give each TNG character their just due so that everyone will get a worthy ending. In fact, the TNG cast enjoyed themselves so much filming Picard season 3 that they’re actively campaigning for a movie or spinoff to keep going. There was no such sentiment over 20 years ago after Star Trek: Nemesis; everyone felt TNG was over. Star Trek: Picard season 3 may be the end, but it could also be the end of a new beginning, of sorts, if it delivers as everyone hopes. Fingers crossed that once Star Trek: Picard season 3 is done, the catastrophe of Star Trek: Nemesis truly won’t matter anymore.
Star Trek: Picard Season 3 premieres February 16, 2023, on Paramount+.