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How Star Trek: The Next Generation's Returning Cast Helped Patrick Stewart Finish Picard, According To LeVar Burton

Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: Picard
(Image credit: Paramount+)

Star Trek: Picard is prepping for a massive reunion in its final season, as The Next Generation’s main cast will reunite for a thrilling adventure decades after the latter series' conclusion. LeVar Burton recently spoke about the much-anticipated reunion set for 2023, and the inspiring way he and his fellow TNG vets helped Patrick Stewart finish out the Paramount+ series like a champ. 

LeVar Burton spoke spoiler-free about working on Star Trek: Picard Season 3 while at MegaCon Orlando this year, touching on his experiences reuniting with co-stars like Gates McFadden, Michael Dorn, and of course, Patrick Stewart. While complimenting himself and the other cast members on how well they’ve aged, Burton gave attendees a sense of where Stewart was at when the gang showed up on the set, and shared how he believes their presence gave the actor an extra boost that may or may not have been necessary. In his words:

I'm so proud of us because I think we look pretty damn good, and what that means to me is not only are we aging and aging gracefully, but we're aging appropriately. And that's not always the case, right? And then there was the acting which, if you can imagine how good the chemistry is, it’s better now because our shared experiences are deeper and richer and have lasted longer, stood the test of time. And to be able to come in at the end of what has been a very long journey for Patrick and sort of seeing his energy level rise. because he was dead-dog tired when we got there, I really do believe that we helped carry him to the end in fine fashion because he was surrounded by love.

Star Trek: Picard went straight from wrapping work on Season 2 to filming episodes for the upcoming third season, so I can’t fault the 82-year-old Patrick Stewart for being “dead-dog tired” by the time the TNG cast arrived. Fortunately, it sounds like the esteemed actor enjoyed a second (or perhaps third or fourth) wind from seeing some old friends who will have a heavy presence all throughout Season 3. 

And while LeVar Burton didn’t get that Jeopardy gig he campaigned so hard for, he’ll thankfully get to return to one of his most notable characters in television, Geordi La Forge. (Not that his Trivial Pursuit gig is anything to sneeze at.) Burton spoke to attendees about playing his character once again and stressed just how close the TNG cast has been since their days appearing on screen together, saying:

It was an absolute blast being together again… you guys have heard how close we are, right? When I got married, Brent was my best man, Patrick, Jonathan, and Michael were my groomsmen. We’ve seen each other through the birth of our children, through marriages, death of parents divorces… And so the opportunity to be together again, and to be together again in spacesuits and play these characters that we all–we love these people as much as you do. Trust me.

The details of Season 3 of Star Trek: Picard are still largely under wraps, though we have learned a few things about what to expect, such as a female villain and a return to the Enterprise. As for what’s happening with LeVar Burton’s Geordi specifically, we saw in a first-look trailer that Geordi will have a higher Starfleet rank when we see him next, as he'll now be a Commodore. 

One negative about this massive reunion is that a good number of cast members from Star Trek: Picard Season 1 and 2 were written off to make way for The Next Generation stars. Fortunately, some favorites like Jeri Ryan’s Seven of Nine and Michelle Hurd’s Raffi will return and hopefully get some closure with the arcs they’ve been building up since the beginning of the series. Regardless, at least we’ll get what might be the final adventure with the TNG crew, provided Alex Kurtzman, and other Trek bigwigs don’t have any unexpected surprise plans for them in the future. 

Star Trek: Picard Season 3 is set to premiere for anyone with a Paramount+ subscription in 2023. Fortunately, there’s still plenty of new Trek to look forward to in 2022, which should make the wait for the final season a bit easier to bear.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.