Why Star Trek: Picard Killed Off That Beloved Next Generation Character

Star Trek: Picard CBS All Access

Star Trek: Picard is over halfway through its first season, and the sequel adventure of Jean-Luc Picard has not come without bloodshed. Death has been a common element of the show thus far, but it wasn't until recently that the violence reached characters with a meaningful past in the lore. "Nepenthe" showed Hugh and Elnor trying to stop the plans of the Tal Shiar, and the effort ended up costing the Ex-Borg his life.

It was a tragic end for the character, who was first seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation. The decision to kill Hugh wasn't an easy one according to Star Trek: Picard showrunner Michael Chabon, but once the ball got rolling, Chabon said it felt like the only way to end the character's arc.

The initial germ of having Hugh involved, and that he would die, came from the natural discussions of: ‘What does it mean to have been Borg?' So once we sort of committed to a big part of our season being about the lives of former Borg — Ex Bs, as we call them — and exploring how their lives are traumatized [from that experience], how they have or have not dealt with that trauma, and how they remain these objects of fear and hatred even though they were victimized by the Borg, to put Hugh in the center of that lead to what felt like a dramatic way to service the character's end.

Michael Chabon added to THR that it "felt very sad" to kill off Hugh in Star Trek: Picard, but added that it was the "most emotionally honest," way to close the character's arc. Hugh certainly gave the viewers an accurate look of what the Ex-Borg life entailed, and helped talk out what Picard was experiencing as an Ex-Borg on the Borg Cube. Hugh was the perfect character for the plot line, serving as a notable Borg for audiences to see who changed after being saved.

Fans reacted to Hugh's death on Star Trek: Picard with sadness, but seemed largely ok with the exit. That may be because Hugh hadn't been seen since Star Trek: The Next Generation, so writing him out and giving him an exit in the CBS All Access series was better than completely forgetting his character and giving him no exit at all. Actor Jonathan Del Arco was simply thrilled Hugh got another story to tell, and released a video sharing his thoughts after the exit.

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Hugh won't be the last character Star Trek: Picard says goodbye to, which may be why fans are worried. Killing off a legacy Star Trek: The Next Generation character gives the sense that it could happen to anyone, though that has more or less always been the case across the Star Trek franchise. Will this series have more high profile exits before it says goodbye for good?

Tune in to Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access to see who could be on their way out before Season 1. Of course, stick with CinemaBlend to continue to stay informed on what's happening in the world of television and movies.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.