Patrick Stewart saw his character Jean-Luc Picard became Locutus of Borg to close out the season three finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Most people who watch Star Trek know who Patrick Stewart is, and they know his character, Jean-Luc Picard, was assimilated by the Borg at the end of the Next Generation’s third season finale, Best of Both Worlds. At the end of the episode, he makes a dramatic reveal to the crew of the Enterprise, showing himself now filled with Borg implants and calling himself Locutus. It was one of the most shocking moments in the history of the show, but not as shocking as the moment immediately after when William Riker, now acting captain, ordered the Enterprise to fire on Locutus and the Borg vessel he was on.
Apparently, there was a reason why Picard was the person picked for such a major moment, and it had to do with the fact that Stewart hadn’t agreed to a new deal with the show. Stewart was only signed through the third season and there were concerns he wouldn’t return. The reason why Riker fired on Picard/Locutus was to put in an explanation for how Picard died just in case Stewart didn’t come back.
That piece of information may have been known to many around the Trek-blog-o-sphere for years, but it’s once again become public knowledge thanks to Trek Culture’s recent video on 10 Biggest Star Trek What Ifs.
The idea that they could’ve killed Picard off would have opened up an entire world of possibilities going forward. It would have given the more emotional Riker a vendetta to chase after for the next four seasons and four movies, while doing something never done before or since in a Star Trek series; the killing off of the show’s biggest character.
It could also have backfired spectacularly with ratings dropping significantly, the show getting canceled after the fourth season, and no new shows or films coming from the series, and Star Trek as we know it dying a death because of the decision to kill off Picard.
Either way, it is an interesting what if…