Writer wanted Picard to get married
By the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, writers were having a hard time coming up with good stories for Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), especially those that would grow his character. According to a quote by Michael Piller in The Fifty Year Mission The Next 25 Years From The Next Generation to J.J. Abrams by Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross, Stewart came to him in the middle of the series’ third season and said he was bored and that he hadn’t been given anything interesting to do.
That was one of the many reasons why Piller suggested that Captain Picard get married. A wife would have opened up the door for more stories, especially ones rife with marital discord. But Gene Roddenberry was adamantly opposed to such a marriage and felt that it would be a mistake. Piller was given permission to have one crew member get married and that was Miles O’Brien.
Would a marriage have worked for Picard?
Picard didn’t have many serious relationships during his time as captain of the Enterprise. It was the same for future captains in Star Trek shows with the exception of Captain Benjamin Sisko who found happiness towards the end of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. There’s no way of knowing why Roddenberry thought leaving Picard unwed was the way to go, but adding a spouse to the mix would have definitely opened up dramatic doors for him.
The sixth season episode “Lessons” proved that a relationship could up the drama and add more dimension to the captain’s character. In fact, Tor.com’s Keith R.A. DeCandido called the brief time Picard spent with Lt. Commander Nela Darren (Wendy Hughes) “one of TNG’s best romances and an absolute joy.” DeCandido wasn’t alone in wishing that the episode could have played out over several, giving the relationship more opportunity to grow.
But that doesn’t mean a marriage would have worked for the captain of the Enterprise as Picard was a man devoted to duty, and he would always choose his ship first. That was one of the many things that made him a great captain. He had hundreds of people to take care of and siphoning just a portion of himself off could have made the difference between life and death.