Star Trek: Picard is taking fans back to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in its third and final season.
Before Star Trek: Picard premiered its third season, theories had been bouncing around the internet as to who the villain was going to be for the final season. There were suggestions that the villains were going to be the parasites from Star Trek: The Next Generation’s season 1 episode, “Conspiracy,” Cardassians, The Borg, and the Changelings, according to Trekmovie.
Clearly, the Borg had already been done so well in Star Trek: First Contact that having them appear in the final season of Picard might have been considered overkill. While there’s no word on whether the Cardassians were considered, the parasites were, according to showrunner Terry Matalas who told Collider [via Trekmovie] considered, at least briefly, but there was one problem that simply could not be ignored.
"“And it wouldn’t have worked… I do like the conspiracy bugs, I did consider for a hot minute, the conspiracy bugs. The issue with the conspiracy bugs is they kill their host. So that would mean anyone that you saw with a bug in them was dead, and you wouldn’t be able to do the paranoia thriller that you wanted to do if it was somebody you loved, that meant they were dead. So there [were] about three storylines I couldn’t do without killing legacy characters.”"
The Changelings work better for Star Trek: Picard simply because of what they are.
Matalas called them “the perfect villain because they can look like anybody.” So no one actually knows if the person they’re talking to is really the person or a Changeling. That ups the drama as everyone will be wondering if they’ve been infiltrated and who they can trust.
"“They were the perfect villain because they can look like any anybody, and there’s an episode around the midpoint where it is absolutely critical, where you’re not sure if the person sitting across from you is a changeling or not, and the only way that you can know is to have an emotional catharsis with that person. It gives you such incredible drama.”"
There’s another positive factor about Matalas choosing the Changelings as he just confirmed that, had he chose other villains, there were three storylines he couldn’t do without killing legacy characters. So that sounds like a positive confirmation that the legacy characters will be safe this season. And that does leave the door open for more returns if that is what’s down the road.