'Picard' Season 3 cast announcement includes many familiar names

As part of "Star Trek's" self-celebratory First Contact Day event, Paramount has announced that virtually all the main cast members from "The Next Generation" will be returning for the third and last season of "Star Trek: Picard." 

"LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis and Brent Spiner are set to star alongside Patrick Stewart in the third and final season," the studio said in a press release issued this morning (April 5). 

Related: 'Star Trek: Picard' season 2 episode 5 teases a magnificent match-up

There's no mention of exactly when in the season they will appear, or if they will return as the same characters they played on "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Lest we forget, for example, Brent Spiner is currently appearing in the second season of "Picard" as Dr. Adam Soong, an ancestor of the legendary father of eugenics and, further up the family tree, the creator of Data.

"I remember watching the premiere of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' almost 34 years ago with my father like it was yesterday. It was the spark that ignited my love for science fiction," Terry Matalas, "Picard" Season 3 showrunner and executive producer, said in a statement.

LeVar Burton, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Jonathan Frakes and Patrick Stewart

The USS Enterprise-D bridge crew from Season 3 of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," first broadcast in 1991. (Image credit: Paramount Plus)

"So, it’s most fitting that the story of Jean-Luc Picard ends honoring the beginning, with his dearest and most loyal friends from the USS Enterprise. It would be an understatement to say that giving these characters a proper send-off is an honor. The entire 'Star Trek: Picard' team and I can't wait for fans to experience this final, high-stakes, starship-bound adventure in Season 3," Matalas said.

April 5 is a date known to all "Star Trek" fans as the day when humans and Vulcans first met in the movie "Star Trek: First Contact."

If you recall, "Star Trek: First Contact" sends the USS Enterprise-E and her crew through a temporal vortex in an attempt to stop the Borg from preventing the first warp flight by the human race, which subsequently results in the first contact with an alien race (the Vulcans) on April 5, 2063.

It's one of the pivotal moments in (fictional) human history, and it changes everything. Following the invention of warp drive, fleets of starships are built and humanity starts exploring the galaxy. It unites our species in a way no one ever thought possible when humans realize they're not alone in the universe; poverty, disease and war are all gone within the next 50 years.

Unless, of course, you live in the Mirror Universe, where inventor of warp drive Zefram Cochrane (James Cromwell) gives the visiting Vulcans both barrels before everyone plunders the alien survey ship.

A few other treats for Trekkies have also been released or announced to coincide with the First Contact event, including a brand-new trailer and artwork for the forthcoming spin-off show "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" and a new coffee table book celebrating the actual movie "Star Trek: First Contact."

Does this cast announcement mean that the third and final season of "Picard" will turn into an overwhelming nostalgia fest? Well, who knows. Principal photography on Season 3 was completed only a short time ago in March, so it's already in the can, so to speak.

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Scott Snowden

When Scott's application to the NASA astronaut training program was turned down, he was naturally upset...as any 6-year-old boy would be. He chose instead to write as much as he possibly could about science, technology and space exploration. He graduated from The University of Coventry and received his training on Fleet Street in London. He still hopes to be the first journalist in space.