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Picard & Riker Didn’t Team Up In The TNG Movies

by Lidia Lucovic

In the third season of Star Trek: Picard, fans are treated to an Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Captain Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) team-up that was never seen in the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies.

After receiving a distress signal from Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden), Picard enlists Riker as his partner-in-crime, and the two hatch a plan to save her by taking over the USS Titan-A from its current Captain, Liam Shaw (Todd Stashwick). The duo gets an ally in the form of Commander Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), the First Officer of the Titan, but their unannounced “inspection” of the ship arouses Captain Shaw’s suspicion, and they eventually hijack the Titan and fly it to the edge of Federation space to search for Beverly on the USS Eleos, using a stolen shuttlecraft. Riker and Picard drive the storyline of the season 3 premiere of Star Trek: Picard, a long-awaited sight for fans who never got to see the beloved duo in action in the TNG movies.

The collaboration between Riker and Jean-Luc in Star Trek: Picard season 3 brings attention to the fact that they never shared a joint plot in any of The Next Generation (TNG) movies. Instead, the TNG films adopted the Star Trek: The Original Series format of featuring a triumvirate of characters. Unlike Captain Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy, the TNG movies focused on the trio of Picard, Data, and Worf, as Paramount considered the android and the Klingon to be the most important characters after Captain Picard. This left Commander Riker out of the core group, as he was often left in charge of the USS Enterprise or relegated to leading the B-plot, as he did in Star Trek: First Contact. Despite Jonathan Frakes directing First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection, Riker was marginalized, with the main focus always being on Picard, Data, and Worf. Although Riker and Picard had a few significant scenes together, such as when they surveyed the wreckage of the Enterprise-D at the end of Star Trek Generations, they never had the opportunity to work together as a team in the movies, as they do in Star Trek: Picard season 3.

The collaboration of Admiral Picard and Captain Riker in Star Trek: Picard season 3’s premiere is undoubtedly the highlight of the episode. Their enjoyable reunion at 10 Forward and their elaborate plan to rescue Dr. Beverly Crusher on the USS Eleos demonstrated that the two iconic characters from The Next Generation are having a great time working together once again, just as the actors do. Even the premiere playfully acknowledges the pleasure they feel when Picard teasingly asks Riker, “Are you enjoying this?” and Will pretends to reply, “Of course not!” Despite their physical limitations due to their advanced age, the old magic between them is evident.

Although the TNG crew will gradually come together in Star Trek: Picard season 3, beginning with Riker and Picard’s reunion was an ingenious move. These two heroes have saved the galaxy together on numerous occasions, and their renewed determination to rescue Beverly Crusher and discover why she cut ties with them 20 years ago reignites their enthusiasm for the mission. In essence, Star Trek: Picard season 3 is a ten-hour-long The Next Generation film, and it was a wise decision to make Picard and Riker’s collaboration the centerpiece of the story, thus correcting one of the movies’ major shortcomings.

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What is your opinion?

JACOB May 14, 2022 - 3:16 am

The decision not to have Picard and Riker team up in the TNG movies is a reminder of the challenges of adapting a TV series to the big screen, and the difficulties of balancing fan expectations with the demands of the movie industry.

TIFFANY May 16, 2022 - 1:46 pm

I hate doing laundry, it never ends.

LUIS June 5, 2022 - 9:21 pm

This hike is so invigorating.

LAKETRA June 17, 2022 - 2:54 pm

The lack of a Picard-Riker team-up in the TNG movies is a glaring flaw in the franchise’s otherwise impressive run, and a missed opportunity to capitalize on the chemistry between two beloved characters.

PAMELA July 13, 2022 - 1:09 am

In the rocky mountain’s peak, my soul finds what it seeks.

Valerie July 23, 2022 - 1:31 pm

Wow, that sunset is beautiful.

KATHY August 6, 2022 - 8:44 pm

The choice not to have Picard and Riker work together in the TNG movies is a questionable one, given the success of their partnership in the TV series and the potential for exciting new adventures on the big screen.

GENNIFER August 19, 2022 - 2:18 am

The decision not to have Picard and Riker team up in the TNG movies is a missed opportunity for memorable on-screen moments between two of Star Trek’s most iconic characters.

Lorraine September 3, 2022 - 4:40 pm

In the meadows, wildflowers grow, dancing in the gentle breeze’s flow.

greg September 11, 2022 - 8:05 pm

The absence of a Picard-Riker team-up in the TNG movies is a frustrating reminder of the limitations of the Hollywood blockbuster model, which often prioritizes spectacle over character-driven storytelling.

GUENTHER September 23, 2022 - 2:09 pm

The choice not to have Picard and Riker team up in the TNG movies is a reflection of the franchise’s evolution over time, and the shifting priorities of its creators and fans.

Bobby October 19, 2022 - 11:02 am

The absence of a Picard-Riker team-up in the TNG movies is a regrettable misstep that undermines the series’ legacy, and a reminder that even the most successful franchises can stumble when it comes to translating their stories to different mediums.

BARBARA December 24, 2022 - 12:03 pm

The missed opportunity for a Picard-Riker team-up in the TNG movies is a testament to the enduring appeal of these characters, and the ongoing desire of fans to see them in action together.

DIANA January 9, 2023 - 1:33 am

The absence of a Picard-Riker team-up in the TNG movies is a frustrating oversight that robs fans of the chance to see these two characters in action together outside of the TV series.

ALPHONSO February 15, 2023 - 6:48 am

The missed opportunity for Picard and Riker to team up in the TNG movies is a disappointment for fans who were hoping to see more of their dynamic partnership on the big screen.


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