Star Trek Guide

Star Trek Theory: Worf Replaces Data In Picard Season 2's Story

Star Trek: Picard can keep the its central story tied to its Star Trek: The Next Generation roots by making Worf the focus of the second season in place of Data. Picard's first season hinged largely on the good captain's relationship with Data, his late android crew mate who died saving Picard's life in the final TNG film, Star Trek: Nemesis.

Despite Data's demise, the cyberneticists Bruce Maddox and Altan Inigo Soong were able to preserve Data's essence through neurons transferred to the prototype android B-4. They used those neurons to create multiple sentient androids, including a young woman named Soji Asha, who Picard was tasked with protecting from the Romulans. The former captain even got to say a final goodbye to Data in the Picard finale, expressing his love for his android friend while in a simulated reality.

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Data loomed large over the entirety of Picard's first season, but his story is pretty well finished at this point. So who or what will take that place in the story? One of the obvious choices is Worf, the Enterprise's Klingon Chief of Security during TNG's run. We're breaking down why he could be the key to where Star Trek: Picard goes next.

Worf In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

There are a few important milestones to acknowledge with Worf. In a way, the character had three different endings; the series finale of TNG, the final TNG film, and the end of his time on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where he spent four seasons after his TNG run. The TNG finale saw him still serving as the Chief of Security on the Enterprise, as well as choosing not to pursue a relationship with ship's Counselor Deanna Troi.

Deep Space Nine's finale saw him taking a position as the Federation ambassador to the Klingon Empire, but he was back in Starfleet uniform a few years later in Star Trek: Nemesis, his final canonical appearance to date. Both the Star Trek: Picard tie-in novel and a few hints via props in the series suggested that Worf took command of the Enterprise after Picard was promoted to admiral and departed to head up the evacuation of the Romulan Empire in the face of a destructive supernova.

Worf Makes Sense as Data's Replacement In Picard's Story

While Picard was probably closer to Data on the Enterprise, he had a deep and important bond with Worf. When Worf's family honor was called into question by the duplicitous Duras family, Picard stood by his side as his cha'DIch, something akin to a combination of brother in arms and legal aide. Picard was a crucial player in eventually restoring Worf's family honor, and even played a major role in choosing Gowron over Duras as the rightful heir to the Klingon Empire.

Worf, and the Klingons as a whole, were conspicuously absent from the first season of Star Trek: Picard. Part of this was due to the nature of Picard's story; in a serialized tale full of Romulans and Borg, there simply wasn't a space for the Klingons to have a major presence. Yet keeping the Klingons completely out of sight for the first season felt like a very specific choice. Having the warrior race waiting in the wings for a second season makes sense, as the Romulans and Borg are unlikely to be major players in season two, outside of La Sirena crew members Elnor and Seven of Nine. The Klingons' absence could also be due in part to the polarizing response that their Star Trek: Discovery redesign was greeted with; in fact, the only Klingon seen onscreen since season 2 of Discovery ended was in the animated Star Trek: Lower Decks, and that was a traditional, TNG-era Klingon.

But beyond the broader Klingon race, Worf is simply one of the most compelling characters in Star Trek history. Raised by humans after his Klingon parents were killed in a Romulan attack, Worf was a child of two worlds, never completely belonging to either. And while he was a rigid follower of Klingon doctrine and embraced his native heritage whenever possible, he still felt most at home among humans in a Starfleet uniform, sipping his prune juice. The possibilities of Worf's life over the last 20 years are almost endless, a tribute to the great work that was done with the character on both TNG and DS9, not to mention the larger landscape of the Klingon Empire in the face of a somewhat compromised Federation.

Michael Dorn Will Only Return For A Big Story

Of all the TNG cast members, Michael Dorn has perhaps been the most vocal about his willingness to return to the franchise. For years he maintained a social media campaign to get a Captain Worf show off the ground, to no avail. But while Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, and Marina Sirtis all returned to Picard in comparably minor roles, Dorn has made it clear he would not be excited about getting back into the Klingon makeup for a mere cameo.

This makes a certain amount of sense. Dorn has appeared in more Star Trek stories than any other actor, having played Worf for seven seasons on TNG, four seasons on DS9, and four TNG movies; he even appeared as Worf's grandfather in the final Star Trek: The Original Series film, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. A return for the character in Picard would likely be Dorn's last go-round as Worf, and he's well within his rights to want that final appearance to be substantive. Dorn also has to endure hours of makeup that TNG alum like Frakes and Sirtis don't, making it all the more reasonable for him to want a big, important story for Worf.

Star Trek: Picard's producers have been extremely tight lipped about what season two has planned. There's also no telling how the pandemic has affected the series' plans going forward — though there is some hope that production on Picard will begin again early in 2021. But if the producers want a surefire way to get fans excited about the series again, a massive Klingon space opera with Worf and Picard at its center would definitely get the job done.

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