Warning: this post contains spoilers from Thursday Star Trek: Picard.
It was a scene that had been in the making for twenty years – and it was “the hardest scene I’ve ever worked on”. Star Trek: Picard showrunner Terry Matalas tells TVLine.
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At the start of this week’s episode, the reality of Jean-Luc fathering a son he never knew with Beverly Crusher began to set in, and the two friends and former lovers pulled apart to have a candid conversation about why Beverly kept Jack’s existence a secret for so long. (Beverly insisted that Jean-Luc was too devoted to Starfleet and didn’t want to put her child in danger, while Jean-Luc wished he had had the chance to know his son.) It was raw and moving, even hard to watch at times… and it wasn’t any easier to write and film either.
“It took two months to really refine and create this scene, with many different writers,” Matalas reveals. “We all contributed to it, including Patrick (Stewart) and Gates (McFadden) and Jonathan (Frakes, who directed the episode). We rehearsed it many times. It was the hardest scene of the season. to success.
But it was important to get it right because it’s a pivotal scene for Jean-Luc and Beverly as characters, notes Matalas: “You have to do a lot of it. You have to understand his point of view, which is: “My God, what have you done? And his point of view is: ‘What do you expect from me?’ By the time she’s done with the explanation, you really have to understand why she would do that, and I think Gates’ performance is just phenomenal in that scene.
It got “emotional” on set while filming the scene as well, Matalas recalls: “Patrick and Gates both have strong feelings about their characters, and it’s not a traditional movie. Star Trek: The Next Generation scene.” He says it’s “probably closer to something” Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan director Nicholas Meyer would “explore… It should be uncomfortable watching your space parents fight.” But at the same time, you still want to love them, understand them, and take them to dramatic new territory. Matalas admits that “we sweated throughout the edit”, but “once it all came together in the editing room…we felt like it worked”.
Oh, and just for the record: When did that love connection actually happen in the The next generation calendar? (Beverly said Jack was conceived during a land visit to an idyllic cascading planet a few months before leaving the Business.) “The way we timed it was shortly after (the 2002 star trek movie) Nemesis“, Matalas said. “There was a while on the Business in which Beverly was still a doctor, and they gave their recurring romance a chance, and this is the result.
Drop your thoughts on that scene from Jean-Luc and Beverly and picardthe latest season so far in the comments.
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