Season 3 of "Star Trek: Picard" is full of big emotions, which is no surprise considering it reconnects the cast from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" after decades for one last hurrah. It also, however, turned out to be pretty emotional for one of its new stars.
Ed Speleers, who plays Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Dr. Beverly Crusher's (Gates McFadden) adult son, Jack Crusher, also found himself being emotionally affected by the sentimental storytelling. The third season takes a new direction under showrunner Terry Matalas, focusing on Picard's legacy and the complicated relationships between parents and their children. Just as Picard had to reconcile his traumatic past with his parents' pain during his upbringing, Jack has to reckon with the fact that his father is one of the most important people in the whole galaxy.
In an April 2023 interview with Collider, Speleers talked in depth about what it was like acting alongside Stewart, and how his own family made those scenes even more intense. As a father himself, Speleers not only tapped into his experience as a son to bring to Jack's performance, but also was able to understand where Picard was coming from. It sounds like the whole ordeal was pretty intense and left an impact on Speleers, but that's what you have to expect when you're a part of "Star Trek," right?
In "Picard," Jack and Jean-Luc have a couple of touching moments, but the most intense one happens in the finale when Picard must confront his son on the Borg cube after he's been assimilated into the collective. Picard has to help bring Jack from the edge of destroying everything and manages to do so by being truly open and honest with his son. When Collider asked about how fatherhood impacted Ed Speleers' performance, the actor shared just how insightful it really was:
"I think having children has opened my mind, and every fiber in me actually, to a different way of working. Things are just always bubbling away emotionally because of children, and that's good. And I mean all emotions, everything from love, fear, happiness, anger, everything's always just fizzing away because of the kids and that way they make you look at the world. So yes, I think it was insightful because also what it made me do is maybe look at how I've been as a son, as well, and maybe the things I've done and haven't done."
Fatherhood may have adjusted Speleers' perspective, but his connection to the character of Jack Crusher was incredibly strong to begin with. The emotionality of the moment was compounded by the fact that not only was Speleers going through a major emotional journey in-character, but he was also potentially saying goodbye to playing the character forever.
The story of "Picard" season 3 really resonated with Ed Speleers, because he felt like the themes of family connected with his own young family. He also just fell in love with the character of Jack Crusher, and was heartbroken at the idea that he might never get to play him again:
"I joked to someone the other day, I was like, 'I just want to play Jack Crusher for the next 15 years and then retire.' I feel like there's so much storytelling to do with him, and I just feel he's so complicated, and who knows what the future holds, but I think within that storytelling, I don't want it to be such a clean break as, 'Okay, he's dealt with everything now.' You still want that emotion because that's what we enjoy seeing. [...] I'm a little bit stunned and taken aback that this whole thing has happened, and it's the final day today. I think I'm going to bloody cry now, for crying out loud. I've come back, and I'm just like, 'Oh, what now? Is that the end of Star Trek? Is that it? Is that the end of Jack Crusher? Is that just done?'"
Thankfully for both Speleers and fans, there might be a chance we get to see more of Jack Crusher. "Star Trek: Picard" ended with a way for the character to continue his adventures in space as special counsel to Captain Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) in a series Terry Matalas would like to create called "Star Trek: Legacy." While there's no guarantee that Speleers would get to play Jack for 15 more years and then retire, it's always a possibility! He's the next generation of "The Next Generation," and I can't wait to see where the character goes.
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