Will Jean-Luc and Beverly Crusher Get Together in 'Picard' Season 2?

Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Gates McFadden hinted at a possible return of Starfleet doctor Beverly Crusher in the second season of Star Trek: Picard—is 2400 the year a romance will finally blossom between the Enterprise's former chief medical officer and Jean-Luc Picard?

Speaking with TrekMovie.com in advance of a Sunday virtual panel for the GalaxyCon fandom convention, McFadden said "there's a good chance" her character will make an appearance in the second season of Star Trek: Picard, the streaming series that debuted on CBS All Access in January.

NEW EXCLUSIVE: Gates McFadden Says There Is A “Good Chance” She Will Appear In #StarTrekPicardhttps://t.co/0NJew9Awvt

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"I don't know," McFadden told TrekMovie. "There's a good chance, let's put it that way. But I have no contract signed."

While other characters from previous Star Trek series appeared in the first season of Picard, including Data (Brent Spiner), Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), William Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) and the former Borg drone Hugh (Jonathan Del Arco), the return of Crusher has the potential to fulfill a long-bubbling will-they-won't-they romance between the doctor and her former captain.

Even before a ship's doctor, Crusher was originally conceived as a romantic interest for Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart)—the original casting call described her appeal to Picard as stemming partly from her "natural walk of a striptease queen." TNG writers struggled with developing the Enterprise's women characters, in part leading to McFadden's absence from all of season two of the series. After her return, Crusher was no longer defined as much by her relationship potential with Picard. The only member of the crew to call Picard by his first name, by later seasons of the show they were more close platonic friends than potential lovers.

Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) and Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) donned period costume for a holodeck adventure in the first season episode "The Big Goodbye." CBS Television Distribution

But the series never fully dissipated the romantic tension established between them. The two almost hooked up in several episodes, typically under the influence of a science fiction gimmick or extraterrestrial ruse.

The most intimate exploration of their relationship came in the season 7 episode "Attached," when Picard and Crusher were captured by the Kesprytt—applicants to the United Federation of Planets divided into two xenophobic factions. Both are implanted with "psi wave" devices that the Kesprytt intend to use to uncover what they believe to be hidden Federation motives. When the two escape, the implanted devices instead begin transmitting Crusher and Picard's thoughts to each other. Faced with the potential unveiling of their hidden emotions, the captain and the doctor have a frank fireside discussion about their feelings.

"I didn't know you felt that way," Crusher said, after sensing Picard's jealousy and guilt upon mention of her dead husband, Jack Crusher. "I guess I always knew that there was an attraction between us right from the start, but I never knew how strongly you felt. Why didn't you ever tell me you were in love with me?"

"You were married to my best friend," Picard said. "At first I thought it was harmless infatuation; something hormonal rather than emotional."

After Crusher's husband died on an away mission, Picard felt as if confessing his love for her would be a betrayal and made a promise to himself "that I would never tell you how I felt."

Twenty years later, "little by little," Picard's feelings had faded. He no longer felt that he was in love with Crusher. Their friendship remained.

Nearly 30 years later, in the 2399 of Star Trek: Picard, the former Starfleet Admiral could use a little more love in his life. Haunted by the death of Data in Star Trek: Nemesis, Picard's only close friends are his Romulan employees, who live with him on his vineyard in La Barre, France.

Rather than a hookup or the fulfillment of a fan service ship, a renewed late-in-life romance could be the fulfillment of the depth of their commitments to each other, now free of the entanglements of rank and Starfleet honor that had prevented the consummation of their earlier love.

While romance never blossomed between Jean-Luc and Beverly on TNG, Star Trek novels set after the events of the movie series depicted the two marrying. Eventually, Picard and Crusher had a child together, named Rene. But with no hint of Rene in Star Trek: Picard, those events are unlikely to influence the second season of the series.

McFadden, who described to TrekMovie her dissatisfaction with the "matron-like" evolution of the character after Crusher was no longer written as a romantic foil for Picard, said she was open to a rekindled relationship between the two in the second season of the Picard streaming series, but didn't anticipate it.

"I can't imagine that it's suddenly going to be different," McFadden said, describing TNG's ultimate decision to depict Picard pursuing other love interests over the course of the series. "But it doesn't mean that there's not a relationship there. Obviously, from all of our scenes, there is a relationship and that's great. So who knows? I have no clue, but it would be lovely."