The finale of Star Trek: Picard season 3 answered many of the season’s questions, but the fate of the rogue Changelings who had infiltrated Starfleet remains unclear. While the Borg had become the more pressing threat by the end of Picard season 3, it was the Changelings that made the attempted Borg takeover possible. The shapeshifting lifeforms originated in the Gamma Quadrant and existed as a liquid in their natural form as part of the Great Link. They appeared throughout Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and a group of Changelings known as the Founders sought to impose their rule over the entire galaxy. Known as the Dominion, this group was the primary antagonist of Star Trek‘s Dominion War.
Needless to say, after a conflict as devastating as the Dominion War, the Federation would not take the threat of Changeling invasion lightly. Because of experimentation done by a Section 31 scientist, the Changelings in Star Trek: Picard could now mimic the internal structures of humans, allowing them to bypass the Starfleet sensors and infiltrate the highest levels of Starfleet. By the end of Picard season 3, Starfleet had developed a way to detect these evolved Changelings and had begun rooting them out of Starfleet. However, Picard season 3 didn’t reveal what happened to these Changelings after they were discovered.
Picard Season 3’s Big Unanswered Question
The last few episodes of Star Trek: Picard season 3 shifted the focus from the Changelings as the show’s major antagonists to the Borg. While this worked well for the narrative of the season, it left many unanswered questions about the Changelings still hiding in Starfleet. The finale reveals that Admiral Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden), the new head of Starfleet Medical, developed technology to detect and capture the disguised Changelings, but it doesn’t reveal what happened to them after that. One possibility is that they were all imprisoned somewhere, perhaps to be interrogated by Starfleet officials. However, since the Changeling’s natural state is a liquid, imprisoning them indefinitely might not be the best solution.
Star Trek: Picard season 3 revealed that these Changelings were a rebellious group that broke away from the Great Link after the Dominion War. Starfleet could have chosen to return these rebel Changelings to the Great Link, allowing the other Changelings to handle the problem. This is not a perfect solution either, as it leaves the possibility open for these rebel Changelings to return or to influence others in the Great Link. It’s unclear whether the Changelings ferreted out of Starfleet have reformed after the destruction of their Borg allies, or whether they still pose a significant threat. Hopefully, these questions about these evolved Star Trek Changelings and their future plans will be answered in an upcoming project, such as the heavily-rumored Star Trek: Legacy.
Should Changelings Still Be Star Trek: Legacy Villains?
With the rebel Changelings’ ultimate fate unknown, they could still prove to be a considerable threat. There is no way for Starfleet to know exactly how many Changelings have infiltrated Starfleet, and once Starfleet begins rounding them up, some will likely go into hiding. With so many unknowns, it would make sense to tell more of the Changelings’ story in Star Trek: Legacy.
The Changelings were a formidable villain in both Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Picard season 3, and they had been mostly quiet since the Dominion War. To end the Dominion War, Starfleet nearly wiped out the Changelings with a virus, a war crime that many Changelings have not forgotten. This thirst for revenge, especially after their defeat at Frontier Day, would continue to make them prime antagonists for Star Trek: Legacy, and allow the writers to answer the lingering questions left from Star Trek: Picard.