Gates McFadden Explains Why Dr. Crusher Never Got to Kick Ass Until ‘Star Trek: Picard’: ‘I Tried’

Winter TCA 2023: “I felt like I came back [for the second season of ‘The Next Generation’], and it was a much more matronly character,” the actress told TheWrap

gates mcfadden star trek picard paramount+
Gates McFadden on "Star Trek: Picard (Paramount+)

The most anticipated return of the upcoming season of Paramount+’s “Picard” is that of Gates McFadden to the role of Dr. Beverly Crusher. And fans are certainly going to see a new physicality for the character.

“I love kicking ass first of all,” McFadden said Monday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena. “It was really a lot of fun. I had a fantastic time working on this show.”

“I wish,” titular star Patrick Steward interjected, “watching this, more of those elements in Crusher could’ve been touched on earlier, because they’re absolutely wonderful.”

To which McFadden responded, “I tried.”

Fans will remember that McFadden’s Crusher was a guiding and senior-ranking officer on the USS Enterprise of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” A sometime romantic interest for Picard, Crusher was mostly used to provide calm and wisdom in tough times, as well as raise the ship’s young protege, her son Wesley (Wil Wheaton). But McFadden’s “I tried” signaled at some history in which she felt she was held back all those years ago.

“I always wanted to do more action,” McFadden told TheWrap when we asked her to elaborate on her earlier statement.

“As a choreographer, I’ve done dance, combat, I really did want to not have a makeup kit on me while on the away team,” she continued. “I wanted to actually have some things I could use to be helpful.”

The actress said the switch for her character occurred fairly early in the show’s seven-season run.

“I felt like with the switch between second and third season, I felt I came back and it was a much more matronly character,” she said. “And I felt it took several years to return to what I was told the character is by [‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenbery]. For me, it was that kind of a journey.”

Referred to as “kicking ass” by another reporter at TCA, McFadden was lured back to the third and final season of “Picard” by showrunner Terry Matalas’ vision for Crusher.

“I really loved Terry’s ideas and he had these ideas for where Crusher would be now,” McFadden said. “I love that they had me at the beginning doing something active… I think there was a much bigger range to Crusher in this season.”

Joining McFadden and Stewart on the final season are fellow “Next Generation” alums LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis and Brent Spiner. The 10-episode season premieres Feb. 16 on Paramount+, with new episodes dropping weekly on Thursdays.