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Yes, the Changelings are returning in Star Trek: Picard

A refresher on the alien species the Changelings, who make a recent appearance on Star Trek: Picard.

Star Trek: Picard season 3 episode 3 still
Image credit: Paramount+

The arrival of Star Trek: Picard season three has given some fans mixed feelings. It would be the series' last, however there would also be a reunion of Star Trek: The Next Generation. What a way to go out bringing the old gang back together again. LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, and Brent Spiner would all join Sir Patrick Stewart for a final adventure.

But what kind of intergalactic threat would require the former command crew of the USS Enterprise to reunite? At the Star Trek Universe panel at New York Comic Con, the season three trailer of Star Trek: Picard introduced Amanda Plummer's Vadic as one of the main villains. In the first few episodes we have seen how ruthless she can be as she stalks the USS Titan on board her ship, the Shrike.

In this week's episode entitled 'Seventeen Seconds,' we learn Vadic is working with Changelings, an alien species who were the main antagonists from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. These threats from the Gamma Quadrant look to play a larger role in Star Trek: Picard since they have interwoven themselves into the different storylines. While we wait for the next episode, let's become reacquainted with the Changelings.

Warning: This article contains slight spoilers for Star Trek: Picard season three.

Who Are the Changelings of Star Trek?

odo of star trek: deep space nine
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The very first Changeling we ever meet is Odo, the Chief of Security on board Deep Space Nine. He was discovered in the Denorious asteroid belt in his liquid state and given to Dr. Mora Pol. The Bajoran scientist didn't realize the gelatinous substance was even sentient until performing several experiments. Odo receives his name from the Cardassian word for 'nothing,' or Odo'ital. He has the ability to shape shift into any object, but in order to better assimilate into society, he takes the form of a male humanoid.

It wouldn't be until later when Odo discovers where he came from. He is a member of a strange race who call themselves the Changelings. They were once a peaceful people who roamed and explored the galaxy. However, when they came into contact with 'solids,' they were met with hostility and distrust so they settled on an isolated planet in the Gamma Quadrant.

Odo was part of an initiative to send 100 Changeling infants throughout space in order to learn what was out there. Each infant was genetically imprinted with the longing to return to the collective one day. Due to his close proximity to the Bajoran wormhole, Odo was able to make that trek, albeit 300 years earlier than expected.

The natural state of Changelings is as a golden liquid, but as previously mentioned, they are able to mimic any form they desire. When they do change, they not only resemble an object on an aesthetic level, but they also take on the molecular structure as well. Inexperienced Changelings need to revert to their liquid state at least once every sixteen hours.

The shapeshifting abilities make them excellent in blending in with their enemies. They have easily replaced leaders of the United Federation of Planets, the Romulans, and the Klingons. The best way to detect a Changeling is via a blood sample since once separated from the body, the small amount will return to its golden liquid state.

Their bodies are not composed of cells like ours but of a biomolecular structure called a morphogenetic matrix. Changelings do not experience aging and do not require food, drink, or air in order to survive. They also have no sense of smell and their minds are unable to be read by telepathic species.

Who Are the Changelings' allies?

jem'hadar and vorta alien races
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Tired of the persecution of 'solids,' the Changelings formed a great militaristic empire known as the Dominion that ruled the Gamma Quadrant. In order to support their conquest, they genetically engineered two slave races to act as the foot soldiers and muscle: the Vorta and the Jem'Hadar. These two new creations dubbed their makers the Founders.

The Vorta were once a primitive race where one family saved a Changeling. As a reward, they were genetically engineered into a more intelligent and loyal species that function as the Dominion's administrators, field commanders, scientists, and diplomats. They represent the middle tier of the hierarchy obeying the Founders while also having direct authority over the Jem'Hadar.

The Jem'Hadar were genetically engineered for strength and toughness. This species serves as soldiers and have the ability to camouflage themselves to any surrounding. The brutes have a short lifespan and live by the motto "victory is life." They equate the Founders to gods and are bred to never harm them. As a means to keep them in line, the Jem'Hadar are dependent on the drug Ketracel White, which is dispensed by the Vorta.

The lowest tier of the Dominion were the subjugated member races. These included the Cardassians, Karemma, T-Rogorans, and Yaderans. Because the Dominion War was such a big conflict, they also sought the help of others. Both the Dosi and Son'a were economically linked with the empire while the Breen Confederacy, from the Alpha Quadrant, formed an alliance with them.

Who Are the Changelings of Star Trek: Picard?

amanda plummer of the paramount+ original series star trek: picard
Image credit: Photo: James Dimmock/Paramount+
Much is still unknown about the Changelings in Star Trek: Picard, but they have managed to infiltrate significant areas from the criminal underworld to Starfleet itself. All we have is what Worf was told by a close friend within the great link, who is most likely Odo.

He was informed that following the end of the Dominion War, there was a schism within the Changeling ranks and a terrorist faction broke away unwilling to accept defeat. These renegades could be looking to reignite another conflict. They are also probably not your run of the mill Changelings since they are able to pass the blood testing protocols of Starfleet and board the USS Titan undetected.

One important piece to the Changelings' plans is Jack Crusher, the son of Dr. Beverly Crusher and Jean-Luc Picard. It's their pursuit of the enigmatic character that spawned the events of season three. What role young Jack has to play is yet to be seen.

Watch our interview with Star Trek's newest captain, Todd Stashwick, who just debuted on Picard earlier this year.