The recent entries into the Star Trek canon are controversial, both the JJ Abrams feature film reboot of the original series and the CBS All Access series Discovery. So, when CBS announced that Patrick Stewart planned a return to Trek as the character who revitalized Trek the last time, fans breathed a sigh of relief. At Comic-Con, the Picard trailer debuted giving fans a glimpse at the now-retired Jean Luc Picard and his new adventures in space (and, possibly, time). This will be the first canonical Star Trek project set after both the final Next Generation-era film, Nemesis, and the events that led to the “Kelvin timeline” which served as the justification for the original series reboot. It all centers around the destruction of the planet Romulus, which caused Picard to leave Starfleet behind for good. Yet, a mysterious figure comes to him on his family’s vineyard and sets him off on all-new adventure.
The show will debut on CBS All Access in early 2020, and the 79-year-old Stewart assured fans he has no plans to walk away from the show. At the Comic-Con panel for all things Trek, Stewart said that once he learned the plan for the series, he couldn’t resist returning to the character despite initial reluctance. Executive producer Alex Kurtzman said that, while he loves James T. Kirk, that “Picard represents the ideal captain not just as a philosopher but as a human being.” While he’s jaded about Starfleet and reeling from a galactically cataclysmic event, he’s still the same man who will do “the right thing” regardless of the personal cost.
What’s Happened to Picard in the Past 15 Years?
While much about this show remains shrouded in the secrecy common for big franchise projects, we do know a little about Picard’s state of mind. The series will be introduced with one of six new Short Treks mini-episodes, following the retired Starfleet Admiral. Yet, Kurtzman spilled the Earl Grey tea, hot, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter some months ago. The titular captain made an appearance in the IDW comics telling the preview story to the 2009 Star Trek reboot. Only he was no longer a Starfleet Admiral, but rather the human ambassador to the Romulan empire. The final film he appeared in saw him facing off against his Romulan clone (lol, sci-fi) and helping to coax the Romulans into the larger galactic world.
Kurtzman said that the destruction of the planet Romulus, which kicked off the time-travel shenanigans setting up the Kelvin timelines, affected Picard deeply. In the wake of that disaster, the Romulan Empire dissolved and war briefly broke out between the Federation and the Klingons. Fed up with all of it, Picard retired to his vineyard. The Short Treks episode will fill in the blanks here, but essentially we are seeing a Picard whose lost hope at the start of the series. It’s only when the mysterious Dahj, played by Isa Briones, shows up that things change. Like all good late-sequel protagonists, just when he thought was out, they pull him back in. Only this time, he’s got a new crew including Alison Pill’s Dr. Agnes Jurati, Santiago Cabrera’s Cristobal Rios, Harry Treadway’s samurai-inspired Vulcan Narek, and others. But it’s not just new faces in this series.
The Picard Trailer Shows Us New Friends and Old Favorites
The Picard trailer shows us that we will also see some other Next Generation favorites in the cast. Jeri Ryan returns as Seven of Nine, a freed Borg who joined the crew of the Voyager on their long trek back from the Delta quadrant. Brent Spiner is back as Data, who in the IDW comics implanted his memories and personality into the B-4 Android from the end of Nemesis. Joining the crew onstage at the SDCC Picard panel was Jonathan Del Arco who will reprise his role as Hugh the Borg and who (I think) we see in the trailer dressed all in white. The panel also confirmed that Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis will reprise their roles as Will Riker and Deanna Troi in the series.
Though, writer Akiva Goldsman warns fans that this is not exactly a sequel to the Next Generation. Rather, it’s a “more gentle, more lyrical…more character-based” story. Still, the Picard we get will be, essentially, the Picard we know. Stewart shared a line of dialogue that he suggested serves as theme for series and, perhaps, life. “We never know…when our last moment will be,” he said, adding, “I can twist that a little and say ‘we never know…when our best moment will be.’ And that is now.” Still, this series gives us our best look at the state of the galaxy after the events of the last Next Generation films. He also spoke about how great the experience was, especially working with his old castmates. He said they had “more fun than should be allowed” in a series this “expensive.”
What do you think? Did the Comic-Con Picard Trailer get you hyped for the series? Tell us in the comments below or on social media!
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.