The latest "Star Trek" spinoff series, "Star Trek: Picard," has fans eager to see the legendary Capt. Jean-Luc Picard of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (TNG) in action once again.
A number of announcements regarding the upcoming series came out during the "Enter the Star Trek Universe" Hall H panel at Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) on July 20 and at the Star Trek Las Vegas Convention (STLV), which was held July 31-Aug. 4.
Here's a roundup of everything we currently know about "Star Trek: Picard" on CBS All Access.
On May 23, we got the first teaser …
… and then at SDCC, we saw the first official trailer …
Sir Patrick Stewart is returning to the role that he made his own in "Star Trek: The Next Generation," and he will be joined by Alison Pill (as Dr. Agnes Jurati), Santiago Cabrera (as Cristobal Rios) and Michelle Hurd (as Raffi Musiker).
In a surprise reveal at SDCC, the show announced that Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis would also appear in the new series, as Data, William Riker and Deanna Troi, respectively.
Joining them will be Jeri Ryan, who played Seven of Nine on "Star Trek: Voyager," and Jonathan Del Arco, who played the memorable Borg drone Third of Five/Hugh in TNG episodes "I, Borg" (S05, E23) and "Descent," Parts I and II (S06, E26 and S07, E01).
LeVar Burton, who played Geordi La Forge in TNG, isn't ruling out an appearance on "Star Trek: Picard," recently saying at "The Lion King" premiere that "it is unreasonable to assume that he doesn't know those people anymore or that he stopped talking to them. And if he did, there's good storytelling in why," According to CNN.
The actor speculated that TNG characters La Forge, Data, Worf, Riker, Troi and the Crushers (Beverly and Wesley) would likely appear one or two at a time. He said he was cautious, though, about expecting a full-blown cast reunion to occur in the new series.
We've seen Picard and Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) end up together, albeit divorced, in the TNG series finale, "All Good Things" (S07, E25), and in a number of expanded-universe novels. However, it's not yet known how the new series will portray their relationship.
Fans have predicted that "Star Trek: Picard" will use a similar approach to Season 2 of "Star Trek: Discovery," which borrowed from the expanded-universe novels. McFadden appeared in a special "doctor's panel" at STLV but neither confirmed nor denied her appearance in the new series. Let's hope the writers do a better job of borrowing from the novels than they did with the "Control" storyline in "Discovery."
Aside from the inclusion of the Borg and Hugh in the trailer, the other big talking point with fans is Data. Specifically, fans have debated whether it's actually Data in the trailer or the identical prototype android, imaginatively named B-4. This remains a distinct possibility, since Data gave his life to save Picard in the last TNG feature film, "Star Trek: Nemesis," released back in 2002.
Alternatively, of course, the android shown in the trailer could be Lore, Data's brother, who was disassembled after the events of the TNG episode "Descent: Part II" (S07, E01), which, incidentally, also heavily featured Hugh. Lore was certainly a more advanced prototype, so if Data's personality — one assumes there are backups — could be downloaded to a different positronic brain, Lore would be a logical choice over B-4.
Speaking to the Las Vegas Review-Journal before his appearance at Star Trek Las Vegas, Spiner confirmed that Data does show up in the new series. "Data makes appearances in the show — I can say that. And Data is a story point in this season as well. But I'm not in every episode. I'm not a major character on the show." One theory is that Picard is haunted by Data's sacrifice when the Scimitar was destroyed and is thus sometimes visited by an imaginary Data that Picard creates in his mind.
From information in the series trailers, we know that Picard is no longer in Starfleet in the new spinoff. The teaser opens with a picturesque scene of a vineyard; sunlight softly glistens through water that gently trickles from an old-style, iron hand-pump on a beautiful summer day. A man walks through the rows of trellises, pausing to briefly inspect the leaf of a young vine. A case of '86 vintage (undoubtedly 2386) Chateau Picard Bourgogne is gently placed outside a rustic farmhouse as a voice calmly speaks:
"Fifteen years ago today, you led us out of the darkness. You commanded the greatest rescue armada in history. Then, the unimaginable. What did that cost you? Your faith? Your faith in us? Your faith in yourself? Tell us, why did you leave Starfleet, Admiral?"
The show's executive producer, Alex Kurtzman, has said that the destruction of the Romulan home world in 2009's "Star Trek" reboot was a defining event in Picard's career. In that movie, the Hobus supernova that ultimately destroyed Romulus threatened the entire galaxy, so Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy) created a red-matter singularity that consumed the star, but not before the supernova reached the Romulan home world, destroying the planet and its inhabitants.
Capt. Nero (Eric Bana) tried to intercept Spock in a giant Romulan mining vessel called the Narada, but both ships got pulled into the artificial black hole. They emerged 154 years earlier, creating a new, alternate timeline. This is generally referred to as the Kelvin timeline and is not considered part of the Prime timeline, in which the earlier entries to "Star Trek" canon took place.
Picard was also involved in Spock's attempt to reunify the Vulcans and Romulans in 2368 (the two races stem from the same origins) in the two-part TNG episode "Unification" (S05, E07 and E08), so he certainly has a historical connection to this storyline.
We know that Data dies in 2379, given the events of "Star Trek: Nemesis," and that in 2381, Picard was promoted to admiral and left the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E for an unknown special assignment. Three years after this, in 2384, Picard supposedly leads the greatest rescue armada in history. Then, two years after that, he retires to La Barre, in the southeast corner of the Burgundy region of France. In 2387, the Hobus supernova destroys Romulus. The events that we see in the new series take place a few years after this, in 2399.
These dates come from exhibits at the pop-up Picard Museum in the Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego that was exclusive to SDCC. However, the date of the destruction of Romulus comes from the 2009 "Star Trek" movie that's set in the Kelvin timeline, and so it's unlikely that this date has been changed. Thus, it appears that the "greatest rescue armada in history" might be something other than the rescue of the Romulan population. Or, at the very least, it was an advance evacuation, an attempt to rescue as many as possible.
Clearly, too, as we've seen in the trailer for the new series, the Borg are involved in some way. So perhaps that was Picard's special assignment after he left the USS Enterprise.
The trailers show Picard living the life of a loner on his vineyard, with just his pit-bull terrier, who bears a name tag reading "Number One," representing companionship. These images fit with Stewart's personal life, as he and his wife are known to rescue dogs and they sadly lost one to pneumonia.
However, Picard's lonely life could be the result of not just events that took place on Romulus, but also the loss of his wife — who may or may not have been Crusher.
You may recall that in "Star Trek: Generations" (1994) we learned that Picard's young nephew René and his father, Robert, the captain's brother, tragically died in a fire at the family home in 2371. Only Marie Picard, Robert's wife, survived. What we're seeing in both the teaser and the official trailer is obviously the Picard vineyard in La Barre, so it makes sense to wonder if the series will reference these events and if Marie will appear in the show.
We've seen the Picard vineyard twice before, once in the epic TNG episode "Family" (S04, E02) and then again in "All Good Things" (S07, E25).
Almost anything is possible at this point, even the brief return of some of the other TNG cast members, purely so we can witness how they died and how it might have affected Picard. There's also some speculation about Dahj, who is played by Isa Briones. She might be the female android that Data creates in the "Next Generation" episode "The Offspring" (S03, E16) and who is originally named Lal. Alternatively, Dahj could be a Borg-human hybrid of some kind or possibly even a former Borg queen, just without all the circuitry.
In the trailer, we also see the "Picard Day" banner, which was last seen in TNG, in the episode "The Pegasus" (S07, E12). One possibility is that the other crew members we see with Picard on whatever ship was pictured in the trailer are some of the children who were celebrating Picard Day on the USS Enterprise, now grown up. Perhaps the banner was saved after the NCC 1701-D crashed on Veridian III in "Star Trek: Generations," and those kids retained loyalty to their former captain.
The brief glimpse of the Borg ship interior from the trailer reveals not only Romulan logos on the catwalk, but also an amusing sign that reads, "This facility has gone 5843 days without an assimilation." This suggests that rather than a Borg cube undergoing repair, it might be a prison ship.
So far, there's been no mention of Picard's irumodic syndrome, a condition we learn he is suffering from in "All Good Things" (S07, E25). Whether that's been glossed over remains to be seen.
Just before SDCC, Kurtzman and showrunner Michael Chabon spoke to Entertainment Weekly and revealed seven more major new details about the show:
1. Picard is going back into space. Kurtzman confirmed that the new Trek series will live up to its name and Stewart's character will return to space. "Events begin to unfold that conspire to take Picard back to the stars," Kurtzman said.
2. Picard isn't necessarily returning to Starfleet. "He will [go to space]," Kurtzman added, "but not in a way that anyone expects."
3. Picard seeks to fight a specific injustice. However, "Because he's no longer in Starfleet, he no longer carries the weight of that behind him," Kurtzman said. "In some ways, it's easier to be [a great man] when you're a captain. But it's an entirely different thing when you don't have an army behind you."
4. Picard's quest will be a serialized story. This will contrast with the episodic TNG.
5. Picard is "haunted" and older but fundamentally remains the same character. "There are many things that haunt Picard," Kurtzman said, adding that the ill-fated Romulus mission is just one of those things.
6. Other "Next Generation" actors may appear. However, this won't be just because. "What we don't want to do is just throw in cameos," Kurtzman said. "There would have to be an incredibly specific story reason [for them to be there]."
7. Stewart is better than ever. This reveal is certainly no surprise. "The quality of Patrick's acting, if anything, has gotten even better over time, and he was already a master," Chabon said. Anyone who's seen Stewart's last portrayal of Charles Xavier in the X-Men film "Logan" will already know this to be true.
Also announced at STLV was "Star Trek: Picard — Countdown," a three-part comic series from IDW beginning this November, plus a prequel novel entitled "The Last Best Hope," set for release in February, 2020. According to StarTrek.com, it will be written by Una McCormack and lead directly into the new series, introducing fans to brand new characters featured in the show.
How to watch
"Star Trek: Picard" will air first on CBS All Access, a subscription streaming service offered by CBS and the home of "Star Trek: Discovery."
CBS and Amazon Studios have announced that the new Trek series will stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries. As part of a multiyear deal between the network and Amazon, episodes will be released on Prime Video within 24 hours of their premiere on CBS All Access in the U.S. and the TV channel Space in Canada.
This new arrangement won't affect the deal CBS has with Netflix internationally, which puts every "Star Trek" TV series, including "Star Trek: Discovery," on that streaming service outside of the U.S. and Canada. With one new "Star Trek" animated series going exclusively to Nickelodeon, Trek fans will need to turn to streaming if they want to keep up with everything.
"Star Trek: Picard" will premiere sometime in 2020.
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