This year's First Contact Day was a non-stop, thrill-a-minute "Star Trek" spectacle, a veritable piñata packed with news and nostalgia that certainly gave us a lot to absorb and unpack. So, we've scrutinized and analyzed every conceivable detail to make sure you don't miss a thing.
The teaser trailer for the second season of "Picard" probably featured the most Easter eggs out of the three new snippets we saw. It's very much an exercise in "see how many you can spot," much like the equivalent teaser trailer for Season 1, when Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) visited the Starfleet Museum Quantum Archives in San Francisco and we saw models of the USS Stargazer, the Sovereign Class Captain's Yacht and even the Picard Day banner from the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode titled "The Pegasus" (Season 7, Episode 12).
There's an establishing shot of the Château Picard and winery (filmed at the Sunstone Villa and Vineyard in Santa Ynez, California) and the voice of Picard as we gently fly over the front-facing grapevines.
"The true final frontier is time," he says. We cut to an interior shot and we see the familiar blend of old styles mixed with new. "Time can turn even our most impulsive, even our most ill-considered actions into history."
And to reinforce the issue of time, we see a close-up shot of a clock; this particular one appeared in the first season above the fireplace mantle in the study at Château Picard and was later recreated both in the holographic study on board La Sirena. (A common misconception is that it was also used in Data's holographic creation where he sought closure with Picard, but that's actually a different clock.)
However, here's the really funny part — it looks very much like the clock says 10:04, which is the time that the clock tower was struck by lightning — and consequently stopped — in the 1985 film "Back to the Future." Coincidence? Unlikely. What is much more likely is that the production team on "Picard'' are having some fun and dropped another clue, albeit very subtle and very entertaining, to suggest that time travel is going to be a major theme in the second season of "Picard."
The next deliberate placement is a little tricky to identify; it's the remains of the Bajoran artifact known as the Reckoning Tablet. It appears in the aptly titled "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" episode "The Reckoning" (Season 6, Episode 21) and was discovered under the ruins of the city of B'hala by a team of Bajoran archaeologists in 2374. It's inscribed with ancient Bajoran ideograms of which two read "Welcome, Emissary."
In addition to incorporating many elements from "The Next Generation" — including appearances from Brent Spiner, Jonathan Del Arco, Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis — the first season of "Picard" also featured elements from "Star Trek: Voyager" together with a return for Jeri Ryan's character Seven of Nine, so it's not impossible that we might see something similar with "Deep Space Nine." However, Avery Brooks (who played Captain Benjamin Sisko) has stayed out of the spotlight since the series finale and has only appeared at a handful of conventions — and not for some time. He was also noticeably absent from the "Deep Space Nine" documentary "What We Leave Behind." But if he were to return and reprise his role ... it could make the second season very interesting.
The next Easter egg is an oil painting of the USS Enterprise NCC 1701-D (by Rick Sternbach and Andrew Probert) hanging above the fireplace. This hung on the wall in Picard's ready room and appears very visibly in many episodes, but as has been picked up on social media, the one now hanging in Picard's library features very subtle scorch marks (around the edges of the nebula, below and to the right of the Enterprise), suggesting it survived almost entirely intact and was rescued from the Enterprise saucer section after it crashed on Veridian III in "Star Trek: Generations."
As we gently pan around the room there are Easter eggs almost everywhere, and the pause at the fireplace does draw our attention primarily to the oil painting, but littered about the place are several other carefully placed items.
To the very far left, we can see two books open and on display. These are Volumes 1 and 2 of "The Annotated Shakespeare." These appeared in Picard's ready room in Seasons 2-7 of "The Next Generation." Volume 1 featured from late in Season 1 through to Season 6 and before that, it appeared in Picard's quarters. Volume 2 began to appear in the ready room late in Season 6 and in Season 7, and before that it was in Picard's quarters for Seasons 2-6. They were seen to be open on different pages throughout the show. There's an incredibly detailed breakdown of Picard's selection of Shakespearean works on the site Ex Astris Scientia.
The other book of The Bard that is possibly better known for its appearance in "The Next Generation" is "The Globe Illustrated Shakespeare" that Q was thumbing through and even threw at Picard in the episode "Hide and Q" (Season 1, Episode 10). That too is visible, but it's not one of these two books to the left of the mantle; instead, that's lying open on the desk, behind the hourglass. It also featured in "Star Trek: Insurrection" and in the Starfleet Museum Quantum Archive in the "Picard" episode "Remembrance" (Season 1, Episode 1). All these books are very real, albeit very difficult to find these days.
Below the painting, on top of the mantelpiece on the left side, is a fossil ammonite that — with the exception of Season 3 of "The Next Generation," in which the prop changed to a nautilus shell — sat behind the captain's chair in his ready room on the Enterprise-D and Enterprise-E and thus was quite difficult to spot sometimes. It also appeared in "First Contact" and "Star Trek: Nemesis," although the one in the teaser trailer looks slightly smaller.
To the right of the ammonite and in the center of the mantle is a bronze sculpture of a horse and plowman, which previously adorned the mantle in the dining room at the Château Picard when Jean-Luc's brother Robert, his wife Marie and their son René lived there in "The Next Generation" episode "Family" (Season 4, Episode 2) before we discover they had all tragically perished in a fire in "Generations."
And finally, the teeny-tiny blob that's virtually unrecognizable on the far right has been positively identified as a model of a Promellian battle cruiser in a bottle. We learn in "The Next Generation'' episode "Booby Trap" (Season 3, Episode 6) that visiting a Promellian battle cruiser was always a dream of Picard's, a dream he had held on to ever since he was a child, when he used to build model ships in bottles. Ben Robinson, who heads up the "Star Trek'' unit of Eaglemoss confirmed it on Twitter, saying that the production designer on "Picard" actually approached Eaglemoss for the model to use.
"Not only is it a Promellian battle cruiser in a bottle, it's a Hero Collector model. Dave Blass is a man who cares passionately about details and asked us if we could send him one so he could do this. It's a really nice thing and says a lot about the show's attention to detail," Robinson wrote on Twitter.
In front of the fireplace, draped over what appears to be a chair from the Enterprise-D is a Mintakan tapestry that was given to Picard by the Proto-Vulcan people of Mintaka III in "The Next Generation" episode "Who Watches The Watchers" (Season 3, Episode 4). It appeared throughout the show in the captain's quarters, although we didn't get to see those very often since most of the captain's personal drama took place either in the ready room or the briefing room. However, the tapestry moved to his ready room chair for "First Contact" and "Insurrection" but was missing in "Nemesis" for some reason.
To the right of the fireplace is probably the hardest object to identify; it's the Kurlan Naiskos, given to Picard by his old mentor, Professor Galen in the episode "The Chase" (Season 6, Episode 20). It featured quite regularly in the captain's ready room through the final season of "The Next Generation" but it moved from his desk to the end table before being found in the wreckage of the Enterprise-D saucer section on Veridian III in "Generations" and tossed aside by Picard during the search for his family photo album, which given recent events was understandable. To the right of the Kurlan Naiskos is Picard's bronze sextant, which has appeared in the captain's quarters throughout "The Next Generation" and in the movies "Insurrection" and "Nemesis."
We pan back into the center of the room and pass over Picard's Starfleet combadge. This is in the 2370s style that was introduced in the third season of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and maintained throughout all of the movies, from "Generations" to "Nemesis." It's also seen in the flashback sequence in the "Picard" episode "The End is the Beginning" (Season 1, Episode 3), when Picard tells Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd) that he's quit Starfleet, so it's clearly the last design of Starfleet combadge he wore, he also used it to contact Raffi in the episode "Maps and Legends" (Season 1, Episode 2).
We see a copy of the fictional pulp-style novel "The Long Dark Tunnel" by Tracy Tormé (who was actually a writer on "The Next Generation") that featured the detective Dixon Hill and was referenced in "The Next Generation" episodes "The Big Goodbye" (Season 1, Episode 12) and "The Emissary" (Season 2, Episode 20), The novel lies on a desk together with a copy (identified as the 1907 reprint by the Philadelphia publisher Henry Altemus) of John Milton's "Paradise Lost" — a classic poem from 1667 depicting the Biblical story of the Fall of Man, including the temptation of Adam and Eve and Lucifer's fall from Heaven.
The downfall of mankind is a theme that definitely fits Q's modus operandi throughout "The Next Generation" from the very first episode "Encounter at Farpoint" (Season 1, Episode 1) to the very last, "All Good Things" (Season 7, Episodes 25 and 26). Moreover, there's an episode of "Deep Space Nine" entitled "Paradise Lost" (Season 4, Episode 11) that dealt with Captain Sisko uncovering a plot by a Starfleet Admiral to seize power from Starfleet and the Federation. Maybe this is an indication of a potential plotline? (Could the "long dark tunnel" possibly be a reference to the wormhole?)
Then we focus on a beautifully detailed brushed bronze model of the USS Stargazer NCC-2893. This was a Constellation-class starship that was referenced numerous times in "The Next Generation" and was introduced in the episode "The Battle" (Season 1, Episode 9), where we learn that a young Jean-Luc Picard was serving as a bridge officer when that ship came under attack in the Maxia Zeta system by a Ferengi vessel. The captain was killed and Picard assumed command and saved the ship in a daring, desperate move that has since become known as the Picard Maneuver.
Given the color scheme, this model is likely meant to be the one from Picard's ready room aboard the Enterprise-D, which appeared is nearly every episode (and the movies) and is often misidentified as the Stargazer, when in fact that actual model was an unnamed Constellation-class starship with the registry NCC-7100 — although the registry was visible in the episode "Who Watches the Watchers" (Season 3, Episode 4). The reasoning behind this is unknown, given that the camera angle was such so we could rarely see the registration, it was probably just glossed over by the production team and social media didn't exist in the '80s, so fans couldn't pour over every conceivable detail like we do now.
However, a different Constellation-class starship model was used in the "Picard" episode "Remembrance" (Season 1, Episode 1) — when Picard visits the Starfleet Museum Quantum Archive — that actually had the correct registration for the USS Stargazer. In the subsequent episode, "Maps and Legends" (Season 1, Episode 2) Picard is visited by his dear friend Dr. Moritz Benayoun (played by the brilliant David Paymer) who also served on the Stargazer. So what does all this mean? Will Q make Picard revisit the events of the Battle of Maxia?
The narration continues, "What we do in a crisis often weighs upon us less heavily than what we wish we had done, what could have been."
We see an hourglass on a desk with the sands running backward in time, but next to that, to the left, is what at first glance might be mistaken for an antique letter opener, but it bears more than a passing resemblance to the control lever/ignition key for the time machine seen in two classic movie adaptations of the novel "The Time Machine" by HG Wells. The first was made in 1960 and starred Rod Taylor and the second in 2002, starring Guy Pearce. Each movie has its own interpretation of what the lever might look like. The more modern one, for instance, features a bit more brass and no marble, much like the version we see in the teaser trailer. But given its distinctive shape — and more importantly the context, which features other time travel clues, including one from "Back to the Future" — it seems this is a logical assumption. Either Jean-Luc is secretly harboring a steampunk-style time machine in the basement of his winery or the producers of "Picard'' are having a little fun with us, the fervent fans.
Finally, the camera settles on an antique, 19th century-era checkers table that has a deck of cards on it — a theme also used in the first season of "Picard."
"Time offers so many opportunities, but never second chances," Picard's narration concludes.
At which point the only card on the table, the queen of hearts begins to disintegrate until only the Q is left, and we hear the unmistakable voice of John de Lancie say, "The trial never ends," which is, of course, a reference to the trial of humanity that began in the very first episode of "The Next Generation" and continued all the way to the very last. Evidently, the omnipotent entity is up to his old tricks once again.
The singling out of the queen of hearts is a reference to the very first episode of "Picard'' entitled "Remembrance," when, during a dream sequence, Picard and Data play poker together. When Data shows his hand, every card is the queen of hearts. Although it appeared that Data's role in the show had come to an end, the confirmation of Brent Spiner's reappearance suggests that we will see more from the favorite son of Soong in the second season.
Specifics on Season 2 of "Picard" are still sparse, we know it will premiere in 2022, although a more specific date hasn't yet been given and nor has an episode count. We also know that among the returning cast members are Alison Pill, Isa Briones, Evan Evagora, Michelle Hurd, Santiago Cabrera, Jeri Ryan, Orla Brady and Brent Spiner. We also know that Patrick Stewart has invited Whoopi Goldberg to reprise her role as Guinan, but her return has not been officially confirmed. Although, it does seem possible, since Guinan and Q were adversaries.
But of course, what we do now know for sure, is that Q (John de Lancie) is returning. Speaking to Wil Wheaton during the First Contact Day virtual panel, Stewart obviously couldn't give much away, but he said this: "Q's arrival is — as it often was — utterly unexpected. But also comes at a shattering moment in the episode, and I do mean a shattering moment. Whether it's directly connected to Q or not, I'm actually still not sure, but there is significant trauma and, in fact, at the moment, I'm working on how the trauma of this moment hangs around Picard for quite a substantial part of the episode. And then there he is."
Time is clearly going to be a major plotline, whether Q enables Picard to travel through time like he did in the "The Next Generation" series finale "All Good Things" (Season 7, Episodes 25 and 26) is not yet clear. Let's not forget that Q also has the power to make Picard human once again and offered Data that opportunity in "Hide and Q" (Season 1, Episode 10). Has Picard failed the test of humanity because he is in fact now a synth?
Stewart also said during the panel, "I wish I could sit here and blurt out to you all the new storylines and situations and times that you're going to be seeing in this second season. Despite 178 episodes of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' ... and four feature films, there are events coming up in Season 2 that have never been seen before." (Emphasis added to highlight Stewart's own emphasis.)
Are we going to see Picard digitally placed into some vintage footage, like "Deep Space Nine" did with the amazing episode "Trials and Tribble-ations" (Season 5, Episode 6)? How will the aging of John de Lancie be handled? Will Q appear digitally altered at first before snapping his fingers and saying something like, "Aw, does it seem unsuitable? There, does that make you feel better mon capitaine?" before suddenly changing to the correct age?
Will Picard reunite with his old flame, Vash? Will the Pah-Wraiths make an appearance, or Ro Laren or another Bajoran? Will Jean-Luc wake up, find Data in the shower and realize everything we saw in the first season was all just a dream? All these questions, and more, may or may not be answered between now and the premiere date.