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What Do We Know About Star Trek: Picard?

by Matt Miller on May 24, 2019 at 12:00 PM

CBS has been actively working to revitalize the Star Trek brand in recent years, especially through the roll-out of a number of new series, including Star Trek: Discovery, which recently completed its second season, and ran on CBS’ All-Access streaming service.

We’ve known for some time that Patrick Stewart is involved in another series, focusing on the character of Jean-Luc Picard, who he played for seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, not to mention several follow-up feature films. Yesterday brought us the first look at a teaser trailer for the new series, which began to paint a picture of what to expect from the series. Check the trailer out at the bottom of this story if you haven’t had a chance to watch it yet.

While it’s only a little over a minute, there are some potent details to unpack, offering some significant hints about the plot, themes, and setting of the upcoming Star Trek: Picard.

  • Star Trek: Picard seems to have a delicate relationship with the established canon. While it’s likely that the moments depicted in the earlier TV series and the movies are sacrosanct, enthusiastic fans would be wise to not get too wrapped up in some of the other events depicted in Picard’s life in other mediums, including the novels and comics. Given Picard’s long retirement from Starfleet depicted in this trailer, not to mention his seemingly lonely life on a vineyard, it’s safe to assume that many storylines from those other mediums are being left behind.
  • Picard left Starfleet under unhappy circumstances some time ago, and the reasons why figure prominently in the story of the show. From the dour expression on his face during the voiceover, to the looming storm clouds that set the tone of the trailer, it’s clear that the question of Picard’s departure from the organization that defined his career is important to this story.
  • Before leaving Starfleet, Picard became an admiral. In Star Trek: Generations, during the fateful meeting of the fiction’s two most famous captains, Kirk warns Picard not to ever get promoted, because as long as he’s in the chair of his own ship, he can make a difference. Whether that memorable conversation factors in to Star Trek: Picard, and whatever unfortunate thing happened to its lead character, remains to be seen.
  • Picard has taken up his brother’s passion as a winemaker. Early in season 4 of TNG, Picard returns home to La Barre, France, on Earth after his devastating encounter with the Borg (in which he becomes Locutus), and we meet both his elder brother, Robert, as well as his brother's wife and son. Later, in the film Star Trek Generations, Picard receives the devastating news that his brother and his brother’s son died in a house fire. Jean-Luc is heartbroken, and relays (to Counselor Troi) that he’s struggling with the news that he is likely the end of the Picard family line. The wine bottles he’s preparing in this recent trailer show that they’re being produced at Chateau Picard, so it’s clear that he is indeed at the same vineyard that was once run by his brother. His place as a vintner at that same vineyard suggests that Picard, late in life, is still struggling with the concept of family legacy.
  • It’s clear that Picard’s involvement with the Romulans is also integral to the story. In the TNG series, his connection to Spock and the efforts for Romulan/Vulcan reunification are highlighted, and Picard’s connection to Romulus is reinforced in the film, Star Trek: Nemesis. In the complicated interplay between this timeline and the one presented in the Abrams-helmed 2009 film reboot, we know that Romulus in Picard’s time gets destroyed by a powerful supernova in the year 2387. While unconfirmed, it seems likely that the effort to save survivors of this supernova is the “rescue armada” referenced in the trailer, which we learn was led by Picard.
  • The musical score for the trailer features a poignant easter egg. In the final moments of the teaser, we hear the iconic Star Trek: The Next Generation musical theme, but reinterpreted through the quiet tones of what fans will likely identify as the Ressikan flute. In an episode of season 5 of TNG, Picard is overwhelmed by an alien probe from the planet of Kataan. While his shipmates aboard the Enterprise experience only a short period of time, Picard is given the memories of an entire lifetime on the planet. During his time in that life, he took up the local variant of a flute, and that same flute is left behind in the probe after Picard returns to his real life. His love of playing the flute became a running concept in later episodes, and references a melancholy but hopeful theme within the fiction.  

What other hints did you pick up on in the teaser? What do you think the new series will be about? Share your thoughts in the comments below.