More than 20 years after the crew of the TNG-era Enterprise finished its run, and 17 years after Patrick Stewart’s final appearance as Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: Nemesis, we now have a teaser trailer for the upcoming Star Trek: Picard. While Discovery is nominally set in the original Star Trek universe rather than the Kelvinverse timeline, this is the first time we’ll be returning to the era explored by The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, and Voyager.
Plot details are scarce, but there are a few things we know. As old Spock told Kirk in 2009, he traveled back in time accidentally in the 2009 rebooted Star Trek movie, as part of an effort to keep the Romulan and Reman sun from going nova. The plan failed. The star still exploded and presumably the Romulan and Reman worlds were decimated as a result.
The trailer seems to refer to these events and implies they were a catalyst for profound failure in Picard’s life. We know that the outcome of that attempt to rescue the Romulans and Remans will play out on the TV show, which appears to pick up 15 years after Picard commanded “The greatest rescue armada in history.”
In the aftermath of this disaster, Picard left Starfleet and obviously returned to what his family had wanted him to do in the first place — making wine.
One interesting point is the difference between the age of Picard on the show and the age of the actor, Patrick Stewart. TNG debuted in 1987, when Patrick Stewart was 47. It takes place in the fictional year 2364 (Jean-Luc Picard was born in 2305). So in 1987, a 47-year-old actor was playing a 59-year-old starship captain. Today in 2019, a 78-year-old actor will be playing a Starfleet Admiral who is ~94, given that Picard is set in the closing days of the 25th century.
The reason I bring this up is that I’m curious to see how CBS handles it. It seems incredibly unlikely that this show won’t involve some degree of space travel and contact with alien species and individuals — the “Sit on a space station and wait for things to happen” plot arcs didn’t work very well for DS9, and it’s doubtful they’d work better now. This could be a fascinating look at Picard at the end of his life and career, with new opportunities to visit the character as someone who hypothetically guides and shapes policy as opposed to carving it out of Borg hulls with phaser fire. Not many TV shows have the guts to put a nearly eighty-year-old man at the center of the cast — but then, not many actors are Patrick Stewart, and not many characters are Jean Luc Picard.
This is, not incidentally, perhaps CBS’ best chance to demonstrate that someone in Hollywood still understands how to create good Star Trek content. Like Discovery, however, it appears Picard will be chained to CBS All Access, forcing viewers between skipping the show, pirating it, or signing up for another monthly fee to watch 1-2 shows.
Wasn’t this what everybody used to hate about cable?
I’ll be skipping Picard for this reason. But I do hope the show is solid. Those of you hoping for a cast reunion should know, as of now, no other TNG members have admitted being associated with the project.
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