Star Trek: Picard -- Everything We Know: Release Date, Returning Cast, And More
The legendary captain's retirement is still shrouded in mystery.
The Star Trek franchise is full of series that introduce and later flesh out characters who go on to become legends. Usually, though, those series come to their ends, and we never see most of the characters again, even if they retain their legendary status among Starfleet and its latest batch of explorers. Occasionally those influential commanding officers get off-hand mentions in future Star Trek runs or become characters in the stories of other protagonists. But Patrick Stewart's Captain Jean-Luc Picard is breaking the mold with Star Trek: Picard, a new series that delves back into the life of the Star Trek: The Next Generation captain.
The series will appear on CBS's streaming service, CBS All Access, but a lot of details are still pretty hazy about the story the show will tell. San Diego Comic-Con 2019 attendees got a few additional hints and looks into Captain Picard's life and career, and there's a lot of peripheral information that gives a sense of where the series might go. Here's everything we've learned about Picard and what we expect from the show based on its first few teasers.
Disclosure: CBS is GameSpot's parent company.
First Picard Trailer Takes Jean-Luc Out Of The Vineyard
Comic-Con finally brought the first real Picard trailer, and it sets up the story and shows that Jean-Luc won't be spending all his time in the vineyard. It also showcases many of the returning characters and elements from The Next Generation, including the Borg.
Returning The Next Generation Characters
Those returning Next Generation characters aren't just minor ones. Among those coming back are some of the key players from TNG, including:
- Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard (obviously)
- Brent Spiner as Data
- Jonathan Frakes as William Riker
- Jeri Ryan as Borg's Seven of Nine
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Jonathan Del Arco as Hugh the Borg
Could there be more TNG cameos on the way? The other members of Picard's Enterprise crew are being coy. Responding to CNN, Levar Burton, who played Geordi La Forge, said, "It is unreasonable to assume that he [Picard] doesn't know those people anymore, or that he stopped talking to them. And if he did, there's good storytelling in why."
Gates McFadden, who played Beverly Crusher, said in a press conference, "No, we haven’t [heard anything], and I am sure Patrick will fill us in sometime. I have no idea if we are in it, or if it is just Patrick or what. We will all find out, but it is just so cool, though. It is very exciting. Again, I am always blown away by the fans, who have loved the show and Roddenberry’s vision for so long and through so many different series, and they have all been so wonderful. I am as excited as everybody else."
A Look At The First Duty
Most of the items and information in the museum are things fans will recognize from The Next Generation, but looking into Picard the man is sure to provide some helpful context for the next phase of his life when the series kicks off.
It's Set After Captain Picard's Retirement
A central focus of everything we've seen so far for the show is a vineyard. Though we last left Captain Picard when he was still a member of Starfleet, we know from a time skip in the finale episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that Picard's retirement eventually finds him taking care of his family's vineyard in France. It seems that's where we find him in the show, but the circumstances of what led Picard to choose a farming life over his Starfleet commission are still mysterious.
The First Teaser Suggests Things Ended Badly For Captain Picard
The first teaser trailer for Picard, released on May 23, provides a little more context to how one of Starfleet's most celebrated leaders left the space exploration life. Voice-over narration provides some hints, while leaving quite a bit of mystery.
The narrator is a member of a group of people who were in some unexplained dire straits some 15 years before the start of the series. Picard, an admiral at the time, led the largest rescue armada in Federation history in order to save those people--and from the sounds of things, they revere him for it. But it seems something horrible also happened during the mission, and that's the event that sent Picard into retirement.
The Captain Has A Very Good First Mate
CBS All Access revealed a Picard poster on July 10, letting slip another important detail about the admiral's retirement life: he has a dog.
The inclusion of what appears to be a pitbull as Picard's new No. 1 is also a nod to Stewart's real-life work of fostering and helping rescue dogs.
Who's Behind The Scenes
We know Stewart is serving as an executive producer on Picard, which makes sense, given he played the role for more than a decade. Star Trek: Discovery creator Alex Kurtzman is also an executive producer on the show. Novelist and screenwriter Michael Chabon is on board as Picard's showrunner, and Hanelle Culpepper is directing the premiere episode--which will make her the first woman director to launch a new Star Trek series.
Longtime Star Trek director Jonathan Frakes, who helmed the TNG movies Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection, is around to direct some episodes of the series as well. Frakes also played Picard's first officer on the Enterprise, William Riker, for the entire run of the series and its four follow-up films, so it seems very likely Frakes will reprise the role on Picard in some capacity.
Patrick Stewart Is Working With The Writers' Room
In an interview with IGN, writer Michael Chabon commented on Stewart's creative input:
"He has been really influential in both helping us understand the character, and also pushing us and challenging us. And I think more than anything -- and I don’t think it’s revealing anything for me to say this -- he’s really pushing us to try to do something new and different with the character."
It'll be interesting to see how Star Trek Picard splits the difference: between something that respects the character's history while also pushing it in new directions.
It is, however, worth noting that Patrick Stewart and Jean-Luc Picard are not the same person. The last time Stewart got his way, he inserted a dune buggy chase into Star Trek: Nemesis. So hopefully, there's more monologues in Star Trek: Picard and less off-road action.
Where We Last Left Jean-Luc Picard
Stewart originated the role of Captain Picard way back in 1987 with the launch of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The series ran until 1994, and was followed-up with four movies featuring the same crew: Star Trek: Generations, Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection, and Star Trek: Nemesis.
That last movie came out in 2002, and found Picard battling a cloned version of himself raised in horrific conditions by Romulans, with the plan of using the clone to place a spy in Starfleet. That clone, Shinzon, instead led a military coup against the Romulan Empire, and while he initially makes overtures to diplomatic relations with the Federation, Picard later discovers Shinzon means to invade and use his ship to wipe out all life on Earth. Picard manages to stop Shinzon, but the movie serves as an interesting examination of Picard's character as he wonders about how he might have turned out differently as a person if he'd faced the hardships that Shinzon did.
At the time, Picard was still a captain, having refused promotions because of his desire to be an explorer. We know he eventually becomes an admiral, so there's a lot more to learn about Picard between where we last saw him in Nemesis.
When Can You Watch?
There's no hard-and-fast release date for Picard, but we know it's coming to CBS All Access sometime in 2020.