Star Trek: Picard -- Release Date, Cast, And Everything Else We Know
The legendary captain is back
Picard is officially out now on CBS All Access. You can sign up for free trial to check out the first episode, "Remembrance," and then check out our Episode 1 review and Easter egg gallery. The show has already been renewed for Season 2, and that will apparently see the return of Whoopi Goldberg's Guinan.
In October, New York Comic-Con hosted a Star Trek Universe panel, where we learned a lot of details about Star Trek: Picard, the upcoming television series that will debut on CBS All-Access on January 23, 2020.
In a pop culture landscape filled with dystopian visions of our future, in which our technological advancements have imprisoned us and deepened our class divides, Star Trek is a beacon of hope and optimism. In creator Gene Roddenberry's vision of our future, humans have transcended their tribalism and access to technology has led to an intellectual flourishing. Morally evolved, Trek's humans would sooner talk their way out of a dilemma than fight their way out.
No one in the history of Trek encapsulates this ethos better than Captain Jean-Luc Picard. And perhaps his unyielding, high-minded principles feel a little old-fashioned in a cynical world. But, to paraphrase Agent Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D., we could use a little old-fashioned right about now.
Here is everything we know so far about Star Trek: Picard.
Disclosure: CBS is GameSpot's parent company.
When Can You Watch?
Star Trek: Picard is coming to CBS All Access on January 23, 2020. You'll need a subscription to the streaming service to watch the show. It'll run you $5.99 per month with limited commercials, or $9.99 a month with no commercials.
First Picard Trailer Takes Jean-Luc Out Of The Vineyard
Comic-Con 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
As Cait Petrakovitz from GameSpot sister site CNET detailed, Comic-Con was home to a Picard exhibit that looked into the biography and career of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D captain.
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 he'll be in the show, at least at first, but the circumstances of what led Picard to choose a farming life over his Starfleet commission have only been hinted at so far.
The First Teaser Suggests Things Ended Badly For Captain Picard
The first teaser trailer for Picard, released on May 23, 2019, gives 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, 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.
A Short Trek Episode Will Set Up The Series
Though we don't know exactly what it was that happened in Picard's past, we're set to learn more about it ahead of the show's release. CBS All Access is releasing an episode of its Short Treks series that will serve as a prequel and setup for Picard. Titled "Children of Mars," it's set up 15 years before the start of the series, lining it up with the trauma in the captain's past. Coupled with shots from Picard teasers, seems to suggest that an attack or disaster on Mars is what causes Picard to leave Starfleet.
Here's the official episode synopsis: "12-year-old classmates Kima and Lil find themselves at odds with each other on a day that will change their lives forever."
Check out the trailer here. The episode releases on January 9.
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, and is reprising the role on Picard, as we've seen in teasers.
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 are more monologues in Star Trek: Picard and less off-road action scenes.
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, who planned to use the clone to place a spy in Starfleet. That clone, Shinzon, instead led a military coup against the Romulan Empire, and while he initially made overtures to diplomatic relations with the Federation, Picard later discovered Shinzon meant to invade and use his ship to wipe out all life on Earth. Picard managed 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 that 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 and the new series.
Hugh Has A New Look
Jonathan Del Arco, who reprises his role as Hugh the Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation, tweeted a video of himself getting a facial mold for Hugh's "new look." It would make sense that like Seven, Hugh would be de-Borgified since the last time we saw him (when he still had all his implants). But it's noteworthy that this facial mold appears to cover Del Arco's left eye. Perhaps, he never got his bionic eye replaced with a more natural implant.
In one trailer, we finally get a look at the new Hugh. He does look a little more Borg-ish than Seven of Nine did, but he may not have had someone as nurturing and patient as Captain Janeway to guide him back to humanity.
Data Dream Sequence
The newest trailer gives us some additional context on how Data will appear on Star Trek: Picard. We see a dream sequence where Data, still dressed in his Next Generation uniform, offers Picard a paintbrush. We then see flashes of destruction (perhaps this is the event that caused Picard to leave Starfleet?) before Picard wakes up in his bed.
It appears that Data will only exist in Picard's imagination; his death to save the Enterprise crew in Star Trek: Nemesis remains canon. The disassembled Soong android that we saw in the first trailer is more likely to be B-4, who appeared in Nemesis and was with Picard at the end of that movie.
Riker and Troi
The trailer also reveals two additional, high-profile cameos: Jonathan Frakes as William Riker, who was first officer on the Enterprise during The Next Generation, and Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi, who served as the ship's counselor. The two of them are married and have a child in the new series, as well. Some of the best parts of the new footage are the ones where Riker and Picard are interacting and reminiscing in a warm, fond manner. We always knew that Picard and Riker cared for one another, but when they were in uniform, they were often too professional to show it.
In both trailers, we saw a Borg cube surrounded by Romulan Warbirds. Fans have theorized that Romulans have been conducting experiments on Borg drones, with Starfleet's knowledge (if not approval).
The new trailer appears to confirm those fears. We see Picard chastising an admiral about upholding Starfleet's principles, which crosscuts between footage of humanoids who have serial numbers stamped onto their foreheads. They appear to match up with earlier footage of a Romulan holding facility, where we also saw Borg recharging stations.
They also look a little bit like Data and other androids created by Noonien Soong. Maybe Starfleet or the Romulans have figured out a way to mass-produce androids like Data, or combine Borg technology with existing android technology? That sounds like a terrible accident waiting to happen.
We see footage of Picard talking to Raffi Musiker, who, based on their dialogue, was involved in the rescue mission before Picard left Starfleet--which also was apparently top-secret and unauthorized. We meet Agnes Jurati, who (based on the decor) works in the same facility where Starfleet is keeping the disassembled Soong android we saw in the first trailer. We see Elnor, a cool-looking Romulan with a sword. Lastly, we see Christobal Rios, an ex-Starfleet officer who captains the new ship.
There seems to be a running theme here of outcasts, outsiders, and washed-up former Starfleet, who form a motley crew to defy the establishment.
NYCC Booth Revelations
This year at New York Comic-Con, Star Trek Universe had a booth (#166) on the convention floor. On display were several costumes from the new show, along with some slight plot elaborations on what we already knew.
A plot synopsis on a placard read: "Since resigning from Starfleet, Admiral Jean-Luc Picard has lived a somewhat reclusive life on his family estate in La Barre, France. All of that changes when he receives an unexpected visitor and is once more drawn back to the galactic stage." We've suspected for some time that Picard left Starfleet of his own accord, possibly under dark circumstances, and the trailers implied that he had become a bit of a loner in the interim. But still, it's affirming to see it spelled out, and know that the marketing hasn't been trying to swerve us.
We also learned, from a different placard, that Seven of Nine "has become more comfortable with her humanity in the intervening years" since Voyager concluded. Notably, unlike Picard or Janeway, Seven was not given any rank on these placards. According to lore imparted by Star Trek Online, Seven joined Starfleet upon returning to Earth, but left after Starfleet dissolved the Borg Task Force she was a member of. She then joined the Daystrom Institute. Hopefully, Star Trek: Picard will maintain this bit of history as canon.