This article was originally published on May 24, 2019. It's been update following Star Trek: Picard's SDCC panel and the release of its first official trailer.
With several series, dozens of seasons, and thousands of characters, the Star Trek franchise is as sprawling as the far-future worlds it explores. But few have captured the hearts and minds of Trek fans as much Jean-Luc Picard.
As the Captain of the USS Enterprise-D, Picard wasn't as brash or boisterous as the franchise's forbearer, James Kirk. Instead, Picard, played by English legend Patrick Stewart, ruled his ship like a philosopher king, more comfortable debating the finer nuances of moral quandaries than socking a Gorn in the face.
It's been nearly 17 years since the character last appeared on screen, in the much-maligned film Star Trek: Nemesis, so it's no wonder that fans were excited when CBS All-Access—and Patrick Stewart—announced last year that the character would be returning.
Then nearly nine months later, on May 15, 2019, CBS began letting details slip about Picard's next adventure, as well as the show's name and a teaser trailer just a week later. Then in July, we finally saw the first full trailer featuring Picard and a few other familiar faces.
So, here's everything we know so far about Star Trek: Picard.
What's the Name?
#StarTrek: Picard will stream exclusively on @CBSAllAccess in the United States, on Amazon #PrimeVideo in more than 200 countries and territories and in Canada on Bell Media’s @SpaceChannel and OTT service @CraveCanada. @StarTrekCBS @primevideouk https://t.co/f3mVPY449M pic.twitter.com/iDrmtDiQLg— Star Trek (@StarTrek) May 15, 2019
Somewhat unimaginatively, the show is simply called Star Trek: Picard. Of course, when you have a character as storied as Stewart's even-keeled Captain, you don't really need much else.
The name does support what previous rumors have suggested: that this is Picard's story and not a reboot of The Next Generation.
In early September 2018, Marina Sirtis (aka TNG's Deanna Troi) posted a picture with Stewart and others from the TNG cast, causing fans to believe that other cast members would be appearing in the Picard series. But at Rose City Comic Con, Sirtis cleared things up by stating:
"All I have to say, all we have to say...when Patrick said 'Jean-Luc Picard is Back,' he didn't say TNG is back."
The conversation also included Michael Dorn (Worf) and Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher). All three confirmed that they were not asked to be a part of the show.
Of course, what one says in public isn't necessarily what's true—fans don't want spoilers, after all.
Update: Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi), Jonathan Frakes (William Riker), Brent Spiner (Data), and Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine) will make an appearance in Picard. In the first trailer, Data and Seven of Nine make appearances at the very end. Variety also reports that Jonathan Del Arco, who played a Borg named Hugh in TNG will also make an appearance.
What's it about?
The biggest clue we've gotten so far comes from the first official trailer, released at San Diego Comic-Con in mid-July. Picard turns to Starfleet when a mysterious woman named Dahj (Isa Briones) comes to him for aid from—some unforeseen threat. Rumors regarding who Dahj range from being some sorta of human-borg hybrid, Data's "sister" Lore, or perhaps a Borg Queen who's been removed from the collective—much like Seven of Nine. So far, we don't know.
Her arrival triggers some sort of adventure, requiring Picard to take on a new crew while some other familiar faces help him along the way, most notably Jeri Ryan's Seven of Nine and Brent Spiner's Data.
CBS also confirmed the show will take place 20 years after Nemesis, making this the farthest into the future any Star Trek show has had its primary setting (except maybe Discovery, but I'll say no more on that subject).
The only other info comes from the teaser trailer that CBS All Access posted on May 23, showing a Picard enjoying his twilight years at his vineyard, the Chateau Picard. The voice over points to a few clues about the new show:
Fifteen years ago today, you led us out of the darkness. You commanded the greatest rescue armada in history. Then, the unimaginable. What did that cost you? Your faith? Your faith in us? Your faith in yourself? Tell us. Why did you leave Starfleet, Admiral?
As for other details, we need to turn to the head honcho himself, Alex Kurtzman. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Kurtzman declined to give any juicy plot details, but did flesh out the general brush strokes of Picard:
"The mandate was to make it a more psychological show, a character study about this man in his emeritus years. There are so few shows that allow a significantly older protagonist to be the driver...What happens when circumstances have conspired to not give him the happiest of endings? Hopefully, it’s a reinforcement of Roddenberry’s vision of optimism. He’s going to have to go through deep valleys to get back to the light."
He also added:
"It’ll be very different than ‘Discovery.’ It’ll be slower, more meditative. It speaks to the rainbow of colors we’re playing with in all these different shows."
Additionally, in an interview The Hollywood Reporter, Kurtzman let slip that "Picard's life was radically altered by the dissolution of the Romulan Empire." In Star Trek (2009), we see a pretty radical end to the Romulan Empire, and in Nemesis, the film's main bad guy—a clone of Picard himself—was created by the Romulans. It looks like that scar runs deep as the Romulan Empire crumbles away.
But the official trailer points to a more looming threat—the Borg. This would make sense when you take a look at everyone involved with the show (so far). We have Picard, who famously transformed into Locutus of Borg in "The Best of Both Worlds" two-parter. This assimilation trauma was further explored in the TNG film First Contact, when Picard defeated the Borg in their attempt to keep humanity from making first contact with the Vulcans.
Seven of Nine share a similar story with Picard, having been assimilated as a young girl only to rescued years later by Kathryn Janeway in Voyager. After initially resisting de-assimilation she eventually returned to her human self, minus a few leftover Borg implants.
Then you have Data, a being who's fully Android but who's often struggled with trying to be more human. Add in the return of Hugh and rumors surrounding Dahj and you have a show that's primed to be singularly focused on the Borg.
Who's Involved with the Show Anyway?
The journey has begun. Kirsten Beyer, Michael Chabon, Akiva Goldsman, Diandra Pendleton-Thompson, James Duff, and yours truly. #StarTrek pic.twitter.com/GxhwkTIgWQ— Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) September 24, 2018
Acting wise, the big one is Stewart, a necessary ingredient for a show called Picard, but the creative roster is a bit more fleshed out. Actors Santiago Cabrera (Salvation) and Michelle Hurd (Blindspot) will also be joining the cast, with rumors suggesting Cabrera will be the pilot aboard Picard's ship and Hurd an expert intelligence officer, according to Deadline.
Deadline also reports that Alison Pill (Newsroom), Harry Treadaway (Penny Dreadful), and Isa Briones (American Crime Story: Versace) will star in the series as well, the latter playing the mysterious Dahj who needs Picard's help in some way.
One big name added to the list of producers is Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon (pictured above), who recently wrote a script called "Calypso" for CBS's Short Treks—arguably the best story of the four shorts—and even received a hearty welcome from previous Trek showrunner Rick Berman.
Hanelle Culpepper will direct the first two episodes of the series, becoming the first woman to launch a Star Trek show. Rounding out the creative roster is Kurtzman (the chief in charge of all things Star Trek for CBS), Akiva Goldsman, James Duff, Heather Kadin, Rod Roddenberry, and Trevor Roth as executive producers.
So When Can I Watch It?
Star Trek: Picard's release date is currently sometime early 2020, so we still have a bit of a wait on our hands.
Like Star Trek: Discovery, the franchise's newest show, Picard will debut on CBS All-Access but will stream outside the U.S. on Amazon Prime Video instead of Netflix. If you can't wait that long for Picard's return to screen, no worries. Just give yourself a thorough refresher with Picard's extensive back catalog. Might we recommend some favorites?