Star Trek: Picard team is pulling back the veil on the upcoming series that returns Patrick Stewart to role he played for seven seasons on the 1990s syndicated hit series Star Trek: The Next Generation and in four feature films.
Executive producer Alex Kurtzman and showrunner Michael Chabon gave EW some new hints about Jean-Luc Picard’s journey in the upcoming CBS All-Access series. Until now, the only teaser has shown Picard in retirement at his family’s vineyard in France and included a cryptic voiceover suggesting the admiral left Starfleet after he led an armada on a rescue mission to the doomed planet Romulus.
Here are seven things we learned:
1. Yes, Picard is going back into space. Strangely enough for a Trek series, nothing space-y has yet been shown regarding the new show, which has entirely terrestrial marketing images so far. Even our basic questions like, “Can you at least say if the show is set on a spaceship?” were dodged when we asked the producers. But Kurtzman confirms the new Star Trek will live up to its name. “Events began to unfold that conspire to take Picard back to the stars,” Kurtzman says.
2. But that doesn’t mean Picard is returning to Starfleet. “He will [go to space],” Kurtzman adds, “but not in a way that anyone expects.” What does that mean? It sounds like Picard won’t simply get drafted back into commanding a starship — especially considering what Kurtzman reveals next.
3. Picard seeks to fight a specific injustice, yet won’t have his usual resources. “Because he’s no longer in Starfleet, he no longer carries the weight of that behind him,” Kurtzman says. “In some ways, it’s easier to be [a great man] when you’re a captain. But it’s an entirely different thing when you don’t have an army behind you. When you want to get something done and fight an injustice, how do you do that when you’re really only one man?”
4. His quest will be a serialized story in the first season, unlike the episodic The Next Generation. “Which isn’t necessarily new for Star Trek,” Chabon said, noting that Discovery is often serialized too, “but that is new for Picard.”
5. Picard is “haunted” and older but fundamentally remains the same character. “There are many things that haunt Picard,” Kurtzman teases, adding the ill-fated Romulus mission is just one of those things. And Chabon notes the series will incorporate that the character is a different age. “He’s a lot older and we’re not shying away from that at all — we’re dealing with a man who’s in a very different place in his life,” Chabon says. Yet at the same time, Picard will still be the man you know and love. “It was terribly important to us that he remains fundamentally Picard,” Kurtzman says. “You will not see a version that betrays the man we loved from Next Generation. We’re not doing that. But we wanted to put a character with that level of morality and leadership and who always does the right thing no matter how hard the circumstances … we wanted to put that to the test.”
6. Other Next Generation actor appearances are not being ruled out. The producers just want to make sure they’re not, you know, cheesy. “What we don’t want to do is just throw in cameos,” Kurtzman says. “There would have to be an incredibly specific story reason [for them to be there].” Former Next Gen star Jonathan Frakes was previously announced as directing two episodes in the first season, but there’s no word if he appears on camera. The show’s new regular cast members (Alison Pill, Michelle Hurd, Evan Evagora, Isa Briones, Santiago Cabrera, and Harry Treadaway) are not playing any familiar Next Gen characters, Kurtzman confirms.
7. Stewart as Picard is better than you’ve ever seen him. “The quality of Patrick’s acting, if anything, has gotten even better over time and he was already a master,” Chabon says. “He has an ability to hold you riveted even when he’s just sitting and listening.” Naturally. Picard is always at his best when he looks … engaged.
The Star Trek: Picard panel is Saturday at Comic-Con and EW will have full coverage.