Picard Faces Psychological Drama in New 'Star Trek' Series
Not much is known about the new "Star Trek" spinoff series focusing on Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), not even the official title.
However, we do know that principal photography has begun in Los Angeles, and the first season will run for 10 episodes. We also know a few members of the cast: Joining Stewart will be Santiago Cabrera ("Transformers: The Last Knight" and "Salvation"), Isa Briones ("American Crime Story"), Alison Pill ("Snowpiercer" and "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"), Harry Treadaway ("Penny Dreadful"), Michelle Hurd ("Hawaii Five-0") and Evan Evagora ("Secret City").
Back in January, Alex Kurtzman — showrunner on "Star Trek: Discovery" and executive producer of this new series — told The Hollywood Reporter that Picard will be living a very different life than the one he knew on the bridge of the Enterprise. Apparently, this is thanks to a traumatic and life-changing calamity dating all the back to what we saw in J.J. Abrams' first "Star Trek" movie, which Kurtzman co-wrote.
The destruction of the Romulan home world in 2009's "Star Trek," Kurtzman said, was a defining event in Picard's career, one that sets up the role Stewart will play on the still-untitled show.
According to that movie, the planet Romulus was destroyed in 2387 when a nearby star went supernova, endangering the entire galaxy. Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy) created a red-matter singularity that consumed the star, but not before the supernova reached the Romulan home world, destroying the planet and its inhabitants.
Capt. Nero (Eric Bana) tried to intercept Spock in a giant Romulan mining vessel called the Narada, but both ships got pulled into the artificial black hole. They emerged at a point in time 154 years earlier, creating a new, alternate timeline. This is generally referred to as the Kelvin timeline and is not considered part of the Prime timeline, where the earlier entries to "Star Trek" canon took place.
However, Kurtzman teased a little more about the approach of the new Picard series when he spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the resurgence of the "Star Trek" franchise.
"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. … 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," he said.
"What happens when circumstances have conspired to not give him the happiest of endings? Hopefully, it's a reinforcement of [Gene] Roddenberry's vision of optimism. He's going to have to go through deep valleys to get back to the light."
Picard was also involved in Spock's attempt to reunify the Vulcans and Romulans in 2368 (the two races stem from the same origins) in the two-part "The Next Generation" episode "Unification" (S05, E07 and E08), so he certainly has a historical connection.
CBS and Amazon Studios have announced that the new show will stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries worldwide. As part of a multiyear deal between the network and Amazon, the show will release episodes on Prime Video within 24 hours of their premiere on CBS All Access in the U.S. and the TV channel Space in Canada.
This new arrangement won't affect the deal CBS has with Netflix internationally, which puts every "Star Trek" TV series, including "Star Trek: Discovery," on the service outside of the U.S. and Canada. With one of the new "Star Trek" animated series going exclusively to Nickelodeon, the future seems to feature more streaming subscriptions if Trek fans want to keep up with everything.
In addition to the Picard series, Kurtzman also spoke a little about the Philippa Georgiou spinoff show that will star Michelle Yeoh as the former Terran emperor from the Mirror Universe who is now an agent of the clandestine Starfleet intelligence agency Section 31. Kurtzman said that the creative team behind the Section 31 spinoff is looking at some popular film and television works as touchstones.
"People locked in on Georgiou as being a wonderful oddity," he told the Times. "She is wicked, devious [and] manipulative and yet somehow radiates this incredible heart. People love her.
"We looked to shows like 'Killing Eve,' to franchises like 'Mission: Impossible,' things that were complicated on a plot level but also a character level," he added. "I think it's fun for people to see a show with a protagonist who's entirely unreliable. At the end of the day, she's going to do the right thing, but in the exact wrong way."
Georgiou was last seen onboard the USS Discovery as it jumped 950 years into the future at the end of "Discovery" Season 2, so it's unlikely we'll see this spinoff until after the end of the show's third season.