Star Trek: Picard — What Was the Rescue Mission That Made Picard Leave Starfleet?
On Thursday, CBS All Access released the first teaser trailer for Star Trek: Picard. The series sees Patrick Stewart returning to the role of Jean-Luc Picard, which he originated in Star Trek: The Next Generation. While the new trailer didn’t reveal too much, it did reveal that Picard has been promoted from captain to admiral in the years that have passed since Star Trek: Nemesis. It also revealed that Picard left Starfleet after leading a rescue armada on an important mission. That rescue mission seems to have changed Picard's life. So what could this important, life-changing mission have been about?
It’s impossible to gather anything about the mission from the trailer alone. Taken in context with some of the other developments in the Star Trek canon and comments from the show’s producers, a picture begins to take shape.
Star Trek: Picard takes place decades after Star Trek: Nemesis. While Nemesis was the final film set in Star Trek’s Prime Timeline, the first film set in the Kelvin Timeline — 2009’s Star Trek — revealed an important event that transpired in the Prime Timeline after the events of Nemesis took place. The planet Romulus, the seat of power for the Romulan Star Empire, was destroyed when a nearby star went supernova. The planet’s destruction is what put the time-displaced Romulan miner Nero on a path of revenge directed at Spock, which drove him to destroy Vulcan in the Kelvin Timeline.
Star Trek: Picard takes place after the destruction of Romulus in the Prime Timeline. It seems likely then that Picard’s rescue armada was tasked with doing whatever it could to save Romulan lives during and after the cataclysm took place.
Comments made by Star Trek: Picard executive producer Alex Kurtzman hint that this is the case. In January, Kurtzman said, "Picard's life was radically altered by the dissolution of the Romulan Empire." That dissolution would have been caused by the destruction of the Romulan homeworld.0comments
It is also possible that Picard feels a sense of guilt in regards to the fate of Romulus. In Star Trek: Nemesis, the Romulan Star Empire suffers a coup orchestrated by Shinzon, a clone of Picard. Though Picard stopped Shinzon’s further plans for destruction, making the bond between the United Federation of Planets and the Romulan Star Empire stronger than it had ever been, it is possible that the political upheaval Shinzon caused left the Romulan Star Empire in a weakened state where it was unable to appropriately prepare for the disaster that destroyed Romulus.
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