Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: How Old Is Picard? There’s Conflicting Evidence

Star Trek: Picard will chronicle the good captain's twilight years - but exactly how old is Jean-Luc Picard in the series? The much-anticipated return of the man who headlined Star Trek: The Next Generation for seven seasons will be pushing Star Trek's timeline forward to the dawn of the 25th century.

Before Picard, the project that took place at the latest point in the main timeline was 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis, which was set in 2379. Nemesis was also the last time we glimpsed Captain Picard, entering a new chapter of his life without the departing Will Riker, Deanna Troi, and Data, the latter of whom sacrificed himself to save Picard. All further Star Trek projects - Enterprise, Discovery, the J.J. Abrams films - are set in either the 22nd century, 23rd century, or an alternate reality 23rd century. Picard is the first story to push the Star Trek timeline forward in 17 years, much to the excitement of longtime fans who never fell in love with the Abrams films, and who took their time warming up to the polarizing Discovery.

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There are conflicting reports about the exact year in which Star Trek: Picard will begin. Patrick Stewart himself has said the show is set 20 years after Nemesis, which would make it 2399; however, the show's teaser trailer seemed to suggest Picard suffered some sort of loss 15 years earlier, long assumed to have some association with the destruction of Romulus. Romulus was destroyed in 2387, which would mean Picard is set in 2402.

The show is almost certainly taking place in that three-year window, which happens to be an important era in the franchise's lore - the end of the 24th century, unquestionably the richest, most exhaustively explored century in Star Trek's history. The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager all took place in the mid-to-late 24th century. If you add up the episode counts of all three, you get 526 episodes which were produced, without interruption, from 1987 to 2001 chronicling that era. It is, frankly, the era when Star Trek figured out it could tell far different, more innovative stories than The Original Series of Kirk and Spock swashbuckling across the galaxy.

The general assumption for many would be, since Star Trek: Picard takes place roughly the same amount of time since Patrick Stewart last played the role in real life, that Jean-Luc is roughly the same age as the actor who plays him. Patrick Stewart - who does not seem to be aging like a normal human - is currently 78 years old. However, a bit of trivia that doesn't seem to be commonly known is that Jean-Luc Picard was always much older than the actor who played him; Stewart was 47 when TNG began, but the character of Picard was 59. By his last canonical appearance in Nemesis, Picard was 75. If Star Trek: Picard begins in 2399, that would make the good captain 94 years old; if it takes place in 2402, he'd be 97.

It might seem strange for a man of such advanced age to be having space adventures, but there are plenty of examples of 24th century humans living well into the triple digits. Star Trek: The Original Series' iconic medical officer, Leonard "Bones" McCoy appeared in the very first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation; he was said to be 137 by that era. Actor DeForest Kelley was encased in old age makeup, and he may have been slightly crankier, but Bones got around just fine in his 15th decade.

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Star Trek: Picard is sure to be a radically different show than the franchise has seen before; not just for its place in the overall timeline, but for featuring a lead character of an unusually advanced age - and there aren't exactly a plethora of actors in their late 70s headlining projects of this scale either. It seems Jean-Luc Picard is returning to Star Trek to do what he always does - show us something new.