Star Trek: Picard Hints at New Enterprise Captain
Star Trek: Picard is set to explore the future of the Star Trek universe with Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Jean-Luc Picard. We know that by the time Picard begins the former Enterprise captain has retired from Starfleet. Thanks to the new Star Trek: Picard prequel comic, Star Trek: Picard — Countdown #1, we know that Picard took command of a different starship during his time as a Starfleet admiral. But who took command of the Enterprise after Picard left? Based on the comic, it sounds like someone Picard knows. Spoilers for Star Trek: Picard — Countdown #1 by Kirsten Beyer, Mike Johnson, and Angel Hernandez follow.
Star Trek: Picard — Countdown takes place in the year 2385, two years before Romulus is destroyed by a supernova and several more years before the events of Star Trek: Picard. Starfleet and the Romulan Empire are aware of Romulus’ impending doom. The Romulans have begrudgingly accepted Starfleet’s aid in evacuating endangered worlds in their space. Admiral Picard, recognized by the Romulans as the hero who overthrew the usurper Shinzon, is heading up the evacuation efforts.
Picard sends a transmission to the Utopia Planitia Shipyards orbiting Mars. He has a conversation with the commanding officer of the station, his former chief engineer aboard the Enterprise, Cmdr. Geordi La Forge, who is happy to report that the first wave of evacuation ships are ready to depart for Romulan space ahead of schedule.
During the conversation, Picard laments their current situation, racing against a clock without knowing how much time they have left. La Forge says, "Well, if you'd rather go back to the Enterprise, I don't think the new captain will give up the chair easily." Picard responds, "But I take comfort that the Enterprise is in good hands."
This suggests that the new Enterprise captain is someone that both Picard and La Forge know and trust. We know it isn't Williams Riker or Deanna Troi since Picard confirms in the same conversation that they are both aboard the Titan.
Fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation are likely to assume that Picard and La Forge are referring to a former Enterprise crewmember who has taken over command. The only ones unaccounted for are Worf and Dr. Beverly Crusher. At the end of Star Trek: Nemesis, Worf was the Federation's ambassador to the Klingon Empire, a post that had him stationed on Qo'noS. In canon, Crusher's future was left unclear, though deleted scenes from Nemesis and the film's novelization suggest she was head back to Earth to become the head of Starfleet Medical.
There is one other possibility. Before this Star Trek: Picard prequel, there was another Star Trek: Countdown comic book. That comic was the official prequel to 2009's Star Trek movie. The comic was co-written by Johnson, based on a story co-written by Alex Kurtzman, who's now the head of the Star Trek television franchise and the creator of Star Trek: Picard.
In that comic, it is Data that takes command of the Enterprise. Though Data died in Star Trek: Nemesis, according to this comic, La Forge installed Data's emotion chip into B-4's neural net. This allowed all of the uploads Data sent to B-4 before his death to activate. Data's memories and personality came to the fore, resurrecting Data in B-4's body. At some point, Picard became the Federation's ambassador to Vulcan and Data took command of the Enterprise. There's even a moment when Picard refers to the Enterprise as "our" ship and Data corrects him, calling it "my" ship. That protectiveness is of his position is reflected in Picard and La Forge's conversation in the Picard prequel comic.
The status of Star Trek: Countdown in canon has been in question since its release. Its status as an “official” prequel, and having the writers of the movie work on it, gave it more weight than a typical tie-in comic. The comic book adaptation of the film also references the comic in a flashback. But there’s never been a definitive answer. With two years between the Picard prequel and the original Countdown comic, there is time to account for some inconsistencies between the two, such as Picard becoming an ambassador before returning to his family’s home on Earth, and the different Starfleet uniforms worn in the two comics.
Who do you think is the new captain of the Enterprise? Let us know in the comments. Star Trek: Picard — Countdown #1 is on sale now. Star Trek: Picard premiers on CBS All Access on January 23rd.