Theory: Picard Will Die In His Star Trek Series
Patrick Stewart's iconic Starfleet captain will return in Star Trek: Picard, and this could be Jean-Luc's final adventure in the franchise. After leading the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation through the 1980s and 1990s, Jean-Luc Picard became the new face of Star Trek, eventually taking over big screen duties from William Shatner and the aging original cast. Picard was last glimpsed in one such cinematic adventure - the ill-fated Star Trek: Nemesis in 2002. After coming to a natural conclusion with the character (and setting up a boarding school for mutants elsewhere in the land of cinema), Stewart stepped away from the Star Trek franchise.Click the button below to start this article in quick view. Start now
With his acting stock higher than ever, the legendary thespian has now opted for a grand return to the Star Trek fold in his own self-titled solo series. Star Trek: Picard takes place in the aftermath of both Nemesis and the Prime Timeline sections of the 2009 J. J. Abrams movie reboot, and finds the former space adventurer "enjoying" a quiet retirement on his family vineyard. Naturally, Picard is soon dragged back into the cut-and-thrust of saving lives and battling evil aliens thanks to a mysterious young girl who seeks the hero's aid, triggering a whole new space voyage and reuniting Picard will his old Next Generation pals.
Even now, several months before Star Trek: Picard premieres, there are several indications that Jean-Luc's new mission will ultimately claim his life. And given the context and spirit of this new Star Trek series, it's perhaps inevitable that Picard will boldly go into the afterlife at the end of his latest crusade.
Picard's Solo Series Death Feels Inevitable
Given everything that has been revealed so far about Star Trek: Picard's premise and story, it certainly feels like Jean-Luc's demise is the only logical end point for the forthcoming show. Patrick Stewart has previously explained how he had no burning desire to return to the Star Trek franchise, but was tempted back by the early story draft Alex Kurtzman had in mind. Already, this makes Star Trek: Picard appear like it was designed as a dramatic final farewell, rather than an open-ended continuation of an aging character, but Stewart's own influences for the series also contribute to that reasoning. The actor claims to have been inspired by his X-Men farewell in Logan, and fans will, of course, recall that both Xavier and Wolverine failed to reach the end credits of that film alive. Given Stewart's formerly reluctant stance on a Star Trek return, and the Logan spirit woven throughout Picard's new series, the captain looks far more likely to go down swinging than live to fight another day.
Picard's death doesn't just seem inevitable from a real-world production perspective, but also in terms of the show's core narrative. Although Star Trek: Picard is mostly keeping its secrets under wraps, the trailers released thus far confirm that Stewart's character will throw himself into helping the powerful girl who approaches Picard on his vineyard requesting help. He is warned off another adventure by Seven of Nine, a Starfleet official and a figure who appears to be the Traveler from The Next Generation, but insists on pressing forward regardless. From the array of Next Generation cameos already announced, it can also be inferred that Picard embarks on somewhat of a farewell tour of his former friends in his new series. All of these story components are major red flags with regards to Picard's long-term survival. From throwing caution to the wind for another trip into space to reconciling with the likes of Riker, Data and Hugh, it's impossible to escape the sense that Star Trek: Picard is not building for the future, but building towards a definitive ending.
Star Trek: Picard's Premise Lends Itself To Killing The Title Character
A sense of burden is woven throughout the footage glimpsed of Star Trek: Picardthus far, and it's apparent that the eponymous captain is feeling the strain of his past. Furthermore, the trailers feature a palpable shadow of grief and guilt on Picard's part. Whether warranted or otherwise, Jean-Luc evidently feels like he has a weight on his conscience and part of his desire to head back out into space might be to atone for these supposed sins. This notion could lead directly to Picard sacrificing himself for others, perhaps attempting to make amends for the lives he was unable to save on Romulus.
Such emotions naturally sets up a death whereby Picard would pay for perceived Starfleet injustices with his own life, and the most obvious arc is to have Picard give his life in the protection of relative strangers, whether that be the girl from the trailer (Dahj) or others encountered along the way. The key hurdle to overcome when killing Picard is how to write a major Star Trek character's death and leave the audience feeling emotional, but not bitter or cheated. Sacrificing himself for the good of others would not only be in keeping with Picard's established characterization, but would provide viewers with a justifiable reason for the death. This option would be infinitely preferable to watching Picard die at the hands of a villain, or after being betrayed by an ally, and would help smooth the inevitable sadness many fans would feel at the exit of a much-loved character.
A noble sacrifice-style death scene would also be consistent with Picard's personal history in between Nemesis and Star Trek: Picard. Canon comic book tie-ins have confirmed that Picard led an evacuation of Romulus prior to its destruction, and the Romulan race appear to play a significant role in Star Trek: Picard's story. As things stand, everything surrounding Star Trek: Picard is lining up to spell certain doom for Patrick Stewart's character.
Why Jean-Luc Picard Should Die In Star Trek: Picard
There are clear warning signs for anyone expecting Star Trek: Picard to enjoy a lengthy run, and it could also be argued that not only will Jean-Luc die in his upcoming solo series, but he should, and that to do so would be a fitting end for this iconic character. Firstly, it's worth delving into Picard's Star Trek origins and the manner in which he was first introduced to the franchise. Stewart and his crew were literally labeled as "the next generation" and they helped breathe a new life into the world of Star Trek; it's only natural that they return the favor by passing the torch to the new influx of Star Trek TV shows currently planned. A similar trope was attempted in Star Trek Generations, with William Shatner's James T. Kirk handing the movie series reins over to Stewart's Picard, however, there was considerable fan backlash to the handling of Kirk's death. Star Trek: Picard offers a chance to do a better job, affording more time and story development to the permanent departure of a popular captain.
Star Trek: Picard should also kill off its main character because there's no clear future for Jean-Luc after the series ends. The entire premise of Star Trek: Picard is a wizened old captain coming out of retirement for one last go around. Despite clearly not being as spry as he used to be (Picard is seen walking with a stick in some scenes), the character is evidently itching to get back out into the field, finding life in the wine business wholly unfulfilling. So then, what happens when Picard completes his new mission? Going back home to Earth and resuming a miserable life devoid of excitement would be a depressing ending to Star Trek: Picard, while it would be unrealistic, given the character's age, for the series to wrap up with Jean-Luc warping off towards more adventures. This problem could be solved if Picard's story ended in more definitive fashion, dying doing the thing he loves rather than fading away in a lonely farmhouse.
Star Trek: Picard premieres January 23rd on CBS All Access.