Star Trek Guide

Star Trek Reveals Why Picard Retired

The Short Trek"Children of Mars," a prologue for the much anticipated Star Trek: Picard, revealed why the iconic Captain Jean-Luc Picard retired from Starfleet. "Children of Mars" is season 2, episode 6 of Star Trek: Short Treks, the anthology series airing on CBS All Access that expands the greater Star Trek universe. While the majority of the series has related to the characters and events of Star Trek: Discovery, episode 6 serves as a prequel to the upcoming Picard series, establishing Picard's reasons for leaving Starfleet prior to the upcoming show's events.

"Children of Mars" chronicles what appears to be a usual day in the lives of two young girls on Earth, both of whom have parents at the Utopia Planetia shipyards orbiting Mars. Those shipyards are busy producing an evacuation fleet for Romulus, the home planet of the Romulan Empire that's threatened by an oncoming supernova. "Children of Mars" shows the two girls fostering an antagonistic relationship until the unthinkable happens — a full scale attack against the Mars colony and Utopia Planetia results in the deaths of untold thousands, likely including the two girls' parents.

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The ramifications for Picard himself are not apparent; however, the official, canonical tie-in comic book, Star Trek: Picard: Countdown, provides important context. In that comic, audiences learn Picard has been at the forefront of negotiations with the Romulans to evacuate all the planets in the Empire that will be affected by the destructive supernova. However, Picard learns that a sizable contingency of Romulans still don't trust the Federation, and they believe the Federation evacuation fleet is in fact an invasion force designed to destroy the Empire. A moral quandary finds Picard at odds with a Romulan colony, and a group of malevolently motivated Romulans kidnap Picard and commandeer his vessel, the USS Verity.

It isn't difficult to connect the dots from there. The newest promos for Star Trek: Picard feature a scene of a clearly disturbed Picard dreaming of himself in Ten Forward — the famous bar and cafe from Star Trek: The Next Generation — with Mars riddled with explosions in the background. Such a significant loss of life, even if not necessarily his fault, seems to have haunted Picard well into his twilight years.

Many questions still remain about the fallout from the attack on Mars. The trailers suggest Picard is revered by at least some Romulans for his efforts to save them, while others are still overtly hostile towards him. An attack so close to Earth could also lead to Starfleet loosening its moral fortitude, mirroring what happened in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine when the Dominion threatened the planet. Also, perhaps most crucially, TNG fan favorite Commander Geordi LaForge is featured in Countdown overseeing the construction of the rescue fleet at Utopia Planetia. Did Geordi survive the onslaught, or is his death yet another that ways heavily on Picard? With Star Trek: Picard just around the corner, answers are coming soon.