Star Trek Producers Explain Why the Franchise Needs Jean-Luc Picard
Star Trek fans are excited for Patrick Stewart to reprise his role as Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation in Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access. The new show is the second Star Trek series of the new era and the first to bring back a previous Star Trek actor to continue their character’s story. While Picard is beloved by Next Generation fans, some may wonder why the producers behind the show and the Star Trek franchise would decide to bring him back as opposed to another character or even creating someone new. ComicBook.com put the question to Star Trek: Picard’s producers. Co-creator Alex Kurtzman says bringing Picard back presents a unique opportunity while also highlighting what Star Trek does best.
“First of all, there are not a lot of franchises that allow you to have your lead be a 92-year-old man,” Kurtzman says. “It’s a very unique and interesting challenge. 92 by Starfleet years. Star Trek has always been -- while being wildly entertaining -- a political statement. It mirrors the issues of the day. We are living in incredibly divided and divisive times and Picard always had this incredibly unique ability to be thoughtful and thorough in his assessments and judgments before acting in moments of incredible moral ambiguity and incredible pressure. To me, and I think to all of those who love him as a captain, he not only represents the best in Starfleet, he represents the leaders that we need now in the world more than ever, leaders who are thoughtful and who give real weight to the choices they make and how those choices will impact generations now and generations in the future and he’s the captain we need.”
Executive producer Heather Kadin points towards the more character-focused approach of Picard compared to past Star Trek series. “I think this story, there wouldn’t be this story if we weren’t doing it because we wanted to bring back Jean-Luc Picard,” she says. “And I think this story can only be told through that character because it’s very personal. If you saw the first episode, it’s really a very personal telling of his choice to come back, his choice to take on things he may have left on the table 20 years prior, and so if we were telling the story of a different captain, we could, it would just be a totally different show.”
Showrunner Michael Chabon notes that the show is coming out during a boom period for Star Trek. With plenty of Trek to go around, why not bring back Picard? “There are others,” Chabon says. “There’s Discovery and other shows are coming down the pike, as I’m sure you know. There’s a Section 31 show. That won’t have Picard. So there are going to be a lot of shows that don’t have Picard. This is the one that does.”
Akiva Goldsman echoes Kurtzman’s sentiment, saying that Picard brings with him a sensibility that will appeal to old school Star Trek fans as well as to those looking for an exemplary leader. “For Michael and I, we both are lovers of Star Trek,” he says. “Our connection to Star Trek begins with TOS. We’re TOS kids. We’re much older than you are, and so we met Star Trek in first-run syndication. My first Star Trek convention is 1976. It’s all very, very sad and lovely. Certainly, it was sadder in those days and lovelier now. We think that what Picard does is embody a set of principles that are pretty necessary today. The world could use somebody with the reasoned compassion of Picard. So that was pretty delightful for us as an opportunity.”
Star Trek: Picard premieres January 23rd on CBS All Access.