Picard: What You Need to Know Before the Star Trek Series Premiere
It's been 18 years since fans have seen Patrick Stewart's iconic Star Trek character Jean-Luc Picard boldly went where no one has gone before on behalf of the United Federation of Planets in 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis. While Stewart will return to reprise his role in Star Trek: Picard, a lot that has happened to him and the Star Trek Universe since audiences last saw the U.S.S. Enterprise Captain defeat the villainous Shinzon after the evil clone seized control of the Romulan Star Empire.
The new CBS All Access series opens with Picard living in quiet retirement from Starfleet, running his family vineyard in France. Star Trek Generations had established that Jean-Luc's brother Renee and his son had died tragically in a fire, leaving custody of the vineyard to the aging Starfleet hero. Prior to his retirement, Picard had achieved the rank of Admiral though promotional materials for Picard indicate that Jean-Luc left Starfleet after running into moral disagreements with the organization and the Federation that governs it.Click the button below to start this article in quick view. Start now
However, that's not the only thing that happened between Picard's last appearance and his new series. Now, here's everything else you need to know before the next Star Trek series.
Of course, Picard isn't the only figure from The Next Generation era to return in the new series. Jonathan Frakes' First Officer William Riker and Marina Sirtis' Counselor Deanna Troi have already been seen in trailers and promos for the series. The longtime couple had married at the start of Nemesis before Riker received command of his own starship, the U.S.S. Titan. It's unknown if Picard's two old crewmates are still active duty in Starfleet, but their appearances suggest they have retired also.
Fellow TNG alum Brent Spiner will also appear in the series, but it's not quite clear if he'll be the fan-favorite android Data. Although he previously sacrificed himself to save the day in Nemesis, the 2002 film ended with Data installing his memory engrams into an earlier model of android named B-4, with the ending heavily implying that Data's programming would resurface in the new android body, as B-4 began to remember a favorite song of Data's.
THE DESTRUCTION OF ROMULUS
However, the most tumultuous event that has occurred in Picard's life since viewers last saw him may have taken place from an unlikely source: J.J. Abrams' Star Trek, the cinematic reboot of the franchise in 2009.
Co-written by Picard executive producer Alex Kurtzman, the alternate timeline stemmed out of the supernova consuming Romulus, the Romulan homeworld. While the sheer gravitational force caused Spock and the villainous Nero from the prime timeline to be sent to the chronal divergence over a century into the past, the cataclysmic disaster would virtually decimate the once-mighty empire, with Picard leading rescue efforts from the U.S.S. Verity, haunted by the ordeal.
While Picard is deeply affected by the destruction of Romulus, another more violent event closer to home may signal a new conflict embroiling the Federation. The Short Treks episode "Children of Mars" showed a new rogue group known as "synths" attacking a city on Mars, resulting in the deaths of thousands.
While the synths themselves are never actually seen in this short Picard prequel, it centers around two girls, Kima and Lil, who both seemingly loose parents in the attack, and could end up playing larger roles in the upcoming series.
THE EX-BORG ARE BACK
While the synths themselves are never seen in the digital short, their names and the return of reformed Borg individuals Seven of Nine and Hugh indicate the Borg may play a major role in some capacity in the series, especially given Picard's own personal history with them.
Debuting in The Next Generation's second season, the Borg Collective assimilated organic life to a mechanized hybrid intent on overtaking all sentient life in the galaxy. Picard was assimilated in the series' third season finale, renamed Locutus and lead a devastating attack on Starfleet. Although he was rescued and restored by the crew of the Enterprise, Picard's time as a Borg haunted him for years to follow, with Starfleet continually wary of his connection to the Collective. Picard would similarly rescue Hugh from the Borg, with the younger individual leading an internal insurrection against the Collective in the name of self-identity and individuality. Seven of Nine, a main character on Star Trek: Voyager, would similarly regain her identity and aid in Captain Janeway's conflict against the Borg Queen by helping spread a lethal virus across the Collective.
With a nearly two-decade gap since Jean-Luc Picard was last seen, the Star Trek Universe has become considerably more dangerous since viewers last saw it. And with Picard at odds with Starfleet over their methodologies and mission on moral grounds, the retired Admiral will not have the Federation's vast resources, to help him as he's drawn out of retirement for a new mission across the stars.
Star Trek: Picard stars Patrick Stewart, Alison Pill, Michelle Hurd, Evan Evagora, Isa Briones, Santiago Cabrera and Harry Treadaway. The series premieres Thursday on CBS All Access.