Star Trek Guide

Was Dr. Moritz Benayoun In Star Trek Before? Connection To Picard Explained

The second episode of Star Trek: Picard introduced Dr. Moritz Benayoun (David Paymer), a brand new character who nonetheless has a long history with Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). The new CBS All Access series charting the next phase in the Starfleet legend's life has taken the opportunity to expand the Star Trek universe by introducing a slew of new characters. Some, like the synthetic twins Dahj and Sohi Asha (Isa Briones), had never met Picard before, while others go back with Jean-Luc even further than Star Trek: The Next Generation - like Dr. Benayoun.

Before Jean-Luc Picard was the commanding officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D, he was the Captain of the U.S.S. Stargazer for 22 years. Picard was merely a Lt. Commander in 2233 when the ship's captain and first officer were injured on the bridge. Picard took temporary command of the vessel and guided it to safety, and Starfleet was so impressed that they promoted Picard to Captain and gave him command of the Stargazer. Picard's new First Officer was Lt. Commander Jack Crusher (Doug Wert), the husband of the future Enterprise-D's Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) and the father of Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton). Star Trek: Picard has now revealed that the Stargazer's surgeon was Dr. Moritz Benayoun, who is apparently a human of comparative age to Picard, and who survived the destruction of the Stargazer in 2355's Battle of Maxia. Of course, Picard fondly remembers the Stargazer and he keeps a model of it in his vault at the Starfleet Archives.

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In Star Trek: Picard episode 2, "Maps and Legends", Jean-Luc calls upon his old friend and physician Dr. Benayoun to certify him fit for space travel. Moritz paid Jean-Luc the courtesy of making a 'house call' to deliver the good and bad news: Although Picard's tests came in average or above, he showed signs of Irumodic Syndrome, a degenerative neurological disorder. Picard was not surprised to hear it; in Star Trek: The Next Generation's series finale, "All Good Things," Picard was suffering from that very disease in an alternate future shown to Jean-Luc by Q (John De Lancie). But despite Dr. Benayoun's concerns about Picard "going back out into the cold" to find Soji Asha and his questionable mental health - like everyone else in the galaxy, Moritz watched Picard explode during his interview about the Romulan supernova - Moritz reluctantly did as Jean-Luc asked after some reminiscing about serving together aboard the Stargazer. Still, Dr. Benayoun justifiably fears Picard will die on this new mission.

Some fans may wonder why Picard turned to Dr. Benayoun instead of the obvious choice, Dr. Beverly Crusher. However, as Jean-Luc tried to explain to his Romulan caretaker Zhaban (Jamie McShane), he knows that Beverly - and every member of his former Enterprise crew - would jump at the chance to help him, but he doesn't want to jeopardize their careers or place them in danger. In addition, though her whereabouts in 2399 hasn't been confirmed, Beverly is likely a bigwig at Starfleet Medical and involving her would immediately alert Starfleet to Picard's plans before Jean-Luc could ask permission from the CNC, Admiral Kirsten Clancy (Anne Magnuson), as he intended. In reality, Star Trek: Picard's producers are conscious of not making the new series an obvious retread of TNG, so they're surrounding our hero with new characters and sprinkling in the TNG cast as special cameos.

When the Star Trek: Picard trailer premiered at New York Comic Con last October, Trekkers immediately suspected that David Paymer would be playing the Traveler, whom the accomplished actor does bear a slight resemblance to. In The Next Generation, the Traveler (Erik Menyuk) was a cosmic being who took Wesley Crusher as his companion on his galactic travels. However, David Paymer playing Dr. Moritz Benayoun is even more of a treat because it gives fans a rare glimpse into Jean-Luc's pre-Enterprise career, and shows that Picard earned the loyalty and friendship of his previous crew even before he took command of the Federation flagship. It's not clear if the kindly Dr. Benayoun will reappear in Star Trek: Picard, but with his dangerous new mission, Jean-Luc will need all the friends - old and new - he can get.

Star Trek: Picard streams Thursdays on CBS All-Access and Fridays internationally on Amazon Prime Video.


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