Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Picard Showrunner Explains Jean-Luc's New Nickname

Star Trek: Picard catches up with Jean-Luc Picard decades after we last saw him in Star Trek: Nemesis. Along the way, he picked up a hip new nickname from one of his Starfleet subordinates. Raffi Musiker calls Picard "JL" almost exclusively. Some fans have found it odd that Picard would allow such familiarity from one of his officers. After all, they believe the Picard they new from Star Trek: The Next Generation would never put up with such insubordination from someone serving under him. Star Trek: Picard showrunner Michael Chabon responded to these concerns in a post on Instagram.

"True. But this is not the Picard we knew," Chabon points out. "And the hard, thankless, desperate refugee aid work that he and Raffi did together thurst them into a strange (non-sexual) intimacy, on those forsaken colony worlds where they would often be the only Starfleet officers, the only human around. An intimacy that made the old ceremonies and formalities seem less relevant, for a time.

"The first time she called him JL, he probably thought about reprimanding her. But something — the welcomeness of connection, in some lonely outpost — incline him just to let it go. Also, because Raffi."

The nickname first appeared in the Star Trek: Picard prequel comic Star Trek: Picard — Countdown, published by IDW Publishing. That series takes place before the supernova that destroys Romulus. Picard is an admiral at the time commanding the Odyssey-class USS Verity. He's heading up efforts to relocate Romulans living within the supernova's blast zone. Raffi is his first officer and one of Starfleet's foremost experts on Romulan culture. In one of their first panels together, Raffi calls Picard "JL" and the admiral laments that she's never going to stop doing that. It seems to have become such a habit that she continues to use the nickname 14 years after they last spoke despite how angry she is at him.

This nickname is one outward signifier of how Picard's relationship with Raffi is different from his relationship with Will Riker, his first officer aboard the Enterprise. "It's completely different from Riker's, for sure, absolutely," Michelle Hurd, the actress who plays Raffi, told during an interview ahead of the show's premiere. "Much more complicated, actually. And they also had a falling out, so there's a lot of issues there and a little bit of baggage and, you know, I'm a woman. He's not."

New episodes of Star Trek: Picard become available to stream Thursdays on CBS All Access.

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