Patrick Stewart is going where no Starfleet captain has gone before: into his very own series decades after wrapping up his original Star Trek run.
A, giving us just a hint at what's to come. We find out Jean-Luc Picard, who was promoted to admiral, led a rescue armada on a mysterious mission 15 years prior to the show's events. He then left Starfleet, leaving us to wonder and why he's reappearing now.
on May 15 and posted a look at the show's shiny new logo. The Starfleet logo takes the place of the "A" in Picard. (Disclosure: CBS is the parent company of CNET.)
Revisiting Jean-Luc Picard
Stewart has a long history with the Star Trek franchise. He first warped into the iconic role of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise with the debut of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987. That means more than 30 years after originating the role. He last appeared on screen as Picard in the 2002 movie Star Trek: Nemesis.
He's been plenty busy in the meantime, continuing his role as Logan. He has a lot of voice acting credits to his name, including . Fans will be able to catch him in theaters as Bosley in a new 2019 version of Charlie's Angels., up through a farewell performance in 2017's
in August 2018 at the Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas. He called his return "an unexpected but delightful surprise" and said he hopes "to research and experience what comforting and reforming light [Picard] might shine on these often very dark times."
Who's making Picard?
Stewart is doubling as an executive producer along with Alex Kurtzman, the creator of Star Trek: Discovery. Pulitzer Prize-winning novelistas an executive producer and writer. Chabon described Picard as "the hero we need right now."
Stewart shared a behind-the-scenes photo in September 2018 from a Picard meeting where he's sitting with Chabon and other members of the show's production staff. Stewart has been involved with the writing for the show from early on.
as the first woman to launch a new Star Trek television show. Culpepper signed on to direct the first two episodes. She has an extensive TV resume, which includes Star Trek: Discovery, The Flash and Gotham.
Jonathan Frakes, who Trek fans know as TNG's Commander Riker, has a long career as a director that includes multiple Star Trek franchise entries on both the big and small screens. He revealed he would be directing some episodes of the new series. Frakes posted a photo of himself with Stewart to Twitter on May 21 and tagged Star Trek on CBS.
The Picard plot
CBS and Stewart had kept pretty quiet on the details of the show's plot until the teaser trailer arrived on May 23. We already knew it takes place around two decades after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis.
The teaser lays out a big plot point when a voiceover says Admiral Picard led a rescue armada that "led us out of the darkness" 15 years before the series picks up. It asks the questions: what did it cost him and why did he leave Starfleet? That's a huge cliffhanger to contemplate ahead of the show's debut.
The teaser starts in a vineyard, which is a callback to thethat showed one possible future Picard working in a vineyard in France. That Picard had become an ambassador. We know the Picard in the new show was promoted to admiral at some point.
A poster for the series shows a vineyard with the Starfleet logo formed out of grapevines along with the catchphrase "The end is only the beginning."
Chances are good all of this ties into the Romulans. "Picard's life was radically altered by the dissolution of the Romulan Empire," Kurtzman told The Hollywood Reporter.
The 2009 Star Trek reboot movie covered the demise of the planet Romulus at the hands of an exploding star in 2387. Could this event have been the focus of Picard's rescue armada?
Picard has a complicated history with the Romulans. In Nemesis, he tangled with a Romulan clone of himself.
Don't expect a mere reboot of The Next Generation. "Patrick was very clear to us in the beginning. He did not want to repeat what he had already done. And by the way, it's been 20-plus years, so he couldn't possibly be that same person anymore," Kurtzman told reporters in January.
Picard's place in Trek
Stewart's Picard took on the weight of Star Trek's future when he stepped up to captain the Enterprise-D. Until then, the Trek universe had revolved around the original crew led by Capt. Kirk. Kirk and the gang had re-emerged from the shadow of the original series' cancellation in the '60s and were born again through a string of successful movies starting in 1979.
Stewart's character couldn't have been more different from the leap-into-action, kiss-the-aliens Kirk. Picard created a new mold for Starfleet captains. His Picard was cerebral, wise and measured, but also passionate. If you need a reminder, watch his defense of android crew member Data as a sentient being in the season 2 episode Measure of a Man.
How to watch
Star Trek: Picard is expected to debut before the end of 2019. It'll Amazon Prime Video will host each episode within 24 hours of the US premiere in over 200 countries and territories. That's a change from how Discovery is distributed internationally through Netflix.and on the Space Channel in Canada. Internationally,
Meet the cast
We all know the star of the show, but casting details have been scarce for other roles. Several names are confirmed as series regulars, but their characters remain unknown for now.
A big question hovers over the production: Will any other crew members from Next Generation make an appearance? We don't know yet.
Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard
Originally published May 17 and will be updated regularly as more information on Star Trek: Picard comes in.