When Jean-Luc Picard took command of the U.S.S. Enterprise at the beginning of Star Trek: The Next Generation, he confessed to his new first officer, William Riker, that he was uncomfortable around children. Despite this unease, Starfleet saw fit to give him a ship with families and children numbering among the vessel’s complement.
It took a while, but Picard soon relaxed — ever so slightly — when in the presence of the youngsters running around the Enterprise. It soon became an annual event for the children to celebrate “Captain Picard Day.” The festivities included an art contest in which entries were judged by the good captain himself. Though Picard was never happy with the idea of being at the center of such activities, he understood his position as a role model for these impressionable young minds. For the sake of crew morale, he put on his game face and gritted his teeth while accepting with grace the attentions lavished upon him.
We find out in the first season of Star Trek: Picard that thirty years after the first such observance was held aboard the Enterprise, the good captain held onto one of the colorful banners used to signify the day. Of course he’s a sentimental softy; we all knew it.
Here in the real world, “Captain Picard Day” has been celebrated by Star Trek fans dating back to 2007. How June 16th came to the be “official” day depends on whether you believe Star Trek’s stardates can easily be converted to actual calendar dates. Some intrepid fan did the math and arrived at that date, so here we are.
Since his introduction in 1987, Jean-Luc Picard has been the face of Star Trek: The Next Generation. A man of many talents and interests and possessed of tremendous convictions, we grew to love him over the course of the television series and subsequent motion pictures, and now fans get to enjoy him in all new stories with Star Trek: Picard. Elsewhere, he’s been at the center of numerous tales told within the pages of novels and comics spanning more than thirty years and continuing to this day.
While certainly not intended as an exhaustive list, here are just a few stories which have explored the inimitable character of Jean-Luc Picard.
Vendetta by Peter David (May 1991)
The Borg have become one of Star Trek’s greatest adversaries, appearing in several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager and even once on Star Trek: Enterprise. After the events of Picard’s kidnapping by the Borg in “The Best of Both Worlds” but before the discovery of Hugh in “I, Borg,” author Peter David brings the Borg back to try their hand at invading the Federation once again. This time, however, the Collective faces a threat capable of annihilating them.
Reunion by Michael Jan Friedman (November 1991)
This was the first novel to explore Picard’s past as captain of the U.S.S. Stargazer, which he commanded for 22 years. Friedman introduces us to several of Picard’s old friends and shipmates who helped Picard become the formidable, experienced leader he is by the time we meet him on Star Trek: The Next Generation. This book ended up spawning its own series of novels, Star Trek: Stargazer, all written by Friedman.
Requiem by Michael Jan Friedman and Kevin Ryan (October 1994)
When Picard is thrown back in time after encountering a mysterious alien object, he awakens to find himself at a pivotal point in history: one hundred years in the past, on the Federation colony planet Cestus III. He knows the colonists will be annihilated by a Gorn vessel, resulting in first contact with this heretofore unknown race and an epic confrontation between the Gorn ship’s commander and the legendary Captain James T. Kirk. Trapped a century removed from his own ship and crew, Picard must navigate the coming events without doing anything which may alter history as he knows it.
Perchance to Dream by Keith R.A. DeCandido, illustrated by Peter Pachoumis and Lucian Rizzo (February – May 2000)
An extremist faction on an alien world is using a “telepathic virus” as a weapon to influence dreams to a point where the victims begin experiencing dangerous hallucinations. When the Enterprise crew falls victim to the attack, Picard fights back using the other personalities which are now a part of his identity: Sarek via his mind meld with the Vulcan ambassador, Kamin, the man whose life Picard lived in “The Inner Life,” and Locutus, his Borg persona.
The Buried Age by Christopher L. Bennett (July 2007)
This novel offers a study of Picard’s life before the events of Star Trek: The Next Generation: the nine years between the loss of the Stargazer and his taking command of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D. Think you know the story? Think again!
Destiny trilogy by David Mack (September-November 2008)
Set just two years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, this epic trilogy sees the Borg determined to conquer their most formidable adversary once and for all. The stakes are high and the costs very real as the Borg drive through Federation space, destroying worlds and wiping out billions of people. More than a decade after its initial publication, the ramifications of this storyline continue to resonate within the Star Trek novels’ “expanded universe.”
Hive by Brannon Braga, Terry Matalas, and Travis Fickett; illustrated by Joe Corroney (September-January 2013)
Star Trek comics chart different storytelling paths from the novels, and Braga, Matalas, and Fickett use the format to bring readers a tale stretching from a point soon after Star Trek: Nemesis to a far future where Picard is still Locutus and part of the Borg. To defeat them this time, Picard needs help from someone else who’s escaped the Collective: Seven of Nine.
The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard by David A. Goodman (October 2017)
Published by Titan Books, this examination of the famous captain’s life and career is not compatible with the novels from Simon & Schuster. However, it is in synch with what we know of Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation and the subsequent films and is therefore a fun read for fans who’ve not already plunged headlong into the novel continuity.
Picard: Countdown by Kirsten Beyer & Mike Johnson, illustrated by Angel Hernandez (November 2019 – January 2020)
Set fifteen years before the events of Star Trek: Picard’s first season, this 3-part comics miniseries by Picard co-creator Kirsten Beyer and IDW Star Trek comics veteran Mike Johnson gives readers a glimpse at one of the several missions Admiral Picard undertook during his mission to relocate Romulan citizens before their sun goes supernova. It also introduces us to Zhaban and Laris, the two Romulan Tal Shiar agents who will forsake their careers to assist Picard.
The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack (February 2020)
This epic, years-spanning tale reveals the full scope of the massive undertaking Jean-Luc Picard led on behalf of the Romulan people, beginning with his promotion to admiral and transfer of command to the U.S.S. Verity, where he gains a new first officer and friend, Raffi Musiker. McCormack charts the obstacles Picard and Musiker chart while attempting to carry out their vital mission even as resistance to the effort mounts from all sides. This culminates in the tragic events on Mars in 2385 and setting the stage for Star Trek: Picard’s first season.
Dayton Ward (he/him) is a New York Times bestselling author or co-author of numerous novels and short stories, including a whole bunch of stuff set in the Star Trek universe, and often working with friend and co-writer Kevin Dilmore. As he’s still a big ol' geek at heart, Dayton is known to wax nostalgic about all manner of Star Trek topics over on his own blog, The Fog of Ward.
Star Trek: Picard streams on CBS All Access in the United States, in Canada on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and OTT service Crave, and on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories.