Published Jan 22, 2020
Everything You Need to Read, See, and Watch Before Star Trek: Picard
Don't miss a beat before the January 23rd premiere.
Big day around here tomorrow, eh? At this point, Star Trek fans have been talking about and anticipating Star Trek: Picard for over a year. Sir Patrick Stewart’s announcement that he would be returning to the role of Jean-Luc Picard at Star Trek Las Vegas 2018 didn’t give fans many details, but that didn’t matter, because Stewart was coming back.
The trailers and images have dropped clues as to what the show will ultimately be about, and perhaps certain eagle-eyed fans will have pulled out some threads of plot based on the episodes that the official Star Trek: Picard watch guide listed as required watching. But no one will know Picard’s path for sure until the show finally premieres on January 23rd.
With 24 hours to go until we finally have more answers than questions, we’ve thrown together a quick, one-stop guide for all the answers we do have so far. Trailers and images from the show, interviews with the cast, and writing that can help new fans and old remember where we last left some of our old friends like Seven, Hugh, Riker, and Troi. We can’t wait to welcome Captain Picard back, and a whole swath of new Star Trek fans along with him, so don’t worry if you haven’t seen Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, or any variation of Star Trek whatsoever. By the time you get to the bottom of this page you’ll be completely ready for the next 10 weeks of life as a Star Trek: Picard super-stan.
Getting Back to Where it All Started
We wouldn't be staring down the barrel of a premiere had Sir Patrick Stewart not taken to the stage at Star Trek Las Vegas in 2018 to announce his return to the Star Trek Universe. Relive the magic of the day below!
Creating Star Trek: Picard
Executive produced by Alex Kurtzman and Akiva Goldsman, we also found out early on that Star Trek: Picard would be showrun by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon. “Star Trek has been an important part of my way of thinking about the world, the future, human nature, storytelling and myself since I was ten years old,” said Chabon. “I come to work every day in a state of joy and awe at having been entrusted with the character and the world of Jean-Luc Picard, with this vibrant strand of the rich, intricate and complex tapestry that is Trek.” Aaron Baiers, Heather Kadin, Kirsten Byer, and Jenny Lumet round out the creative team
My First Contact: Michael Chabon, Part I
My First Contact: Michael Chabon, Part II
SDCC 2019: Michael Chabon Brings a Fan's Sensibility as Showrunner
It was announced that Star Trek: Discovery director Hanelle Culpepper would make history as the first woman to lead off a Star Trek series, directing the first three episodes of Star Trek: Picard.
Casting Star Trek: Picard
Obviously, we knew Stewart would be back, but who would be at his proverbial helm? Check out series stars Isa Briones, Alison Pill, Evan Evagora, Santiago Cabrera, and Michelle Hurd alongside their Star Trek: Picard alter-egos below.
Star Trek: Picard Hits the Cons
San Diego and New York Comic Cons brought new Picard trailers, footage, and interviews with the cast and creative team. Where were you when you first caught a glimpse of that Borg cube?
SDCC 2019: Sir Patrick Stewart Gets Emotional
SDCC 2019: Brent Spiner Campaigned For The Role Of Picard
A Trail of Breadcrumbs
As special returning stars, including Brent Spiner, Jeri Ryan, Jonathan del Arco, Jonathan Frakes, and Marina Sirtis, were announced, fans clamored to know more about what their beloved characters would be up to in this future world. In order to prepare, many went back to reexamine what the Star Trek Universe had taught us about Data, Seven of Nine, Hugh, Riker, and Troi, the many lessons those characters taught us in return, and where their fates were left.
"As casually brilliant as B-Bot is, I worried about his attitude towards others. How do you teach humility to a child reading Ender’s Game while his peers are sounding out the ABC’s? This is where Data’s example was critical. Yes, he knows a lot. But — unlike his brother Lore — he never considers himself superior to others. TNG gives as much weight to Deanna Troi’s emotional intelligence as it does to Data’s scientific expertise. Data acknowledges his weak spots, and rather than dismissing them as irrelevant, he adopts an attitude of constant learning and growth. Just because Data can’t feel emotions doesn’t make them unimportant. Quite the opposite!"
Teaching My 2e Kid Social Skills with Star Trek: The Next Generationby Ramsey Hootman
Commander Riker and Deanna Troi
"While not everyone can or should get back together with their ex, that is what Troi and Riker eventually do. Working together on the Enterprise saw them develop their relationship in all kinds of different directions, and Troi and Riker are two people that were able to fulfill different roles in each other’s lives at different times. Being generally single and sharing a work environment brought out a completely different facet to their relationship.
"While this eventually became the platform on which they built their marriage, it’s also important to note that the respect and space they gave one another in the interim is what made that future happiness together possible. Picard won’t air until January 23rd, and I can’t make any huge predictions for that the future holds for the empath and her commander, but I can certainly hope that the foundations of their relationship — communication, boundaries, and friendship — remain strong."
Learning to Be Friends With Your Ex With Riker and Troiby Sara Century
"Even when more platonic, Troi’s relationships are a shining part of TNG. Picard regularly depends on Troi and leans on her advice, and throughout the series she is one person who always challenges him. By forcing Picard to stay in touch with difficult-to-face feelings and getting him to confront thing that he is instinctively prone to overlook, she is a major asset for the captain who is guided by a ceaseless inner certainty. In listening to Troi, Picard becomes a better, more compassionate commander. Meanwhile, her deeply felt interactions with the painfully intentional Crusher and her ability to meet Data and Geordi at their goofiest led to some of the best moments of the series. Troi is a character that improves the entire cast in often subtle ways."
The Radical Empathy of Deanna Troi by Sara Century
Seven of Nine
"The novel sees Seven of Nine grappling with her humanity and navigating her blossoming relationships with the crew of Voyager; a much different Seven, it seems, than has been featured in the trailers for Star Trek: Picard. Much of the impact from Seven’s character stems from the navigation of her newfound humanity and individuality. She undergoes significant character development throughout her four seasons on Voyager, which allow her to engage in such integrally human acts as pursuing interpersonal and romantic relationships, and even eventually uses the holodeck in season seven's “Human Error” to practice such things as mingling with her crewmates and delivering a toast. These aspects of her characterization, taken into consideration with her exceptional combat abilities and extreme proficiency in astrometry, make for a truly complex character. In many ways, she is more capable and intelligent than the majority of Voyager’s crew, while simultaneously lacking aptitude in social pursuits many of her crewmates take entirely for granted."
This Novel is the Perfect Reintroduction to Seven of Nine by Jake Gallant
"The way we dress says a lot about both who we are and who we aspire to be. In the trailer, Seven is wearing what appears to be a leather jacket and a knit sweater. Both remind me of similar pieces I have hanging in my own closet. The jacket, in particular, is one of my favorites, purchased secondhand years ago. It slips over my shoulders and my posture changes instantly – in that jacket, I stand a little taller and hold my head a little higher. It’s nothing particularly special, just a few panels of material (clearly well-loved long before I happened upon it) fraying a bit at the seams, but it has a noticeable effect on the way I perceive myself and the way I interact with the world. Clothing is a powerful tool. And now, it’s a tool that Seven is making use of."
Choosing the Sweater: On Seven of Nine’s New Look by Ellen Hill
"Throughout it all, Janeway offers friendship and advice. She steadfastly supports Seven even when she makes mistakes, and challenges her modes of thinking that are at odds with her development as an individual. Seven remembers her favorite color (red), takes up singing, and works with Ensign Kim to create the astrometrics lab, which takes her research to new heights. In season 6, she fosters a group of Borg children, further learning from Janeway to march boldly through her fears by being confident in her abilities — and to let the kids get a little creative sometimes, like when they’re playing with clay.
"Mulgrew herself grew to appreciate Janeway and Seven’s special relationship, believing that Seven added as much to the character of Janeway as Janeway added to hers. In 2018, she told Star Trek Las Vegas, “Seven of Nine is what brought Janeway to life, as a deeply human woman... and I am deeply grateful for that.” Seven gave Janeway a chance to nurture a woman who was as alone in the world as she was. She also challenged Janeway’s own modes of thinking, forcing her to give reason to her strongly held ideals."
Captain Janeway and Seven of Nine's Relationship was a True Gift by Jennifer Boudinot
"Compassion is key to both being a better human and to Star Trek’s view of humanity. Hugh’s humanity is firmly rooted in the very Roddenberry ideals of understanding and communicating through empathy. Not only is he shown compassion which he learns from, but he returns it by forming friendships and, ultimately, returning to the Collective to spare the Enterprise and his new friends from warfare...
"...Ultimately, Hugh is offered safety with the Federation. While he wants to stay with his newfound friends and continue his journey of self-discovery, Hugh realizes he will endanger the Enterprise if the Borg returns to the crash site to find him missing and so he opts to be returned to the site to be "rescued" by the Collective. This self-sacrifice is a deeply human and deeply compassionate act. Hugh is returning the same compassion given to him by offering to save the lives of those who saved his. He is truly human, in every way."
Unsurprisingly, StarTrek.com saw the same demand for stories about the man himself, Captain Jean-Luc Picard. We knew how much the titular character means to fans, of course, but some of these stories surprised even us.
"But more than anything, I remember Picard. The first episode I saw happened to be “Skin Of Evil,” in which Lieutenant Tasha Yar meets a swift and violent death. I had never really encountered death, not even in fiction (TNG was what I would refer to as my first “grownup show”). I was rattled by Tasha’s death more than was probably warranted for a character I’d never met before, but I felt that sting all the same. And yet as I watched this crew of visibly distraught Starfleet officers, there was this thin, bald man at the center of it all, keeping everyone’s minds on the mission at hand, and then offering a shoulder for them all to cry on when it was time to grieve. It was transformative, and it helped me understand what people are capable of at their best. From that moment on, Star Trek and Jean-Luc Picard would become foundational parts of my life."
Jean-Luc Picard Was the Father Figure I Needed by Dusty Stowe
"Jonas claims “The Inner Light” as his favorite episode. The concept of it is fascinating to him, but more the societal importance of family heritage and legacy was impressed upon him through that show. He discovered within himself the depth and power of empathy when he realized Robert and René Picard from “Family” were killed in a fire in Generations. Even mentioning that moment causes him to weep. And that empathy has made its way into his daily life at home and school. He is a proud defender of the oppressed. As he watched Hugh in “I, Borg,” he saw the importance of protecting and defending an individual regardless of past perceptions about race, sexuality, or identity. He declared, with great righteousness, after watching that episode, “Everyone is equal! Everyone deserves the right to be happy!”"
"Q’s nihilistic vision of humans was ‘grimdark,’ even before the term hit our popular zeitgeist in the 2000s. Fittingly, the character of Jean-Luc Picard was defined by his response: compassionate, thoughtful, and with a strong moral compass. His ideals have crystallized in an idea gaining traction in popular culture under the term ‘hopepunk’...
"...there’s nothing more hopepunk in science fiction than Jean-Luc Picard. In fact, Patrick Stewart seemed to have recognized this even before the term’s recent surge in popularity. “During these past years, it has been humbling to hear stories about how The Next Generation brought people comfort, saw them through difficult periods in their lives, or how the example of Jean-Luc inspired so many to follow in his footsteps, pursuing science, exploration, and leadership,” Stewart wrote upon announcing the new Picard series in 2018. “I feel I'm ready to return to him for the same reason — to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times.”
Jean-Luc Picard: Starfleet's Hopepunk Captain by Mike Chen
And, finally, with news that the oft-mysterious Romulans would play an important part in Star Trek: Picard's plot, fans were kind enough to make sure that even the newest Trek viewers would know exactly who and what the alien species represent in Trek history.
"The unnamed Romulan commander that engaged in a thrilling chase with Captain Kirk and the U.S.S. Enterprise supplied the Federation with their first look at a Romulan’s face. The species’ revelation even allowed Spock to hypothesize about the potential connection between Vulcans and their Romulan cousins. Focused on revealing Starfleet’s weakness so as to give the Empire cause to instigate another war, the clever commander sought refuge in the Neutral Zone as the Enterprise closed in on the vessel. Fortunately, Kirk’s tactics proved superior and resulted in the enemy starship’s destruction. “Balance of Terror” served up two major firsts for the Star Trek franchise, as the episode introduced fans to the Romulan species and actor Mark Lenard, who later portrayed Spock’s father Sarek."
The Empire's Most Influential Romulans, Ranked by Jay Stobie
"The relationship between the Federation and Romulans seems to echo that of the attitude between the NATO powers and the U.S.S.R. during the late 1980s. Both superpowers, both wary of war, both filled with hatred and suspicion towards the other. It's a message that no doubt resonated quite a bit when it aired, three days before the fall of the Berlin Wall. But it's one that resonates on a universal level, as lingering prejudices continue to haunt the politics of today, Even people as ethically noble as the Enterprise crew have a hard time forgetting what came before."
The First Looks
Images from Star Trek: Picard first dropped towards the middle of 2019, but earlier this month the world finally got a clear look at each new and returning character, plus a glimpse at the details of the world that the Picard team plans to bring to life over these first 10 episodes. We've got all of the pictures right here.
Stars Align in Hollywood for all Things Trek
It was a busy three days in Los Angeles in mid-January, starting with a Television Critics Association (TCAs) junket and panel for the cast and creative team, followed by a handprint ceremony for Patrick Stewart in front of the iconic Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and ending with the Hollywood premiere of Star Trek: Picard at the Arclight Dome.
Last week, I placed my hand and footprints at Hollywood's @ChineseTheatres. An extraordinary honor to receive and special to have some of my first Hollywood colleagues @LevarBurton, @Gates_McFadden, @Marina_Sirtis, and @BrentSpiner there. pic.twitter.com/QfHP0lrsMn— Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) January 21, 2020
The Star Trek: Picard Hollywood Premiere
Just over 48 hours later, the cast appeared for Star Trek: Picard's first European premiere in London, followed by red carpets in Berlin and Paris.
The Big Day Approaches
Finally, with less than 24 hours left to go before Star Trek: Picard arrives on streaming services, fans' excitement is coming to a boil, and we get it— so is ours!
Have you watched every #PicardPrep episode? Catch up here if you haven't.
Catch Up on These Episodes Before Star Trek: Picard
Then, spend these final few hours before the premiere really getting to know the newest members of the Star Trek Universe, and getting further reacquainted with old friends.
Star Trek: Picard Cast Get Emotional About the Future of Trek
Star Trek: Picard Opens Up a New Chapter
My First Contact: The Cast of Star Trek: Picard
My First Contact: Jonathan Del Arco
The Picard Cast Reads Fan Messages
Follow @StarTrek on all things social for updates— and as a non-judgemental safe space for your most enthusiastic moments! We'll see you all on the other side.
Star Trek: Picard will premiere exclusively on January 23 on CBS All Access in the United States, in Canada on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and OTT service Crave, and on January 24 Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories.