The TCA Press Tour has been a font of ‘Star Trek’ news this week. So far, those in attendance have dropped hints at what’s to come on the current season of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ and given us a sense of what to expect from the upcoming spinoff starring Michelle Yeoh. Now, though? Now it’s Picard’s turn.
With apologies to ‘Discovery’, the still-untitled Picard show has been perhaps the single most exciting thing on CBS’s ‘Star Trek’ slate since its announcement last summer. While ‘Discovery’ got off to a strong start last year and has only gotten stronger in its second season, Patrick Stewart’s return to the role that made him an icon is another matter altogether.
But while much of the excitement for the show may be owed to the fact that it will mark the first time Stewart has appeared as Picard since the release of ‘Star Trek: Nemesis’ seventeen years ago, it’s been made clear more than once (including by CBS All Access execs at the TCAs) that the show will not be a simple ‘Next Generation’ reboot, but instead focus on the “next chapter” of Picard’s life.
It’s fast becoming clear that no small part of the show’s creative hook will lie in that friction between the new and the familiar, as ‘Star Trek’ franchise head Alex Kurtzman told Deadline that part of the challenge they’ve faced on the show so far has been finding a way to “live to the tone that ‘Next Gen’ set and also make it different.” But tricky as it might be, that difference is baked into the show’s DNA, and in fact, was key to convincing Patrick Stewart to sign on, as the star “was very clear that he did not want to repeat what he had already done.” But lest you think that all this change might unmoor the show – or worse yet, the character – from what has come before, fret not. Stewart, after all, has a seat in the writers’ room and he’s keen to protect the integrity of his character, as Kurtzman explains:
“Patrick didn’t want to put handcuffs on us, he wanted us to have the freedom to explore the character and he said, “I will always know if it’s something that he would or would not do,” and that’s the kind of conversation that we’re having as we build it scene by scene.”
So with all that in mind, just how are they approaching the show? Well, it all comes down to some very fundamental questions. And while we can only speculate at this stage, those questions all seem to deal with the idea of a man coping with the consequences of… something. Kurtzman continues:
“It’s been twenty-plus years so he couldn’t possibly be the same person – what has happened in that time? Has there been occurrences that have forced him to reckon with choices he has made? How do you hold on to being the person that everyone loved when the circumstances may have changed? So those are the questions that we’re asking.”
So those are some of the questions that Kurtzman and company are setting out to answer. We, of course, have plenty of questions of our own, and we should be able to at least start piecing together the answers as the show approaches its premiere, which is currently set for late 2019
Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more ‘Star Trek’ news – including the latest on the second season of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ and other upcoming shows and movies – as it becomes available!