On the subject of the upcoming ‘Star Trek’ series featuring the return of Jean-Luc Picard, the silence from both those directly involved and CBS more generally has been deafening. So much so that we still don’t know the show’s title. It’s not unusual, of course, to stay quiet about a new show to build anticipation, but the general dearth of information is all the more remarkable for the fact that the show is reportedly on track to debut later this year.
Despite that, we’ve started to learn a bit more about the show, including the revelation that it will have a more “contemplative” nature than ‘Discovery’ and that they are already “set up” for as much as three seasons of the show. But the bulk of what we know about the show can be summed up as “Picard, but he’s older now.” Even the question of just how much older he is has been left a bit vague – the figure that’s been thrown around the most is “about twenty years,” but that’s still a bit vague. Especially if you’re, you know, a nerd.
But as nerds, we want something more specific! And at long last, the captain himself is here to give us that information. During an interview on ‘The Graham Norton Show‘, gave us the most exact time frame we’ve heard to date:
“It’s exactly nineteen years in the future, which was how time has passed since the last time I put on my spacesuit.”
Asked by Norton if it has “really been that long,” Stewart specified, “since the television series.” As a nitpicky nerd, it’s my duty to point out that nineteen years doesn’t quite mesh with the real-world timeline (‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ ended its run in 1994 – twenty-five years ago – while Stewart last played Picard in ‘Star Trek: Nemesis’, which was released seventeen years ago in 2002), but that’s neither here nor there. The point is that nineteen is the number, and depending on how you parse Stewart’s follow-up comment we can either take that to mean nineteen years since ‘Nemesis’ or since the ‘Next Generation’ finale.
And since we’re nerds, it’s time for a little nerd math! If we go with the latter reading – that Stewart is counting from the end of ‘Next Generation’ – we can figure out the earliest possible setting for the Picard series. Since the last season of ‘TNG’ took place in 2370, that would mean that the show will pick up no earlier than 2389. If, however, we’re counting from the end of ‘Star Trek: Nemesis’ (set in 2379, and the last time we saw Picard) we end up in 2398. Personally, I’m hoping for the latter. It matches the real-world timeline a bit more closely, and given some of what Stewart and Alex Kurtzman have said about the show (particularly the hints that Picard is grappling with the consequences of some decision or sequence of choices), setting it in the closing years of a century could lend the proceedings an added measure of dramatic weight, as the captain most associated with the twenty-fourth century ‘Star Trek’ reflects on that era as it comes to an end.
But what do you think? Do you think? Do you have a preference or does it not particularly matter to you? Let us know in the comments and 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!