SDCC 2019: ‘Star Trek: Picard’ producers reveal plot details

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When CBS All Access announced the production of “Star Trek: Picard” last summer, it didn’t offer many details. Executive producer Alex Kurtzman said the series would follow “Star Trek: The Next Generation’s (TNG)” Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) 20 years after his last on-screen appearance. He also noted that it would feature a “real-world, contemplative, grounded” tone.

During the series’ San Diego Comic-Con 2019 (SDCC) presentation, its producers finally provided some significant plot details about the forthcoming program.

‘Picard’ Details

As seen in its first full trailer, “Picard” will begin with its protagonist in discontented retirement. The former captain is also still affected by losing his old friend, Commander Data (Brent Spiner), in 2002’s “Star Trek: Nemesis.” He’s also haunted by the events of the 2009 “Star Trek” film, in which the planet Romulus was destroyed.

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However, early on, Picard is drawn back to the stars to aid a mysterious young woman (Isa Briones).

“Picard’s” SDCC presentation also revealed the character would encounter some old friends while plotting his return to the stars. The new trailer shows that Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) will appear on the program, as will a seemingly rebuilt Data. Furthermore, the show’s producers revealed that William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) are part of the program’s 10-episode first season.

Surprisingly, Jonathan Del Arco will appear in the series as his “TNG” character Hugh. In the classic series, the crew of the Enterprise helps Hugh regain his individuality after the Borg Collective abandons him.

Santiago Cabrera, Michelle Hurd, Evan Evagora, Alison Pill, and Harry Treadaway will fill out the show’s cast as Picard’s new ad-hoc crew.

With Ryan and Del Arco on board, as well as a brief glimpse of a Borg cube in the trailers, it seems “Picard’s” first season will feature the cybernetic race in a significant role. It will also deal with the aging leader’s efforts to live up to his esteemed legacy.

A Love Letter to ‘TNG’ Era ‘Star Trek’ Fans

Besides clarifying details about its plot, “Picard’s” SDCC presentation also indicates the program is something of a love letter to “TNG” era “Star Trek” fans.

While a worthy franchise addition, “Star Trek: Discovery” has felt somewhat apart from the other “Star Trek” TV shows. Though the program harvests plot elements from the original series, “TNG,” and “Deep Space Nine,” it looks and moves like the JJ Abrams reboot films. Indeed, the program was co-created by one of the reboot’s co-writers.

With its contemporary cultural references and heavily serialized, action-oriented plotting, the series has felt very modern. But its darkness and aesthetics feel like a reimagining of the property, not a continuation. As a result, “Discovery” has had a mixed reception by the franchise’s fan base. While some Trekkies appreciate its bold storytelling and strong performances, others miss the lightness and depth the franchise used to possess.

Conversely, “Picard” feels like classic “Star Trek.” The program’s nostalgic casting plays a part in that perception. However, the trailer has a focus on interiority and philosophy that is missing from “Discovery.”

Despite its throwback tone and familiar cast, the program is also literally more forward-looking than its sister series. “Discovery,” like “Star Trek: Enterprise” before it, is a prequel to the narrative begun in the original series. Being set after “Nemesis,” “Picard” will be the first series to move that story forward since “Star Trek: Voyager” concluded in 2001.

Because of its setting and cast, “Picard” isn’t just another “Star Trek” revival. It’s the series that an entire generation of fans has been eagerly anticipating for nearly two decades.

“Star Trek: Picard” will engage on CBS All Access in early 2020.