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Star Trek: Picard will stay true to the character, but in a brand-new situation
Star Trek fans only have a few more days left before learning details about the upcoming spinoff series featuring Jean-Luc Picard, but some news is beginning to break. Ahead of Saturday's "Enter the Star Trek Universe" panel at San Diego Comic-Con, some details about Star Trek: Picard, have started to reveal more context for the drama, which will air on the CBS All Access streaming service.
So far, CBS has said very little about the show's premise, only the vague line that "The new series will follow this iconic character in the next chapter of his life," and that Sir Patrick Stewart will reprise his role as the revered Starfleet captain. Picard was the central figure of the 1987-94 series Star Trek: The Next Generation, and a protagonist in four Trek films, but in the series will be far removed from his former grandeur.
While the setting and circumstances of Picard are new, executive producer Alex Kurtzman revealed to Entertainment Weekly that the character will be the same man fans have long admired.
“It was terribly important to us that he remains fundamentally Picard," Kurtzman explained. "You will not see a version that betrays the man we loved from Next Generation. We’re not doing that. But we wanted to put a character with that level of morality and leadership and who always does the right thing no matter how hard the circumstances… we wanted to put that to the test."
What we do know so far, based on a teaser trailer that dropped in May, is that Picard is now 15 years removed from his time with Starfleet after something "unimaginable" caused him to retreat to his vineyard in France. A poster unveiled last week indicated that he's not alone — he's got an adorable canine companion — but still no real hint at how or why he ended up there. The rest of the (non-canine) cast includes Michelle Hurd, Alison Pill, Isa Briones, Evan Evagora, Santiago Cabrera and Harry Treadaway, though little is known about their specific roles.
Kurtzman says it's possible that Next Generation vets will appear on the show, but it doesn't sound like there are specific plans yet. "What we don’t want to do is just throw in cameos," he said. "There would have to be an incredibly specific story reason [for them to be there]." However, Jonathan Frakes, who played Commander William T. Riker on TNG, will be directing two episodes this season, but there's no word on whether he might appear on screen.
Also now confirmed is the widely assumed but never specifically addressed detail that Picard will indeed return to space. "Events began to unfold that conspire to take Picard back to the stars," Kurtzman said. "He will [go to space], but not in a way that anyone expects."
A premiere date for Star Trek: Picard has not yet been announced, though it seems likely to be revealed at the Comic-Con panel this weekend.