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Patrick Stewart’s new ‘Star Trek’ show will feature a ‘radically altered’ Picard

Captain Picard/Star Trek

Jean-Luc Picard will return in an ambitious series that ties into J.J. Abrams’ ‘Star Trek’ movie timeline.

Patrick Stewart blew Star Trek fandom’s mind in 2018, surprising us with the revelation that Jean-Luc Picard will return for a new show. Rumors had been floating for a while, but given the number of canceled Star Trek projects over the years, no one believed the news until they heard it from the horse’s mouth.

For many fans, the new Picard show on CBS All Access is the most exciting Star Trek news in years. We’re keeping track of every new piece of info on this project, including some recent revelations about the plot. For instance, this show will connect Star Trek‘s TV canon with the recent movie franchise’s “Kelvin Timeline,” a controversial move for many fans.

Captain Picard show news

Hanelle Culpepper, who previously directed two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery, is set to direct the first two episodes of CBS All Access’ Picard series. It’ll be the first time that a woman will direct the first episode of a Star Trek property after every single other first episode of prior Star Trek series were directed by men.

Executive producer Heather Kadin confirmed at New York Comic Con that CBS plans for the show to run for multiple seasons, not just a one-off. The writers’ room started working on the scripts in September. The show is set to film in California, aiming to premiere in late 2019.

Captain Picard show plot

In a January 2019 interview with The Hollywood ReporterStar Trek producer Alex Kurtzman said that this version of Picard has been “radically altered by the dissolution of the Romulan Empire.” This sets up a canonically complex starting point for the series, aimed squarely at longtime fans. Not only does it tie into the deep role of Romulan politics in The Next Generation, but it’s explicitly connected to J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek prequel movies, which began with the timeline-altering destruction of the Romulan homeworld. (Romulus was destroyed in 2387, eight years after the last Next Generation movie, sending an elderly Spock 130 years into the past, and creating the divergent timeline of the recent Star Trek movies.)

Kurtzman said that Stewart is fully onboard with this ambitious premise, adding that Stewart said, “If we do this, I want it to be so different, I want it to be both what people remember but also not what they’re expecting at all, otherwise why do it?” The writing team’s initial pitch document was a full 34 pages long.

Further details are thin for now, but the original announcement confirmed that the show will (obviously) take place after The Next Generation. It’s likely to echo the real-life passage of time, with Jean-Luc Picard approximately the same age as Stewart: 78. In the Star Trek universe, where humans routinely live into their hundreds, that’s nowhere near retirement age for a decorated Starfleet officer.

Rather than being a direct continuation of The Next Generation and its subsequent movies, Deadline described Patrick Stewart’s return as “the next chapter of Picard’s life.” There’s already plenty of speculation about what that means, and whether Picard is now a Starfleet admiral, a diplomat, or something else entirely. The show could easily follow in The Last Jedi‘s footsteps and give Picard an unexpected final act. After all, CBS All Access offered an exciting pitch to tempt Patrick Stewart back into the Star Trek fold.

Captain Picard show creative team

The show’s announcement focused on the role of writer/producer Alex Kurtzman, one of the minds behind the recent Star Trek reboot movies, and the co-creator (and recent replacement showrunner) of Star Trek: Discovery. CBS All Access hired him to oversee a raft of new Star Trek spinoffs, with Picard as the first confirmed announcement. However, Kurtzman may not actually be the day-to-day showrunner—he’s just the best-known name. He’s Star Trek‘s equivalent of the Marvel franchise overseer Kevin Feige.

alex kurtzman picard show Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia (CC-BY-SA)

The list of executive producers is surprisingly long, with Kurtzman joined by blockbuster screenwriter Akiva Goldsman and veteran crime TV writer James Duff (Major Crimes), Star Trek: Discovery writer Kristen Beyer, acclaimed novelist Michael Chabon, Discovery producers Heather Kadin and Trevor Roth, The Next Generation’s Rod Roddenberry, and Stewart himself. Phew. Chabon recently penned a short spinoff film for Discovery, while Beyer is known as an expert in Star Trek canon. If we were to hazard a guess, we’d say that Beyer, Chabon, and Duff might lead the creative team, plus an unannounced crew of staff writers.

No directors have been hired yet, but Jonathan Frakes is a relatively safe bet, having shifted into full-time directing after starring as Commander Riker in The Next Generation. He directed episodes in both seasons of Discovery.

Captain Picard show cast

So far, Patrick Stewart is the only confirmed cast member. The big question for Next Generation fans is how many of Stewart’s co-stars will return. We’re not expecting a direct continuation of The Next Generation, or even a story taking place on the Enterprise, but we won’t be surprised to see a few familiar faces in guest roles.

riker troi star trek Star Trek

Characters from Deep Space Nine and Voyager are also a possibility, and it’s worth remembering that Kristen Beyer is personally familiar with the Voyager lineup, having written Voyager novels since 2005.

Captain Picard show trailer

Obviously, the real Captain Picard show trailer is the entire run of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which you can watch right now on Netflix and CBS All Access.

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Captain Picard show release date

The show is supposedly slated for late 2019, but it won’t be a huge surprise if it arrives in 2020 instead.

captain picard cbs all access Amazon Prime

Where will the Captain Picard show air?

The Picard show will air in the U.S. on CBS All Access, as will any other upcoming Star Trek spinoffs. Discovery airs in Canada on the Space channel and internationally on Netflix, but CBS hasn’t confirmed a similar deal for its other Trek shows. For now, overseas fans will just have to wait and hope.

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested.