CBS has officially launched Star Trek: Picard, a new series focusing on Jean-Luc Picard, Patrick Stewart’s iconic starship captain from the classic TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation and various Star Trek spinoff films — and CBS’s last, best hope in the streaming war.
The series premiered January 23 on the CBS All Access streaming service and unfolds 20 years after the events of the 2002 film Star Trek: Nemesis.
Here’s everything we learned about Star Trek: Picard in the lead-up to its premiere.
First episode is free
Anyone who missed the series premiere of Star Trek: Picard will get another chance to see what all the buzz is about — and without the need for a CBS All Access subscription.
ViacomCBS has made the first episode of Picard available on YouTube for a limited time.
Pluto TV, the free, ad-supported streaming video service, also announced plans to repeatedly stream the first episode of Picard over the course of a 24-hour marathon on Thursday, January 30. The episode will then air again every evening at 8 p.m. ET on Pluto TV’s Sci-Fi channel for a week, through February 5.
You now have even more places to watch the premiere episode of #StarTrekPicard! Enjoy a 24-hour marathon of Episode 1 on Pluto TV Sci-Fi starting now! (CH 661) https://t.co/NoAhliehhQ #PlutoTV #StarTrek pic.twitter.com/yruNoHZt07
— Pluto TV (@PlutoTV) January 30, 2020
The partnership between CBS All Access and Pluto TV makes sense, given that Pluto TV is owned by ViacomCBS, and could be a sign of things to come as the latter looks to generate more excitement — and subscriptions — for its streaming service.
Picard on a mission
CBS released a brief preview for the series on Facebook that provided a litany of intriguing new footage. The titular former captain of the Enterprise tells viewers, “I was haunted by my past. But now, I have a mission. I will do what needs to be done.”
While the promotional spot teases some familiar faces and places, the new mission appears to involve a mysterious new character played by Isa Briones, as well as both the Borg Collective and what’s left of the Romulans.
Season 2 greenlit
The second season of Star Trek: Picard was given the green light ahead of the series’ debut. Just like the first season, season 2 of Star Trek: Picard will encompass 10 episodes.
CBS revealed the first, ever-so-brief trailer for the series in May 2019. The preview featured the former Starfleet hero at his family’s vineyard and hinted at an ominous reason for his exit from Starfleet.
Picard‘s second trailer dropped during San Diego’s Comic-Con International in 2019, and if you thought that the USS Enterprise-D’s beloved captain was the only Star Trek character returning for the show, think again. Not only does the trailer feature Star Trek: Voyager‘s Seven of Nine and a Borg cube, but Data, played once again by Brent Spiner, makes a surprise appearance in the trailer’s closing moments.
Data isn’t the only Star Trek: The Next Generation alumnus coming to Picard, either. At the Picard Comic-Con panel, showrunner Michael Chabon confirmed that Jonathan Frakes, who played William Riker, Picard’s second-in-command, and Marina Sirtis, better known as ship counselor Deanna Troi, also appear in the series.
The trailer also hints at Picard‘s overarching storyline, which will be much more serialized than the good captain’s The Next Generation adventures. In Picard, Jean-Luc has retired to his family vineyard, but still longs for the stars. He gets his chance to return to space (alongside what looks like a new crew) when a young, mysterious woman arrives at the Picard homestead looking for his help. We don’t know the woman’s secret, but it must be a big one. Plenty of people are trying to kill her, after all.
The third trailer for Picard was released during 2019’s New York Comic-Con, and features both plenty of action and also the long-awaited return of Riker and Troi.
A man and his dog
Patrick Stewart debuted a promotional image for Star Trek: Picard in July 2019, tweeting out a shot of himself as Jean-Luc Picard alongside a dog, looking out over the family vineyard he retired to after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis.
— Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) July 10, 2019
The first season of Star Trek: Picard will consist of 10 episodes, with Hanelle Culpepper directing the first three episodes, and veteran Star Trek actor and filmmaker Frakes (above) directing a few episodes as well.
The supporting cast
Alongside Patrick Stewart in the lead role, the series will also feature Santiago Cabrera as a skilled thief and pilot who assists Picard, as well as Michelle Hurd (below) as a former Starfleet intelligence officer who has a complicated past with Jean-Luc. Allison Pill will also play a member of Picard’s crew named Dr. Jurati, who is gung ho about Picard’s new mission.
Behind the camera
Development of the series was tasked to Star Trek: Discovery co-creator and executive producer Alex Kurtzman, who is joined by many of the other members of the Discovery creative team on the project. In July 2019, renowned author Michael Chabon was announced as the series’ showrunner.
Chabon, a lifelong Star Trek fan who worked with Kurtzman on some of the early concept pitches for the series, is an award-winning author and screenwriter who will also serve as an executive producer on the show.
“Star Trek has been an important part of my way of thinking about the world, the future, human nature, storytelling, and myself since I was 10 years old,” said Chabon of shepherding the series. “I come to work every day in a state of joy and awe at having been entrusted with the character and the world of Jean-Luc Picard, with this vibrant strand of the rich, intricate, and complex tapestry that is Trek.”
Also serving as executive producers on the Picard series are Star Trek: Discovery executive producer James Duff, former Discovery executive producer Akiva Goldsman, and Star Trek: Voyager and Discovery writer Kirsten Beyer, as well as Roddenberry Entertainment President Eugene Roddenberry, the son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. The Picard series is reportedly one of several in-development Star Trek projects for CBS, which is making the sci-fi property one of the foundations of its CBS All Access streaming service.
The return of Jean-Luc
Star Trek: Picard features Stewart reprising the role he played for seven seasons on the long-running Star Trek: The Next Generation television series and in multiple Star Trek movies. The series will continue his story, exploring Picard’s life after the events of The Next Generation and the films.
Stewart’s return to the role of Jean-Luc Picard was first announced in August 2018, and the veteran actor — who is also well-known for portraying telepathic mutant Charles Xavier in the X-Men movies — said he was “excited and invigorated” to revisit the character.
It is an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him. Read my full statement in the photo. #StarTrek @cbsallaccess Photo: @shervinfoto pic.twitter.com/8Ynuj3RBNm
— Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) August 4, 2018
An accomplished actor on stage and screen, Stewart has been nominated for three Golden Globe Awards and five Primetime Emmy Awards over the years for his performances, including a critically praised portrayal of King Henry II in 2003’s The Lion in Winter and his portrayal of Captain Ahab in the 1998 television miniseries Moby Dick.
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