How Picard surprisingly ties into the modern Star Trek movies

Despite existing in a parallel reality, the new Star Trek series has managed to connect the films and TV series

Zachary Quinto as Spock in Star Trek (2009) and Patrick Stewart as Picard in Picard (Paramount, Amazon)

New Star Trek series Picard catches up with Patrick Stewart’s former Starfleet captain in his later years, acting as a direct sequel to both Star Trek: The Next Generation and 2002 movie Star Trek: Nemesis. But did you know it’s also sort of a follow-up to the 2009 JJ Abrams Star Trek movie?

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“I don’t think we set out to link it to the film deliberately,” Picard executive producer (and 2009 Star Trek screenwriter) Alex Kurtzman told RadioTimes.com and other press.

“It was fun to be able to do that – when we made the movie, we couldn’t have predicted this was coming 12 years later – but it’s nice to be able to do that, and nice to be able to create a continuity of Star Trek.”

Sci fi

This connection, though, is a little confusing given the fact that the recent movie Star Treks are set in an entirely new reality with different historical events and versions of characters. Known as the “Kelvin Timeline” (vs the original “Prime” timeline), this separate continuity exists thanks to some time-travel chicanery that takes place in the first Abrams film.

You see, in the 2009 Star Trek movie we’re informed about the destruction of Romulus (home to the warlike alien Romulans) in the normal Star Trek universe, with the entirety of the planet incinerated when a star goes supernova.

The Original Series’ Spock (Leonard Nimoy) attempts to save the planet but fails, only succeeding in creating a black hole that gets rid of the supernova and sucks both his ship and one Romulan mining vessel (captained by Eric Bana’s Nero) into the past, splintering the rest of the film’s action into the new “Kelvin” timeline (so called because Nero destroys the USS Kelvin when his ship emerges in the past, changing history). You can see some more of the details in the clip below if you need to jog your memory.

“[Picard is] in the Prime timeline, we’re not in the Kelvin timeline, but the interesting thing about that movie was this was the one element of that film that was in the Prime timeline,” Kurtzman explained.

“Because it was the supernova, and Spock’s jump that created the Kelvin timeline.”

In other words, all the events past this supernova in the new Star Trek movies take place in a parallel reality to the Prime timeline – but the Romulan supernova still happened in the main universe. And in Picard, it was an attempt to rescue the people of Romulus from this disaster that ended up changing Jean-Luc’s life forever, in ways that we won’t go into too many details about here.

“It wasn’t so much that it was important to tie it into the movie as the movie gave us a really wonderful plot point to draw from and happened to synch up with Picard’s timeline,” Kurtzman said.

“So in looking at the ways in which Picard’s life would have been changed in surprising ways, the idea that the supernova totally diverted the course of his life became a really wonderful well to draw from.”

So there you have it – a perfectly twisted bit of canon that links this new series to some of the most high-profile recent Star Trek stories without undoing years of continuity. You have to admire this particular Picard Manoeuvre.

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Picard streams on Amazon Prime Video UK from Friday 24th January