Star Trek fans have been left salivating following the release of a first teaser trailer for the new Picard series, focusing on Patrick Stewart’s beloved Next Generation captain.
Stewart can be glimpsed in the teaser, with accompanying narration revealing that the character of Jean-Luc Picard is no longer part of Starfleet.
So what has happened to the former captain of the Enterprise in the years since 2002 film Star Trek: Nemesis? Why is he pictured in a vineyard? And what’s the “unimaginable” event that led to him abandoning his former life?
When did we last see Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek?
The character made his final on-screen appearance in 2002’s big-screen outing Star Trek: Nemesis, which saw Picard encounter a Romulan clone of himself named Shinzon (played by Tom Hardy). At the end of this particular adventure, Picard remained on the bridge of the Enterprise-E, but first officer Riker was about to head off on the USS Titan after being promoted to captain.
What has Picard been doing since Star Trek: Nemesis?
A number of novels set after Nemesis have been published, beginning with 2005’s Death in Winter. Those who’ve followed the books have read about such events as Picard’s wedding to Beverly Crusher and the birth of their son Rene Jacques Robert Francois Picard. However, as has always been the case with Star Trek tie-in fiction, the chronology is not considered to be official canon, so the new TV series may well end up contradicting the books.
What is the “unimaginable” event that happened 15 years ago?
A female narrator (now revealed to be the voice of actress Merrin Dungey) has this portentous speech: “Fifteen years ago today, you lead us out of the darkness. You commanded the greatest rescue armada in history – then the unimaginable. What did that cost you? Your faith? Your faith in us? Your faith in yourself? Tell us: why did you leave Starfleet, Admiral?”
Yet to be revealed, of course, is the date that Picard earned his admiral’s pips. But, also, the nature of the rescue mission that led to tragedy and his disillusionment with Starfleet. Executive producer Alex Kurtzman has already commented that “Picard’s life was radically altered by the dissolution of the Romulan Empire”. So, could his resignation be tied to this event?
What happened to Romulus?
The answer to this question lies in the 2009 Star Trek movie directed by JJ Abrams, which revealed that the Romulan homeworld was destroyed by a supernova in the year 2387. Among those who lost their lives were the wife and unborn child of Nero, the film’s main antagonist. Star Trek: Picard is believed to be set around the year 2399, which isn’t exactly 15 years after the supernova, but with this date not 100 per cent confirmed, we’re assuming that the writers have a certain degree of wiggle room in order to tie events together.
Why was Picard on a vineyard?
The Picard family has a vineyard in La Barre, France, where they produce their Chateau Picard vintage. Jean-Luc’s elder brother Robert tended the vines in the season four episode Family, but he was later revealed in the movie Generations to have died in a fire at the family home, along with his only son René.
Bottles of Chateau Picard have featured on screen on various occasions, most notably in Star Trek: Nemesis as the senior Enterprise officers raise a glass in Data’s memory after his sacrifice. More recently, a bottle of 2249 Chateau Picard is seen in Captain Philippa Georgiou’s ready room on the USS Shenzhou in the Star Trek: Discovery episode The Vulcan Hello.
Why is the Next Generation theme played on a flute at the end of the teaser trailer?
The moving season five episode The Inner Light saw Picard acquire a Ressikan flute after being hit by a beam from an alien probe and experiencing 40 years of life as a scientist by the name of Kamin. Picard retained his new-found musical skills, with the flute going on to become one of the captain’s most prized possessions. It can be glimpsed on the desk in his ready room aboard the Enterprise.