Everything We Know So Far About 'Star Trek: Picard'

star trek picard
'Star Trek: Picard' | CBS
'Star Trek: Picard' | CBS

When CBS All Access announced in 2018 that it was hoping to expand the Star Trek franchise beyond Discovery, fan favorite Captain Jean-Luc Picard quickly rushed to the tip of fans' tongues as the next potential central character. But with actor Patrick Stewart pushing 80 years old and routinely saying he'd finished with the character after the 2002 film Star Trek: Nemesis, it was a surprise when he announced at a Las Vegas Star Trek convention that he'd be returning for a spinoff, Star Trek: Picard.

While William Shatner was the first officer to man the captain's chair of the USS Enterprise as James T. Kirk, Stewart's Picard took over the helm in 1987 with The Next Generation and proved that Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future had legs beyond the campy 1960s TV show. Seven spinoffs later and you've got a beloved franchise whose fans have been clamoring to have one of its most popular characters back on board the Enterprise for the better part of two decades. 

CBS All Access' Star Trek: Picard will be entering a crowded marketplace with a lot of nostalgia buoying it, but as for whether or not it can recapture the magic of The Next Generation remains to be seen. To help both fans and skeptics keep track of what to expect when the 78-year-old actor returns to the character for the first time since the events of Nemesis, below is a rundown of everything we know so far about Star Trek: Picard.

When is the Star Trek: Picard release date?

There was a lot of speculation that CBS All Access would announce the release date at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con after Comicbook.com reported that the series began shooting back in April, the same month the network's flagship Star Trek series, Discovery, ended its Season 2 run. Although the network previously said its goal is to expand its scope of Star Trek content through at least 2023, all that was announced at Comic-Con was a vague "early 2020" hint.

Finally, however, we got a definite release date for the series during the 2019 New York Comic-Con. Star Trek: Picard will premiere on CBS All Access on January 23, 2020. 

Is this a reboot, a sequel, a prequel, a spinoff, or what?

Don't work too hard -- this is a straight-up sequel. In fact, Picard will mark the furthest in the future the Star Trek franchise has ever boldly gone (save for a one-off time travel or flash-forward episode here and there). So it has literally every other project at its back.

Picard takes place 18 years after Star Trek: Nemesis, which was the most recent movie in terms of the franchise's story timeline. Although there have been several adaptations since then, such as J.J. Abrams' three-part film franchise and a new TV series titled Enterprise, they've all been some variation of a prequel.

Star Trek 2009 writer Alex Kurtzman, who is helming the Picard series, told The Hollywood Reporter that a cataclysmic event depicted in that film will have a big impact on Picard when the series opens. In that film -- spoiler alert -- Leonard Nimoy's Spock failed to stop the destruction of Romulus, the home world of Starfleet's greatest antagonists in Picard's day. While the most recent films (which gave us Chris Pine’s James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto’s Spock) explored the “Alternate Original Series” timeline created by a wayward Romulan mining vessel traveling back in time and killing Kirk’s father, we never saw what happened in the original timeline after the destruction of Romulus.

Who is returning to the cast for the Picard series?

As mentioned, there were a lot of spinoff projects that came after Star Trek: The Next Generation, so there's no shortage of potential returning characters. At the big Star Trek Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con, the first round of returns were announced. First up is Jeri Ryan reprising her Star Trek: Voyager role as Seven of Nine. But what might excite The Next Generation fans even more is the surprising announcement that Brent Spiner will reprise his role as Lt. Cmdr. Data, an android that served on the USS Enterprise D and E during Picard's reign as Captain. He, too, was last seen in Star Trek: Nemesis, but met an unfortunate end to save his commanding officer's life. Spiner appeared at the Hall H panel to joke about his involvement in the new series. 

"I called the producers and said, 'Do you have anybody for the role of Picard yet?' They hung up on me," he joked, according to Vulture. "I spoke to Patrick and he said there's a possibility, would you think about coming on the show? I said, 'I don’t think I could do that.' He started crying. I just couldn't take it."

Also confirmed for on-camera roles in Season 1 of Picard are Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes, playing Counselor Deanna Troi and Commander William Riker, respectively, once again. Frakes was previously tapped to direct two episodes of the first season as well. Both characters were last seen alive and well at the conclusion of Star Trek: NemesisVariety also reports that Jonathan Del Arco will appear in Picard likely reprising his role as the Borg Hugh from Next Generation.

Who is joining the Star Trek franchise for Picard?

Joining Picard will be Alison Pill, Michelle Hurd, Evan Evagora, Isa Briones, Santiago Cabrera, and Harry Treadaway. At the center of the action is Briones’ character, Dahj, a girl wrapped in mystery who seeks Picard’s help. 

"She's entering a new and exciting chapter in her life, and when a tragedy strikes, it sends her on a journey to find Picard and find answers looking for help," Briones told the crowd during the Hall H Panel. 

Overall, very little is known about the details of supporting cast roles as of now.

click to play video

Is there a trailer for the Picard series?

A teaser trailer dropped in May showing Picard unhappy in retirement. That was quickly followed by a poster showing Picard alongsid ehis trusted new canine companion, cheekily named Number One, according to Entertainment Weekly. However, Comic-Con brought along the first new trailer showcasing Picard back in action alongside new and old characters.

click to play video

The crew released another, more in-depth trailer at the 2019 New York Comic-Con in October. This one gives us a little more information: while we get a gratuitous scene of Commander Data painting in Picard’s vineyard, it seems to have all been a dream. We still don't really know what's up with Data, but we do see a bit more of Picard’s friction with Starfleet after he asks for Starfleet assistance in keeping Dahj safe. Finally, we also get a glimpse of Jonathan Frakes returning as Commander William Riker. 


What is Star Trek: Picard going to be about?

The new trailer provided the best look at the Picard series yet, but it's all still pretty shrouded in mystery. Based on the two trailers out, we know the show will pick up with Picard in retirement having left Star Fleet to pursue a simpler life working on a vineyard. A cataclysmic event teased to be the destruction of the Romulan home world sent him into seclusion from the organization. However, when a young woman approaches him for help, Picard insists she's in "serious danger" and agrees to retake a leadership position with a rag-tag new crew to solve the problem. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like Picard will do so under the banner of Star Fleet as he seems to have left on unhappy terms. 

The series also seems like it will deal with the death of Data -- he's featured prominently at the beginning of the trailer. Fans that understood Picard and the android's relationship in The Next Generation won't be surprised to learn that he's still beating himself up over Data's self-sacrifice even all these years.

That's where details of the new series pretty much dry up. However, Kurtzman previously told Entertainment Weekly what fans can expect from the tone of the show, specifically in relation to Discovery. "It's an extremely different rhythm than [Star Trek: Discovery]," he said. "Discovery is a bullet. Picard is a very contemplative show. It will find a balance between the speed of Discovery and the nature of what Next Gen was, but I believe it will have its own rhythm. Without revealing too much about it, people have so many questions about Picard and what happened to him, and the idea we get to take time to answer those questions in the wake of the many, many things he's had to deal with in Next Gen is really exciting. 'More grounded' is not the right way to put it, because Season 2 of Discovery is also grounded. It will feel more… real-world? If that's the right way to put it."

How many episodes will Star Trek: Picard Season 1 have?

When it was announced, Star Trek: Picard was greenlit for a 10-episode first season. Patrick Stewart previously told Yahoo Entertainment that the series plays "like a 10-hour movie" and was upfront that they're hoping the series goes on for multiple seasons. 

Where can I watch it?

The Star Trek: Picard series will air exclusively on CBS All Access.

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, get Streamail for more entertainment, and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.