Following their San Diego Comic-Con panel, the cast of Star Trek: Picard did a mini media tour at SDCC, doing video sit-downs with Entertainment Weekly, Entertainment Tonight, TVLine, and IGN. We have rounded up the highlights of what they had to reveal about the new show.
Picard’s home is in space, but not Starfleet (except for a flashback)
All the publicity materials released before SDCC depicted the future Jean-Luc Picard home at his family vineyard; however, contrary to what the “First Duty” exhibition would have you believe, Sir Patrick Stewart made it clear Picard was ready to go (via IGN):
In the trailer, he does say he tried to make his home in the vineyard, in the winery of Chateau Picard, but never felt it was home. His home is somewhere else…space.
Stewart elaborated on this to TVLine:
His discontent and unsettled nature was present from the moment the camera rolled and I hope will be evident to the audience that all is not well with him. Despite living in a beautiful place and having a good job and making gorgeous wine and working with two beautiful Romulan people, it is not enough.
Speaking to ET, Sir Patrick gave some insight into Picard’s backstory:
Retirement is not what he was looking for, not what he wanted. It was an impulsive act that put him in this situation and he has regretted it and lived with a certain amount of guilt about it for many years. That is where we pick up the show.
And even though Picard was eager to return to space, he made it clear that it wasn’t a return to Starfleet (with an exception):
I did strongly make the point that I didn’t want to be in the uniform at all, and I spoke strongly about that. I have just made myself look slightly foolish by insisting that in the end of next week’s work, I will be in a uniform. It was my idea! It’s a flashback, and I said in order for this to have the right kind of context, I need to be in a uniform.
Darker than TNG, reflecting the time passed
Patrick Stewart also contrasted how Picard differs from Star Trek: The Next Generation (via IGN):
The story has become more complicated, darker, and diverse than it was in the days of Next Generation. The world has changed. And you know what? The world has changed and is changing in terrifying ways right now. And that is one of the things that this new series touches on. I don’t want to make out that it is a political show now, but it always had that element of contemporary society being commented on and that’s what we are doing in this new show.
And even though Picard is set after TNG, don’t call it a sequel (via TVLine):
I don’t see it as a sequel to [Star Trek: The Next Generation], that word does not resonate with me. I see it as part of the growth of the whole franchise. We have not just set it in the future, but we have carefully set it 18-20 years actually in the future because of all of us who were here before…we have aged in the same way the show has aged. So, we are bringing to it all that process and the incidents and events and calamities of the last 18-20 years. So, it is not a struggle to project oneself.
A “motley” crew of “renegades”
The San Diego Comic-Con panel introduced the new cast for Picard. But Stewart was clear that his new crew is not like his old crew:
(via IGN): It’s only a crew in a sense. You must not think of it as a crew like the Enterprise. We are not Starfleet. We are in a sense renegades. We are acting independently…[Chris Rios] is the captain.
(via ET): On Monday [yesterday] we are shooting a scene in which Riker [Jonathan Frakes] he says to me “so your new crew, what are they like?” And I do describe them as “motley.”
Members of the cast also had a chance to give some brief descriptions of their characters, starting with Santiago Cabrera on Cristobal “Chris” Rios:
(via IGN): He is very right to say it is a band of misfits. We carry a lot of demons, each one in his own way.
(via EW): I play the pilot. Ex-Starfleet. Something happened in my past that has made me not want to help [Picard] when I meet him.
Michelle Hurd on Raffi Musiker
(via EW): I actually am part of unrelated past of Picard’s in the past, does that make sense? [Stewart interjects: “We know each other, but it was a purely working relationship.”]
(via ET): My character is a little broken. She has got some issues. She is part of – in an unrelated way – Picard’s past.
Isa Briones on Dahj:
(via EW): I play Dahj. She is a young woman who has lived her life as any normal young woman would and then suddenly a big event happens in her life and everything gets turned upside down and she looks for answers from Picard.
Alison Pill on Dr. Agnes Jurati:
(via EW): I play a researcher and I know some of the people around here. We have various relationships and get into some antics.
Evan Evagora on Elnor:
(via EW): I play a young long-haired Romulan who is fiercely loyal to Jean-Luc and expert in hand-to-hand combat.
Harry Treadaway on Narek:
(via EW): I also play a Romulan, who has things to do with people in this room.
Data’s sacrifice is “central” to ‘Picard’…he returns in “other ways”
One of the big surprises in the Picard trailer from SDCC was the appearance of Brent Spiner’s Data, who was last seen sacrificing himself at the end of Star Trek Nemesis. Patrick Stewart talked to IGN about how that has impacted Picard and is woven into the show:
Jean-Luc carries a lot of guilt about how Data died, and he sacrificed himself for the captain. It was a sudden and urgent snap decision, but that has weighed heavily on Picard all the years since. And that becomes one of the central motivators of what Jean-Luc does in this new series.
Speaking to TVLine, Brent Spiner clarified his two appearances in the trailer, both in disassembled form and speaking at the end:
In that drawer [as seen in the trailer] I think is B-4…Data is indeed on the show…He isn’t in every episode. He makes some appearances. But he is in the show in other ways.
And speaking to IGN, Spiner offered a little more of a clue as to Data’s part in Picard:
I would say no [to Data’s evolution continuing]. I don’t think he evolves on this show…Data died. He is in the show, but I don’t want to give you the idea that he is every episode or in a lot of episodes. But he is in the show. What you think may be what happens, is not what happens.
Hugh is a leader of free Borg
Another returning surprise at SDCC was Jonathan Del Arco who played Hugh, the Borg that Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-D freed from the collective. While he didn’t appear in the pilot, there was a Borg cube. In the media interviews, Del Arco confirmed that Hugh’s story picks up where it left off in the TNG episode “Descent, Part 2,” leading a group of freed Borg drones:
(via TVLine): I can confirm I am still part Borg and that I am a developed human version from the last time I saw [Picard], in which we were stranded on a planet and Lore was killed…as they are leaving the planet and I say “what are we going to do now, we have no leader” and Picard says “I don’t think that’s true.” The implication being that in TNG I end up with this colony of Borg and all I can say is he has developed further in his leadership capacities.
(via IGN): He is still a Borg – part Borg – and he always will be. I think if you want to describe an individual as someone who is free-thinking, then yes, but he is still strangely collective-minded. He cares so much for those around him that has kind of become a big part of his life. [Stewart interjects “including Borg”] Yes, including Borg, yeah, without saying too much. So, I think he has evolved as a human being.
Expect more returning characters, but not a reunion on the Enterprise
Unfortunately, Jeri Ryan who appeared at the panel did not take part in the post-panel media interviews, but she is returning as Seven of Nine, from Star Trek: Voyager. Also confirmed to be making appearances on Picard are TNG stars Jonathan Frakes (Riker) and Marina Sirtis (Troi). However, even with all these returning TNG stars, Patrick Stewart made it clear when speaking to TVLine that Picard will not become and reunion show:
I did not want to remake The Next Generation. There were hours of discussion as to who [to bring back from TNG] and for how long and what involvement they should be. I know that our lovely fanbase would like to see the crew of the Enterprise all back, but no, that is never going to happen. But there are encounters, some of which have been shot, some of which are only in the planning stage. Hopefully, we will have more than one season and there will be other opportunities. Apart from the principal cast of The Next Generation, there were other characters that we encountered at other times who also might show up again.
Watch the interviews
Keep up with all the news on the Picard show here at TrekMovie.com.