STLV19: ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Panel Talks Seven’s New Voice, Riker’s Return, And More

One of the most anticipated panels at Star Trek Las Vegas was for the upcoming CBS All Access series Star Trek: Picard. On stage were three returning Trek stars who will appear in Picard: Jonathan Frakes (TNG: Riker), Jonathan Del Arco (TNG: Hugh), and Jeri Ryan (Voyager: Seven of Nine). Frakes has also directed two episodes for the series centered around Sir Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard. On Wednesday Brent Spiner spoke about his return to Picard, and the three stars for Saturday afternoon’s panel had even more to say.

Frakes thrilled to direct, nervous to play Riker again (and again)

Jonathan Frakes started off the panel by revealing his custom T-shirt which read: “Don’t ask me, I signed an NDA!” The director and actor is notorious for dropping spoilers at conventions, so this was his way of preempting a repeat. Despite the shirt, Frakes did have a lot to say – and reveal – about Picard.

Frakes started by talking about how he initially got involved with Picard, seeing it as an extension of his “new home” directing for Discovery:

I was asked to come and direct a couple of episodes of Picard [Jeri Ryan interjects “thank God!” and crowd cheers]…I directed the one where we introduce Seven of Nine! [Jeri: “I say again, thank God”]…And I was thrilled, as you can only imagine, to be back with Patrick and back in the family of Star Trek. I get to do Discovery, which is kind of my new home show and I won’t pretend that I wasn’t really excited. And then I got to work with Jeri, which I hadn’t done much of since we had done Leverage together.

Jonathan Frakes and his NDA shirt at Star Trek Las Vegas 2019

When it came to returning to the role of Riker (which was revealed at the SDCC panel two weeks ago, along with  Marina Sirtis’ return as Troi), Frakes joked he “begged to come back!” but then admitted that he had some concerns about picking up the role after almost two decades. Frakes, who played Riker in seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation and four feature films, revealed that he will be on set this week, and he has been spending a lot of time preparing:

[I have been concerned] more than you know. Every morning when I wake up – I have had the script for quite a while – every morning the first thing I do is go over my lines. First of all I see Patrick and the shape he is in. Marina [Sirtis] is starring in a play on the West End, so her acting muscle…and I see what this acting company is like, because I had directed two of the episodes. And I was really happy as a director. I was a fine, nice little actor on Star Trek. First of all, I am the third best actor in my own house…[wife] Genie [Francis] and then my daughter Eliza. I was really happy that I have learned another craft and it has been very good to me.

Those paying close attention to the reports coming out of SDCC may have noted that Patrick Stewart had said he was set to shoot with Frakes and Sirtis the following week. Later in the STLV panel, Frakes appears to have cleared that up, revealing he has already returned to the role of Riker on Picard:

So, I will share this. Just between me and you. I did play one scene with Picard already. I won’t tell you anything about it, except this. At the end of the scene – we were in three different locations – Doug Aarniokoski, the director, said: “I have to go on to the next set and I will leave you guys here with a [camera] drone.” So the drone comes and shoots, the two of us play the scene and off in the woods is somebody with Patrick’s chair and the second [assistant director], and [executive producer] Alex [Kurtzman]. And Patrick says: “I think we have done it, Johnny.” And I said: “I think so too.” So, we walk and it is just the two of us. The entire company of 150 people have moved on to the next set, which is in another part. And he says: “Is there anything better than spending the day with filmmakers who know what they are doing and be able to work with people you love?”

Jonathan Frakes at Star Trek Las Vegas 2019

Picard Analysis: Based on his comments at STLV, Jonathan Frakes will appear as Riker in more than just one scene in Star Trek: Picard. It’s unclear if his scenes – shot two weeks apart – will be contained to a single episode or more than one. Comments from around SDCC (before he shot his first scene) indicated the show was set to start on episode eight immediately afterward, leading us to assume that Frakes will appear in episode eight. It also appears that the work Frakes is doing this week is more substantial, and therefore requires more prep work than the scene he shot right after SDCC.

Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: Picard

Ryan happy to lose Seven’s catsuit, but “freaked out” finding her new voice

Jeri Ryan revealed how returning to Star Trek started as casual conversations among friends that she didn’t think would ever go anywhere:

We were at the Hollywood Bowl and Johnny [Del Arco] was with me and one of the creators of the show – James Duff – who is a dear friend of ours, after about four glasses of champagne, he was like: “this might be a good time to bring this up, here is what I am thinking…” And he pitched an idea. The story is not the same story as he was originally thinking, but the way he had conceived of this character, is basically what he had described to me, and it sounded really cool. I thought yeah, that sounds fun but, whatever. This was like a year and a half ago, well over a year. So, I didn’t think anything of it, but every time I saw him again, he would mention again. Then cut to the Creative Arts Emmys [September 8, 2018] and Alex Kurtzman was there, and he mentioned it as well. And I thought: “oh, this might happen,” and it did.

Jeri Ryan on stage next to Alex Kurtzman at the Creative Arts Emmys on September 2018

Jonathan Del Arco noted that after pitching Ryan, Duff also asked him if he would want to return to the role of Hugh the Borg. To help persuade Del Arco, the actor says Duff said he might not have to return to the Borg makeup and costume (although later in the panel Del Arco reveals he does have new Borg wardrobe and makeup). As Del Arco recalled the conversation, Ryan jumped back in enthusiastically to reveal another detail about Duff’s pitch in relation to her signature wardrobe on Star Trek: Voyager:

That was part of his pitch. There was no catsuit! Yeah!

Like Frakes, Ryan had some concerns returning to her Star Trek role, but hers seemed to be even more intense:

Honestly, it was freaking terrifying, and these two [Frakes and Del Arco] can attest to that! They both saved my ass! I was freaking out. She was a very specific character for four years on Voyager. There was a lot of growth, and all of that. She went from being a machine to learning to be human. But, particularly the way she moved and her voice, that was what I was really hung up on. Her voice didn’t change that much in four years. So, she had a stilted, very formal, very stylized way of speaking, at the end of Voyager. So, when I got the initial script, and from I knew from the original pitch with James [Duff] a year and a half ago, she is not the same Seven. She is much more human. She been on Earth for a long time, she has been through a lot. So, when I saw that initial script and as you saw “what the hell are you doing out here?” It’s a very, very different voice. And that is what was freaking me out.

Jeriy Ryan at Star Trek Las Vegas 2019

Ryan revealed it was Del Arco who helped her through it:

So I was happy because Johnny [Del Arco] was working before I did and he said: “once you get in costume, it helps.” And it does. It informs the way the character moves and the way the character stands and that kind of thing. But, I was having a real hard time with her voice. I just couldn’t hear her in these lines. I couldn’t find it and it was really freaking me out to the point where my husband was like: “I have seen you get freaked out by a script, ever.” And so thank God this one [Jonathan Frakes] was directing my first two episodes. And Johnny [Del Arco] worked before I did, so he had just gone through all of this himself.

I was literally freaking out. I was bursting into tears: “I don’t know what her voice is! I can’t find her.” So, Johnny came over and we had lunch and read the script for like an hour and finally he just – I was so freaked out I couldn’t think clearly about it – he said after an hour: “just try this, what if…” The Borg have always been hated, they are universally hated because they were bad guys, they were tough. But, there’s other elements in this world with the Borg. And, what if she had to make the choice to be as human as possible, to survive, to sound as human and act as human as possible. Clearly, she is always going to look like a former Borg, because she has these implants that cant go away. So, what if she had to make that choice – a conscious choice – to sound as human as possible. And that’s all I needed. That’s what I needed! I just needed something for it to make sense as an actor as to why she would have that huge of a chance. Then it made sense to me. I was still freaking out in my first scene.

Jeri Ryan also talked about what it has been like to work with Patrick Stewart for the first time:

[Working with Patrick] is amazing. I don’t think I had actually ever met Patrick once over all these years, except some after party like eighteen years ago. He is lovely. I know most of the Next Gen cast better than I know my own cast [from Voyager]. I know these guys so well and I have seen them at so many shows over the years and we hang out. So, it’s funny that I know so much about him and I know him from the periphery. But he is lovely, he is just lovely. And of course, he is an incredible actor.

Jonathan Frakes revealed how Stewart feels about Ryan:

I asked Patrick what it was like working with Jeri, and he said: “She is marvelous, Johnny. She is so present.”

Jeri Ryan and Jonathan Del Arco at Star Trek Las Vegas 2019

Picard Analysis: Based on what Ryan said at STLV, it appears her first episode for Picard will be episode three, which is the first episode Frakes directed (based on what he told in an earlier interview). Ryan’s comments indicate Seven will appear in episode four, also directed by Frakes, and given her phrasing of “my first two episodes,” it seems as if Seven will appear in more than just those two directed by Frakes. As shown in the Comic-Con trailer, the Seven seen in Picard has adapted be more human, as a way to fit in, or assimilate.

Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine in Star Trek: Picard

Del Arco sees return to Hugh as personal, relates to the Borg’s experience

Jonathan Del Arco – who played Hugh in two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation – also talked about a struggle finding a way back into the role, adding: “It had been a long time and I had no idea who he is now.” Del Arco pointed to Picard executive producer James Duff helping shape the role for him. Like Ryan, Del Arco knows Duff well, having worked together for years on Major Crimes. So, the writer/producer was able to personalize the role of Hugh for Del Arco in Picard:

Like Jeri, I panicked. Hugh was based on something very personal for me. In my twenties I was going through a very traumatic time. I had lost a loved one and Hugh was based on that person. When I played Hugh, I was playing someone else as an actor. Over the years, I’ve learned to use myself more and more, because that is always better if you can. Because people that knew us were writing these roles, there was a lot written into Hugh [in Picard] that reflected my own personal experiences as a gay Latino male in our world today and through the years of the AIDS epidemic.

The actor also talked about connecting to the Borg as seen in Picard:

There was a lot in the Borg experience from the end of TNG to now that was emotionally easy for me to connect to. However, there was a lot of Hugh’s physicality that came from the wardrobe, which I loathed at the time, because it was impossible to wear. I wasn’t sure how much of myself I could use. I didn’t want to lose the complete physicality of the old Hugh. Jeri and talk a lot about when you are doing Star Trek, you are doing it for you guys [the fans]. Because a general audience can watch a good performance and say: “that makes sense to me,” but for you all…We did not want to mess it up for you…We would say: “they are going to kill us if we do that!” We have to be true to our base, to our audience. They know our roles in some ways better than we do ourselves.

So, I was in a panic. The tour of the set gave me some great research ideas. So, I researched a human historical event that it reminded me of, I am not going to tell you what it is… [At this point Frakes points to his NDA shirt and interjects: “you are dancing right on the edge!”] I did research on this historical event to feed myself, and then I still didn’t have him. And then when I was on set, it came to me. It was kind of a magical moment. I shot the first scene and I thought: “Welcome home, Hugh, there you are.” So, it was a great experience, that first week of it. And it has been a great experience all summer, to be honest.

Del Arco noted that he and Patrick Stewart have been bonding as they work together:

About Patrick, when I worked with him [on Star Trek: The Next Generation] I was very young, and obviously became a big fan. To get to work with him in your 20s, like whoa!…So, coming back to the role as an adult and getting to spend – honestly the entire job has circled around for me the amount of weeks I have had to have one-on-one scenes with Patrick, and have time hanging out with him, talking and getting to know him and our shared love of rescue pit bulls and food and wine. I just adore him. For me, the gift has been to get to work with Patrick.

Jonathan Del Arco at Star Trek Las Vegas 2019

Picard Analysis: Based on comments from Del Arco and Ryan at STLV, it appears that Hugh will appear in one of the first two episodes of the series. His comments about the time spent with Patrick Stewart and his experiences on the show “all summer” could indicate that he has a recurring role throughout the first season. Del Arco’s comments about the Borg in Picard are also intriguing. Although Frakes held him back from the edge, Del Arco indicated that the Borg – either in general or his group of freed Borg – have gone through some kind of major event which has a parallel in real-world history.

Evan Evagora as Elnor; Alison Pill as Dr. Jurati; Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: Picard

Frakes impressed with new team, Stewart is “crushing it”

Having worked as both a director and actor on the show, Frakes offered his perspective on the work being done, including his thoughts on how the new cast is performing:

I had done a show with Michelle Hurd, who is spectacular. Alison Pill, I had no idea. She can do anything. We have a new guy named Evan from Australia, who is wonderful. And there is the hot Santiago Cabrera, who is just crushing it. He is playing – Oh, I shouldn’t tell you anything about what he is doing. That is exactly the kind of thing I get in trouble for. It is a great cast.

He also talked about seeing Patrick Stewart back in action:

The cast is spectacular, needless to say. And Patrick is crushing it now, is he not? His confidence, his vulnerability, his sense of humor, his emotionality is up on the surface. He’s as great as he has ever been. And because he loves the project and because the writing is spectacular.

Regarding the writing, Jonathan had more high praise for Picard showrunner Michael Chabon:

The showrunner is a man named Michael Chabon, who deserves hoots and hollers. And I will tell you a little anecdote from a conversation I had with Alex Kurtzman, who is the keeper of all things Star Trek now. We were talking about a new episode of Discovery and there were some questions we talked about and the Picard episodes I had done, and then we talked about Chabon, who has become showrunner, and what’s going on with him and how he is learning this job. He said: “after all, Michael is Mozart.” That is a pretty serious compliment.

Even though the show has been described as highly serialized, Frakes revealed that each episode has its own style:

Picard has been advertised as ten movies, by Patrick and Alex and all of the people involved. And the two that I did were completely different stylistically and were written differently and shot differently and therefore each will have their own identity. Discovery is much more of the J.J. [Abrams] cinematic filmmaking, shoot-to-thrill sort of approach, which is a blast, I have to say. Picard is a more thoughtful show, and very elegant. We still got some lens flares. But it is stylistically, each episode is driven by the story and therefore the shooting style is different.

Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard; Evan Evagora as Elnor; Santiago Cabrera as Rios; Michelle Hurd as Raffi in Star Trek: Picard

Taking secrecy seriously

The inclusion of these Trek actors in Picard was kept as a closely guarded secret, revealed for the first time at the Star Trek Universe panel at San Diego Comic-Con two weeks ago. Ryan noted how she was surprised they were able to keep the secret that long. It was revealed at the STLV panel that the production has gone to great lengths to maintain secrecy.

The show is using the same kind of secrecy on set as the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movies, including requiring Jeri Ryan to always wear a hooded cloak when outside of her trailer, including gloves. Ryan talked about how she was surprised it worked, revealing that earlier in the year they shot at Universal City Walk in Hollywood, which is a tourist destination and she would be driven around (cloaked and hooded) in a van between her trailer and set right next to the tour trams, and thinking at the time “this is so going to get out!”

Del Arco noted he has to work with the same level of security, but noted it was worth it:

Once I am in makeup, I am not allowed to leave my trailer…because they haven’t revealed the Borg’s makeup, because they are so secretive about it. And I think it is kind of great. Aren’t surprises awesome? Aren’t you so glad to see that for the first time?

Frakes uses his shirt to remind Ryan of her NDA

Billingsley lobbies for a Denobulan in Picard

As often happens at Star Trek Las Vegas, there was a fun moment with a party crasher on stage. For the Picard panel it was John Billingsley who played the Denobulan Dr. Phlox on Star Trek: Enterprise. Shortly after the panel started he popped his head in from behind the stage, shouting out the question: “Ask if the show needs a Deonbulan!” And then lobbying “Call a Denobulan!” Later during the Q&A Billingsley got a fan to ask “Is it possible that there is going to be a Denobulan on the new series?”

John Billingsley crashes the Picard panel at Star Trek Las Vegas 2019

More STLV to come

The TrekMovie team was in Las Vegas to bring you all the news, so check back soon for more articles from the convention.  Check out all of our coverage on STLV.

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This is all sounding like everything about Picard is being done totally right – so pumped for this. Even Lower Decks I have to admit I’m starting to get excited about, so much about it is quite impressive. Section 31 can get shoved right back where it came from through – Pike! Pike! Pike! Pike! Pike! Pike! Pike! Pike!

Agreed with every single word. I only counted the word “Pike!” once though.

I don’t mind the SEC 31 show, but ya, we need a Pike show much MUCH more!

Pike! Pike! Pike! Pike! Pike! Pike! Pike! Pike!

Or! Or! We could get Disco, Picard, Lower Decks, the Nick animated, Section 31, and Piketerprise all!

And QuinTrek once CBS and Viacom are back together.

Because then we can all get something we like.

I agree with all your points.

Yes, they should have a Denobulan

So…will there be any Denobulans on Picard?

please no


He lacks Faith of the Heart

Denobulans, Tellerites, Andorians, Vulcans, Cardassians, Bajorans, Ferengi, Benzites…

I’d like to see all of the Trek species show up even if it’s just in the background as the show traverses different scenes and situations.

Not to mention humans that don’t act and sound as though they were raised in the continental United States.

I’d really like to see the cosmopolitan nature of the Federation shown on screen.

Don’t forget the Bolians. Whatever happened to Mr Mott?

To play the devil’s advocate here… Maybe in the future, since every human problem on Earth has been eradicated and it has become such a paradise, EVERYONE sounds and acts like early 21st century continental USA? Uhura was from somewhere in Africa but still spoke Swahili. Which would suggest east central Africa today but who knows where that language would still be spoken 300 years from now? This suggests that other characters whose home areas on Earth are not known very well could have come from anywhere on the globe.

ML31, the US isn’t even a country after the 3rd world war in Trek history.

The global and federation capital is Paris.

Why would anyone expect that the Federation norm would be American?

Cheo and Scotty’s accents weren’t authentic in TOS, but the effort was made to project a cosmopolitan Federation society.

Yes, Trek is an American show, but to be successful it needs to represent a bigger world in it’s primary characters.

If it’s noticeable and getting up the noses of Canadians like me (who are accustomed to being inundated with expectations of American assimilation), then it can’t be a good thing for Trek’s global brand.

To date, the only captains not from the continental United States
have been Picard and Prime Georgiou.

Since TNG, Bashir, Tasha and Worf (foster family) have been the only human characters not identified as having American families ‘home’.

And when they’ve had the opportunity to do something else – such as Silly and May Ahern – they set it in the US.

The subtext is that ‘the best and the brightest’ always come from the continental United States.

Representation counts. If it means getting more nationally diverse writers rooms for Trek shows, they need to do it.

TG47, it’s not just the usual focus on Anglo-American tropes and casts, but the lack of Asian characters, both in main casts and background characters, that is especially troubling in light of their real world majority. The disturbing in-universe explanation would be that most of Asia got annihilated in the Eugenic Wars because apparently Khan’s empire was based there, but since many of the facts about the Eugenic Wars have been decanonized by now (most crucially, the time), I really don’t see why the producers would want to go down such a dark path? Most likely it is a subconscious bias in their perception of “diversity” (both in terms of ethnicities and non-American origins, as you point out) which is very out-of-date with what is actually going on in the world outside of America, with a shift (back) to Asia in everything (the “Great Convergence”).

Excellent point.

But even the Asians with identified ‘homes’ on Earth are from the continental United States.

Sulu and Kim as East Asians, and most recently Tyler, a South Asian. We don’t have a backstory for Gen Rhys of Discovery as yet, but I’m really hoping that the big reveal respects Kwok-Choon’s heritage (first generation from Mauritius).

Yes, it does make one think that everything East of Istanbul and south of Kiev was obliterated.

I suspect that it’s just unconscious bias.

But we should also have humans who grew up on colony planets and stations…

Sincerely, Guild hierarchy notwithstanding Kurtzman needs to really reach out and pull some writers from outside the U.S. into the rooms.

Hiring Asian and other visible minorities from within the US is genuine progress, but it still has such a limited worldview.

TG47, I have advocated the broadening of Discovery’s writing team to a more (not just skin-deep) diverse group of people since the beginning of the show and the marketing of some of their “concepts” which both seem to come from and target the same place did convey a clear need for this, but so far I have not seen much improvement there. If anything there is too much “creative inbreeding” between the new shows for my taste, with too many of the same writers, who already all have the same background and world view, being shared between shows or “graduating” from Discovery to the spin-offs. Clearly this Star Trek cinematic universe needs an injection of fresh blood behind the scenes too. I will say the inclusion of Chabon on Picard, and making him showrunner, is probably a good thing, and the characterizations of the new cast already stand out positively against the blandness of some of the cast on Discovery and apparently, Lower Decks too.

“But even the Asians with identified ‘homes’ on Earth are from the continental United States.

Sulu and Kim as East Asians, and most recently Tyler, a South Asian.”

TG47, Ron Moore has publicly described my brown brother from another mother Julian Bashir as a “British person of Pakistani or Indian descent”. So Star Trek *has* had a South Asian regular major character from outside the US, albeit just one so far.

Also, technically Janeway was mixed race. She repeatedly mentioned her “Indian grandmother”, especially in the context of recipes she’d learnt from her, so Janeway was actually at least a quarter South Asian. Janeway did, however, seem to be from the US, and she was obviously not a visibly mixed race person (although that’s not unusual in this specific situation — there are a number of famous “white” British and American celebrities who actually have at least one Indian grandparent).

I think ENT’s Hoshi Sato was shown as living in Brazil, from what I recall.

But I do agree the situation still has considerable room for improvement.

Hopefully “Picard” and other future Trek shows will have a more realistic depiction of real-world human demographics, although I guess showing this on-screen will be restricted by the availability of suitable extras and other cast members. But you should still at least hear lead characters in Starfleet mentioning “Captain Rajinder Singh”, “Admiral Amir Tehrani”, “Commander Tunde Adebayo” and so on.

Janeway was from Indiana. And Hoshi was just working in Brazil. At least, that is what I gleaned. She wasn’t from there. Just as Paris was serving time in Australia. He wasn’t from there either.

“But we should also have humans who grew up on colony planets and stations…”

We did have Mayweather who was born and raised in space on freighters… A background I liked but the character was underused.

TG… Precious little has been said about the geopolitical state of future Earth in Star Trek world. Since various US states have been mentioned as move for a number of characters it is reasonable to conclude that the USA does indeed still exist. Paris was just where the Federation President had an office. Suggesting that was where Federation Council or Senate or whatever it is they have also meet in champers there. (Once again making that universe VERY Earth-centric) Nothing even remotely has connected it to an Earth capital.

To be honest, I think this is digging too deep into minutia. This is making a giant mountain out of a tiny mole hill. They’ve made an attempt to have the main human characters be a bit of a mix. They do tend to lean to the USA obviously because it is a US show. Some conceits must be made. Would I like to see an even larger mix of internationals among Trek casts? Sure. I’d like to see more aliens too (although that means spending more money). But on the lists of things to complain about in Trek that is a ton closer to the bottom than it is to the top.

Malcolm Reed from Enterprise was British, and we *almost* had a French Canadian Janeway, but yes – there should be more international diversity in the franchise. Star Trek obviously does well in America, but many more people around the world watch it.

“Star Trek obviously does well in America, but many more people around the world watch it.”

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the reason for that has precious little to do with the international make up of the main cast.

Frakes said: “Picard is a more thoughtful show, and very elegant. ”

For all fans of cerebral Trek this is as much a compliment to Picard as a scathing verdict of two seasons of Discovery failing in that department, and surprisingly blunt coming from a major director of that show (surely he wont bite the hand that feeds him, will he?) I am certainly keeping my fingers crossed that for once it turns out as more than pre-release hyperbole. Catch that lightening in the bottle again!

Its not an insult to Discovery. He’s just saying that the two shows have different styles. Discovery isn’t as cerebral as Picard because it isn’t trying to be as cerebral as Picard. I think everyone involved would agree with that, including the Discovery cast and crew.

The thing is tho, now that they are going to be in the furthest point in Star Trek continuity, they need to become more cerebral. Setting 930 years worth of canon in a single season of Trek is a TALL ORDER!

That would be a tall order Amit but they won’t have to do that. Certainly we will get tantalising hints about what has happened but it will all be vague enough not to restrict future writers that will inevitably explore some of those periods. We still don’t know a great deal about what happened between TUC and TNG season 1 and yet we’ve had 21 full seasons of television set after that era.

you people are nuts… he loves discovery… he can’t be more clear… youre reading into things based on your own hate for discovery… this is not about them it’s about you

The only thing I’m reading is the original statement. “More thoughtful”. That’s both a comparison and a value judgment. And no doubt, for the people who don’t consider that an unabashedly good thing, and who love “them big feels and big ‘splosions” instead, Discovery is the Second Coming of Christ, but then again, probably any Michael Bay movie is since they follow the same formula. For the people I was focusing my comment on, however (“fans of cerebral Trek”), Picard will hopefully be a dramatic improvement over the trite fast food meals provided by the Burnham Chronicles!

Don’t hold your breath. He did say each episodes was “driven by the story”. Don’t expect the thoughtfulness of TMP here. I’m thinking if we are lucky it might be as thoughtful as Into Darkness. Sorry for being a bit negative but the track record does not support feeling positive. I REALLY want to be wrong.

track record of what? tos great. tng great. ds9 amazing. voyager/enterprise meh. new movies awesome. discovery terrific and getting better each season. picard looks fantastic. sorry for being so positive.

Did you just put the new movies and Discovery over VOY and ENT? Sorry. Yes too positive about the new Abramzy stuff. ‘Brannon Braga’ Should not be disgraced in this way. Hehe.. And now he works on ‘The Orville’. All of his shows are great!

Kurtzman does not have a track record of exactly high quality. Most of it is mediocre to bad and there is the occasional “that was fun to watch but it wasn’t high quality filmmaking”.

What got me was he said something about how this show was “story driven”? I thought Picard was going to be more character driven. Also, was he implying that Discovery was NOT story driven? Because it absolutely was. Even if that story was weak over the top is silliness.

ML31, I think you mean “plot-driven’, and if you refer to all those inane plot twists on Discovery in both seasons that made characters do the most hairbraned things and turned them into super(wo)men, I totally concur! I don’t hold my breath for TMP level thoughtfulness either (I consider that “idea-driven”), but if they could keep the social media driven on-screen clickbait to a minimum (both visually and plot-wise) , that would already be a HUGE improvement!

The continuing Discovery hate from certain fans is so tedious. Discovery paved the way for this, so change the track.

It seems as though Frakes has gotten some flack for his spoilery mishaps in the past and so is taking things a little more serious in this regard now. I love his shirt by the way :))

Wasn’t he the one who told us that Discovery was going to the mirror universe before the show even came out?

Yes, he was. I guess he did get some flack for it from the producers :))

“Human historical event…”

I wonder whether the event he’s referring to is the internment of Japanese-Americans. The trailer suggested that de-converted Borg might be being kept prisoner on the Borg cube. Perhaps the ex-Borg are being quarantined and isolated for fear of their spreading Borg assimilation… and then Dahj escapes from the facility.

If Hugh has been imprisoned simply because he is an ex-Borg, that could have echoes of Japanese internment — especially if there is a threat of renewed conflict with the Borg. Some folks (Romulans? Starfleet?) might argue that you can’t be too careful, and that this is only a safety precaution… which is what some Americans said to justify locking up Americans of Japanese ancestry.

Good catch. That sounds likely given what we saw in the trailer and what the *spoilers* are doing to the *spoilers* onboard a wrecked *spoilers*

Possibly, or maybe the Civil War, or Civil Rights movement. JFK/MLK assassinations. However, if they do JI in Picard, they will HAVE to bring back SULU, since George Takei was actually interred in WW2.

But Sulu was never interned anywhere as far as we know. Also, he’d be somewhere around 160 years old by then. Not a good idea at all.

It wouldn’t be the first time Trek has tackled Japanese internment. Enterprise did an allegory of it in the episode where a bunch of Suliban were being interned by the Tandarans.

“Discovery is much more of the J.J. [Abrams] cinematic filmmaking, shoot-to-thrill sort of approach, which is a blast, I have to say. Picard is a more thoughtful show, and very elegant.”

Exactly what I wanted to hear!

all types all good… i mean TOS was a western in space… if roddenberry pitched a show today that was an action adventure space western i swear modern trek fans would bitch and moan… sometimes trek fans forget where all this came from… they forget to have fun… why is it if there’s action adventure in a trek show or movie many trek fans lose the humanity in the same scene like it’s been deleted? weird. you can have both as the original did and tng did on and on… i love that we’re gonna have all types of show coming up… i just hate it’s gonna take so long

I agree… People see the Orville and say “oh that’s too silly”. But forget how silly episodes of TOS were. Many episodes of TOS were way sillier than any Orville episode. By the time of TNG, Star-Trek became Tame-er and more Real-Sci-Fi like.. But still had fun like ‘Q-Pid’ and ‘Holodiction’. I just hope ‘Picard’ is watchable and less ‘Neck’ cracking. Not TV-MA, like what happened to Discovery.

Same here. Exactly what I needed to hear. Bring me thoughtful and elegant, please.

Man this is all SO EXCITING!!!!!!!

I never thought I would see Riker and Picard back together again and now that reality is happening. PICARD, SEVEN and RIKER all in one episode, please make it so!!!!! This is a dream for so many of us and I have not been nearly this excited about Trek in decades.

I’m generally excited about all the Star Trek coming (yes, even Discovery too…I feel like I have to use that as a disclaimer lol) but its clear THIS is the show that excites me as a fan the most and to see a return the 24th century. And my guess is we are only going to get more characters from TNG era in the future (the Doctor showing up in season two WOULD make my year lol) and its going to be fun talk about it all in the next few years. Can’t wait!

Thanks for the amazing coverage TM, there is a reason why I been here ten years and counting! :)

I can totally see a mark I EMH popping up in Lower Decks.

It sounds as though Mike McMahon and the Lower Decks writers would like to involve anyone and everyone they can from TNG, DS9 and Voyager.

McMahan is already pointing out that with animation, and a show set to begin two years after Nemesis (2381?), any Trek actor that wants to appear in Lower Decks could – with no make up required ;

I’d love to see Nog, Wesley Crusher, Ezri Dax and even some of the DS9 irregulars like Brunt, who might for their own reasons be passing through a new planet that’s just into ‘2nd contact’.

Yes I agree with both of you. I Can see a lot of old characters showing up on Lower Decks since as you said no make up is required and its a lot easier to just have an actor cite their lines in a sound booth for a few hours. It will also be a lot easier to convince actors to do it if they did a lot of make up but not exactly excited about doing it again. And since the show is canon it will be more fun to see how they include them.

And I wouldn’t be surprised at all we get DS9 characters on this show too just based on the way McMahon talks about Trek in general. I knew nothing about him prior to this show being announced but he does sound like an out and out Star Trek fanboy, especially of the TNG era so he’s probably going to capture a lot of fun inside jokes and easter eggs us hardcore fans will know. I have to say I’m really excited to see this show now.

can’t wait for all of this… discovery season 3… picard… lower decks… the tarantino flick… do you guys remember what it was after 2002? my friends worked on enterprise and when they shut it all down and had that auction is was OVER… this is all amazing

That sense that it was over in 2002 was awful.

What angered me somewhat though was that at the end of Voyager, Braga and others were saying that Trek couldn’t go forward in the 24th or 25th centuries because Voyager had brought home such advanced technology that it was becoming magic.

So, even before Enterprise wrapped, those responsible for Trek had given into constrained horizons – which is rather the opposite of aspirational Trek.

By the way, Enterprise was pitched as a way to get the rough and ready action and adventure back into Trek that people missed from TOS. I don’t think that fans as a whole reject action, but that they are looking for a Trek that doesn’t gloss over precision and continuity as they write a bullet like Discovery.

By the way # 2, I still don’t see how a Tarantino Trek movie would recover its production costs or answer Kurtzman’s very pertinent question “What would a cinematic feature add over streaming?”. So, I really don’t expect it to be greenlit.

Dude, it’s ALREADY GREENLIT. Writers have been assigned to help Tarantino revise script. It will be shot soon. It will be R rated, and Tarantino said he wants to do a treatise on ‘Yesterdays Enterprise’, and give it the full 2 hours plus it deserves. He also recently said its it will be Pulp Fiction in space (think he was kidding about that, but well see). It’s his 10th and last movie, according to him. It will make as much or more than the JJ Trek movies. Perhaps not Avatar level,but it will improve Trek popularity from a an adult/big screen aspect, kinda like Deadpool did with R rating.

Star Trek has always been a family show. I respect very much people who like Tarantino. For me, its too raw and violent. Many families have shared the shows and movies with their kids. I personally don’t like this take. I have the option for opting out. But I really don’t like where they are heading, which is not exactly what Rodenberry portrayed since the early beginning.

I haven’t heard of any announcement where it has been given the official green light. Perhaps you can provide a link?

you guys are so funny… the tarantino project was pitched… paramount hired a writer and paid real money to write a script based on tarantinos story… tarantino is deciding if he will direct or just produce but he wants to punch up the script that he said he was happy with. you can figure out what greenlit means or thelevels of greenlit and categorize it yourselves… this is what we know factually… i’m sure there’s other stuff we don’t know… there’s no guarantee of anything… they greenlit star trek 3 with roberto orci and that was canned tyhen redone… one thing i know is they’ve been making star trek movies for 40 years… the last one was just 3 years ago lol… i can write with 99.9 percent confidence there will be another one… whether or not it’s tarantinos or something different time will tell… but this seems to to be moving forward… i am guessing here but if he decides not to direct i think paramount might still make it though they’d have to find one amazing director.

I’m not even going to finish reading that, period. Is there something wrong with both your shift keys?

Everyone here knows they will eventually make another movie. In what form and who is involved we obviously don’t know but OF COURSE another Star Trek movie will happen, thats just a given. Its like when I kept hearing people say things like the prime universe was dead or we will never see a post-Nemesis show again, etc. How myopic can people be?? Eventually this was going to be used again because A. Its Star Trek and B. Its been around for decades already. It’s never an ‘if’ just a ‘when’. Same for the movies. They are too ingrained in the franchise to NOT happen at this point.

Maybe the Tarantino movie will happen or maybe it will be cancelled like the fourth Kelvin movie was (which had BOTH a script and a director) assuming it gets a green light. But yeah if it doesn’t something else will show up in a few years. Maybe even sooner. I would hope its something completely new and different if the Kelvin cast isn’t used again but movies have never been as important to me as the shows so I just wait to see what’s next and hope its at least decent.

The QT script is indeed written. But that doesn’t mean that movie will get made. Trek 4 has NOT been green lit. Green lit meaning the financing has been figured out and will be available for the project to go forward. Without money all the talk and script changes in the world won’t get the project going. Will there eventually be another film? Very likely I think. Will it be the QT script? Not so sure. But the QT thing that keeps getting spoken about… Nothing has been made official in any way at this point.

Very excited for this!!!

Wow what an amazing amount of insight regarding this new series. I was careful not to read too many of the little spoilers, but what I read doesn’t temper the excitement and great anticipation fans are feeling for Star Trek Picard. Thanks for all the coverage.

Having read a lot about ST:Picard, I also believe that they are doing things the right way. After all, it is Sir Patrick Stewart!!! I don’t believe that he would lend his name to anything that he would not be proud of, and that fills me with a lot of excitement and anticipation.

I would love to see a Pike show as Anson Mount was tremendous, and while the Enterprise is most associated with Kirk and Picard, Anson Mount as Pike was deserving to be the captain of the Enterprise!

As has happened before with alien characters (particularly Vulcans and Klingons), I don’t think there is anything about Denobulan lifespan established which has been useful as its provided a way to bring characters from earlier in the timeline back without convoluted time travel etc.

So there is nothing precluding Phlox from appearing, though they should only do that if there’s a good story reason.

Does this mean we may see how chakotaty and 7 are.

I Doubt chakotay will be mentioned. In the years following VOY. His character is no longer considered ‘PC’ for modern ‘TV’.

His character wasn’t PC back then either, as everything about his culture was made up bullshit.

AGREED. It will be fun when the Roddenberry podcast people get around to discussing him on VOY.

Everything in Trek is “made up BS”, thats why its called science FICTION! He’s depicted as belonging to a fictitious tribe THREE HUNDRED years from now, so maybe someone could enlighten me what is it again with the PC police that makes his Native American-ness such an insufferable offense. I thought it was (and is) a commendable idea to give such high profile role a minority background that for once is not AA. Clearly Discovery and Lower Decks can learn some lessons from this…

He’s generically portrayed by a writing staff that probably wouldn’t invest the time to research actual Native American culture, under the excuse that it’s science fiction.

If they wanted to, they could bring him back and just tone down all of the magic Indian nonsense. I just don’t think he’s an interesting enough character to be worth bringing back though.

Hopefully that relationship is left in the trash bin where it belongs.

When did that come about anyway? L-l-l-l-let me guess. It was probably a couple episodes before the finale. Right?


For some reason I never had a problem with Chakotay and Seven getting together although in reality it probably would’ve made more sense for him and Janeway to be together. I’m glad they never put them together though, it would’ve caused all kinds of problems if the Captain and First Officer were dating.

Given that Voyager was stuck with each other, that setting more than any other Trek setting was conducive to relationships forming among the crew. I do, however, think Janeway was wise to not get involved with ANY crewmember. Be it her first officer or anyone else.

I also don’t think Robert Beltran really wants to have anything to do with Star Trek anymore as he has been one of those actors that voiced his displeasure with the role and the writers on many occasions.

He he he he he he he…

(Be sure and turn up REALLY loud during the intro)

wow I only could get through a little bit of that. When all they could keep saying is ‘we hate star trek…’. It was like they were drinking. It does seem like they could have hired some people that had more love for the genre. It is not like there isn’t plenty of them around.

He might be willing to do it with different writers and producers, but I’m not sure why the new crew would want to bring him back.

So great, can’t wait! Historic event: perhaps Civil Rights movement, MLK, Kennedy assassinations? Borg Civil War?

Any idea if the new show will be TV-14, TV-MA?

Probably MA, but it could also be 14. I don’t think they would want to go too far with the TNG characters. It would be odd to suddenly hear our favorite characters curse like sailors all of a sudden and I am sure they wouldn’t want nudity. Perhaps the borg stuff might just edge them over to MA if they decide to depict borg assimilation in all its gory details.

Likely 14+ here in Canada.

Even the occasional episode of Enterprise crossed the line to 14+ from its base rating of PG-8+.

Discovery had 2 S1 episodes that ended up getting adult 18+, but TPTB pulled back from that in S2 of Discovery. I wouldn’t expect them to try 18+ content in Picard.

I stopped watching Discovery because of the gore and neck snappings.

At the end of Voyager, didn’t the Doctor tell Seven that there was a quick procedure that he could perform on her ocular implant or cortical something or other that would allow her to experience a wider range of emotions? They have the conversation in sickbay near the beginning of the finale episode.

They have that conversation earlier in the final season, but she actually decides to go through with the procedure in the finale.


Wow, Frakes has indeed lost quite a bit of weight. He’s definitely in Riker-mode.

LOL so true. He definitely looks in much better shape today. He wants to do the uniform justice (assuming he’s in one).

Still a bit scruffy, he does look a little jealous from his chair glancing over to youthful Seven and Hugh the Borg in that picture above. “Damn those nanoprobes!” :D

LOL once you get all that hardware off of you and change your skin color to normal again the Borg can look pretty ageless. Not a bad trade off for some. ;)

Never liked Riker, he was always stiff, wooden. He should stick to directing.

I think even Frakes thinks like you, that’s why he said he was the “Third best actor in his house” :)) He also seems to feel more comfortable directing anyway. He has always been a “workman” actor, never anything special and he seems to be fine with that.

I enjoyed Riker when the writing allowed humour to show through.

I can’t say that I found him wooden, but like most Trek TNG was oriented to a more Shakespearean, theatrical rather than a very natural style of acting in the American cinematic tradition.

Even for Discovery, the casting favoured theatre over television backgrounds in the company.

As alphantrion points out, Frakes is fairly self-aware about his acting talent and skill, so I’d prefer to just enjoy his contribution to the whole rather than regret that he didn’t bring more as an actor in TNG.

riker was supposed to be the ‘kirk’ on TNG, doing the hero stuff and getting the girl.
but he became much richer because of the beard and his role as no.1 gained depth, especially during season 3/4 and the borg invasion.
and that is largely down to frakes, also flexing his wings as a director on the show.

There were elements of Kirk in both Picard and Riker. It was pretty obvious Gene just decided to split the character. He did the same with Spock. He became Data (for the logic unemotional side) and Troi (for the mind-meldy empathic side).

And are you saying that Riker’s beard contained all of Frakes’ acting talent?


Re: Gene just decided to split the character.

Well, he had done it with the transporter before. I suppose doing it again really shouldn’t have surprised anyone?

I believe Richard Matheson wrote The Enemy Within. But the show was still technically Gene’s so I guess…

Way to go Alex Kurtzman and his Secret Hide Out team and CBS All ACCESS.I am so pump up for the future of Star Trek it has not look this good 4 years. The hard core fans did not like the JJ Kevin time line because it divided the fan base. We want the prime time and u given to us.I sure the fan base does not want the section 31 series, they want the Pike and Spock series,give that to us we will really be happy.

Pike in the 23rd century, Lower Decks post Nemesis in the 24th century, Picard forging ahead in the 25th century and Discovery going boldly in the 32nd century, it really would make sense and would satisfy many fans covering multiple eras. I think a Section 31 show would be too divisive just based on how they were handled in Discovery but I’m not going to judge until we at least see what the show itself is about.

To be fair Discovery divided the fan base just as much (not as obvious here as in other forums where critics clearly outweigh gushers). At least Picard looks hopeful not to go down that same ugly path!

Yes one thing Picard has done has united the fanbase the most which I don’t think it has in decades. Now it doesn’t mean it will stay that way, we still haven’t seen the actual show yet lol. But its at least a good sign so many people are genuinely excited about it and not a lot of silly arguments Discovery brought when its first trailer was shown and still has them today.Instead of fighting over how the Klingons look or why everything looks super advanced and extra big, people are just talking about what they think happens on the show, who else they hope to see, theories of who the new characters are, etc. Thats how you know you had successful trailer, people are actually talking about the show and not just its production.

And I have to give Kurtzman credit though. He does seem to understand where fandom is most interested in Star Trek and trying to bring it. I think they were a little surprised how big of a reaction Pike got but they only have that reaction because they were smart enough to put him on the show in the first place and did a great job with him. For all the flack that Kurtzman gets (and yes some of it deserved) it does prove his heart is in the right place and he wants to bring in things that fans want to see. Its exactly why we are getting things like Seven, Data and the Borg in Picard. These are all characters people have been dying to see again in some form and my guess is moving forward we are going to get a lot more of it.

Tiger, I do believe Kurtzman is doing his best and does seem to know what road they ought to be going down. (evil-Georgeau in Section 31 not withstanding). But his problem has been in implementation. He said for the 2nd KU film that Kirk had to earn the chair. Which was correct. What they did in that film was what failed him. It was a good idea to have many different Trek genres. But are they going to turn out decently? Unsure.

I think that SOME of the Discovery naysayer social media channels crossed the line of logical, thoughtful and respectful criticism and appreciate for providing a place for respectful critiques where fans of all opinions for the most part can rationally discuss the good and bad of today’s Star trek universe. I too credit Kurtzman for listening to the rational critics and CBS for providing him with the resources needed for a plethora of shows that collectively seem to appeal to the broad audience that is today’s fanbase. The Picard show honestly looks like it has a chance to appeal to those fans who were not happy with Discovery – and that would be fantastic for all of us AND the long term future of the franchise.

” The Picard show honestly looks like it has a chance to appeal to those fans who were not happy with Discovery”

That would be me!

“and that would be fantastic for all of us AND the long term future of the franchise.”

Right on! For after another (literally) mind-blowing Discovery, all I’d have to do to get my green blood pressure down would be to pop a Picard instead of a chill pill as is necessary these days ;)

” The Picard show honestly looks like it has a chance to appeal to those fans who were not happy with Discovery”

That would be me as well. But I’m not salivating at seeing J-L Picard on screen again. I would say that the Picard show is NOT for people who were unhappy with Discovery. It is for people who have been wishing to see Picard and the TNG guys back. Being unhappy with Discovery has nothing to do with it. The only thing Discovery has to do with Picard is that it’s failure to bring in subscribers is why we even have Picard to begin with. So Picard fans ought to be thankful Discovery came up short.

I agree DeanH, I’ve always thought the Picard show came about because of people who weren’t happy with Discovery in the first place and to all the people who kept complaining they were sick of prequels. And obviously TNG is still very popular in the fanbase so it only made sense to bring that back in some form as well, which is still probably the biggest surprise because I been hearing for a loooooong time now TNG era was dead. Not so dead after all. ;)

I think they made BIG mistakes with Discovery early on, many that has been discussed here over and over again. But to their credit they tried to reconcile those mistakes in season 2 and season 3 basically rebooting the show completely. But looking at the Picard show, at least so far, they seem to be hitting all the right moves. The biggest being that the show simply feels like it belongs in the era its in. There are definitely changes but once again because its going forward its easier to accept them. But things like the uniforms, look of the Borg, etc all looks in line with classic TNG and why I have not come across a single complaint about any of it.

Now compare that with the Klingons in first season of Discovery lol. They KNOW they have to get this right to get the TNG era fans on board and to try and bring back others who weren’t happy with Discovery.

If you didn’t check out the What We Left Behind ds9 doc, it’s available today on Amazon.

Wow I just went and checked and you’re right! Not only can you buy a disk but you can also buy it digital. AND if you don’t want to buy it you can rent it for $4 in HD!! And just $3 in SD. I’ve already watched it in theaters but I always planned to watch it again, especially now that I can rent it. I just bought a new 4K TV as well so I’m going to going to REALLY enjoy it lol!


Thanks for the heads up!! Does anyone know if there is bonus material in either the discs or the digital versions of the movie?

The Blu-Ray edition has a dozen so scenes that were not included in the finished project and some other production-related short videos.

And there is about a 50 minute round table of Ira and the guys talking about making the Doc. Some of which was doubled up from the extras. But it was still an interesting listen.

I got mine in the mail last week. Watched it and the extras. Enjoyed every single minute of it.

BTW… If one doesn’t subscribe to Amazon Prime could one still rent the streaming version of it if they wanted to? Not that I need to. I own a physical copy. Just wondering how versatile Amazon Prime is.

Big fan of Santiago Cabrera… He was on ‘Salvation’.

Wow there’s a massive level of good vibes from this show that never materialised for Discovery. I’m really looking forward to it.

Exactly! I even notice it on this board. You don’t see the endless bickering over it like you saw for Discovery and I mean before that show even started. Its been a lot of goodwill and it also proves not everyone just outright hate Kurtzman and crew, they simply want them to get it right.

Hopefully with this show they will. I’m looking forward to ALL of it now frankly, I’m even excited about Lower Decks now that we know more and its post-Nemesis too.

I’ve claimed since the show was announced as a concept that Lower Decks would work much much better in the TNG era. And the main creative force was more of a TNG guy than a TOS guy. I thought that show’s time frame was amazingly obvious.

I’m so pumped for this. I hope we get to see cast from DS9 peppered into future seasons too.