Michael Chabon Says “Priceless” Input From Sir Patrick Stewart Informed ‘Star Trek: Picard’

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon is now also a member of the Star Trek family, having written two Short Treks episodes, and co-developed and been the showrunner on season one of Picard. Chabon recently spoke to various media outlets about Picard and his latest Short Treks episode.

In a two-part video interview with StarTrek.com, he spoke about his early fandom and then went in-depth about working on Star Trek: Picard.

Sir Patrick Stewart is highly involved

[We got] priceless input from Sir Patrick Stewart… the things he told us, the things he said he was interested in doing, and was not interested in doing. The acting challenges he was looking for, and the things that he felt were old challenges that he had already risen to and he was not interested in doing again. We took all that so seriously, like gospel. We really tried to tailor the story to suit the actor, to suit the thinker… [Stewart had given a lot of thought] to what it was that made Picard interesting to him, what he thought was going to be interesting about Jean-Luc Picard at his fairly late stage of his life. What was important to Patrick Stewart looking around at the world that we’re living in now. He very much let us know he wanted the story to resonate to our times.

Evan Evagora as Elnor and Patrick Stewart as Picard meditate.

The energy on the set

The energy on set very much varies according to the director. In general the energy was high, the cast all got along really well, they all became friends, they seemed to really like being around each other, enjoy each other’s company.

When Jonathan Frakes is directing an episode he is such a big, booming, lovable, warm, enthusiastic, sometimes silly style of directing that kind of sets the tone for what’s happening. When a director like Maja Vrvilo, who directed our sixth and eighth episodes, she’s a very methodical, focused, prepared, she has an energy of her own, but it’s a very sort of focused energy, that produced equally positive, but very different atmosphere on the set.

When Akiva Goldsman was directing his block, the last block, episodes nine and ten, it’s just fun to be around him… and he creates this ‘We’re all this together, let’s all put in a show in the barn,’ that’s his mentality, like we’re all friends, and we’re all just gonna do this together.

Chabon also did an interview with SyFyWire a few weeks back when his second Short Treks episode (“Q&A”) was released.

The genesis of “Q&A”

It’s something I’ve mulled over and thought about since the very first time I saw ‘The Menagerie,’ when I was like ten years old, and of course there was a Doylist explanation for why Spock is so, so different. But, the one thing that just can’t be explained is from a Watsonian point-of-view was that; like what is with Spock? It’s that smile. More than anything. Yeah, there’s the shouty-ness and lots of other expressions of emotion that are sort of disturbing if you feel like you know the character of Spock. In the extra-fictional sense, Spock took over Number One’s personality. And if we’re going to really plunge into them and they’re going to be co-existing with each other, we need to account for that.

Enter Gilbert and Sullivan

That arose because it’s in Rebecca Romijn’s resume! I didn’t know that. I inquired. I was already thinking of Number One and her quote-unquote ‘freaky.’ So I asked her if there was anything that Rebecca might be capable of that I didn’t know, that the public didn’t know, that maybe nobody knew, and that’s one of the first things said she was a trained Gilbert and Sullivan singer, and I said ‘that’s perfect.’

Number One has a moment of feeling slightly self-conscious after belting out tunes with Spock.

Writing Star Trek: Picard

Writing Picard is very different than writing Short Treks. The story arc of Picard, shape of Picard, the characters, every aspect of Picard was co-created simultaneously. This grew first by a core group who was Akiva Goldsman, me, Kirsten Beyer, and Alex Kurtzman. That core group generated overall plot arc in their broadest sense, and then, the Star Trek: Picard [writers’] room was eventually convened, which was a somewhat expanded version of that initial group who co-created and co-generated the storylines and the episodes, and what would happen in the individual episodes. The storylines are neither handed down from up on high nor was it me generating it by myself. It was very much a collaboration.

I can’t wait for you to see Picard. It’s coming from exactly the same place in my mind and my heart and my imagination as this short did, I think fans are going to love it.

Michael Chabon and Alex Kurtzman at the Secret Hideout production offices.


Star Trek: Short Treks are available in the USA on CBS All Access. Season 2 is available in Canada via CTV Sci-Fi Channel (formerly known as Space) and Crave. Availability for the second season in other regions has not be announced.

Star Trek: Picard will be released in January 2020. It will be available on CBS All Access in the USA. CTV Sci-Fi Channel (formerly called Space) and CraveTV in Canada, and on Amazon Prime Video for the rest of the world.

Keep up with all the Short Treks and Star Trek: Picard news and reviews at TrekMovie.

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Denny C

Discovery would have been a much different show with Chabon at the helm in Season 1. He’s a huge asset to this franchise.

Locutus

Agreed 100%

Wehmut

Lets wait and see. Discoverys first season isnt bad because of the writers or directors or the actors. It was meant to be the “silverbullet”, that has been Kurtzmans words, and obviously they thought, this means making something like star wars in a star trek world. And that is what they did. Its a no-brainer but it looks perfect. This first season hasnt go wrong, they did exactly what they wanted. We dont know if it has worked. We dont know how much viewers the show attracted, for me as a fan it wasnt bad enough to not watch it, but they took the soul out of trek there. They hurted me, and I think they hurted alot of fans. They are willing to pay that price to get the numbers right. And I think its an open question is we fans are willing to pay that price too to make the franchise continue.

Tiger2

I have to push back on the Star Wars vs Discovery season one comparison. At least Star Wars is…fun.

I found very very little of that in Discovery’s first season. Mostly plodding and boring along with a lot of unlikable characters. But my opinion only.

Beauty (and art) is in the eye of the beholder. Discovery obviously hit the audience marks that CBS expected, otherwise, we wouldn’t be seeing all of these follow-on projects.

Tiger2

They also made many big changes to the show, changes that many fans like myself I thought was needed (one, more actual fun, exploration and sci fi stories, ie, Star Trek) and now a better show for it IMO. They even completely changed its setting throwing it a thousand years into the future; the first Star Trek show to ever do it. And I give them credit for doing it, but its clear they knew the show had lots of problems in its first season, including its basic premise. I mean if it wasn’t broke…

And I never said no one was watching the show, every Trek spin off was loyally watched by fans with the exception of Enterprise even if they still had issues with them. But it would be naive to suggest many fans didn’t have issues with it either. That’s what is being discussed. I just don’t think it was very good, but you’re right I’m not suggesting everyone believed that…but clearly enough.

ML31

I don’t think that a fair assessment. There is no question Discovery was the most streamed show on their service. But as far as how many were doing so, that was kept secret for some time until it was reported that the numbers were not anywhere close to what CBS was hoping. The show did not create the “buzz” they were hoping for either. It would seem from the outside looking in, the show did not meet any of their expectations. The other projects, I think, is more a result of Discovery’s failure to bring in the viewers CBS wanted. So they decided to go more balls out with other, more interesting projects like Picard and Lower Decks and the others that have been bandied about. The other reason why I think Discovery came up short in CBS’s eyes is the total number of changes they have since made to the show. There was a massive tonal shift and even a slight visual shift. On top of that, they opted to move the show’s setting far into the future. Which traditionally has been the last desperate move for shows that just are not working.

We do not know for sure. I guess it is possible Discovery was indeed a massive hit. I just haven’t seen any real evidence to suggest it yet.

Michael Hall

And neither is there much in the way of evidence for your suppositions here either, just lots of confirmation bias given that you don’t like the show.

ML31

Actually there is quite a bit. You just opted to make a blanket statement that conformed to your personal viewpoint and ignored the actual points. Sure, there was some subjectivity there. But there were also objective facts that guided the conclusion. If you disagree with that, fine. We can talk about where our line of thinking diverged. I welcome that. Instead, you decided to just complain that this was a biased comment made by someone who thinks this only because they didn’t like it. Which, in all honesty, is not the case at all.

Michael Hall

Nicely worded response, and fair enough. What, then, is the support for the first three statements you made? We can go on from there.

ML31

Why don’t we start with what your problems were with how I drew my conclusions?

Pick Hard

“They hurted me, and I think they hurted alot of fans.”

Oh, come ON, man. Putting aside the poor grammar and spelling in that sentence, no one HURT you with Discovery–this is just a TV show, nothing more. Get a grip. Fan outrage and melodrama can be so embarrassing sometimes.

SolFlyer

Perhaps the poster’s 1st/best language is not English. I read it as they were disappointed, not physically or emotionally injured.

Daniel

Agreed. Adding -ed to the end of verbs is the normal way to put it in the past tense. Just doesn’t work in this case.

Jako

erm… is he? sure?
Its still possible Picard will disapoint you … just because he is a pulitzer preice winner doesnt mean he is agood tre writer.

Q&A was … not really high class. Same for Calypso.

TG47

Calypso not ‘High class’??!

While we each have our own rating scales, Calypso is the kind of classic high sci-fi that we rarely see on screen.

It brings to mind classic science fiction short stories of the mid 20th century.

Dash Fatbastard

I don’t understand the people who take issue with what he’s produced for Trek so far. It’s been been up with the best, and I have utter faith in him to do what will be a legendary Picard series.

TG47

There are seriously folks who take issue with Chabon’s Short Treks?

I agree that his work has been top-notch and it gives me nothing but confidence that an excellent series is coming to us in January 2020

Jako

Sure there are!

I found Calypso very corny and it hasnt that much to say except:
Guy falls in love with AI. AI falls in Love with Guy.
plus Old Movies… and Dancing with a Hologram. yeah. Not that original.

Pick Hard

It’s official: Jako lacks a soul.

Methuselah

Huh? That was great Star Trek???

ML31

OK. Not everyone likes everything. I know what it is like to be in the minority when it comes to Trek. I thought TVH was nauseating garbage. But while Calypso was not earth shattering or anything, it was EASILY the best of that first batch of Short Treks. And it wasn’t even close. In fact, I liked it.

Jako

Well you dont have to understand this. Just Take it as it is… some people dislike his Trekwork… so what? Whats the problem here?

TG47

I can understand that there are lots of different tastes in the Trek universe.

It’s just that Chabon’s polished pieces seem the least likely to attract criticism. So, I was expressing surprise.

It’s helpful to know where you’re coming from though.

Here’s a thought…what may be classic, and therefore not new ground for written science fiction, can still be fresh for television, especially when it’s very well done.

For example, my spouse and I both did not finish Leviathan Wakes – which almost never happens. We both found it too derivative and nothing new. So, it sat in the ‘probably should get back to’ book basket for long enough that it got purged. However, The Expanse on-screen is fresh, new and feels like something completely new even though the tropes it uses go back at least to 1960s science fiction literature.

i'mpaul

I don’t know Chabon at all. And I think it’s weird that people do know who he is. That’s how little I know about him. But when I listen to what he has to say, I believe that he truly understands embodies the spirit of Star Trek. That mysterious, intangible X-factor that is so hard to capture. I feel like he’s going to capture it.

Marcelo Teson

You should read more. He is literally one of the finest authors alive. He’s won a Pulitzer for crying out loud. It’s like having William Faulkner or John Updike writing the show. It’s an incredible thing and we should only be so lucky.

i'mpaul

If it’s not a text message, I probably haven’t read it.

But this is very good to know that his pedigree is so extensive. Thank you.

Tiger2

That’s all great, but let’s not pretend Michael Chabon is a household name or anything. I’m guessing unless you have read his work or seen some of his movies, the overwhelming majority would not have a clue who he is or know his work, much less read it. Most people can’t cite most contemporary authors today unless they have become part of mainstream culture themselves like J.K. Rowling or Tom Clancy.

Just Another Salt Vampire

He actually is a household name for people who read novels. He has won major awards and written best-selling novels that have gotten a lot of attention in the media. Star Trek is really a second career for him, and we are lucky to have him.

Tiger2

Yes and few people read a lot of novels, at least on a serious level.And less so for science fiction. Romance novels are still the biggest sellers out there by a huge margin and I couldn’t tell you who the top romance novelists are right now because I don’t read those. He’s not a household name to average people, ie, most. I’m sure we’re lucky to have him. No one has said other wise, simply that not everyone knows who he is. Not a huge deal.

TG47

Yet, when I looked to take out his books in our city’s public library system there was a wait list and no renewals permitted despite there being multiple copies of his novels in the system holdings.

Tiger2

Where did my posts go???? I wrote a (lengthy) response to you and it disappeared (sigh). I hope it turns up soon.

TG47

Always interested in what you have to say Tiger2…

Tiger2

Thanks! But my basic argument was I wasn’t saying he’s not popular or known, but that’s still a big difference of being known everywhere by everyone. BIG difference!

The basic point I was making was there is a difference between being known among fans or people who are genuinely fans of the industry you are famous for vs just being known by the general populace. Chabon is the former but not the latter. A household name is someone who is simply known even if you never seen or heard of their work. You don’t have to know or seen a single thing Angeline Jolene has ever done, but you know who she is anyway.

And I made the other point PLENTY of people win Pulitzer prices, very few of them are famous. I doubt anyone here can name who won the last Pulitzer Prize for chemistry or ANY prize winner in that category unless you are a science buff or chemist yourself. They may be famous in their field, but it doesn’t mean everyone knows or remembers them. And chemists contributes to the world more than a writer ever will. So that’s much ado about nothing.

DIGINON

@ Tiger2: Who’s Angeline Jolene? Never heard of her.
Also, there’s no Pulitzer Prize for chemistry. Maybe you have the Pulitzer Prize confused with the Nobel Prize?

Tiger2

LOL yes Nobel Prize. Sorry. My point is people win these very iconic and important awards every year for a lot of amazing things, it doesn’t mean people will remember or care who they are.

And if you don’t know who Angelina Jolene is, that only makes my point stronger since Jolene is a much bigger celebrity ten fold compared to Chabon and yet you can still find people such as yourself who doesn’t know her. And you don’t have to know who she is either, especially if you never seen her movies or knew she was married to Brad Pitt (and some may not know who he is, but I suspect they live in caves lol), which is my other point. If you never read any of Chabon’s books, then yeah not a shock you don’t know him.

I never read any of his books but I seen movies he actually written and still had no clue who he was until people pointed out those movies he written to me. MOST writers are not famous regardless how big their novels, movies or TV shows are. Most who do have some fame are from people who already live in the bubble of whatever they are fans or followers of, ie, LIKE Star Trek.

Another great example of that is George RR Martin. TODAY he’s now a global celebrity because of Ice and Fire, but more accurately because of Game of Thrones. Before that show became the huge hit it was, the only people who knew Martin are, surprise, people who actually read those books and his other works. He had a huge following from fans of his books but I guarantee you most of the world outside of his readers had no clue who he was. I never heard of him until the show came around (and didn’t start watching that until four years ago). Now he’s become much more famous because the show itself has become part of popular culture. But trust me, if there was no show, most people wouldn’t have known who he was, just the people who were already big fans of his books and followers of that series.

And hence why I now know Chabon lol. If he didn’t start doing Star Trek, I probably would’ve gone my entire life not knowing who this guy was.

DIGINON

@Tiger2: It seems that my joke was lost on you. Of course, I know the actress Angelina Jolie. I also know Jolene Blalock. You kind of mixed the 2 names together.

Anyway, I get what you’re trying to say. Michael Chabon is probably not as famous as someone like Stephen King.

It is kind of said that many people probably know a lot more contemporary actors than contemporary writers. Hence, there’s far fewer writers among “household names”.

Tiger2

Obviously I thought you could be joking but its the internet you never really know who you’re talking to lol. And I didn’t want to challenge you about it.

But its not surprising to know more actors than writers since actors entire nature is to be seen and seen often. Most writers don’t have their faces splashed across People Magazine and the Enquirer every week. Or on late night talk shows.

But writers probably get way more exposure today thanks to the internet and rise of nerd culture. This site is living proof lol. But yes still mostly a sub culture of fandom and not mainstream for most I guess.

Michael Hall

Chabon does not write science fiction novels per se, though his characters often have a great fondness for various genre works (comics, SF, fantasy). He’s primarily known as a mainstream author.

ML31

I agree, Tiger. I do not consider him a household name. I’m forced to admit I had never heard of the guy. But then, I haven’t actively read novels for perhaps 20 years. With kids I had to decide what recreational material to cut out and reading novels was one of them. I did read one from time to time but that’s about it. I don’t think it fair to rip on someone who doesn’t know just because it comes from a world they don’t or no longer participate in.

Michael Hall

With the exception of Steve King and maybe a couple of others, no novelist working in the post-literate United States could be said to be a “household name.” But you could fairly say that among those who do read novels for pleasure, Michael Chabon most certainly IS a household name.

Boze

To be fair, Pulitzer isn’t what it used to be back in Updike’s times. We live in a participation award era, and it’s fairly obvious that Chabon was awarded not only for the quality of his writing, but also – and perhaps mainly – for topics he’s writing about.

But yes, it IS true that Chabon is the only actual writer on Star Trek these days. Which is kind of sad when you think about it. And unnecessary, too: some of the good writers from the 70s and 80s are still alive, and there’s even a handful of fairly decent newcomers in the genre, on the both sides of the Atlantic. Hiring some overseas writers would only benefit the franchise; the American perspective is kinda stale and exhausted after all those years.

Vulcan Soul

“it’s fairly obvious that Chabon was awarded not only for the quality of his writing, but also – and perhaps mainly – for topics he’s writing about”

Oh do tell me more! What are these topics that propel one into Pulitzer heaven?

Jako

“But yes, it IS true that Chabon is the only actual writer on Star Trek these days.” <— cant express strongly enough how dumb this comment is. Being a Writer has nothing todo with the reception and quality of the work. Writer does not equals Genius or something like that.

Michael Hall

Exactly why is this “fairly obvious”? Do you have something to back up your contention that Chabon is being rewarded for anything other than the quality of his work, aside from your own subjective opinion of it?

Tiger2

I had no idea who he was either until the short Calypso was announced. But many people seem excited about him so I’m now excited too! :)

I have a feeling he will bring to Picard show what many fans felt was missing with Discovery, ie, a sense of real optimism.

A34

I have a few of his books on my kindle. I need to read them one day.

DIGINON

Ah, so you are the digital version of those people who put books on their shelves for decorative purposes, not because they read them ;-)

A34

Something like that :) I buy books on sale and then forget about them. I just wish I had the time to read them all.

i'mpaul

I forgot he did Calypso! I was thinking that Q&A was the first one. I need to rewatch Calypso because I thought that was a truly fine piece of science fiction. And I thought Q&A was a fine piece of Star Trek so this really does bode well.

Tiger2

Yeah I really liked Calypso, more so now that we know it always meant to be a bigger connection to the show in a future season and not just a cool one-off. But was still happy with it when I thought that’s all it was.

groeneinkt

Chabon is an amazing writer, so far the Short Treks have been fun, but I don’t think they’ve really done justice to what he’s capable of. Picard actually seems like a perfect fit for him, because Chabon is really good at writing about friendships between men, as well as old men.

Vulcan Soul

Not to chastise Chabon for this, but it’s amazing how much they can say in these interviews while revealing virtually zero new information! I think barely two months before the premiere, the excessive secrecy is hurting the show more than it is helping. Does the general public and cultural mainstream really KNOW a sequel-of-sorts to the beloved icon of the 1990s is coming?

Jako

Why is secrecy hurting the show?
“Does the general public and cultural mainstream really KNOW a sequel-of-sorts to the beloved icon of the 1990s is coming?” <—–
Public newspapers reportet on that. Yes… The general Public knows!
Worldwide! Look… the show is called "Picard".

Why do you want to know more yet?
We have two trailers… not enough?

TG47

VS, I’m on the opposite side of the fence on this.

While I totally get the need for marketing momentum, spoilers do spoil the appreciation of a new series or cinematic feature.

One of our middle-graders flatly refuses on principle to watch trailers or even read the brief network episode summaries whether it’s Trek or any other show. It’s just enough to know that something is coming.

They want to appreciate an episode or film as they see it, and not be distracted by trying to figure out how a certain line or scene fits in. I’m beginning to get their point.

At this point for Picard, the industry papers have had iterative articles about a new Picard show coming, the premise, the cast and the production. Genre and fan sites are tracking it closely. More than that mainstream newspapers and entertainment sections of news broadcasts have covered the trailers.

What more do we really need?

Andrew SD

Sir Patrick has been all over the place promoting the show. The trailer is compelling. And the show doesn’t start until late January 23rd. And, Dec and Jan is plenty of time to get the word out even more the more. We’ll found out everything when the show drops. Deep Spoilers suck. They ruin the experience and surprise of a show. Anyone who’s ever put on any kind of a show knows that.

Vulcan Soul

Guys, actually I was not talking about “deep spoilers”, just NEW material to keep the flame burning and the ball rolling. Go into depth on the stuff we have already seen, the ships, the uniform design, the vine yard etc. But repeating the same sound bytes over and over from a year ago is just not very compelling.

DIGINON

The sound bytes are just intended to remind people from time to time that the show is coming. General audiences don’t keep track of what pieces of information have been out there for how long.

Trek in a Cafe

CBS put “It’s ON CBS” all over the NYC subway system. Pics of SMG and Stewart. Same way they did Discovery Season 2, which helped it become one of the highest viewerships in streaming narrative. People just need to know WHERE more than what. Especially for Stewart – regular people love him.

ML31

OK. So they had NY Subway wraps. But they had nothing outdoors in my area in California. All I saw regarding Discovery was a very rare spot on the CBS affiliate. Although I am forced to admit I almost never watch CBS or their affiliate so it seems very possible the spots were on more than I saw. I have, however, seen sports for Picard on the USA network. I’ve seen the ads as I was fast forwarding through the commercials on Mr. Robot. I’ve seen more spots for Picard on Mr. Robot than I have seen anywhere else.

DIGINON

It makes perfect sense that they focus their promo efforts on Picard for now. Picard premieres in January while Discovery will probably follow in late spring or summer.

ML31

True but I was also referring to the apparent scant promotion of Discovery. Specifically their season 1 and 2.

TG47

I get where you’re coming from now VS!

It’s an iteration on the ShuttlePod commentary after STLV that they could and should save material to really do some deep dives into certain things that fans would appreciate and would go by a general audience.

It would have been really decent to bring some new detail to Destination Star Trek in Birmingham for example. It would also be fantastic if some of TPTB got out to fan events outside the US.

Boze

“Needs more dune buggy.” – Sir Patrick Stewart
Last time someone listened to such priceless input, we got Nemesis. ;)

Bob

Honestly, this is the only thing that concerns me about ST: Picard. The previews look great, Chabon seems to “get” Star Trek, and I’m excited as all hell to see Picard, Data, Riker, 7 of 9, etc. on screen again. But in the past, when Patrick Stewart said he wanted romance, we got Anij. And when Sir Patrick asked for more action, we ended up with a dune buggy. The track record is just a bit concerning. Part of me wonders if, in Stewart’s quest to do something new with the character, the Jean-Luc Picard we end up seeing will be too different from the (former) captain we know and love.

Jack

Agreed. We got Anij and a cringe-inducing mambo.

Some of us took some heat here previously for mentioning some worry that Picard will have a pit bull, just like Patrick Stewart has a pit bull.

That was interpreted by some as “People are freaking out because Picard has a dog.” I don’t care if he has a dog — it’s just that, sometimes, the blurring of the lines between character and actor really ends up hurting the character (see: Shatner, Sirtis)

ML31

See… The things you mentioned for the most part humanized a character who has come across as cold and mechanical in the past. Insurrection was not a good film but it was nice to see that our cold and impossibly perfect Captain was interested in a mambo back in the day. Such small things can really help.

Jako

Its not that Stewart gave all the Ideas for nemesis,wrote the script.
he just wanted the buggy… so what?
Its not his fault that the Buggy Scene was mostly pointless and the “new Alien Species” was just… yeah… was just there and nothing more.

Michael Hall

I think we can all agree that Patrick Stewart probably has some valuable insights into the character of Picard, as well as the TNG world he moves in, without also asserting that he’s infallible. It’s pretty SOP to praise the input of your lead performer under these circumstances, particularly when the role being reprised is so beloved and iconic. No offense, but lighten-up. :-)

Bob

I hope my comment didn’t come across as overly critical. Because, let’s be honest, ST: Picard could be ten straight hours of just Patrick Stewart driving a dune buggy, and I’d still watch it.

JAGT

Well that was some years ago…
Also, before we got Anij OR the dune buggy, we got the character of Vash on TNG and the episode “Captain’s Holiday” – and that was one sexy character and one really fun episode. Stewart’s desire for more “sex and shooting”, as someone once jokingly put it, actually goes back to TNG’s second season and a memo he wrote to Gene Roddenberry (which led to the aforementioned episode).
In other words: some vague input like “more romance” or “more action” can lead to vastly different results depending on the writer.

Methuselah

Yea, that is my worry.

ML31

Except the dune buggy thing was pretty much the only true mistake in Nemesis. The rest of the film was pretty good. It even accomplished the nearly impossible task of getting the viewer to care a little about Data.

groeneinkt

We really do seem to be lucky to have Chabon be involved so deeply with Star Trek. While his strength as a novelist has a lot to do with how well he crafts his sentences, something that in script writing isn’t really pertinent, it’s the subjects of his writing that are a perfect fit with Trek. Chabon is very good at writing about friendships and partnerships between men, and his last book in some ways was a perfect prelude to Picard. It showed he’s capable of writing old men well, and displayed a nostalgia for optimism about space exploration.
Apart from that it’s exciting to have someone in the mix who isn’t a Hollywood hack. Goldsman and Kurtzman may love Star Trek, but a lot of their work resorts to the most obvious type of shallow hackwork. It’s good to have someone in there who’s instincts aren’t just about spectacle.

TG47

groeneinkt, I find your points interesting.

What I find impressive about Kurtzman is that although his own writing does, as you say, reflect the trends towards comic-informed action, race to extremes, and spectacle, he clearly has an amazing capacity for strategic vision that goes beyond that.

He seems to deeply believe that there are lots of ways to make great Trek, and is attracting creative talent that can make different kinds of Trek happen. He’s also providing a mechanism to let creativity and experimentation happen.

I’m hopeful that Chabon and Mike McMahon represent the beginning of this.

I note also that both Chabon and McMahon started with a Short Trek. These really have already proven their value as an experimental testing bed for the franchise.

Now, I’d like to see some female science fiction authors have the opportunity to play in the Short Trek sandbox.

groeneinkt

Kurtzman should definitely be appreciated for pushing to bring Star Trek back, and for opening up its possibilities. Discovery has had a bumpy road, so I’m hesitant to judge Kurtzman purely on that basis. It’s more that I’ve never really been interested in the stuff he’s been involved with (Transformers, The Mummy), except for Fringe.

ML31

Which Short Trek is McMahon credited with? Is it one of the upcoming animated ones?

For the record I don’t think that any female Sci-fi writers have been barred from writing for Trek. The opportunity has certainly been there I should think. My thinking is that no one has actively tried to get involved. Equal opportunity does not result in equal outcome.

Michael Hall

Yeah, Moonglow was pretty great. My only real downside for Chabon’s participation is that, so long as he’s working for CBS, he’s just producing television. I love that he’s doing it on behalf of my favorite franchise, but to paraphrase Spock in a similar context, being a novelist will always be his first, best destiny.

TG47

It’s a trade off for any great author.

There are a number of great women writers, and writers from other diversity/disparity groups that I would love to see write for Trek or otherwise have their work brought to screen.

But my selfish reader self really just wants their next book.

Michael Hall

Well, television and film can be great, but really, books are better.

groeneinkt

True, but he’s done movie and tv work throughout his career, from pitching Marvel movies in the nineties, to developing a show set during WW2 for HBO (about an army unit made up of magicians and conmen working to deceive the nazis). So it’s clearly a passion for him, and it hasn’t seemed to slow down his writing much.

Michael Hall

True. But those previous projects were one-offs, or things like the HBO show that never got made. Nothing like the time-sink of producing a major TV series. Still, I suspect you’re right, and that he’ll make the time to keep his hand in writing books. I sure hope so.

DIGINON

The Picard show is “only” 10 episodes a season. So unless he also gets involved with all the other Trek shows he should have some time left.

RikersMailbox

In that photo of Chabon and Kurtzman on the couch, Chabon is actually puking in his own mouth as Kurtzman shares his ideas for the series. At least that’s what I’ve been told.

DIGINON

Is that what the voices in your head keep telling you?

RikersMailbox

Yes. They also reassure me that Angeline Jolene won the Pulitzer Prize for Chemistry at some point.

DIGINON

Wait, so Tiger2 is one of the voices in your head? How many of the posters here are actually you? ;-)

Tiger2

If so I’m honored!

RikersMailbox

I used to hear four Tigers in my head. With my new medication, I only hear Tiger4 and Tiger2. Tiger4 tells me to keep watching Discovery even though the writing is atrocious and the storylines make no sense. I wish I could remove these voices, but I can’t.

Tiger2

I’m just happy to be a soundtrack in your head!! :)

TG47

Chiming in to say that even though we almost always agree, and more often than not post whatever the other was thinking, Tiger2 and I really are two very separate people.

Tiger2

Wait is RikerMailbox suggesting we are the same people? I did not get that, but if so pretty funny lol. I think I was accused of being another poster as well a year ago by someone else.

And clearly my handle is not nearly as knowledgeable and well read as yours. That’s the real giveaway its two different people lol.

Methuselah

When Stewart was involved more in the creative aspects of a couple of TNG movies, it didn’t really pan out at that great. Hopefully that is not the case here.

albatrosity

Stewart was the one who wanted the dog to be a pitbull, and that became such a pronounced “part” of the series that it got on the poster, thus forming the basis of the entire visual identity of the show

DIGINON

The dog might be a much smaller part of the show than you expect. Picard may not take it along when he goes into space.

TG47

In fact, I think that it’s already been said that the dog wouldn’t go to space.

albatrosity

I don’t expect the dog to be a big part of the show, but the dog has been on the poster and in the trailer, so it’s gotten a lot of attention for a little detail that Sir Pat probably lobbied for

Disinvited

Given the number of dog deaths due to firsts in space research both real and imagined, I’m surprised that Peta, or whatever passes for it in our far future, hasn’t banned dogs in space?

Tiger2

I don’t know if its considered off topic or not but Patrick Stewart said at a Star Trek convention just this past weekend that we probably will see the entire TNG cast in Picard!!!

https://twitter.com/TrekkieRob/status/1188048022011334656?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1188048022011334656&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.redditmedia.com%2Fmediaembed%2Fdnckue%3Fresponsive%3Dtrue%26is_nightmode%3Dfalse

Obviously once the cat was out of the bag we were getting Data, Troi and Riker back for at least a few episodes in first season it probably was always more a when versus if but this brings music to my ears! :)

Now if it doesn’t happen, no biggie, but I say give the people what they want. ;)

RikersMailbox

I can’t wait until Worf feels compelled to eat Picard. After all, that’s what Klingons do now.

Legate Damar

To be fair, Kang Kor and Koloth were planning to eat the Albino’s heart. And, there wasn’t any other food on the ship anyway.

TG47

Add to this comments at DST by Denise Crosby confirming that conversations have taken place about a return of Empress Sela….

Tiger2

Wow seriously???? That would be amazing! It really bothered me we never saw Sela again after Unification. I at least wanted to know happened to her. I assumed she would be brought back by the last season but it didn’t happen (although we did get Crosby herself).

So if what Robert Picardo said is true and they are talking to bringing him back next season (and I think it will be the Doctor and not Zimmerman since they are clearly de-aging Spiner to play Data again) and Sela may come back it probably confirms that this show is really is going to be a true continuation of the TNG era and not just focused on Picard and ONLY Picard so many were suggesting and would’ve been a big disappointment to many (but I still would’ve happily took it lol).

And to stress that point, someone on Reddit said that Stewart at DST also said we won’t just be seeing Riker and Troi making an appearance on the show but the episode they appear in is actually ABOUT them as well. So its nice we are going to at least get other character episodes and it won’t all be just about Picard either. In fact I imagine the new characters will get their own episodes as well like all the other shows.

Just Another Salt Vampire

Thanks for posting this. It will be nice to see Geordie and Worf again and to find out if Picard and Crusher ever developed a relationship after leaving the Enterprise.

BringBackKirkPrime

I hope it’s a good show. The problem with the headline is I remember that Stewart had a lot of input on Insurrection and Nemesis and Picard changed into a Kirk wannabe action hero as the movies became the Picard and Data show. Brilliant actor, but like Shatner in ST5, his creative input didn’t help the franchise at all. Hopefully he learned from past mistakes.

ML31

I think TFF did have potential but the story needed to be treated far more carefully. There were a few bright spots in the script. I liked that it was the only movie where the Trinity pretty much worked together the entire time. I liked that a lot. And we got a little more back story for Bones… But Shat’s directing was suspect and overall the story ended up being pretty weak. But, it was fortunate to be coming of the amazingly bad Voyage Home. So as bad as TFF was it felt much better than it was after sitting through that previous hot mess.

Tiger2

Stewart was also the guy who suggested that Picard and Riker switched places in First Contact and had Picard stay on the Enterprise to fight the Borg instead of being on Earth the whole time as Riker was which was the original idea. He thought it would make the story stronger to see Picard face his demons head on and he was right. The movie became more than just an action romp, but about a man who finally had to admit to himself how much hatred he had of the Borg for doing what they did to him and how it changed him.

I wish people can accept that people can have both good and bad ideas. Not every writer, producer, director, etc will always make great decisions, but it doesn’t mean they never do either. But as usual, everyone just focuses on the stuff they hated. This is why I could never work on a show like Star Trek.

David Alexander Harrison

My eyes are already aching just at the thought of all the rolling they’re gonna be doing at the anti-Brexit digs that will be awkwardly shoehorned into this…

'Drew

[whoops, accidental necro]