Last week on First Contact Day we got a lot of news about the next season of Star Trek: Picard, but many questions remain. And there really wasn’t any news on the first season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which is also currently in production. Now the co-showrunner of both shows is filling in some gaps.
Picard S2 is about connectedness… with some help from a different Q
Akiva Goldsman is now doing double duty, acting as co-showrunner for both Picard and Strange New Worlds. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the executive producer talked about both shows and more. With the big news of First Contact Day being the return of John de Lancie as Q for season two of Picard, Goldsman addressed why they decided to bring the iconic character back:
There are a lot of people who think of Q as a trickster god, right? And he is. But he’s also a profoundly significant relationship in Picard’s life. There’s a lot of discussion in Picard season two about the nature of connectedness. Q’s kind of a great lightning rod for that because in some ways he’s one of Picard’s deepest — not deep in the same way that Riker is or Beverly Crusher was — but in its own uniquely, profoundly deep relationship.
Goldsman also addressed the issue of how the often whimsical Q can fit in the more serious tone of Picard. While acknowledging that time may not even have any meaning to an immortal like Q, the executive producer revealed Q will be treated like Jean-Luc Picard and other characters and reflect the decades that have passed:
[W]e definitely chose to follow suit when it came to him. So as we tried to evolve the other characters, the same is true of Q. This is a show of a different time with actors of a different age. We’re now talking about the issues that come up in the last [stage] of your life. We wanted a Q that could play in that arena with Picard.
In previous interviews conducted in 2020 Goldsman has said the writers have spent their pandemic lockdown ensuring season two holds together from beginning to end. This is something that is important for a highly serialized show like Picard, and he acknowledged to THR this was the biggest lesson learned from the first season:
If you’re going to do a serialized show, you have the whole story before you start shooting. It’s more like a movie in that way — you better know the end of your third act before you start filming your first scene.
Seeking to make Strange New Worlds (and the USS Enterprise) more like TOS
Switching to Strange New Worlds, Goldsman re-iterated how they are going in the opposite storytelling direction:
[I]t’s really episodic. If you think back to The Original Series, it was a tonally more liberal — I don’t mean in terms of politics, but it could sort of be more fluid. Like sometimes Robert Bloch would write a horror episode. Or Harlan Ellison would have “City on the Edge of Forever,” which is hard sci-fi. Then there would be comedic episodes, like “Shore Leave” or “The Trouble With Tribbles.” So [co-showrunner] Henry Alonso Myers and myself are trying to serve that… Strange New Worlds is very much adventure-of-the-week but with serialized character arcs.
Goldsman said this goal of aligning with TOS even extends to the look of the show, so they are making some changes from what was seen when Pike and the USS Enterprise were introduced in season two of Star Trek: Discovery (and Short Treks):
[T]he uniforms have been adjusted slightly, the sets are slightly different. Remember the Enterprise existed as a little piece of [the show Discovery], but now it’s its own object. When you close your eyes and think of the key sets and situations that you think of The Original Series, that’s what we’re looking to do.
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