Showrunner Explains How ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Is Handling Time Travel And The Eugenics Wars

The second season of Star Trek: Picard features Jean-Luc Picard and his team traveling back in time from an alternate future to 2024 Los Angeles. The latest episode, “Watcher,” has spawned a lot of questions about how the show is handling the history of Trek’s past, and co-showrunner Terry Matalas is doing his best to try to guide fans along. Obviously SPOILERS ahead if you haven’t been keeping up with the season.

Time travel… and why Guinan didn’t recognize Picard

In “Watcher,” Jean-Luc Picard visited a younger Guinan in 2024. He revealed to her that they would become close friends in the future, but Guinan did not appear to recognize Picard and at no time did either one mention meeting before. This has many fans wondering about the two-part Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Time’s Arrow,” when Picard and other members of the USS Enterprise-D crew went back in time and encountered an even younger version of Guinan in 1893 San Francisco.

Picard with Guinan, Riker, Dr. Crusher, and Geordi in 1893

In the second part of that episode, Picard revealed everything about who he was to Guinan. The reason their 1893 meeting wasn’t mentioned in “Watcher” is because those events didn’t happen due to the change in the timeline. Terry Matalas explained to Inverse that “This Guinan wouldn’t remember Picard because in this alternate timeline, the TNG episode ‘Time’s Arrow’ never happened.”

Matalas has confirmed with TrekMovie that the way they are treating time travel is that even though they arrived before Q’s divergence in time, they are not in the Prime timeline; they are still in the altered “Confederation” timeline. This logic flows to other future instances of time travel, like Sisko going back to 2024 San Francisco (DS9 “Past Tense”) and Kirk going back in time to save the whales (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home). Matalas explained this in our article about bringing back the Punk from Voyage Home, saying “Star Trek IV wouldn’t have happened in this alternate timeline.”

Star Trek has dealt with time travel in a number of different ways, but according to Matalas, they are following the same rules when changes in the past rewrite the timeline, like in “City on the Edge of Forever,” or Star Trek: First Contact. The unique situation here is that we have a time traveler encountering someone who he has encountered before in a previous instance of time travel. So even though Picard himself can remember the events of “Time’s Arrow,” he knows that this timeline’s General Picard of the CSS World Razer never went back in time to meet Guinan.

Picard and Guinan meet for the first time, in this timeline.

What happened with the Eugenics Wars?

One pivotal time in Star Trek history is the Eugenics Wars, which gave rise to the Augments and the franchise’s most famous villain, Khan Noonien Singh. Khan was first encountered in the Star Trek season one episode “Space Seed,” where he was discovered in a sleeper ship launched in the late 20th century. At the time it was said Khan was exiled after he ruled one-quarter of the Earth from 1992 to 1996.

Khan wakes up his followers on SS Botany bay

Of course, the 1990s came and went and there were no Eugenics Wars and no group of genetically enhanced supermen and superwomen vying for power over the globe. Nor was there the launch of the SS Botany Bay, or even the technology to launch a ship capable of putting people into extended hibernation for an interstellar voyage. This does create a bit of a conundrum of how one should treat this bit of history, and even in the alternate timeline, there is no clear reason why any future instances of time travel would have changed the events of the 1990s in such a profound way.

When asked this question on Twitter this weekend, Matalas explained that how to treat the Eugenics Wars was a big debate, but it was decided to sort of punt on the issue, explaining that maybe records became less clear after World War III (which itself is supposed to kick in the early 21st century). Matalas’ co-showrunner Akiva Goldsman also chimed in to back up the “endless” part of this writers’ room discussion.

Of course, there are some details to deal with, like how the 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan reinforced the 1990s timeline, but Matalas got practical, explaining that no one could have anticipated the franchise outliving these future dates.

There were a series of (non-canon) novels by Greg Cox that reimagined the 1990s where the Eugenics Wars were happening behind the scenes, but it appears the Picard team decided it’s best to just fudge with the numbers a bit so the Eugenics Wars didn’t happen in the 1990s, so they don’t need to be addressed in the 2024 seen on the show.

No Eugenics Wars for this 2024

And there is a possible way out of this canon conundrum, as suggested by Prodigy executive producer Aaron Waltke: Perhaps the exact timing of the Eugenics Wars was changed during the Temporal Cold War from Star Trek: Enterprise.


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Fandom implosion in 3… 2….1…

Uh sure, timey-wimey, yadda yadda. I’m hoping they get back to the Borg possibly wanting to make peace with the Federation sooner rather than later. That seemed more interesting to me. And a fresher idea. Guess that’s one of the reasons I enjoyed the first episode so much.

Yes. I’m very tired of the Borg and that was a VERY interesting take on them. And it had my attention. Then they brought in Q and all this other stuff that wasn’t NEARLY as interesting. Talk about a buzzkill.

I bet the possibly future Borg Queen in the episode Stargazer is actually Agnes Jurati.

This is all but confirmed at this point. Unless they’re gonna do a stupid bait and switch.

Yes. Very likely. Why hiding the face? Also Jurati being the one surprised for the Queen’s change.

Because without some attempt to reveal a “shocking” mystery in the last part of the series, there is nothing to sustain these shows.

Oh, that makes sense. I like that. I don’t like her character, she’s a bit annoying.

The Voyager writers ignored the Eugenics Wars as well when they travelled back to 1996. The only nod was a DY-100 model in Rain’s office.

And the DY-class ship launching on one of th tv monitors Neelix and Kes became addicted to apparently.

I came here to write the same thing. We already had this issue literally back in 1996. I actually didn’t think it was a big deal the Eugenics War wasn’t mentioned this season because it already happened decades ago, so I don’t think they really needed to include it other than maybe referencing it in a line.

But now we know they are basically doing what Voyager did and just kind of forgot it even existed. I understand why it’s such an issue today but it’s canon. Either you retcon it to happen later or you just dive in. Star Trek is NOT our world, it’s just another variation of it in a huge multiverse. This is really the only way you can get around it as Star Trek fake historical events is now combining into our real world every year. It was nice they at least included the Sanctuary Districts even if those too are not from our real world.

Yep, how are they going to explain the bell riots in a few years? It’s a multiverse.

I read that at the time but to this day have never spotted it in that set.

But I was fine with assuming the war wasn’t fought on North American soil, which absolves Voyager and Picard. We know all too well how all sorts of massive conflicts can happen half a world away and not affect people’s daily lives in a monumental way, even if the US is an active belligerent.

Now, large swathes of 25th century LA not being flooded post-earthquakes (as per Janeway in Future’s End) is the new one to ask Matalas about. ;)

Only the beach front sunk, the core city was fine. There’s a fault line next to the ocean.

It’s barely legible on screen, but there a plaque in the ally outside of Guinan’s bar that says the core of the city was largely spared by the Earthquake. DaveBlass has a picture of it on twitter.

Ah!

The earthquake “was” in 2047

I think that the Future’s End 1996 never really happened. Captain Branson crashed in 1969 where Henry Starling found his ship and started introducing radically advanced technology far before it was meant to be available. The 1996 that Voyager saw was a different 1996 than would have happened if Starling hadn’t interfered. Things got reset (one of thee show’s huge number of Reset Buttons) at the end of the episode.

I’ve always thought it would be wonderful living in the Trek universe, ranging from TOS all the way through Discovery. This is no longer true with Star Trek: Picard. Season 1 showed me a future I didn’t want to live in. Season 2 is at least more entertaining.

So, lemme get this straight. You’re cool living through (1) a terrorist attack on Earth and war against the Xindi, (2) a war against the Romulans, (3) a war against the Klingons, (4) a series of wars/skirmishes against the Xenkathi and Cardassians, (5) the Cardassian occupation of Bajor, (6) repeated Borg invasions, and (7) a high-casualty war against the Dominion.

But somehow Picard season one is objectionable because…the Federation started a Marshall Plan for the Romulans but couldn’t see it through because the Romulans destroyed the key Federation shipyard.

Your points 1-7 were negative events caused by outside influences. Earth/Federation society was still idealistic and a positive vision of where we can be in the future if we want to be. Earth seemed dreary in Picard season 1. As Thaddeus wrote: “Something had changed in Federation society, and Picard season 1 did very little to explain WHY those changes had occurred.”

Why is it that I can watch and re-watch every Trek series from TOS-ENT but have zero desire to re-watch Picard season 1? Maybe I’m just too old. Even the thought of re-watching Discovery isn’t very tempting.

An “Assignment: Earth” series that didn’t carry the Trek name would be a great place to explore all the negative stuff going on.

Sorry, looks like we posted at the same time. Apologies for any repetition.

Hmm, I expected Gary Seven to be the watcher, but that would have been too far fetched.

I was interested to read your posts and relieved that I’m not the only one who feels this way. I think ST: Discovery and ST: Picard deviate from Gene Roddenberry’s artistic vision, and make them non-canonical more fundamentally than errors or mishandling of lesser Star Trek details.

I think the things some found objectionable had more to do with the changes to Federation society itself, like android slavery, more cynical and mean-spirited people like the reporter, the workers on Mars, and the admiral, plus people with substance abuse and mental problems. Any society can be attacked from outside forces, it’s the decay from within that’s more damaging in the long run, and greater felt to those watching.

-delete-

What makes you think cynical and mean-spirited people won’t exist in the Future? Plus a reporter asking a tough question in an interview isn’t cynical or mean-spirited. FYI.

The Dominion did nothing wrong. It was Sisko who started the aggression with repeated incursions into Dominion territory. Never forget that.

The Dominion massacred a Bajoran colony.

putin supporter?

I still don’t get what made season one of Picard so bad to live in? Other than not help Romulus or banning Synth technology that affected no one that had no association with robotics, what was so bad about it?

I don’t understand it at all. The future in Picard wasn’t any bleaker or darker than what we saw in DS9 20 years prior. We only saw our characters who had a rougher time with things but it didn’t really assume everyone had the same problems. Earth seemed as livable and open as it did in the TNG era IMO.

And I wasn’t a big fan of the first season of Picard. It’s one of the worse first seasons of Star Trek for me and that’s saying a lot. ;)

Don’t forget the android slaves, and the miserable so-and-so’s working on Mars. Plus, there was Raffi going on about Picard living in a chateau while she was getting by in a trailer in the desert. And the obnoxious, paranoid reporter. The obnoxious admiral. People smoking. People with drug and alcohol problems.

Something had changed in Federation society, and Picard season 1 did very little to explain WHY those changes had occurred. I was happy to see “The Star Gazer” had done away with much of that.

Exactly.

OK, I’ll give you Mars lol. That did seem out of whack. But it didn’t seem like that on Earth at all. Earth seem just as it always been, ie, Paradise. What am I missing?

As far as Raffi, I actually said this back in first season when she was introduced. The thing some people seem to confuse with a ‘Utopic’ society is A. It will be accepted by everyone and B. You can still have all the benefits of it if you do absolutely nothing in that society.

That’s just not true. Raffi basically fell into a depression and started using drugs. You’re not going to get all the benefits in ANY society when you decide to drop out of it. Now, I think if she wanted to clean herself up and start over, she could. And she DID, right? As season 2 showed us. But I know this is about season one. But remember what Tom Paris was like before he joined Voyager? How was he any different from Raffi? He wasn’t, he simply decided to be a drunk and getting into trouble instead of a drug user. And he was an Admiral’s son. We just didn’t see that side of him but we know that’s what he was. And they have penal colonies on Earth even in the 24th century for a reason.

Why are people like Harry Mudd selling women and drugs even though he was human and could just live comfortably on Earth? Because just being part of a positive society doesn’t mean everyone can live by the rules of that society either or stop being criminals. That’s what gets missed. Utopia doesn’t mean everyone will act perfect in it and they will be ejected from it the minute they dismiss its ideals to do what they want.

So again, I don’t think Picard showed the future anymore bleaker than before. And Admirals have always been ball busters. Does Admiral Nechayev ring a bell lol. She just never dropped the F bomb because she knew the FCC would never allow her to. ;)

Let’s not go back to the ‘perfect humans’ of Roddenberry. You can still just be a dick, even in the 24th century. That was always a silly idea IMO.

There’s quite a bit of difference in just being a dick and being openly hateful towards androids and Romulans. The reporter and other characters seemed like they were pulled right out of our time, and that’s the basic problem — there’s hardly any difference between our culture and their futuristic one. (So in older Trek, the FCC unintentionally helped make Kirk and Spock’s culture a different one.)

It’s a problem that persists, albeit to a lesser degree, in season 2. The people from the 25th century have the same delivery, snark, and profanity as those in 2024. Not to mention looking so average the past few episodes. It’s now Picard: LA Investigations, a hard-hitting LA based detective show… with teleportation.

But hopefully the Watcher will change that.

This is exactly how I feel, especially “The reporter and other characters seemed like they were pulled right out of our time, and that’s the basic problem — there’s hardly any difference between our culture and their futuristic one.”

Yeah, one of the charming things about Star Trek, for me, is just how unashamedly dorky many of the characters are. Voyage Home and other time travel stories made the most of this.

It’s not as fun if they’re super cool, like Raffi taking away a pistol and instantly taking it apart. That’s modern cop show stuff. At least give her a second to look at the gun and do a wonderfully dorky Trekkie thing like remark what a crude specimen it is.

A reporter was asking Picard tough questions. What does that have to do with how they live in the future? That’s what reporters do, right?

That’s because they were. . . The idea behind Picard (both seasons) is to showcase today’s problems, not to show what society could look like without them.

The idea behind Picard (both seasons) is to showcase today’s problems, not to show what society could look like without them.”

One of the USPs of Star Trek was that it showed a humanity that had outgrown “today’s problems”; to make a Star Trek show without that characteristic is like making a “vegan” version of a recipe that still has meat in it, a contradiction in terms.

They have been openly ‘hateful’ towards Romulans since the 22nd century, hence a galactic war and creating a neutral zone that lasted for 200 years lol. I mean, yeah, the Romulans ARE the Federation’s biggest enemy. There wouldn’t even be a Federation without them. So I don’t understand that argument at all? Remember the episode where Worf let a Romulan die because he refused to give him treatment?? Yeah, Worf isn’t human, but he IS a Starfleet officer and raised on Earth. So it’s not like all hatred of an enemy just disappears when you put on a Starfleet uniform.

It took their planet getting wiped out to even create a relationship with them? What does that say? It’s no different with the Klingons and their empire falling for the Federation to start warming up to them 100 years earlier. And yeah, it still didn’t start off great and would take decades after TUC before they finally became real allies. Trust doesn’t happen overnight when you been paranoid of someone for literally centuries.

The Synths went crazy and wiped out an entire planet of 90,000 people. It’s not like the fear and hatred came out of nowhere, right? And btw, do we remember WHY the Synths went crazy again. Oh yeah, the Romulans. See my above paragraph again.

No offense, but these are just strange and weak arguments to prove the 24th century is suddenly more barbaric and hateful. These are valid reasons why ANYONE would be suspicious of people. Obviously still wrong, but it’s not like this is a first either. Did you forget Section 31 tried to cause genocide on an entire species to win a war? Weren’t they also Federation citizens in the 24th century.

A reporter asking Picard tough questions is suddenly a sign paradise has fallen? Why? I don’t follow this thinking. That’s what a reporter does, right? What did she do that’s different from being a reporter?

As far as the profanity, not sure where being in utopia mean people can’t curse? And let’s be honest, that’s just a production issue because now they can let the characters sound more mature. That just wasn’t the case with the old shows.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with showing a society backsliding once in awhile; they just didn’t bother to show WHY it happened. Undiscovered Country also failed in this.

I’m not looking for utopia. But a well-written script would be nice. Picard has had none of those, in my opinion. It’s not inspiring. It’s just average. And cool. You gotta look cool. It may not make sense, but it’s gotta look cool. ;-)

But your entire argument makes no sense to me. How are they ‘backsliding’ with the Romulans?? You don’t set up a Neutral Zone with someone for two centuries to have them feel welcomed, so what am I missing? It’s been explained why it happened. There was a war, the Romlans feared humans were afraid they were expanding too far once Starfleet began and exploring and colonizing the space. Add to that they were allies with the Vulcans, that gave them more reason to be suspicious of them and its been that way since. They never trusted each other and frankly the Romulans never gave them a reason TO trust them.

And again, I wouldn’t have a big trouble with your premise about Picard if you didn’t just ignore all the other questionable things Starfleet/Federation was doing. I already mentioned Section 31 trying to poison the Founders but what about the Admiral creating a false flag to militarize Earth against the Dominion? What about the Federation displacing people on another planet outside of Federation space so they can use it. What about the Captain going around blowing up Cardassian ships because he suspected they were building secret bases (he was probably right though ;)).

If you think Picard sucks as a show, fine. I’m only saying your ‘examples’ of how the Federation has turned into a paranoid and dark place on the show could be found on ALL the other shows with much worse examples, agreed? That’s why I don’t agree with this at all, nothing we seen in Picard hasn’t been shown before.

And one last thing, regardless of how people felt the Federation handled the Romulus evacuation, the fact they have a relationship now does speak to the Federation trying to do the right thing when its all said and done.

And you’re also forgetting that the ban against the Synths was eliminated the minute they learned the truth on Mars….once again all created by the Romulans. And this was AFTER they tried to bring some crazy killer bots from another galaxy.

So you can’t pretend people were just trying to be mean for no reason. These are all very complex issues.

By the way, there’s such a thing as a reporter asking tough questions and then there’s being a yellow journalist, like the kind we have today. Seemed like they were looking to cable news for inspiration, and that’s not at all an example of a healthy society.

Ok I understand your point about the journalist more. I can agree with that.

…and there was no evidence that the journalist in “Remembrance” was one. She was not pandering to the lowest common denominator, or trying to whip up public opinion into supporting a war (as in 1898 or some pro-NFZ commentators today). She was asking legitimate questions.

There’s quite a bit of difference in just being a dick and being openly hateful towards androids and Romulans.

Who in season 1 was “openly hateful” towards Romulans? And if OP is OK living in the world of Lt. Stiles from “Balance of Terror,” what did anyone in PICARD do that was so much worse?

The reporter and other characters seemed like they were pulled right out of our time,

Good reporters are supposed to probe, not accept PR uncritically — in any time period. That’s exactly what she did. You’re punishing her for *doing her job*, and you’re excusing Picard’s behavior only because we’re familiar with him as an avuncular character.

profanity

I think this is the *real* objection, when you come down to it: someone swore in a language other than Klingon, Romulan, Cardassian, or Data-ese. Pearl clutching at its finest. Go watch Disney fare.

BTW, people raised the same objection to McCoy’s use of “piss” and “damn” back in the 1960s.

You’re not going to get all the benefits in ANY society when you decide to drop out of it. 

Exactly. OP is OK living in the world of “The Way to Eden,” where Irina Galiullin dropped out. Raffi is no different.

The Androids we saw on Mars were not sentient, that’s even stated in Season 1. So they were no more slaves than the Ship’s computer is.

Besides we saw holographic Slaves in Voyager season 7.

Don’t forget the android slaves

The android “slaves” were supposed to be non-sentient — they were not Data. They were no more slaves than your Roomba, or the robot that paints from the Venice biennale, or the actual bipedal computer Elon Musk keeps talking about. They’re no more slaves than the cutsey “zeros” we keep seeing doing minor housekeeping on Discovery. Are oxen slaves?

 miserable so-and-so’s working on Mars

As opposed to the miners in “Mudd’s Women,” or the miners in “The Devil in the Dark,” or the miners in “The Perfect Mate,” or the two somewhat racist enlisted personnel in TUC, or the waste extraction teams and Dabo girls on DS9, or even all the miserable holodeck-cleaning lower deckers (for those that insist that series is canon)?

A lot of manual labor has presumably shifted to robots in the 24th century (again, see the android “slaves” above), but I see no evidence that “working stiffs” have disappeared altogether in any prior Star Trek series.

The obnoxious admiral

We’ve *never* seen obnoxious admirals before, of course.

And the obnoxious, paranoid reporter. 

I don’t see anything obnoxious about her at all. She deviated from the agreed script to ask Picard about the events on Mars. Film at 11. That’s something reporters do all the time.

At best, she was a tyro when it comes to matching wits with Picard as a naval/Starfleet historian. Again, big whoop. In the present Ukraine crisis, I’ve seen multiple amateur and professional pundits alike talk about analogies to Munich 1938; if you are to suggest that in 400 years of Westphalian politics, there might be other relevant historical precedents (e.g., Otto von Bismarck), the typical response I’ve gotten is “well, I don’t know about those.” Well, perhaps they should, especially if they’re in policymaking positions; but World War II is fresh in their minds, amplified by popular culture like Indiana Jones and “Patterns of Force.” So it is with the reporter in Picard for being unfamiliar with the Dunkirk evacuation.

Finally, “obnoxious” reporters are a thing in real life, because (assuming they’re not working for RT) they’re supposed to probe comments by public figures. Are we better off without the likes of Tim Russert and Helen Thomas? We’ve seen relatively few reporters in Star Trek, other than Jake Sisko (who was not a veteran war correspondent, at least in the beginning), and even he could be obnoxious. The more relevant examples are the reporter in GENERATIONS and “Terra Prime.” If you can live with them, why not the reporter in “Remembrance”?

People smoking.

Pearl clutching at its finest.

People with drug and alcohol problems.

This is the only example that might have some merit, as I would hope that there would be better therapies for alcoholism by then. (Harlan Ellison’s script for “City on the Edge” featured a drug-dealing Starfleet officer, rightly scrapped.) Still, genetic predilection for alcoholism is a thing, and as we know, the Federation is (justifiably or not) biased against gene therapy; and you can’t easily force people to undergo medical procedures (again, justifiably or not), whether those are coronavirus vaccines or blood donations (cf. Worf in “The Enemy”). So it makes sense that alcoholism hasn’t entirely disappeared; it’s just that *Starfleet* does a good job of requiring treatment of its personnel, just as the US military requires vaccinations.

And we’ve seen Picard, Troi, and Scotty get drunk. Probably others I can’t remember, too.

What I loved about Season 1 is that it showed Picard’s achille’s heel: namely, his arrogance. He didn’t understand that constraints are a thing. The prelude to season 1 was a true Greek tragedy, hubris causing the hero’s downfall.

The Federation spent years and devoted countless resources towards evacuating the Romulans. Starfleet reoriented its entire force structure towards that mission, if the quasi-canon first PICARD novel is to be believed. It did all this despite the complaints from peripheral Federation worlds about resources being diverted away from “interplanetary development.” Only after the destruction of Utopia Planetia did the Federation curtail the mission. Picard could not accept that, so he resigned in haste.

This is the same Picard who was willing to relocate the Native planet in “Journey’s End,” BTW. The mission had become too personal for him.

Unless the Confederation timeline is a mirror universe, then it should still be the prime timeline until the branching off point (the thing that’s three days out) — and Prime Picard’s trip to the 19th century still happened just in a different way— Prime Picard is the Enterprise-C crossing into the altered future where the Klingons are winning the war. At least, that’s taking all of Star Trek’s time travel/reality conventions into consideration.

ETA: Very smart of them to mess around with the historical dates and for the reasons they gave. Plausible, and keeps the inherent warnings to modern audiences alive instead of being something dated.

There is no one single branching point, because the future where other time travelers came back from to interact before the branching point also no longer exists. For instance -the Devidians likely killed a lot more people in 1893 because Picard and co were not there to fix things – or the Devidians are now fearful (or destroyed by) of the Confederation so would not drain life from people on Earth.

So many knock ons, which was the point the producers were making

Picard and Co. are inhabiting a continuity in which the Federation never happened. There was no timeline change that only Picard and Co. noticed, they were actually lifted (at the point of death on the Stargazer) and deposited in a different universe by Q. There is no branching off a new timeline, but Picard & Co. can prevent the Confederation from happening by altering the events of April 15.

Okay, I’m totally fine with the explanation for Guinan because the events of Time’s Arrow never happened! But then, the PUNK shouldn’t remember Spock’s nerve pinch either! But he DID rememer that. They made it totally obvious! So, this is an unsolvable mess :-)

As for the Eugenics Wars… PLEASE move them to 2092-2096… It’s what the German dubbing has always done and it makes so much more sense…

The Punk on the Bus maybe is more mature in 2024. :D

Not the point. He touched his neck. He remembered Spock. It was depicted on purpose that he remembered. He didn’t tune down the volume out of maturity. He was scared as hell.

I think it would’ve worked if they avoided the neck thing and just see him more accommodating by politely apologizing and turning it down. That would’ve been funny on its own completely subverting expectations. That way it would’ve still be a great in joke and align with canon at the same time.

But it’s one of those things these writers have to connect every single incident for some reason. Him just being there was already enough.

Based on Matalas’s explanation to Inverse, I don’t think the Punk on the Bus was remembering Spock. He was simply touching his neck. However, members of the audience who have seen Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home can interpret his neck touching as an Easter Egg.

Otherwise, he was a human who could also experience Af-kelt.

Or maybe he was another El-Aurian whose life was similar to Guinan’s, from living on Earth for a long time and going “native,” to getting rescued from the Nexus by the Enterprise B, but leaving behind an echo in that gravimetric distortion.

I’m with you. He clearly remembered. Spock’s ears were covered, if I’m not mistaken, and Seven is very Spock-esque. He didn’t at all seem like he was just being polite. He was afraid. The neck thing sealed the deal for me. Furthermore, the event that changes the future happens in 3 days. Everything should be as it was in the Prime Timeline until that event, including 1984.

What the Punk seemed to be remembering could have been an attack by a bus passenger other than Spock. After Spock gave him the nerve pinch in The Voyage Home, all of the other passengers on the bus applauded. This indicates the probability of someone attacking the Punk on that bus, or on some other bus, was extremely high.

Furthermore, the event that changes the future happens in 3 days. Everything should be as it was in the Prime Timeline until that event, including 1984.

Looking at time as non-linear, the event in 3 days has already happened. The timeline has already been corrupted. Picard, et al. must prevent the corruption from happening before the prime timeline can be restored.

Another way to think of it, were Picard, et al. to travel back to the future, the future they would travel to would be the corrupted timeline, not the prime timeline.

I think your reference to 1984 opens up a door to answering whether the Eugenics Wars took place in the 1990s/late 20th century or as part of World War III: The 1990s was the 1984 of Star Trek.

As Matalas tweeted, Picard’s writers concluded that several EMP bursts kicked everyone back decades during WW3, but if these bursts only kicked back everyone’s electronic clocks, not their memories, paper calendars, and tick marks on walls, then an Orwellian, dystopian global tyranny, perhaps during the dark ages of the Postatomic Horror completed the job by establishing a new calendar, altering every date, and implanting mind-control devices in everyone. “Whom Gods Destroy” (TOS) mentioned Lee Kuan and Krotus.

So the 1990s was the 1984 of Star Trek.

+1. They need to move the entire timeline 100, or probably 200, years into the future.

Ironically this is why so many of us want Star Trek to move forward because the longer you keep everything back in the 22nd and 23rd century, it just reinforces how much it ISN’T our future because a lot of the things created in those centuries started in the 21st century, first contact with an alien race being the biggest.

It’s also why I think a reboot of Star Trek, all of it, is a good thing too. You can set events much farther in the future and not have to drive yourself crazy explaining why things that happened in the 21st century on Star Trek never happened in the real 21st century. In four years, World War 3 is suppose to happen. Sadly, that looks like an event that could actually happen ATM, but I’m going to be optimistic enough to say it won’t.

There was an earlier article where Matalas admitted the bus punk should not have ever been neck pinched. He admitted it was a conceit. It was left in because they thought the moment was cool.

Matalas actually brought that up in his interview with TrekMovie

Matalas: It was one of the first things I had pitched actually. We loved the idea that maybe this guy migrated from San Francisco to Los Angeles at some point. Now technically, Star Trek IV wouldn’t have happened in this alternate timeline, but maybe SOME part of him remembers his encounter with Spock in the Prime Timeline. And it made me chuckle that he’d go up against Seven of Nine. I reached out to Kirk right away, who was absolutely game to return.

Mostly it was just a fun easter egg for the long-time Trek fans though, nothing to think too hard about.

I’m glad they mention Greg Cox’s Eugenic War novels. Been my own head canon ever since. Maybe that once-mentioned Nick Meyer Khan mini-series could clear up a bit of this.

I agree with the times arrow explanation.

Eugenics Wars is a conundrum. My head canon says, “why are we assuming it didn’t happen?”‘ We don’t know everything about treks 2024. Even when Voyager visited 1996, we only saw a small part of that 1996. I argue there is no canon violation and events are flowing like they are supposed to.

Nobody wants Trek as an alternate reality like Marvel or DC. Most people want it to be OUR future.
This is why the Eugenics Wars not having happened is such a big deal. And this is why Putin invading Ukraine and China backing him – as horrid as it is for the local population – will always be interpreted as a precursor to WWIII and the Eastern Coalition.
As horrible as it may seem to others, we “know” or suppose that something like that has to happen because Star Trek said so… I know, I know, overly simplified and illogical but at the end of day, those notions are there deep within my psyche…

I’m fine with the Time Arrow explanation too. When I first saw the episode, it never occurred to me why Guinan didn’t recognize Picard but made sense later. I think they should’ve added a line or something that suggested Picard was confused that Guinan didn’t recognize him until he realized it himself the future changed those events; even just for the audience sake. It doesn’t take a lot.

As for the Eugenics war, yeah, it is what it is at this point. It’s funny how no one seems to want to touch the subject at all. Even in STID, they completely skimmed over the fact Augments created a war and colonized a fifth of the world. In the movie they just sounded like they were genetically engineered people who tried to create more like them and why they were outcast back in the 20th century. You would never know a war existed at all.

And sure you can argue it’s not a canon violation like in Voyager, but it just feels strange such a pivotal event in the world of Star Trek is completely ignored over and over again. It might just be best to retcon it to happening much later in the future as others suggested. It always made more sense to me it would happen in WW 3 itself and was a big reason why that war even happened. But even that’s becoming a bigger issue as time moves forward.

Good Points and Agreed! I don’t know why they hesitate with the Eugenics war or WWIII. I just try to make it work in canon, but it would’ve made an interesting spin on this season of Picard to tie it in.

It’ll be interesting to see how making a change in the alternate timeline 2024 will result in the original timeline 2401.

That’s the point of the time jump, right? To put the timeline right again?

So alternate 2024 having a change made to it by JL and the Fam results in original 2401 because they’re changing something *back*, but the events that led to the original 2024 didn’t happen so how can changing the alternate 2024 result in a timeline that ends in original 2401, since original 2401 was the result of the timeline which included the 1893, the 1986, and the 1996 temporal incursions of various heroic and canonical Starfleet officers.

Hopefully this endless discussion will include a logical resolution. Or Q will snap them all back maybe.

Don’t forget the 1930, 1966, and 1968 incursions (“City on the Edge of Forever,” “Tomorrow is Yesterday,”, and “Assignment: Earth”). While Q’s change of time line would have removed the need for Starfleet to get the photos, reports, and tapes of their 1966 incursion from the US Air Force, and allowed Gary Seven to destroy the US orbital nuclear weapons platform in 1968 without Starfleet’s interference, “Edith Keeler,” as Spock said, “must die.”

Keeler did die. It was Mccoy who saved her and kirk who let her die, so no change happened.

Matalas said in this alternate timeline there was no Federation. So with no Federation, “City on the Edge of Forever” never happened in the past of this alternate timeline. Perhaps, some Confederation officers were the ones who let Keeler die.

. . . or more characteristically, the Confederation officers killed her.

Also, don’t forget 2004 [“Carpenter Street” (ENT)”]. Somebody had to stop the Xindi-Reptilians from building and deploying their bio-weapon, but then in the Confederation timeline, with no Federation to drive the Sphere Builders back to their trans-dimensional realm at the Battle of Procyon V in the 26th Century, the Sphere Builders would have no reason to manipulate the Xindi into attacking Earth and sending the Xindi-Reptilians back to 2004 to build and deploy their bio-weapon. Maybe, the Confederation lost to the Sphere Builders.

And also don’t forget 1944 [“Storm Front” (ENT), “Storm Front, Part II” (ENT)]. Somebody had to restore the timeline changed by the Temporal Cold War, but then, the Confederation timeline might not have had a Temporal Cold War that changed history.

Incidentally, I think Season 2 of Picard is a subtle version of Storm Front.

I think its easy enough to just ignore the Eugenics Wars in this story. They happened 30 years ago, and probably not in LA, so it makes sense that they wouldn’t come up in conversation.

They way over thinking this and making it far more complicated than it needs to be. Just having Guinan forget him after over a hundred years. And have him encounter on multiple trips in time afterwards like The Doctor and River Song.

Guinan remembered Time’s Arrow 200 years later though.

Or how about this? Due to the amount of time travel that has happened on Star Trek, time has shifted causing the Eugenics Wars not to have happened as mentioned in Star Trek: TOS. Because tech didn’t advance as far as it should have and the Eugenics Wars didn’t happen, Khan was allowed to rule behind the scenes and is actually the reason behind the confederation, so it’s up to Picard and crew to stop Khan and develop a sleeper ship in 2024 so that Khan can be stopped and launched into space.

Two things accomplished: finally settling the age old Eugenics Wars debate among fandom, and providing a much more interesting storyline than we are getting so far.

That was the same excuse they could’ve used for Voyager and that the time ship crashing on Earth in the 1960s caused a shift in history where it never happened when they landed in 1996. I’m still surprised they didn’t just go with that idea back then; especially for a franchise that’s infamous for alternate timelines.

But then the OTHER problem is everyone still remembers it. People still talk about it and genetic engineering is still banned in the 24th century because of it. So it would still be a paradox.

I believe this season’s plot might actually be linked to Khan. What if Adam Soong is his “creator”? His great-grandson certainly was active in that field of expertise…

I don’t see how to handle this properly timeline-wise though but then again, whatever happens, happens.

I also hope there will be more than one Khan… It doesn’t make sense to have only one Khan created from his DNA strain. I can totally see many versions of Khan popping up in future series. He is after all a clone. With Keon Alexander around to give new life to him, Khan could become Trek’s very own Joker to pop up time and again… Not the Space Seed Khan but anyone of his clones…

While watching Keon Alexander play Marco Inaros in The Expanse, I kept thinking how he would be great playing Khan.

I should note that while watching Anson Mount in Hell on Wheels, I kept thinking how he would be great playing Pike. And my thoughts came true.

That makes no sense. If events even BEFORE the alteration to history were changed, then undoing the alteration wouldn’t put things back to normal because history was changed far more than just that one point in time. This is the biggest cop-out explanation I’ve ever heard. They should just admit that they didn’t watch the previous shows.

Hi, my first time posting here. I am not someone who knows a whole lot about Star Trek canon history, but at the time Picard meets Guinan in the 21st Century, has she supposedly been on Earth ever since the events of Time’s Arrow in the 1800s? Or has she perhaps come and gone to different places, and perhaps time travelled a bit herself in the mean time? 

Imagine this: 

From Picard’s point of view, he was originally living in the 24th Century, then time travelled to the 1800s in Time’s Arrow, saw Guinan, then time travelled back to the 24th Century when the episode was over. Then he travelled to the 21st Century in the events of this past week’s episode and saw a younger version of Guinan. He of course would remember Guinan from his previous time travels because those time travels are in his personal past. 

But suppose in Guinan’s view, she first came to Earth just a few years before the events of this week’s episode. Let’s say that for her, the events of Time’s Arrow happen when she time travels back to the 1800s at some point AFTER the events of this week’s episode. So for her, Time’s Arrow hasn’t happened yet, even though they have happened to Picard. In this scenario, she hasn’t experienced events in the same order as Picard, and so she would not remember Picard from the 1800s the way he remembers her. Do you see what I mean? 

Maybe this could be an explanation for her not seeming to know or remember Picard in this week’s episode. Or at least it’s an interesting thing to think about when it comes to time travel. If two people time travel a lot and meet each other at different points in the way, it’s possible that they met each other in different orders in their personal experiences. So in each specific meeting, one person may not have all the memories from previous meetings that the other one has, because they time travelled to different meetings in a different order in their personal experiences. 

It’s nice to see Star Trek is in the hands of people that actually understand how the rules of time travel work as established in this universe.

This is what happens when you use time travel so much, everything gets wobbly wimey. I think its high time Trek leave time-travel behind for a while. It gives needless headaches to everyone.

So the earth is flat again?

Hey Bob, good to see you here! Are you watching season 2 of Picard? What are your thoughts so far?

It looks like they have tried to explore all options and deal with the specifics as best they can to satisfy the 5/10% who like to dwell on such things. For me that’s fine as I would hope it is for most people.

I like the writers’ room conclusion of several EMP bursts kicking everyone back decades, during the endless discussion over when the Eugenics Wars took place. By “kicking everyone back decades,” I take this to mean that the EMP bursts kicked everyone’s electronic calendars back. However, this would not have affected human memories, paper calendars, etched tick marks on walls, and the motions of the celestial objects. For these to have been affected as well would require the establishment of a new calendar or perhaps something nightmarish or both. A few points from within the franchise allows for the establishment of a new calendar and later dates for the Eugenics Wars and launch of the SS Botany Bay:

– The Third World War began in 2026 and had a cease fire in 2053 [Star Trek: First Contact, “In a Mirror Darkly, Part II” (ENT)]

– The Postatomic Horror started in 2053 and ended no earlier than 2079 [“Encounter at Farpoint” (TNG), “Demons” (ENT)].

– In “Space Seed,” which was set in 2267 according to the Memory Alpha website, Kirk gave an estimate of two centuries for how long the crew of the SS Botany Bay had been sleeping. This date and estimated period of suspended animation indicates a launch date of circa 2067 for that vessel. However, since the SS Valiant, which was lost before 2065 according to Memory Alpha, had impulse engines, albeit old ones [“Where No Man Has Gone Before” (TOS)], while the Botany Bay had simple nuclear-powered engines, which were more primitive than impulse engines, then the latter ship was launched before the former. Of course, the Botany Bay also had to have been launched before the Phoenix was in 2063 (Star Trek: First Contact). And if relativistic time dilation of the ship’s star flight were also taken into consideration, then the launch date was even earlier – the faster the ship, the earlier the date. For example, if the shipboard time were exactly 200 years and the ship had been traveling at a constant velocity of 0.36c (and acceleration to this velocity is neglected), then the launch date was 2053, the year of the cease-fire.

– The Federation principally measured time in stardates, but could convert stardates to and from dates in other calendars, including what Spock called the Old World calendar and what the Enterprise D’s computer called the Old Earth calendar [“The Galileo Seven” (TOS), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, “The Neutral Zone”, “Up the Long Ladder” (TNG)]. The Old World calendar or Old Earth calendar might or might not have been the Gregorian calendar (and the Old World calendar and Old Earth calendar might or might not even have been the same calendar). So the dates mentioned in the episodes and movies cited above might or might not have been Gregorian dates. However, since the Eugenics tyranny and wars did not happen in the 1990s in real life, then these events happened later, and the dates cited in “Space Seed” were most likely the dates that were not Gregorian.

– In the Postatomic Horror, someone – Colonel Green, Lee Kuan, or Krotus, perhaps – might have actually succeeded in doing what Khan could not, becoming world dictator [“Whom Gods Destroy” (TOS), “The Savage Curtain” (TOS), “Demons” (ENT), “Terra Prime” (ENT)], and as such, established the new calendar, as Julius Caesar had done in Rome.

In this dark ages that Spock mentioned in “Space Seed,” this dictator might instead or might also have had every date altered so that the year had become uncertain, as was done by the totalitarian system in George Orwell’s novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” To ensure his control of the world, he might have had mind-control devices implanted in everyone other than himself (harkening back to the Mind Control Revolts of 2043-2047 mentioned in a footnote in Gene Roddenbery’s novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture). This would make the 1990s mentioned in “Space Seed” the 1984 of Star Trek.

In this nightmare, Zefram Cochrane, Lily Sloane, and their team and their families would have had to relocate offworld, perhaps, the Moon, Mars, Titan, or even Alpha Centauri.

So . . . what about Kirk, Spock and McCoy going back in time in “The City on the Edge of Forever” TOS episode? If that didn’t happen, then we suppose that the US did not enter WWII and Nazi Germany would have won . . . and we should be seeing a very different world that the one we are familiar with in Picard. . . Can they explain this one? *lol*

Edith Keeler presumably died in whatever way she was meant to before she encountered Dr. McCoy.

I dunno. Maybe they should just run with having the Eugenic Wars in the 90s and leave it be. Yeah, this advances spaceflight technology significantly, but if the wars are in Asia/Europe and they’re not dealing with human spaceflight, why not just run with it? That is, just have the present shown in Picard be one with Khan and the Eugenic Wars in it. Is there any reason that can’t happen? I mean, we’d have all that if we’d actually spent money on spaceflight tehnology instead of stupid wars and other wasteful programs, that’s a fact.

I don’t get the Eugenics thing. It happened in the Trek Universe, not in ours. They still could have happened 25 years or so before the events of this story… why do they need to be acknowledged in a story that has nothing to do with them as an in-universe event?

The Star Trek universe is our future. Don’t ruin it.

I’d rather just think of the events in Star Trek history as happening in some alternate reality. Why pigeonhole it into real life? Like someone said: who would’ve imagined the franchise to have lasted this long? It’s not like Star Trek is some sort of collection of historical documents anyway! ha!

Was hoping he would explain why Guinan suddenly aged at a different rate than has been shown. To me, that is a weird and major character change. Equivalent to Spock deciding he no longer needed to suppress his emotions.

And I’m fine with just ignoring the Eugenics Wars. Voyager ignored it when they went back, too. Although I guess one might argue that they never reached N America just as WWII never reached it either. But I understand why the idea was dropped. It’s just another can of worms that didn’t need to get opened.

Guinan explained it in episode 1.

No, she explained it for 2400. There was no reason for her to look like that in 2024 when it has been established she ages so very slowly that there are no discernable age differences in 500 years. They should have used the same actor for both Guinans. Either Whoopie or the new chick. Either way would have worked.

By that logic, the computer revolution of the latter half of the 20th Century would have never happened, because in Star Trek it was the result of the prime-timeline 29th Century ship Aeon ending up in 1967. So 2024 would have looked very different than presented.

I don’t see the problem here with the Eugenics Wars. It’s 2024 and this is an alternate Earth. The Eugenics Wars might not have taken place on every single Earth in every single alternate timeline. All that was for sure was that they took place on our Earth, not any or every different Earth out there.

In fact, there’s a comic called Star Trek: Hell’s Mirror that reveals that Khan was a pacifist in the Mirror Universe. Not every Earth probably went through the Eugenics Wars. Plus, it’s been just about 30 years since they happened so you wouldn’t see the effects the war had on anything anyways, especially since it was a covert war or that’s what was stated in the Eugenics Wars novels anyways. In those books Khan and his brethren waged a shadow war against the world’s governments.

But at the same time Khan and his family were waging war, everybody else went about their life normally. Nobody knew what was going on or what Khan was doing. I always thought of the Eugenics Wars as another Cold War. In the books, Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln were even involved in it.

When I was a kid and I first heard about the Eugenics Wars though, I thought it was this huge war between regular humans and genetically engineered humans and there was tons of devastation involved. I believe when Captain Kirk and Spock are talking about the Eugenics Wars, Captain Kirk says that it took Earth decades to recover from them and he said something similar about World War 3 as well. But when I heard Captain Kirk say that about the Eugenics Wars, I always associated that reference with massive damage and casualties. But when the books came out and I read it was a war waged behind the scenes, it disappointed me a little bit because we strived to be better than what we were because of the Eugenics Wars and World War 3 and all the devastation that was caused by those wars.

But that stuff did not take place on every single Earth out there and for people to assume that it did is just ridiculous. On some Earths, we might not have reached the point of genetic engineering at all and on others, Khan might have forged a mighty empire that set fire to the galaxy. This Earth in Picard is not our Earth so there might not’ve been a Eugenics Wars or World War 3.
Khan might’ve been a poet laureate on this world for all we know 😊.

I am intrigued though about World War 3 spanning decades now in the Prime Timeline. That’s a new one to me because in First Contact, didn’t it just end like a few years before Cochrane finished building the Phoenix? And that was in 2063 when the Phoenix launched and somebody tweeted that World War 3 went from 2026-2053 and that’s a new one to me that I’m gonna look up. I knew it took place in 2050-something because Colonel Green is in the Star Trek: Federation novel and that shines a light on WW3 a little bit.

But it always seemed to me like that wasn’t a long, drawn out war because nuclear weapons were used to end it. I was under the impression that war only lasted for 3 years or so. Guess that’s what Memory Alpha is for, right 🙂? I’ll go on there and look it up.

I saw people citing Voyager as another show that messed with the Eugenics Wars. Voyager was in an altered timeline because of Ed Begley Jr. In that timeline, maybe there was no Eugenics Wars? Or maybe they were going on but because it was a covert war, you wouldn’t know it was going on especially since it wouldn’t be plastered all over TV, right?

So the Eugenics Wars might’ve been going on while Voyager was there and Captain Janeway would not have known. Now you can accept that or blame the Krenim or the Temporal Cold War for all of these temporal discretions that are happening😊. Live long and prosper, Trekmovie 🖖.

It’s one thing to put-in deep-cut references & expect the audience to do the reading, it’s another entirely to put-in narrative contradictions & expect the audience to do the (double)thinking… 😏

First season was so bad I couldn’t get through it. This season is pretty good. It has an essence of the old series but with a modern twist. I do like the tacky low effects from the old series more. Call me old fashion, but to me that is Trek.

The events of STIV didn’t occur but the bus punk holds his neck where Spock pinched him? Sure…. sure… This is them covering up they didn’t know what they were doing with Guinan. They didn’t watch their source material. These writers are a joke. And shame on Stewart or ANYONE on set not to ask for this clarification. I know Sir Patrick isn’t suppose to remember every episode he made, but he has listed that as one of his favorites so he should have at least vaguely remembered that he met Guinan in the past.

I imagine the whale probe still came circa 2283 to the Confederation, and that the Confederation version of Kirk and Spock time travelled back to 20th Century Earth. I imagine that version of Spock may have been BRUTAL to the bus punk and that is why he acted all scared with Seven.

This logic cramming is exhausting…… I hate that Star Trek is just Time Trek now. Such lazy writing.

Her not remembering him makes sense, I get handling the timeline in that manner. I have a bigger problem with recasting her and the characterization of her, she’s always been a character of patience and wisdom, even when we saw her in the 1800s, having her show up here acting like an angry impatient 20 year old stumped by what’s happening, complete with “so you’re telling me…” dialogue is just dumb and pointless.

The writers for New Trek don’t seem to know how to be subtle with their activism.

In all timelines it seems the Europa mission happens 2024. After all it’s the crux of the timeline change. There is no way our current tech will put a woman on that moon in two years. Therefore, Star Trek is an alternate timeline, one in which the Soviet Union never fell as can be seen in maps in TVH. So why do we care that a eugenics war never happened in the real world? It could still have happened in Star Trek’s 1996.

I agree that our current tech will not put a woman on, or rather launch her to, Europa two years from now. I would also expect the Europa mission to occur after the Ares IV mission eight years later (VOY: “One Small Step”), and before the Earth-Saturn mission and Charybdis mission 13 years later (TNG: “The Royale”), but one can argue that Earth was sending many missions throughout the Solar System.

TVH was released in 1986, and the Soviet Union fell in 1991, so when TVH came out, the USSR had to fall.

Sorry for the Freudian slip, but by “the USSR had to fall,” I meant to say, “the USSR had yet to fall.”

This kind of thing used to bother me a lot more, but the mcu’s approach to in-universe history has made me realize it doesn’t have to be reality-breaking. You can show fantastical things happening over almost a century of time that you would expect to transform global culture and at the same time just assert that things in any given time period still look and feel about the same as they would in our reality.

well, there’s always the famous quote by another well-known time traveller who’s been around a lot longer than any of us mere mortals. “It’s a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.”…