Star Trek: Picard won’t be a captain in his new TV show

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We’ve got some fresh details about the Jean-Luc Picard TV show, which is in development with Star Trek: Discovery boss Alex Kurtzman at CBS. Patrick Stewart is all set to return to his role, and it sounds like some major changes have happened to Picard.

The Hollywood Reporter‘s recent interview Kurtzman revealed that the show will take place in the Prime Star Trek universe (as in, the one that has William Shatner as Kirk rather than Chris Pine), after the destruction of Romulus (which was witnessed by Leonard Nimoy’s Spock in the universe-hopping Star Trek reboot film from 2009).

“Picard’s life was radically altered by the dissolution of the Romulan Empire,” Kurtzman explained. And now, thanks to another Trek star’s insights, we have an idea of what that radical change will entail.

Jonathan Frakes has been speaking to Deadline, with the former TNG star and sometime Discovery director offering interesting insights into the current status of Picard’s career. Here’s Frakes’ quote, which also touches on whether he (or any other TNG cast members) will appear in the show:

“The feeling is we would love to be part of it. But the feeling is also that it’s Patrick’s show. [Laughs.] Having said that, I can’t imagine a world where there’s no reference to what happened to the rest of the Next Generation cast. Patrick isn’t playing Capt. Jean-Luc Picard this time, he’s done with [that phase of his career in] Starfleet in this show. That’s about the only thing I do know about the show. Patrick and I had a steak dinner a couple of weeks ago and this man, who I’ve known for 31 years now, is so excited about this show he’s like a little kid. It’s fabulous! He’s thrilled and excited to be invited into the writer’s room and he’s a producer on the show and he’s part of the development of the story arc. It’s terrific. I mean he is a guy who is fully engaged.”

The key point in that paragraph is the mention that Stewart won’t be playing Picard as a captain this time around, and that Picard is apparently done with that stage of his career. Will he be some sort of admiral instead, or perhaps a politician? We’ll have to wait and watch to find out, of course.

In his THR interview, Kurtzman also recalled his initial meeting with Stewart, where he had to convince the actor to come back to the role he made famous in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Kurtzman and his cohorts prepared a “34-page document — with no way to shorten it” that summed up the plan, and invited Stewart to a meeting. As Kurtzman recalls, “What we tried to convey in that meeting was how desperately we loved him and the character and how much we wanted to see what happened to Picard.”

As Kurtzman recalls, Stewart was pretty pleased:

“He walked into the room and he had a huge smile on his face and said, ‘This is wonderful.’ What he understood at that point … was that he was with people who desperately wanted to collaborate with him, that we weren’t trying to exploit him. He knew if he was going to go back to Picard, it needed to be for the greatest reason ever.”

The Picard series will arrive in late 2019, and we’ll be sure to bring you more news as we hear it.