Familiar faces from Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: The Next Generation are coming to Star Trek: Picard.
CBS All Access' anticipated new series featuring the return of Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard made a splashy Hall H debut on Saturday afternoon during the 90-minute "Enter the Star Trek Universe"panel, premiering the first official trailer, which revealed Jeri Ryan, Brent Spiner and Jonathan Del Arco would be reprising their Star Trek characters Seven of Nine, Data and Hugh the Borg.
Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes will also return.
Ryan, Spiner and Del Arco made special appearances during the panel, and they shared how they unexpectedly made their way back to their iconic Star Trek roles many years later.
"To be honest, over a year ago, I was at the Hollywood Bowl with one of the producers and he, after about four glasses of champagne, [brought up the possibility]," Ryan shared, admitting that she wasn't planning on a return. "I kept hearing it from other creators of the show over the course of the year. But I never thought it was going to happen. And here we are!"
It was a lovefest for Del Arco, who said returning to the hours-long makeup process to get into character as the Borg was worth it to reunite with Patrick Stewart: "Getting to work with Patrick again, that was worth the life mask," he said.
"When I heard they were doing Star Trek: Picard, I said, Do you have anybody for the role of Picard yet? And they hung up on me but I spoke to Patrick and he said there's a possibility [for a part] and would you think about appearing on the show? I said, 'I don't think I can do that.' And then he started crying and I just couldn't take it!" Spiner joked. "The possibility of standing next to Patrick on a set again was more than I could say no to. And I had to consider the fans as well. To think that this was going to happen and that there was a possibility that I might be there. There was no way I could refuse that. Of course I had to be there."
Before the surprise Star Trek reunion, Stewart addressed the excited Hall H crowd, expressing his gratitude for having the opportunity to return as Jean-Luc.
"I woke up this morning reading the script, as I always do, and learning lines for what we're shooting on Monday and there was one line, 'We never know, do we, when our last moment will be,'" Stewart said about his return to the Star Trek universe after nearly two decades. "For me, I can twist that: We never know, do we, when our best moment will be, and that is now."
"I knew that something very unusual was going to happen and I wanted to be a part of it, to imagine that something like this would go ahead and I wouldn't be there would be so defeatist so here I am, and I'm very, very happy to be here," he shared.
Kurtzman revealed that Picard will be more character-based than other Star Trek series. "It's entirely different. It all started with Patrick, actually," he said. "Picard is at a point where he's questioning many of the choices that he's made and [OK] with the choices he's made."
Picard, set 20 years after Star Trek: Next Generation ended, follows the former Starfleet admiral as he enjoys retirement tending to his own vineyard, Chateau Picard, with a furry companion by his side in the "next chapter" of his life. But something, or rather someone, lures him back to Starfleet when he's questioned about his premature departure from Starfleet 15 years ago.
Alison Pill, Michelle Hurd, Evan Evagora, Isa Briones, Santiago Cabrera and Harry Treadaway star alongside Stewart in Picard, which is being run by best-selling novelist/showrunner Michael Chabon. Get your first look at the new photos below.
"Patrick was very clear to us in the beginning: He did not want to repeat what he had already done. And by the way, it’s been 20-plus years, so he couldn’t possibly be that same person anymore," Kurtzman said at the time. "So the question becomes: What has happened to him in that period of time? Have there been occurrences that force him to reckon with choices that he’s made in his life? How do you hold on to being the person everybody loved when the circumstances around you may have changed so radically? Those are the big questions that we’re asking."
Kurtzman also gave insight into what the creative conversations have been like with Stewart, who is an executive producer on Picard.
"Patrick didn’t want to put handcuffs on us in any way by saying, 'I don’t want to do this and I don’t want to do that.' He said, 'I want you to have the freedom to explore this character from a new perspective and I will always know in my gut if it feels like something he would or wouldn’t do,'" he said earlier this year. "That’s the conversation that we have as we’re building it scene to scene."
Stewart announced that he was going reprise his role as Jean-Luc Picard for CBS All Access in August 2018. "I feel I'm ready to return to him for the same reason -- to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times," Stewart said at the time. "I look forward to working with our brilliant creative team as we endeavor to bring a fresh, unexpected and pertinent story to life once more."
Stewart played Captain Picard in Star Trek: New Generation for its seven-season run from 1987 to 1994. He reprised his role in the movies Star Trek Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).