'Star Trek: Picard': What You Need to Know Before Diving Into the CBS All Access Series

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Watch the premiere of Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access now.

Star Trek: Picard is here!

Yet the most exciting aspect of CBS All Access’ anticipated series, Star Trek: Picard, is not the fact that it’s going to be set further into the future than any Trek series has before. There are dozens of loose ends and questions leftover from the 1990s Trek era that could be wrapped up: Will Benjamin Sisko re-appear from the Bajoran spirit realm? Was Ensign Harry Kim ever promoted? If Jean-Luc Picard is willing to throw up the “engage” hand gesture once again, the possibilities are endless for the future of the Star Trek universe.

Watch the premiere of Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access now.

But none of these questions are on the forefront of everyone’s mind when it comes to Star Trek: Picard, which returns Sir Patrick Stewart in the titular role. It’s been well over a year since the CBS All Access show was first announced (it's already been renewed), and finally, it’s here for all to enjoy. With the series’ first episode streaming now, here is everything you need to know (or remember!) before diving into Star Trek: Picard

When did we last see Jean-Luc Picard?

Star Trek: Picard
Trae Patton/CBS

In 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis, the final movie of The Next Generation film series, the ensemble lost an O.G. character. Commander Data (Brent Spiner), the galaxy’s most advanced and human-like android, sacrificed himself to save Picard’s life. It was a devastating loss for the crew, as well as devotee’s of the fan-favorite character. Data’s death was a drop in the tragedy bucket for Picard, who over the course of seven seasons, 178 episodes and four movies, had endured countless life-altering events and tragedies. His temporary assimilation with The Borg and the ensuing PTSD effects. Torture at the hands of Cardassians. And the death of his brother and young nephew.

As for the rest of the crew, Riker and Deanna are now married. Ocular implants allowed Geordi to lose his trademark visor. Along with Dr. Crusher, the last we saw of the main cast remained stationed on board the Enterprise with Picard at the end of Nemesis. Although, Worf had become the Klingon ambassador to the Federation prior to the film’s events. Wil Wheaton, who portrayed Crusher’s son Wesley, will be hosting a Star Trek: Picard after-show that will air following each episode on CBS All Access. 

Star Trek: Picard timeline
Entertainment Tonight

What happened after Star Trek: Nemesis

Star Trek: Picard
Trae Patton/CBS

Soon after Star Trek: Picard was announced, co-creator Alex Kurtzman revealed that the events of J.J. AbramsStar Trek film franchise would have a major impact on the character. (Kurtzman was also a co-writer on a few of the movies.) Mainly, the destruction of Romulus, the home planet for Romulans, a perennial antagonist within the franchise. Eric Bana played the Romulan leader Nero in the 2009 movie, who sought revenge against Spock. The iconic Trek character had tried and failed to save the planet from destruction by the impact of a nearby star about to go supernova. 

Both Nero’s ship and Spock were thrust into a black hole that had been formed as a result, which in turn landed them in an alternate timeline (not to be confused with Trek’s “mirror universe”) and a brand new origin story for the Enterprise crew that played out across three feature films. (Still with us? The average viewer probably won’t need to conceptualize all of that week to week.)

“You commanded the greatest rescue armada in history.” With this voice-over dialogue from the first teaser trailer for Star Trek: Picard, additional clarification was gained at how these events would end up impacting Picard. We now know that he had led an enormous rescue mission that, like Spock’s, had failed to save the lives of everyone on Romulus. 

What do we need to know before watching Star Trek: Picard?

Star Trek: Picard
Trae Patton/CBS

From the very first trailer, we witnessed a retired Picard having a conversation with Commander Data. This sight actually came after a series of surprising reveals with connections to past Trek. There’s a Borg ship sighting and the return of two other former members of the Borg collective, Jeri Ryan’s Seven of Nine and Jonathan Del Arco’s Hugh. The rehabilitation of Seven played out over the course of Star Trek: Voyager, while audiences have, until now, only seen Hugh at the very beginning of his journey in The Next Generation

Isa Briones (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story) plays Dahj, the catalyst for Picard leaving his beautiful French vineyard as he sets out to learn how and why she feels a connection with him. Other newcomers in the cast include Alison Pill (The Newsroom), Michelle Hurd (Blindspot), Evan Evagora (Fantasy Island), Harry Treadaway (The Crown) and Santiago Cabrera (Big Little Lies). 

“He did not want to repeat himself. He did not want to do what had already been done,” Kurtzman recently told ET’s Leanne Aguilera of Stewart’s intention with the series. The prospect of fresh stories and new characters was a major force in getting Stewart to sign on for another Star Trek adventure. “He wanted to pay all respect and homage to The Next Generation and to the fans of The Next Generation, but he's not that character anymore 20-plus years later.”

Kurtzman also revealed the story behind another of Stewart’s major contributions to the series: the inclusion of Picard’s newest Number One, his four-legged friend. “He was like, ‘We are endorsing the pitbulls on the show,’ and I said, ‘Great!’” Kurtzman said.

Yes, we’ll see the returns of Spiner’s Data, Jonathan Frakes’ Commander Riker and Marina Sirtis’ Deanna Troi. But the creators know that Star Trek: Picard is already repeating history. For the second time, Stewart is at the helm of a Star Trek TV show that jumps ahead in the timeline and, once again, arrives in the midst of a new renaissance for the franchise. With that step already taken, the series is free to hit warp nine into the unknown and redefine “the final frontier” for contemporary times.

The first episode of Star Trek: Picard is available to stream on CBS All Access, with subsequent episodes dropping every Thursday.

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