Patrick Stewart beamed into the Javits Centre for New York Comic Con this past weekend with a few friends and an absolutely incredible new look at Star Trek: Picard. Building on the complex world we saw established in its first trailer, decades after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, here’s what we spotted in our new look at Jean-Luc’s next adventure.
The trailer opens in the familiar vineyards of Chateau Picard in La Barre, which Jean-Luc has now taken over after the death of his brother and nephew in a fire at the estate, something he learned way back in Star Trek: Generations. But something isn’t quite right.
We don’t see Jean-Luc here first, but instead, Data (Brent Spiner), wearing his yellow operations uniform from The Next Generation and painting on a canvas. Funny thing for a dead android to be doing, given that Data sacrificed himself in the climax of Star Trek: Nemesis — which Picard is set approximately two decades after.
It’s only when Picard enters the picture, also clad in his TNG uniform, that we realise things are certainly less real here, and perhaps more of a dream, something that would make sense given the first trailer showed us Picard still lamenting Data’s sacrifice. But while the dream state is interesting, what’s more interesting is what Data is painting.
“Would you like to finish it, Captain?” Data asks as he offers his paint brush and we see the incomplete painting is of a cloaked woman looking out at a stormy sea. Her face is not yet filled in, but given what we saw of the new character and seemingly former Borg Dahj’s (Isa Briones) appearance in the prior trailer, could this be less of a dream that’s about Picard remembering the past, and more of a vision of his immediate future?
“I don’t know how,” Picard sadly tells Data, before the android tells him otherwise — and the offering of the brush seems to spark flashbacks in Jean-Luc’s head. An unknown world on fire, as ships of an unknown design raze it from above. The green lights on the ships might indicate that these are Romulan — they certainly don’t match up with the Valdore-esque warbirds we saw in the last trailer.
It’s hard to say if these flashbacks are of an unknown attack or are somehow part of the rescue-operation-gone-wrong in the wake of the destruction of Romulus (which occurred in the prime-timeline parts of the 2009 Star Trek movie, and are canonical to this series) that lead to Picard retiring from Starfleet before the events of the show.
Picard wakes from his dream with a lick or two from his new best friend, Number One the pit bull. We have nothing to add here beyond the fact that this dog is still incredibly cute.
“I came here to find safety,” Picard tells us as he and Dog Number One go for a stroll in the vineyards of Chateau Picard. “But one is never safe from the past,” he continues...
As his rest is interrupted by the arrival of Dahj, begging for help and claiming that someone is after her. Dahj’s true identity of being a liberated Borg drone — akin to Jean-Luc after he briefly became Locutus in TNG’s iconic “The Best of Both Worlds” two-parter — was something the first trailer for Picard really got into, but we’ll see more of it later here.
For now, Jean-Luc heads back to Starfleet HQ in San Francisco. Funnily enough, this panning shot of the Golden Gate Bridge covered in solar panels is practically identical to one seen in Star Trek: Discovery’s second season finale, “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2,” with a few extra buildings added to the futuristic San Franscisco skyline to indicate that yes, things have changed since the 23rd century!
What’s also changed is the legacy Picard has in Starfleet’s history, still being felt years after his retirement. He is confronted with it literally, in the form of a massive holographic projection of a Galaxy-Class starship in Starfleet’s lobby while checking in for an appointment — it’s hard to see the registration or ship name on the Hologram but there stands a very good chance that this is indeed the Enterprise-D, Picard’s former command.
But even if it is, and Starfleet still lauds the heroism of one of its most famous captains, a (ahem) new generation has come along and swept Jean-Luc into the annals of history, he learns, as he has to begrudgingly spell out his name to a hapless desk officer, who tells him it’s nice to see the former Captain “up and about.” Stewart’s face here while slapping on his visitor badge is priceless.
“We have an obligation to investigate,” Picard tells the same Admiral we saw him meeting with in the first trailer, as we’re treated to another familiar shot from that initial reveal: Picard and an unidentified, white-robed character, walking through a massive archive. “There is no we, Jean-Luc,” that Admiral counters, as we see something new:
A door opens in front of Jean-Luc to reveal what very much looks like a new kind of Noonien Soong android, the same kind of android Data (and his brother Lore) were. And not just one, but a whole rafter of them, stamped with labels on their foreheads and clad in orange jumpsuits.
Is this where Doctor Jurati (Alison Pill) is working, glimpsed in the last trailer in which she had a copy of what appeared to be either the body of B-4 — the antagonistic copy of Data turned potential ally in Nemesis, where it was also heavily implied that Data had uploaded all his memories and personality into before his death — or a new body for Data? If so, why are there suddenly so many new Soong Androids in development?
But what if they’re something else? As Jean-Luc’s argument with the Starfleet Admiral gets more intense — she tells him that Starfleet is no longer “your house” and that he should back down and go home — we get a shot of a walkway in what appears to be the same facility.
The same white-clad assistants milling around as the one Picard was seen, the same drones flying around. Except, we see more of people in jumpsuits, and — this appears to be the same place Dahj was seen in the first trailer, wearing a very similar orange jumpsuit.
A place that was being guarded by Romulans, packed with things that looked awfully like Borg regeneration alcoves, and had signs declaring how many years the facility had gone without an assimilation. So maybe these racks of jumpsuited androids have something to do with the Borg, as well? Maybe they, like Dahj, were former drones?
That wouldn’t explain why these beings Jean-Luc sees seem to be identical and are being corralled into storage like they were disposable servants — harkening back to the ethical dilemma Picard and Data confronted back in “Measure of a Man” about the rights of androids in the Federation. But it raises even more questions about what’s really going on with Dahj. Why are former Borg and what look like Soong Androids being kept in the same facility? And if they are, by who, alongside what’s left of the Romulans?
Before we’re left to ponder too much, we rejoin Picard at what appears to be Chateau Picard once more, enjoying a drink with an unfamiliar character after he’s sent packing by Starfleet Command. “I have to help her,” Picard opines, as his unknown guest asks “You really wanna go back out into the cold?”
Hell yeah he does.
Jean-Luc puts back on his old combadge — not his early TNG one, but the updated badge seen in Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and the Next Generation films.
And so, as Jean-Luc heads off on a mission of his own, without Starfleet’s backing, we begin to see him build up his new crew. We kick off with a familiar Star Trek filming locale, as Picard jets off to meet with his first candidate: These are the Vasquez Rocks, an iconic part of the Agua Dulce, California park that has played host to multiple Star Trek series, beginning of course as the sight of Kirk’s infamous beatdown with the Gorn in “Arena.”
Among the sharply jutting rocks, Picard meets Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd). We still don’t know much about Musiker other than that she, like Picard, is ex-Starfleet and has a connection to his past. A sour one, it seems, given that when told by Jean-Luc that he has a plan to help Dahj, Musiker sarcastically mocks him about “another top-secret, unauthorised rescue mission.” So, presumably, she was part of the same rescue operation Picard led that ultimately resulted in his exit from Starfleet. And not just his, but perhaps Musiker’s as well, on more ignoble terms.
We quickly cut to a shot of what appears to be another world, and a high-tech facility floating above a futuristic city. This at least appears to be where Doctor Agnes Jurati works (and is keeping that B-4/Lore/Data/Whoever the hell’s body is in storage).
“This is everything that ever mattered to me,” Jurati tells Picard, as we cut to a separate scene of her demanding to join him on his mission. Press material for the character described Jurati as “confused with her place in the world,” so if she’s researching Soong Androids and suddenly finds there might be a connection to a new swath of them and liberated Borg like Dahj, as this trailer implies, that seems like reason enough for her to join Team Picard.
Another quick cut to another world — this one much more low-tech and briefly glimpsed in the last trailer as where Picard got manhandled by some Romulan guards — and another member of Picard’s new team: Elnor (Evan Evagora), wielding his sword in front of what appears to be that same establishment Picard encountered those Romulans.
Given what appears to be a cosmetic update to Romulan makeup for Picard that heavily downplays the forehead ridges that contrasted them from their sister species, the Vulcans, it’s still hard to tell if Elnor is a Romulan who goes against whatever his fellow Romulans are cooking up with the Borg, or a Vulcan that just happens to be a bit of a Samurai-esque figure roaming the galaxy brandishing space-katanas at people.
“I need your skill and your courage,” Picard says, as we get a shot of Picard’s final new crewmate: Chris Rio (Santiago Cabrera), another Ex-Starfleet officer who now captains the vessel Picard commandeers for his new adventure.
Meanwhile, we cut back to the damaged Borg Cube we saw a bunch of Romulans working away on in the first trailer, and are treated to a grisly shot of a medical bay where bloodied parts of Borg are being hung up and experimented on. Given the corpses on the floor, it seems like things have gone very wrong. Whoever could’ve predicted that? But look in the background — there’s a blonde woman sobbing over the body on the slab...
...and it’s none other than Star Trek: Voyager’s very own liberated Borg, Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), wailing as she hugs the body of what looks like a Starfleet officer — look at the red shoulders on their uniform. But who is it that Seven is mourning? The hair and the command red has had a lot of people speculating that, somehow, it’s Commander Chakotay, Robert Beltran’s ex-Maquis-turned-first-officer from Voyager, who Seven entered into a... let’s say controversial, out of nowhere romantic relationship with in the final episodes of Voyager’s seventh and last season.
It’s hard to say for sure: there’s enough obfuscation that we can’t see Chakotay’s face tattoo on the body (we’re looking at the side it would be on, too), but unless this is a flashback, Picard takes place in the late 24th century — 20 years post-Nemesis is around 2399. Voyager returned from the Delta Quadrant in 2378. If this was Chakotay, wouldn’t he look... older? And what would he be doing hanging around in a Borg Cube, anyway?
But even if Chakotay is some unlikely speculation, there’s a far more interesting character it could be — Icheb, the Brunali former Drone the crew of Voyager liberated alongside several other young drones in the sixth season episode “Collective.”
Not only did Icheb stay with the crew when it returned to the Alpha Quadrant, before they even returned and established communication with Starfleet, he applied for and passed the Starfleet Academy entrance exam. Presumably, Icheb would’ve gone on to make a career in Starfleet when Voyager got home, and being a liberated Borg, he would be an intriguing candidate for whatever experiments the Romulans are working on — and a suitably devastating victim for Seven to find.
Whoever it is, it means there’s a Starfleet connection to whatever the Romulans are doing on this Cube, and that Seven’s been conducting a mission of her own.
“The past is written,” Jean-Luc’s narration tells us, “But we are left to write the future.” It’s cut to imply that Picard is saying this to Rio, as we see the Captain instruct his new motley crew to hold on as the ship warps off into space. The ship appears to be a new design for Picard, not of Federation or Starfleet design, and yet kind of like someone took a Centaur-class ship and covered it in some boxy extra armour. It’s cool!
It’s not long before we get to see it in some very interesting action, too, as Rio’s ship and an unidentified vessel open fire on what is a very familiar ship: a Romulan Warbird. And not just any warbird, but the Bird-of-Prey, the iconic 23rd-century Romulan ship class introduced back in the original Star Trek. What the hell is one doing in the late 24th century?
Well, given that Romulus itself has been wiped out with the Hobus star going supernova in 2387, it stands to reason that what is left of the Romulan Star Empire at this point is in a state of disarray. If much of the modern fleet was wiped out in Romulus’ destruction, maybe they’ve had to fall back on adapting old ships to 24th century standards?
Speaking of old tech in futuristic settings, back on the world where Picard meets Elnor, we see him get into a swordfight with a Romulan guard outside that restaurant. Jean-Luc’s still got it — and we also get two quick shots of a mysterious masked figure smashing open a window somewhere, as well as Jurati and Rio celebrating aboard the ship.
Back on the Cube, we flashback to Dahj’s imprisonment at the hands of the Romulans. “She was sent for a reason,” a female Romulan says — it might not be, but it looks like the still unnamed (but apparently played by Peyton List) Romulan who was glimpsed in the first teaser, working with Narek (Harry Treadaway). In the past trailer, Narek appeared to be some kind of scientist, but here, he’s getting information out of Dahj through some, err...intensive field testing? “I’ll get the information we need,” Narek tells his ally. He’ll get more than that.
Elnor unseathes his sword in a dark environment that looks an awful lot like this Borg Cube. So perhaps Dahj, having escaped once already and fled straight to Jean-Luc, is recaptured by the Romulans and Picard’s mission to rescue her sees this new crew infiltrate the Cube? We also get a brief glimpse of what appears to be the same locale of another familiar face...
It’s Hugh the Borg (Jonathan Del Arco)! Del Arco’s return was confirmed at San Diego Comic-Con, but we get to see him here for the first time. Introduced in the TNG season five episode “I, Borg”, Hugh was a drone — originally named Third of Five — who gained a semblance of his humanity back after an encounter with the Enterprise.
Instead of being fully liberated, however, Hugh returned to the collective with his regained individuality, and later on, appeared in another story that saw Data’s evil brother Lore return. Once again, connections between liberated Borg and Soong Androids...
Elsewhere, Seven brushes up against Picard — this appears to be from the meeting between the duo teased in the original SDCC trailer. “I help people who have no one else to help them,” Seven tells Jean-Luc. It would appear that they’re both investigating whatever the hell is up with the Romulans and liberated Borg like themselves (without the help of Starfleet, to boot), but Seven’s been up to it way longer than Picard has.
— TrekCore.com ???? (@TrekCore) October 6, 2019
Interestingly, Trek Core got up close and personal with Seven’s outfit from Picard at NYCC, and there’s a lot of little Romulan-esque details too it, from the avian-themed zipper to the brown and green hues that could seemingly indicate that Seven is working with the Romulans — or a faction of Romulans that isn’t too keen on whatever the ones on the Borg Cube are up to — to investigate.
Look. I’m not even going to explain what’s going on here. Just... rejoice in it. Rejoice in its splendour. Resistance is futile, indeed.
That moment of Star Trek: Voyager fanservice smash-cuts into a moment of profound The Next Generation fanservice. A young boy calls for his busy father to leave their ramshackle cabin and greet a guest: Picard himself. The father turns...
...and facing the arrived Picard is Number One himself. Not the dog this time, but former Enterprise first officer William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes). “Hello, Will,” Picard says to a very surprised-looking Riker.
That’s not the only familiar face however, as outside the Riker residence we see Picard embrace Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis). Frakes and Sirtis’ return for the series were confirmed at San Diego Comic Con too, but this is our first time since Enterprise’s controversial final episode that we’ve seen them again. It’s been too long, for either or us Jean-Luc it seems.
Another rapid-fire set of shots tease some peculiar moments. We get to see more of Rio’s ship battling the Bird-of-Prey, someone dribbling a soccer ball aboard Rio’s ship, a mysterious conclave of black-robed individuals circling a suddenly-activated circle of light on the ground, and Hugh leading both Dahj and Picard through the bowels of what is presumably the Borg Cube.
“We all have a story...” Picard’s narrates, as we see a few more intriguing scattered shots — a triangular-card-game being played, Jurati and Rio getting romantic, and those same ships from Picard’s flashbacks, now with blue lighting, assaulting some kind of space station.
“...that is waiting to be claimed,” Picard continues, as a few more shots flash by. A distressed Seven. A young girl at a rain-soaked window (maybe it’s a young, pre-assimilation Dahj?). Musiker, checking a phaser. And Dahj seemingly in agony as she’s horrifically burned.
The Dahj shot is the most interesting, as, judging by her outfit, this is from her initial escape to Jean-Luc — in the background, you can see the steps she was fighting a bunch of mysterious masked soldiers on while Picard looked on in the original trailer. So maybe what’s happening here is some kind of violent disabling or transporter effect and she’s recaptured?
Anyway, one more shot of that classic Bird of Prey chasing Rio’s ship later, and we’re back outside the Riker household, as Jean-Luc and Will relax by the waterfront. “Thank you for not trying to talk me out of all this,” the good Captain says to his former Number One.
“Believe me, I know better,” Riker retorts. Damn straight, Will.
While this latest look at Picard might be a little less dense than our first glimpse back in San Diego, it still gives us plenty of mysteries to ponder — we get to at least see more of what has happened to the Romulans in the time since Nemesis and the destruction of their Homeworld, but are also left with intriguing hints of what has become of the Federation itself in the time since Picard left service.
Changes that, it seems, have inspired other familiar faces to join in him making their own paths beyond the uniforms of Starfleet. And that’s before we get into the mystery of what Soong Androids could have to do with all this...
Not much longer till we get some answers, though: Star Trek: Picard hits Amazon Prime Video starting in January 2020.