Many Star Trek fans will have a favorite captain, whether that’s the stubborn charm of Captain Kirk, the antagonistic brutality of Captain Sisko, or the contradictory nature of Captain Janeway. But one captain’s popularity seems to never provoke debate, eternally admired for his charisma and adaptability in diplomacy, and that is no other than Jean-Luc Picard.
If there was to be a new series starring one of these older famed captains, it would stand to reason that Captain Picard would be the obvious choice. Captain Kirk has been portrayed by both William Shatner and Chris Pine in different timelines, already the most recognizable captain in the series with an already saturated demand. While both Captain Sisko and Captain Janeway perhaps don’t command the same popularity as Picard or Kirk, with both not nearly as recognizable to the wide audience.
The trailer unveiled at the 2019 Comic-Con International: San Diego shows a retired Picard returning to action after a currently unnamed girl sought his assistance. The stage is set nearly twenty years after Data (Brent Spiner) was destroyed in Star Trek: Nemesis, the fourth and final film to star the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It seems to show a rather morose Picard, still in remorse over the death of his much-loved android friend, who sacrificed his life to save his.
A new younger cast is shown, with a Vulcan who in the trailer doesn’t seem to have many Vulcan personality traits, but that could well just be the editing. The only cast to be shown from Star Trek: The Next Generation are Picard and Data, with Will Riker and Deanna Troi peculiar omissions. It would be odd not to find out which direction the other crew members had taken, including the ever insufferable Wesley Crusher, who was promised to be some kind of gift to God.
Rather than focusing on what has been excluded, however, it’s far more exciting to see what was included. Perhaps the strangest reveal was Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), who was first introduced in Star Trek: Voyager, and has never been portrayed alongside Picard before. The merging of several series is certainly a clever idea, particularly as The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager all existed in the same timeline. Indeed, Picard was seen in the first episode of Deep Space Nine, unveiling an awkward confrontation between him and Sisko.
However, there is something much more unsettling that links these three series together, and it was unveiled near the end of the trailer: the Borg. This is why Seven of Nine is such a clever addition as she and Picard are intrinsically linked to each other like no other human can be as they’ve both previously been assimilated by the Borg. This is perhaps where the young woman that approached Picard for help is intrinsically linked too.
The Borg are without a doubt the most merciless antagonist that the Star Trek universe has created. While the Romulans were cunning and the Klingons were brutal, the empty shell that a Borg drone inhibits without a distinct individual identity, just a hivemind that assimulates other worlds to its collective, is by far the most terrifying.
And this is the hopeful direction of the upcoming Star Trek: Picard series. It’s no secret that the Borg left a permanent scar on Picard’s mind, a fragile wound that had been exposed many times after, particularly his guilt towards Captain Sisko, who lost his wife because of his actions while assimulated. In many ways, the Borg remained unfinished business for Picard. The only question left to ask is whether the Federation is ready for the Borg this time?
They’ve had nearly twenty years, can they resist assimilation one last time? Quite frankly, I’m ready to be assimilated into another Captain Picard adventure. Engage.