Few issues are surer to get applause at Comedian-Con Worldwide than bringing the actor Patrick Stewart onto a stage. As each Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Subsequent Technology (and flicks) and Professor X from one of many X-Males film timelines, Stewart is (as one panel moderator put it) the O Captain My Captain of a era. When CBS introduced final 12 months that the community’s second new Star Trek collection to run on its streaming community would middle on Picard, nicely, that was like replicating purple meat for the bottom. Bringing Stewart to Comedian-Con’s Corridor H to speak about boldly going again to taking part in Picard? That is tectonic.
But it surely additionally shines a supernova-bright gentle onto Star Trek’s deeper problem. Like all of the longest-lived style names—Physician Who, James Bond, even the now-adolescent Marvel Cinematic Universe—the burden of the previous has to steadiness towards creativity and the longer term. It’s an issue that any subscriber-based enterprise will acknowledge: retention vs. acquisition. “Folks have perceived that Trek is restricted in what it may be, and our thesis is that it needs to be what it has already been to everyone,” stated Alex Kurtzman, an government producer of Trek exhibits, from the rostrum at Corridor H. “However it may be extra and has to increase.” Paradoxically, Kurtzman wasn’t even speaking in regards to the new present, Picard. He was speaking about one other new present, Star Trek: Decrease Decks, an animated comedy run by one of many creators of Rick and Morty. So, yeah. The challenges are actual.
Kurtzman and the remainder of the manufacturing staff insisted that they weren’t attempting to make a sequel to Subsequent Technology. The present will happen 20 years after Nemesis, the film wherein Stewart final performed the character, and it’ll reference a few of the backstory from the primary J. J. Abrams reboot film, when Picard is older, retired from Starfleet and the usEnterprise, and has apparently had some reversals of fortune. If any actor has the chops to do The House Lion in Winter-House, it’s the Shakespeare-trained Stewart. When the present’s going to be run by the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon, that makes it much more of a yes-please.
However this can be a laborious wormhole to string; Trekkies are gonna be Trekkies. They need Trekkie stuff. “There’s your complete universe to have in mind once you’re making up these tales,” stated Kristen Beyer, one other Star Trek author. “By coping with a special time in his life, and actually the lifetime of any starship captain or lead character you’ve ever seen earlier than, it’s a rare alternative to see essentially the most unknown, unexperienced a part of his journey.”
A brand new trailer launched right this moment on the con replicated sufficient purple meat for a military of red-shirted safety officers. The search that brings Picard again into Starfleet’s orbit (gotcha) confirmed a Borg dice, the forbidding spacecraft of the alien collective that after absorbed Picard himself. It additionally hinted that reviving Information, a beloved android crew member of the TNG Enterprise, was within the playing cards—actually, because it confirmed Picard taking part in playing cards with Information, and Brent Spiner, the actor who performed him, got here out on stage to announce his return within the present. Jeri Ryan’s part-Borg character Seven of 9, from the present Star Trek: Voyager, additionally makes an look, and the panel introduced that first officer Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Counselor Troi (Marina Sirtis) have been additionally to seem. That is some A-plus Star Trekking, and the room was into it. Even Stewart appeared greater than recreation. “I learn a line in a scene that comes up on Monday the place I say, ‘We by no means know, will we, when our final second can be?’ For me, I can twist that just a little and say, we by no means know, will we, when our greatest second can be?” Stewart stated. “That’s now.”
Captain Picard can nonetheless stick the dismount on a speech.
If CBS All Entry, the streaming community that’s going to hold Picard in addition to the third season of sibling present Star Trek: Discovery and the brand new animated present Decrease Decks, goes to succeed, it has to succeed in past simply Trek followers like me. Picard isn’t going to make me subscribe any more durable than I already do. Discovery is time-jumping 1,000 years into the longer term subsequent season, its panel introduced, which implies reducing it off from the enjoyable classic-era Trek characters like Captain Pike who made Season 2 so vigorous. That’s dangerous, however it additionally means the present gained’t have to search out life within the interstices between episodes of tv folks have already seen. That’s good. It will possibly change into one thing new, for brand spanking new viewers. Identical goes for the cartoon, which can happen within the Star Trek “current,” if you realize what I imply. In the event that they work, the brand new exhibits can increase past the bottom, and perhaps hold CBS All Entry in enterprise. Heather Kadin, a co-executive producer, stated that each one these totally different varieties of recent exhibits—much more are in improvement—might be for “individuals who haven’t had an entry level into Star Trek but.” Acquisition and retention, keep in mind?
I’m all for it. The extra, the merrier. Plus, Stewart says he desires to play the half once more. I do know I’m the core of the core viewers, however I keep in mind a line from TNG’s collection finale, when Picard was leaping by way of time into his dotage. Sooner or later-Picard timeline, his outdated crewmates are initially skeptical that Picard’s having a science fiction factor; they assume he would possibly simply be delusional. Dr. Crusher, the Enterprise’s medical officer and by then Picard’s ex-wife, gained’t hear it. “He’s Jean-Luc Picard,” Crusher says, “and if he desires to go on another mission, that’s what we’re going to do.” Set course, y’all. We’re doing this.