Little time has passed since the announcement that Patrick Stewart is reprising his role as Jean-Luc Picard in a new Star Trek series set the sci-fi world on fire. Since then, though, there’s been mostly wondering and not a lot of knowing exactly what that new series will be. Honestly, there’s a lot of possibilities, and many have weighed-in, but nobody really knows anything. So, I guess it’s my turn. Here’s what I think the new Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek series should be about.
Jean-Luc Picard was always a diplomat at heart
I’m totally down with the idea of a show about Ambassador Picard.
Think about it. I think a great many of us would love a reboot of The Next Generation with him as captain, but they’ve made it clear that’s not what we’re getting. It’s going to be something new that finds the character exploring “the next chapter” of his life. Having him serve as a diplomat would definitely qualify, and it opens up a lot of interesting possibilities. This would be especially true if it was something like an Ambassador At-Large position.
If he was simply a typical ambassador, treating with, say, the Klingons, that would mean tethering every storyline in that corner of the Star Trek universe. Now, don’t get me wrong: the Klingon-centered stories during The Next Generation era were some of my favorites. I think, however, it would get stale at some point. Jean-Luc Picard is, frankly, too great an asset for Starfleet to park him in one place. Making him mobile would make for a much better show, I think.
He doesn’t necessarily even need his own ship. We’ve seen many instances where starships were tasked with ferrying diplomats around the galaxy. That’s exactly what should happen with our Jean-Luc. This would allow him to be on different ships/starbases and interacting with different crews on a regular basis. That way, we get to see more of the fleet, new ships, new uniforms, and be updated on the timeline 20 years post-Nemesis, etc.
This would even eventually allow for cameos from the old crew. We know that none of them are participating in the new show at this point, but it’s still very early. They only recently assembled a writing room. Even if none of the old Next Generation crew appear in the first season, that doesn’t mean they can’t later.
Wouldn’t it be great to eventually see Captain Riker welcoming his old mentor aboard the U.S.S. Titan, catching up after years spent apart? Wouldn’t it be captivating to explore Counselor Troi noticing that Picard is silently carrying the weight of the Dominion War? Don’t worry, I’ll get to that later.
How about we do revisit those great Next Generation Klingan episodes, after all, when Ambassador Worf calls in Jean-Luc for assistance with some prickly situation? Michael Dorn has been trying to get a show like that off the ground for years, so this could be his chance. It might even serve as a back-door pilot for a Worf-centered series. At least a Klingon-centric limited series? The possibilities are almost endless.
Virtually endless story potential
Having Jean-Luc Picard serve as a more mobile kind of diplomat would allow for versatile storytelling. It would never get stale, if handled correctly. He could visit established Star Trek species, along with carrying out first contact missions. This would mean episodes like the amazing “Darmok,” as well as stories centered on the Romulans, Klingons, etc.
The Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek series would also have amazing potential for character development. This is one instance where what I was saying earlier about the Dominion War could come into play. That storyline played out on Deep Space 9, but we know there’s no way Jean-Luc Picard and the Enterprise weren’t involved. It’s the flagship of the fleet, after all. The new show could allow us to delve more deeply into how his participation in that conflict left scars on our hero. There’s no way something like that wouldn’t have affected him very deeply.
A bit more nuanced depiction of Jean-Luc Picard?
Might he even be somewhat disillusioned and less optimistic? He spent his entire career in Starfleet carrying out diplomatic pursuits. It was made very clear during The Next Generation era that he believed Starfleet to be a peacekeeping entity with a mission of exploration. Having that organization shift gears toward a war-footing could easily be portrayed as having shaken his faith.
We also know from The Next Generation series finale that Jean-Luc has the potential of developing a serious neurological disorder later in life. How would fore-knowledge of a potentially ignominious future affect him personally? How would it affect his relationships with other people? The series could eventually depict him beginning to experience early symptoms. This could open up the potential for a lot of really compelling episodes, delving into mental health issues of the elderly. Hulu’s Castle Rock recently showed us how such issues can be explored very interestingly and respectfully. There is a wealth of dramatic material there for the taking – enough for it to play out in the background for several seasons at least. I, for one, think it could be absolutely engrossing.
The Next Generation era deserved better
I’ve been hoping we would eventually get to revisit The Next Generation era at some point. Honestly, having everything just stop after Nemesis was difficult to handle for a long-time fan like myself. I’m sure I can’t be alone in that. In the end, revisiting an older, more stately Picard feels like coming home to me. It has the potential to be a much more fitting bookend for an era of Star Trek and a character beloved by so many.
Anyway, that’s my opinion of what the upcoming Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek series should be about. One thing is certain: I’m really looking forward to it, whatever creative direction they choose to take.
What do you think? Does my idea sound like a show you would watch, or do you think it should be done better differently? Or, like me, are you going to watch either way?