Star Trek fans briefly turned into Internet archaeologists today after CBS posted, then quickly took down, the first trailer for Star Trek: Picard. Earlier this morning, Entertainment Weekly appeared to have taken down a story about the reveal, but luckily for everyone else the trailer still showed up in Google results as “Star Trek: Picard first trailer released.” (And this being the Internet, of course, mirrored versions of the trailer soon existed everywhere, showing us the first public glimpse of a show that was last teased at CBS’ Upfront presentation in March.)
With rampant unofficial footage of the captain officially out of retirement, however, CBS soon righted the ship and debuted the teaser via the @StarTrek Twitter feed, noting it comes on the anniversary of The Next Generation‘s series finale.
25 years ago today, ‘All Good Things’ brought us to an end. The end is only the beginning. #StarTrekPicard to stream exclusively on @CBSAllAccess in the United States, Amazon #PrimeVideo in more than 200 countries, in Canada on @SpaceChannel & @CraveCanada https://t.co/MQp0eP0ovM pic.twitter.com/m9sDqvS8Mo
— Star Trek (@StarTrek) May 23, 2019
“Fifteen years ago today you led us out of the darkness,” a voiceover intones elliptically over a vineyard that evokes images of the potential future in Next Generation finale All Good Things…. “You commanded the greatest rescue armada in history. Then, the unimaginable. What did that cost you? Your faith? Your faith in us? Your faith in yourself?”
As we see a crate of Bourgogne bottles labeled Chateau Picard, the voiceover concludes: “Tell us, why did you leave Starfleet, Admiral?” Focus in on Patrick Stewart’s stony face and cut to a logo shot over a gentle flute version of the Next Generation theme’s opening sting. (Hey, I know a Starfleet captain who plays the flute!)
Stewart said at Star Trek Las Vegas this month that “20 years will have passed” between the Next Generation setting we know and the Picard series. That would place the show in about the year 2399, 20 years after the setting of Star Trek: Nemesis, making Picard about 94 years of age.
That’s all to say we know very little about what might have happened “15 years ago” to cause an Admiral Picard to abruptly lose faith after a rescue mission and the “unimaginable” happenings that followed it. The description does evoke some parallels with Picard’s capture and assimilation by (and subsequent rescue from) the Borg, and the vineyard setting evokes some ties to his recovery directly after that trauma. But it’s hard to know how much to make of those thematic links at this point.
Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman hinted to TV Guide earlier this month that “the destruction of Romulus will play into the series,” which would certainly qualify as the kind of “unimaginable” act that could shake the usually unflappable Picard. “What has happened to him in that period of time [since Next Generation]?” Kurtzman said to TV Guide. “Have there been occurrences that force him to reckon with choices that he’s made in his life? How do you hold on to being the person everybody loved when the circumstances around you may have changed so radically? Those are the big questions that we’re asking.”
Star Trek: Picard will premiere on CBS: All Access in the US and Amazon Prime internationally at the end of 2019. Famed novelist Michael Chabon is among the executive producers.