Thursday, 7 March 2019

Picard's....Destiny?


They're almost ready to Make It So.


This week has seen the news that we have around six weeks to go before the cameras start to roll on the first episode of the as yet untitled (could be Destiny?) Picard series.



A first for the franchise, the opening tale will be directed by Hanelle Culpepper who has already cut her teeth on the franchise with work on Discovery. Jonathan Frakes is also due to direct the new show while also continuing to turn up on the credits for Discovery and also for the pseudo-Star Trek/alternative to Star Trek; The Orville. Something tells me he'll be directing at least one episode of Discovery's now confirmed third season - yep, this show really is failing isn't it...?



With only six weeks to go (allegedly April 15th) it's amazing to think that it's only now that we get the first news on castings with two names entering the Star Trek fold. Santiago Cabrera and Michelle Hurd are the two names joining the returning Patrick Stewart but there's nothing much to go on so far.



While Cabrera's character is undefined, Hurd is said to be playing an ex-con and pilot of Picard's ship. Looks like they're going to be taking the series down a line where the former Enterprise captain has returned to his passion for archaeology as witnessed in The Chase and later Gambit from the latter years of The Next Generation



There have been some supposed leaks regarding an ensemble cast of around five or six for the Picard series but these could well be speculation and until we get solid word from the House of Kurtzman I'm not inclined to blab about them. I would expect there to be at least one new alien race among the cast plus maybe one that we are familiar with and some form of link into Starfleet to keep the tradition alive. Also there's reportedly a teenage Romulan which would tie into the initial speculation that the series will show the effect of Romulus' destruction on the captain.



Over on Discovery, Michelle Paradise has stepped up from a writing position she held from midway through season two to become full showrunner alongside Kurtzman. My suspicion here is that Paradise is being set in place so that the franchise's new overlord can spend more time putting the finishing touches to Picard and give that the focus it needs to be a success now that Discovery has found its feet. This might become more akin to how Michael Piller reported into Rick Berman during the latter's tenure on Star Trek.


So who else would we want to see turn up in the upcoming series? What characters from the franchise should turn up and which should stay away?

The main ones that seem to be getting a lot of column inches are Guinan and Q. In the case of the Ten Forward bartender her relationship traverses centuries and at times acted as a reassuring opinion for the captain. This is more of an occasional guest role in the show than week in, week out much in the same way as having Q appear. That playoff of wills throughout The Next Generation made the Q episodes incredibly watchable and an interplay well worth waiting to see again and again.

I'd offer up Admiral Janeway too as one to add into the show to properly close down what happened to Voyager after it returned to Earth. Not all of the cast from that show need to turn up. Demand might push for a one-off appearance of Seven of Nine after the show has found its feet but let's at least add in a reference to Harry Kim finally getting at least one promotion in the Prime Universe.

That said about Voyager there has been a little rumour that one of the cast could be a hologram which a few outlets jumped on as meaning that the EMH will be back. I'd say that an EMH would make sense on Picard's ship and yes, it could be a retired EMH Mark One if Jean-Luc's craft is something old and worn. More likely it will be an updated model if included. 

Feeling from the cast of The Next Generation was that they didn't want to be involved if it was a lip service cameo (so noted Marina Sirtis at October's Destination Star Trek press conference) yet I would not be shocked if Worf or Riker drop by for a scene or two to assist the good captain on the net step of his career. Might we get to see the Titan or maybe Captain Ezri Dax on the USS Aventine? Will the galaxy be a smaller place thanks to transwarp or will the Federation have gone to pot? What's happened to the Dominion...? Calm down now...

But how about two characters that shouldn't turn up because actually, there are some Star Trek stories that need to stay closed.

For me that starts with Data and ends with Sisko. The android's journey ended in Nemesis and it may be playing on Picard's conscience even 20 years later but it's an event that needs to be respected as finite. Maybe the show will answer the question as to what happened to B-4 and the disassembled Lore but Spiner, with all due respect, is getting too old for the part. This is one character that might benefit from CG should he need to come back - but I'd rather Data didn't.


To Sisko and the way in which Deep Space Nine was concluded. He's another character more than likely not to return on the screen since Avery Brooks is reportedly done with Star Trek. There's no need to mention his disappearance and in this canon we should let him remain with the Prophets. Maybe there's a chance for Picard and his companions to end up on the other side of the Bajoran Wormhole as part of the plot however the return of Captain Sisko could undermine the legacy of that show and even cheapen the Picard series.

Just a selection of thoughts there on some do's and don'ts for the Picard show - but who would you like to see or perhaps more importantly not want to see meeting up with Jean-Luc?

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