Monday, 22 July 2019

SDCC - Picard: The Trailer

Take a breath and now let’s dive into the trailer for Picard which aired this weekend (twice!) during the Star Trek San Diego Comic Con panel...

Instead of frame by framing it, let’s work out what all this might mean and discuss the relevant characters and events in turn starting with


Retired, living back at the Picard vineyard and seemingly all alone out there following his departure from Starfleet, Picard seems to be drawn back to action with the arrival of Dahj. Played by Isa Briones, she’s the enigma of the show and, according to Jean-Luc when he drops by Starfleet Command, in a great deal of danger. Indeed we see the young girl dealing with masked assailants and phaser attack during the trailer. 

Picard himself it appears is not just affected by the destruction of Romulus but is still haunted by the loss of Data as we are told in the voiceover. So much so that he visits a Soong type android in storage which I would think is Lore who was disassembled at the end of Descent. More on Soong androids in a sec as it’s interesting that this event from Nemesis is going to have such a big effect. I did predict its involvement in a recent post but not on the scale that we get here.

If we are expecting the slower more philosophical approach of The Next Generation I think we will be surprised. Even Jean-Luc picks up a phaser during the trailer to take on an unseen foe. Given Patrick Stewart’s more mature age I doubt he’ll be leaping all over the place but this is definitely going to be fast paced and more action based from the start - no question this is how Star Trek will go now because that’s how TV has evolved - it needs to catch you from episode one or its game over.

Then there's the "Captain Picard Day" banner - that was a bit of a twist to see it after all these years - has someone kept it? Is it one of his crew's possessions perhaps? Were one or two of them kids on the Enterprise-D?

From what I see it looks like Picard’s request for assistance from Starfleet falls on deaf ears leading him to assemble a diverse crew to complete his mission. Oh - and in the trailer he gets to utter the immortal "Engage" line which will have you getting all reminiscent. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up at this point.

The Crew

Dahj - Isa Briones
Young woman entering the next phase of her life when a major incident changes her whole world.

Santiago Cabrera- Christobal Rios 
A former member of Starfleet and someone "reticent" to initially help Picard.

Alison Pill - Doctor Agnes Jurati
A researcher (rumour has it a cyberneticist - now she's limited to what she can say about the role which suggests Pill is crucial to the story)

Harry Treadaway - Narek 
Romulan involved in some sort of secret activities that cannot be divulged at present.

Michelle Hurd - Raffi Musiker 
A past with Picard and a genius strategist haunted by her demons; has a link with Rios because of this.

Evan Evagora - Elnor
Seventeen year old Romulan skilled in hand to hand combat and sword fighting.

The trailer itself doesn't give away much in regards to the characters of anyone except Dahj who would appear to be a major part of the plot at least for the first episode which I would suspect a lot of this footage is from. There's lots of posing, walking, gesturing and staring from all concerned but they're leaving a lot to be discovered which might indicate that giving us a bit of info on Dahj is trying to turn our attention away from other things!

One thing we don't know is what ship these guys are using. They are on one during the trailer but as yet it's still shrouded in a ton of secrecy. From the shots it seems to be very open and maybe some type of cargo ship.

The Romulans

We have two in the crew. One who is very loyal to Picard (Elnor) and another who would seem to have a different agenda. Could Narek be Tal'Shiar perhaps or whatever was created to replace them after the Dominion War? 

Notably some of the shots we have here of other Romulans includes a couple who have the distinct makeup that makes them look a lot like Nero and his crew sans the tattoos from the 2009 reboot. 

Note too that the Romulans are missing their cranial ridges so there has been an update to their appearance since we last saw them in Nemesis. There are some new ships spotted at one point however it's from the rear so they might/not be Romulan; could be Vulcan?

The Borg

Cancel Christmas people, they're back. I was just about to write a piece on whether or not Picard would need the Borg when the trailer dropped and answered my question. Yes, it does. Not only do we have the Borg but we also have Jonathan Del Arco back as Hugh 20 plus years on from Descent and him taking charge of the community that had separated from the Collective and was residing in the Alpha Quadrant. What has happened over time and is that Hugh in the trailer having an implant removed? Take a look at the huge gap in the top right of the cube and also there are two objects which appear to be orbiting it - guard ships? Satellites?

I was very surprised by the inclusion of both Hugh and in turn the Borg so early into the show although its a massive attention-grabbing piece. The Borg also appear to have a new colour scheme changing from green to blue BUT this could either be the individual "collective" established by Hugh or a genuine change to the Borg threat.

Apparently they aren't as dead as we believed following Endgame which rounded off Voyager although those were all connected to the Collective and in the Delta Quadrant. Might we end up over that side of the galaxy given there must have been advances in propulsion and learnings from Voyager's return?

The cube is the only definitive sign of their inclusion in the series. We do seem to see a couple of Borg alcoves in what might be the cube converted into a prison yet that is all conjecture and possibly down to how they have edited shots together in the trailer.

What that scene does show is that there have been 5843 days since an assimilation at the facility which suggests that the Borg are still out there and causing havoc. With a bit of maths though, that 5843 days s actually just over 16 years which is when Picard was taken off the Enterprise and given his special assignment and promotion to admiral....coincidence....? Hmmm.... Also that script to the right appears to be either Vulcan or Romulan which also links to the appearance of the guards with their distinct right angle haircuts.

Have they been reborn or is this Hugh's doing? We know from the LiveWire interview with the cast that his role as leader of the group has evolved since we last saw him on screen but in what direction?

The Surprises 

Holy mother of God. Data...Seven!!!

That same LiveWire interview confirmed that the android at the end of the trailer is Data and by taking into consideration that Patrick Stewart is wearing a uniform again for a flashback he's filming shortly then this could also be a flashback, or maybe a holodeck encounter. The mug we see Picard using for his tea while playing cards is identical to the one from the Enterprise so that might be a clue and I also believe there will be a lot of flashbacks in the show to fill in the 20 years of gaps as the story unfolds. Note too that Data/B-4 refers to Picard as "Captain" not "Admiral" which indicates that he is working on pre-2381 knowledge.

But how the hell did they keep Data a secret? Is the droid in the drawer B-4 as Brent Spiner might have let slip or is this again a red herring to misstep us for another few months. Might that be the disassembled Lore from Descent? Will Data be reborn in B-4? We now know he's going to show up across the series (not every episode) in various ways.

Then there's the return of Seven of Nine. Hair down, still sporting her Borg implants but considerably more at ease than we ever saw her in Voyager. Did she get married to Chakotay or were her abilities snapped up by Starfleet or Section 31? Her appearance in Picard's La Barre home is a huge shock in the trailer and there is another glimpse of her later. Is she responsible for Picard's mission? Is Seven again going to be dropping in every now and then?

Marina Sirtis managed to keep it closed down at the press conference for Destination Star Trek last year and was very firm in her denial of any involvement with Picard but now we also know that both her and Jonathan Frakes will be back as Troi and Riker in this first season. This can only pave the way for other illumni from The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager to be included but for worthwhile appearances and not lip service. Patrick Stewart is hugely involved with the writers' room to get Picard and the series right so this reassures me it won't be done as a gimmick.

The LiveWire interview also has Stewart noting that there might be other characters from the franchise appearing outside of the main cast - but that's speculation for another day.

Two other questions the trailer raised - it looks like Picard is on TV but for what? AND what exactly is being tested/experimented on? There's a lot of green glow so either Romulan or Borg involvement. Might we suspect the Romulans are interning former Borg drones? Creating their own perhaps? Is Hugh fighting a war with the remnants of the Romulan Empire? Are the Romulans experimenting on Hugh???

The trailer is magnificent, giving a real feel of the show, an introduction to the characters and enough shocks and twists that will have fans chomping at the bit to see it. Picard now lands in 2020 and not at the end of this year but that's OK as long as it's done properly. This show has a lot going for it and a ton of backstory and history for us to see filled in since the closing credits of Nemesis. From the teaser and the trailer this is the Star Trek show that fans have been screaming for since 2003 - a step beyond Voyager into a new frontier and also outside the restrictions of Starfleet. 

What are your thoughts on the trailer? What does it all mean? Drop a comment below!

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