It is an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him. Read my full statement in the photo. #StarTrek @cbsallaccess Photo: @shervinfoto pic.twitter.com/8Ynuj3RBNm— Sir Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) August 4, 2018
Sir Patrick Stewart's recent announcement at the Star Trek: Las Vegas Convention that Jean-Luc Picard will be returning in a new series is stunningly wonderful news. As I wrote back in 2015, there are several important qualities that I believe will make the next chapter of Star Trek successful. Factoring in this new development and what we know about the as-yet-untitled series, let's review each item from my post in 2015.
The Prime Universe
Sir Patrick Stewart's return is a strong indication that this new show will take place in the Prime Universe. While the JJVerse focuses more on action and a dystopic future, the Prime Universe's theme is one of exploration, discovery, philosophy and wonder. I believe this is the heart of Star Trek and as demonstrated by the popularity of The Orville (which emulates these qualties of ST:TNG), this approach will help make the new series succesful. Jean-Luc Picard is the embodiment of these elements, so it is a strong indication that the new series will follow this classic Star Trek theme.
Sir Patrick Stewart has confirmed that this series will take place roughly 20 years after Star Trek: Nemesis. This will allow the writers to explore more futuristic technologies and not be constrained by pre-established aspects of the timeline. The sky's the limit.
We do not know if the relaunch novels will be incoporated, but I believe at least a couple of the writers are involved with the series, so hopefully some of the elements from the books can be woven into the TV series. For example, the events of Star Trek: Destiny and Jean-Luc Picard's relationship with Beverly Crusher would make a great backdrop to the series.
This is one area I would like to see the new series diverge from ST:TNG. While The Orville has had success with mostly isolated stories each week, I think this new series should adopt a format similar to DS9, Babylon 5, or Battlestar Galactica with a continuing narrative from episode to episode. This allows for richer character development and exploration of larger, more complex issues.
Good Planning and Consulting with Experts
I hope that this new series is well-planned to be consistent with existing canon and also has a well-developed storyline. As JMS did for Babylon 5, so too should this series utilize foreshadowing, strong characters, and big ideas. Since Sir Patrick Stewart is an executive producer on the series, I am confident that this will happen.
I am very eagerly awaiting the premiere of the new Star Trek series with Sir Patrick Stewart. I hope that this will launch the next chapter of Star Trek and create a rich, deep storyline of exploration, philosophy, and strong characters.