Some fans bemoan the fact that a Star Trek prequel series cannot (or shouldn’t?) work due to the very nature of its setting: we know what happens in the fictional future, so where is the drama leading up to that point?
Well, for all it’s highs and lows, Enterprise did work. Yes, it may have played a little with established continuity but its heart was in the right place. Likewise Discovery, which garnered controversy even before it started (and I admit with it looking more at home in the Kelvin Timeline than the Prime one did make me initially hesitant). But, as I did with Enterprise, I put my fears to one side and jumped in. Feet first. And I’m glad I did.
And at last, we will be getting a Star Trek series that we fans have clamored for, for a very long time. Not specifically a Picard-centric show (yet we can’t deny having Sir Patrick Stewart back on our screens means all our Christmases have come at once) but a show set post-TNG, post-DS9, post-Voyager: a sequel series!
So what will it contain? Where will the character of Picard be? What will he be doing? Will he be the Federation Ambassador to Vulcan that the official comic book prequel to 2009’s Star Trek dictated he becomes? If that is the case then it will nicely cement the Kelvin Timeline as a bona fide version of Star Trek canon.
However, a series set in the past has a blank slate, a missing chapter, to play with. Yes, it needs to fit certain parameters, follow certain rules to make sense of what we know comes after, but it can be (die-hard fans look away now) whatever it wants.
Winter is Coming
And the same applies to a sequel series. But can it be said that a sequel series, especially one that follows such a complex core of past story threads, can easily acknowledge what has come before?
What of the Dominion War that made up the majority of the latter seasons of DS9? And surely Starfleet would see mileage in finding Sisko, science overruling mysticism to discover where once of their senior officers went? Would they have considered him abducted by an omipotent alien race? Would they invest in appointing one of their most celebrated Starfleet officers, namely one Jean-Luc Picard, to look into this? In any case, would there be some reference to the rebuilding of Cardassia Prime? Darn, we might even have the series’ proper name being revealed as Keeping Up With the Cardassians…
Will Picard be set after the point when Ambassador Spock disappeared (again, a link to the Kelvin movies)? Will said disappearance be referenced? If it’s set before, will the continuing movements of the reunification of Vulcan and Romulus be a major plot thread, and will Ethan Peck appear as an older Spock to support threads established in TNG: ‘Unification’? In any case, surely there has to be some fallout from Nemesis?
We’ve also had the USS Voyager return successfully from the Delta Quadrant. Starfleet would want to get back there surely? It is, after all, primarily an exploration-driven organisation. We know Janeway is alive and well and so what role will she play in this future Starfleet?
Will Q have something to say about all this?
And what will Picard look like? I think that’s possibly one of the most difficult aspects to nail: to design the future of the future, when the designs of the past of the future look more like the future of the future than the past of the future. Phew. I think I’ve given myself a headache. But simply put, even Enterprise, conservatively designed as it was, looked more advanced than TOS.
So Picard shouldn’t look like Discovery, shouldn’t look like the Kelvin iteration. Nor should it look like TNG or Voyager.
But whatever it looks like, the person who knows Jean-Luc better than anyone wants the best for the show, wants to get it right and, importantly, wants good storytelling, drama and excitement. And so we should welcome Patrick Stewart’s input and embrace it.
‘Make it so’ has never sounded more apt.