How 'Star Trek: Picard' is Like 'Star Trek: Discovery' and What It Holds Over From 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' [TCA 2019]

CBS All Access executives spoke to the Television Critics Association on Thursday and promised they would have Star Trek: Picard ready to present in January. Patrick Stewart returns to the role of Jean-Luc Picard, and the show’s Comic-Con panel revealed that Brent Spiner, Marina Sirtis, Jonathan Frakes and Voyager’s Jeri Ryan would also appear on the show. 

During EVP of Original Content Jamie McNamara’s executive session, /Film and other reporters asked her some questions about Star Trek: Picard. Star Trek: Picard is due in early 2020.

How Star Trek: Picard is Like Star Trek: Discovery

/Film asked McNamara how much Star Trek: Picard is like Star Trek: Discovery compared to Star Trek: The Next Generation. The return of Stewart to the role decades after his fourth and final Star Trek: Next Generation movie, and more decades since the seventh and final season of TNG, obviously suggests a different take for streaming.

“I would say that it is in production, sort of size and scope, probably more similar to Discovery,” McNamara said.

That make sense. The Next Generation was a syndicated show, necessarily inexpensive in order to produce 26 episodes a year. All Access is spending a lot of money on streaming shows, doing fewer episodes but making them look like the Star Trek movies. 

How Star Trek: Picard is Like Star Trek: The Next Generation

Still, this is Captain Picard we’re talking about here. We don’t want him to change so much that he’s not Jean-Luc Picard anymore.

“In terms of the characters and the nature of the storytelling, probably more like Next Generation,” McNamara said. “But of course, we’re a number of years later now so there are some shifts in the storytelling style but I think it’s a really nice hybrid of the two.”

The fact that it’s not 26 episodes will make it inherently different. Discovery also popularized the idea of a serialized Star Trek show (though true Trekkers will remember Deep Space 9 paving the way). The movies showed that Picard could star in standalone epic tales on which hopefully the show can expand.

Star Trek: Picard Could Continue

Stewart returning to his Star Trek character was a surprise when the announcement was made. After playing the role from 1987-2002, even Stewart might have assumed he was retired. But then agan, William Shatner went 10 years between The Original Series and the first movie too.

Seven years of a syndication schedule is exhausting to maintain. However, a shorter streaming series can be much more appealing. McNamara said there have been no limits set on Star Trek: Picard.

“It could [continue],” she told /Film. 

No Dogs in Space

Picard’s dog, Number One, already has fans, but also has pet lovers worried about a dog being taken to space. McNamara reassured us.

“The dog has been great,” McNamara said. “Patrick is a real animal lover so I think he’s a nice friend on set. It’s a good relationship and the dog is in it but he prefers to stay close to home, I’ll put it that way.”

Section 31 and Discovery: Season Three

Alex Kurtzman has a deal with CBS All Access for more Star Trek spinoffs. One that was announced is a Section 31 series to star Michelle Yeoh’s character from Star Trek: DiscoveryThat series would have to come after season three of Discovery.

“Michelle is in this season of Discovery so the Section 31 show would certainly be after that wraps, she could go into production,” McNamara said. 

As for Kurtzman’s other spinoffs, “The others, no timeline at this moment.” 

Star Trek: Discovery is in production on season three. President and COO of CBS Interactive Marc DeBevoise didn’t have a specific date, but expect to have some space between Picard and Discovery season three.

“Later next year,” DeBevoise said. “We’re not announcing a date at this point.”

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