When CBS All Access debuts its upcoming Jean-Luc Picard “Star Trek” series later this year, viewers may have a hard time recognizing Patrick Stewart’s former U.S.S. Enterprise captain.
“It’s been 20-plus years, so he couldn’t possibly be that same person anymore,” Alex Kurtzman, who is shepherding CBS All Access’s burgeoning “Star Trek” universe, told reporters during the television critics association press tour on Wednesday.
“The question becomes: What has happened to him in that period of time? Have there been occurrences that force him to reckon with choices that he’s made in his life?” he continued. “How do you hold on to to being the person that everybody loved, when the circumstances around you may have changed so radically? Those are the big questions that we’re asking.”
Stewart carved out his place in “Star Trek” history while playing Picard for seven seasons on “The Next Generation,” as well as in four movies. Last September, Stewart tweeted a picture revealing the writers’ room for the upcoming CBS All Access “Star Trek” series featuring his return to his iconic role as Jean-Luc Picard had broken ground.
“As we’re breaking story we’re asking ourselves how do we live to the spirit and to character and to the tone that ‘Next Generation’ set to some degree, but also make it something very, very different,” Kurtzman continued. “Patrick was really clear with us from the beginning he did not want to repeat what had already been done.”
Specific details on the upcoming series have been few and far between, and though Kurtzman was fairly tight-lipped about what to expect when the show — which is still without a title — premieres at the end of 2019, he opened the door ever so slightly into what viewers can expect.
For starters: Picard’s storyline will incorporate the destruction of Romulus, which was referenced in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 film “Star Trek,” an event that eventually leads to the alternate timeline that the most recent films exist in. Though Kurtzman would not divulge how this plays into what Picard is up to. The series will also represent the furthest into the future that any “Star Trek” film or TV show has ever explored, picking up Picard more than 20 years after the end of “Next Generation,” though Kurtzman said they’re not going to get carried away with too much futurism.
“No matter what choices we’re making about portraying the future, it has to feel grounded,” he continued. “The easy thing to do is come up with crazy floating skyscrapers and the clichés of science fiction. We’ve tried to avoid that across the board.”