Did ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Just Kill Off This Next Generation Character?

Star Trek: Picard brought back Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) in a new CBS All Access streaming series. But did it kill off another Star Trek: The Next Generation character in the process? If you watched the premiere episode you may have the same question, but if you haven’t, this story may contain spoilers. 

Star Trek: Picard
(l-r): Evan Evagora, Alison Pill, Patrick Stewart | Trae Patton/CBS

Executive producer Akiva Goldsman and Star Trek: Picard writer and showrunner Michael Chabon spoke with reporters of the Television Critics Association on Jan. 12. They explained the fate of one such Next Generation character. New episodes of Star Trek: Picard premiere every Thursday on CBS All Access.

‘Star Trek: Picard’ has to answer for ‘Star Trek: Nemesis’

The last time Jean-Luc Picard appeared on screen was in the 2002 movie Star Trek: Nemesis. That movie set up some things but there was never a fifth Next Generation film to follow them up. Picard is far enough away that it’s sort of starting over, but it still acknowledges Nemesis happened.

Patrick Stewart is Jean-Luc Picard
Sir Patrick Stewart | Trae Patton/CBS

“We had to start there in a sense but if you’re going to be continuing to tell the story of Jean-Luc Picard, you have to look at the last time you saw him,” Chabon said. “So in a sense, we started there just because we needed to know where did we leave him? Then just try to imagine, well, what happened after that? What the events of Nemesis and conclusion of Nemesis were always a part of the recipe for us but I think it was a part of the recipe ultimately.”

Let’s talk about B-4 in ‘Star Trek: Picard’

In Star Trek: Nemesis, Data (Brent Spiner) discovers another android, B-4. Far less sophisticated than Data, when Data sacrifices himself, he downloads his memory into B-4. The end of Nemesis sees Picard struggling to reconcile B-4’s primitive behavior with the wealth of information he’s downloaded.

That’s why it’s a little surprising to see B-4 in a drawer and Picard say the download never worked. Does that mean Star Trek: Picard just scrapped the B-4 story?

Star Trek: Insurrection
Brent Spiner in Star Trek: Insurrection | Paramount Pictures/Getty Images

“There are so many implicit assumptions in that question that I cannot confirm or deny,” Goldsman said. “I think we’re also dancing around a thing because I think you’ve made an assumption that is not accurate in terms of what we’ve closed off and what we haven’t. Without pushing that too far, we took everything that is text of Nemesis and made it text.”

Okay, to be fair, that is a logical assumption after the first episode of Picard.

“It’s a question we want you to be asking,” Chabon said.

Brent Spiner says B-4 was always supposed to become Data

Brent Spiner was also available to press as viewers saw him in Picard’s dreams of Data. However, the show also reveals that synthetics have been banned. Spiner suggested that it wasn’t going to take too long for B-4 to get up to speed. He was sort of a backdoor to bring Data back all along.

Brent Spiner
Brent Spiner | Rich Fury/Getty Images

“They did say that they downloaded Data’s memories into B-4 and there was an opportunity,” Spiner said. “We had ideas for another film and I think if you had seen B-4 again, he would’ve been Data basically.”

If you haven’t seen ‘Star Trek: Nemesis,’ don’t worry

These are all very important questions to Star Trek fans who watched seven seasons of The Next Generation and four movies. If Star Trek: Picard is your first Trek show, don’t worry. Goldsman and Chabon have you covered.

Next Generation: Brent Spiner
Brent Spiner as Data | CBS via Getty Images

“We choose to make it for you and for my wife who has never seen an episode of Star Trek,” Goldsman said. “So the re-establishment of the baseline in order to create expectations is really complex where you have something that some people love so deeply and some people have no understanding of. That download is significant. The download from Nemesis will continue to be significant.”