Will ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Be the ‘Star Trek: Generations’ of 2020?

In 2020 Trekkers will have a long awaited reunion with Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart, or P-Stew. Let’s get that going!) Star Trek: Picard is coming to CBS All Access. In 1994, Trekkers were also waiting to see Picard again in Star Trek: Generations, albeit only for a few months since The Next Generation ended with the finale “All Good Things.”

Patrick Stewart in Star Trek: Picard | Trae Patton/CBS

Star Trek: Generations was also the last time William Shatner appeared as Captain Kirk, the movie effectively passing the torch from The Original Series to The Next Generation officially. Here’s a look back at what Star: Trek: Generations did for the franchise and a look ahead. Will Star Trek: Picard do the same when it premieres January 23 on CBS All Access? Until then you can revisit Generations on DVD, Blu-ray and digital formats.

‘Star Trek: Picard’ will begin in retirement

Star Trek: Generations began with a retired James T. Kirk getting one last hurrah when a celebratory mission becomes a real one. Star Trek: Picard will find Picard now where Kirk was in 1994 (or the corresponding stardate). In a movie with Captain Kirk, Picard was still the new guy even after seven seasons. Now Picard can be the veteran captain.

(l-r): Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Frakes | Trae Patton/CBS

Picard won’t have to deal with his whole Enterprise crew, although he’s inherited Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) from Voyager and Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Troi (Marina Sirtis) and Data/B-4 (Brent Spiner) have been confirmed. So far Geordi (LeVar Burton), Worf (Michael Dorn), Crusher (Gates McFadden), Wesley (Wil Wheaton) et al probably won’t have screen time, or will just be a cameo if they do.

It’ll be 18 years since we saw Picard

Generations picked up like it hadn’t missed a beat from “All Good Things.” Worf was getting promoted. Data even references the pilot of TNG and Picard’s nephew gets a tragic epilogue.

Patrick Stewart and William Shatner
Patrick Stewart and William Shatner together | Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

It had only been three years for Kirk since Star Trek VI so Generations just plopped him back into another adventure. A lot’s happened to Picard since Nemesis. Will Picard reference his old missions, fill in the gaps or both? 

‘Picard’ can service fewer characters

Star Trek: Generations had a full docket with the Next Generation cast and Kirk. Chekov (Walter Koenig) and Scotty (James Doohan) helped introduce the film. Data got emotions, Geordi got held hostage, Troi counseled Picard and Data, Crusher cared for Geordi. Riker is a reliable number one and even Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) got a whole role.

Star Trek: Picard
(l-r): Evan Evagora as Elnor; Alison Pill as Dr. Jurati; Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard | Trae Patton/CBS

Star Trek: Picard will surely introduce a whole new crew. Alison Pill, Santiago Cabrera, Harry Treadaway, Isa Brione and Michelle Hurd and Eva Evagora are in the case. Judging by the title the show can truly be about Picard.

Will Data steal the show again?

Data became a vital character in TNG with landmark episodes like “Measure of a Man.” He stole Generations too as his emotions chip became a dominant subplot. He was comic relief as he enjoyed hating alcohol and telling jokes, but got serious too as he experienced fear and guilt.

Promotional portrait of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation | CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

An emotion chip is kindergarten compared to B-4. Data sacrificed himself in Nemesis and uploaded himself to B-4. That’s not the same as Data’s years of experience. The trailers show B-4 unboxing. Hard to believe he’s sat in a box for 18 years but we need to see how much of Data is in B4.

It’s actually the inverse of ‘Star Trek: Generations’

The movie was an expanded big budget episode. Now after four movies and 18 years, we’ll get to see Picard every week again. CBS All Access has a big budget but it won’t be like the J.J. Abrams movies. It may be bigger than ‘90s Star Trek movies though.

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Promotional portrait of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation | CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

All Access is doing serialized stories too. So while each of the four movies was a stand-alone, Star Trek: Picard will be the longest continuing Picard story we’ve ever seen.