It’s been 26 years since Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) graced our television screens, and it has been 18 years since the last Star Trek movie Nemesis (2002). Nemesis was the last appearance of the Next Generation crew … until now. Star Trek: Picard beams up on January 23rd, 2020, with Sir Patrick Stewart returning to his role as Jean-Luc Picard and various other Star Trek characters also returning.
In the meantime, a lot has happened in the Star Trek universe between the various Star Trek series out there, so we’ve put together an easy character guide to catch you up before the premiere on January 23rd.
Jean-Luc Picard (last seen – Star Trek: Nemesis)
Picard has gone through much in his years as Captain. He was tortured and imprisoned by the Cardassians, turned into one of the Borg, and dealt with the mischievous being known as Q. While still in command of the Enterprise (version ‘E’), Picard was sent to Romulus after a coup was staged by his own younger clone (named Shinzon).
Shinzon had been created by the Romulans and initially intended for espionage before the Romulans decided to forgo this plan. The encounter with this angry and destructive clone ended in the Romulans finally willing to barter peace with the Federation. Sometime after these events, Picard retired. Having already given up his command once during the events of Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) in protest against the Federation’s actions, early retirement is not out of the question. With the death of Picard’s family back on Earth, as mentioned in Star Trek: Generations (1994), Picard would have returned to his family vineyard.
Deanna Troi and William Riker (last seen – Star Trek: Nemesis)
Nemesis began with the wedding of Troi and Riker and ended with Riker finally accepting the rank as captain to go on to command his ship, the USS Titan. Troi also goes to join Riker on the USS Titan in the role of the ship’s counselor. The couple had initially met in the early days on Betazed (Troi’s homeworld). Over the years, their relationship went back and forth until their reunion and service on the Enterprise had them finally settling down together.
Data (last seen – Star Trek: Nemesis)
Data has grown and evolved as a character from day one. Becoming more human has always been his goal, and it is during this endeavor that Data installs an emotion chip (from his brother Lore). In Nemesis, the Enterprise finds another android similar to Data. However, this android lacks the growth and emotional capacity Data has gone through. The android, B-4, has Data’s memories copied onto it. It’s a good thing, too, as Data sacrifices his life blowing up Shinzon’s (Picard’s clone) ship. It is assumed that Data’s legacy and memory lives on in the B-4 android.
Seven of Nine (last seen Star Trek: Voyager “Endgame”)
Like Picard, Seven of Nine was assimilated by the Borg before the crew of Voyager rescued her during its adventures in the Delta quadrant. Most of her Borg implants were removed, and throughout the Star Trek: Voyager’s (1995) seasons, Seven of Nine came to embrace the crew of Voyager as her “collective.” The Borg were a frequent enemy for Seven of Nine as she was often targeted by the Borg Queen before the final episode resulted in a destructive conclusion that dumped Voyager back in the Alpha quadrant and Federation space.
Hugh (last seen – Star Trek: The Next Generation “Descent Part II”)
Hugh was a Borg drone seen initially in Season 5 of TNG. Found by the crew of the Enterprise-D, Hugh was brought aboard and cut off from the Collective. Over time, Hugh began to develop his individualism as the Collective programming fell away, though he still decides to return to the collective in the end with his newfound individuality. This results in the Borg Collective removing Hugh and any other Borg he had “infected” from the Collective; Hugh and his fellow Borg are then found by Lore (Data’s brother). Lore attempts to experiment on Hugh and the other Borg before the crew of the Enterprise return to stop him. Once more, Hugh refuses the help of the Enterprise. He prefers to go his way in the universe in an attempt to lead any other individual Borg.
Star Trek Universe Events leading up to Star Trek: Picard
The Next Generation crew saw the Federation facing off against the Borg, arguably their biggest threat, over countless encounters. It was in Star Trek: First Contact (1996) that Picard and crew last faced off against the Borg, involving time travel to Earth’s “first contact” with aliens (the Vulcans), and the destruction of the Borg cube and their Queen. Shortly after this final battle, the Dominion War (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, 1993) begins with Klingons and the Romulans joining the Federation to fight off this new threat. The military forces of all involved are thoroughly weakened before the Federation eventually triumph against the Dominion threat. The Starship Voyager, previously thought lost forever, returns to the Alpha quadrant bringing the previously assimilated Seven of Nine. In a final twist, the Romulan’s home planet Romulus explodes when a nearby star goes supernova (Star Trek, 2009).
The Federation and its allies have gone through many ups and downs over its life with most of the various Star Trek television series focusing on The Next Generation era. It spawned the birth of many popular characters and moments. The arrival of this new series should give us a new glimpse into the Federation post-war and destruction.
Star Trek: Picard features Sir Patrick Stewart reprising his iconic role as Jean-Luc Picard, which he played for seven seasons on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The new series will follow this iconic character into the next chapter of his life.
Star Trek: Picard airs January 23, 2020.