#GAYNRD’S RESIDENT filmmaker and geek supreme, Jessie Earl talks Star Trek: Picard; or more accurately what she read between the lines of the latest trailer that debuted at Comic-Con International in San Diego last month.
First, #ICYMI, or even if you didn’t, watch it again!
So last week we finally got what we were all looking for; the name of Picard’s new dog! It’s Number One? I mean, I personally I wanted him to be named Mister Worf, but isn’t he adorable? Look at him!
Ok, putting aside this puppy’s so cute—excuse me, what we were all actually hoping was the first Star Trek: Picard trailer. And oh, man did it deliver. I mean, I audibly gasped and cried when Seven of Nine showed up. And Brent Spiner’s is taping into Hollywood fountain of youth thing. And Hugh was… somewhere. Is that Hugh? Is that him? I don’t know.
That’s why it’s exciting!
And most importantly, we finally got our first details of the actual plot of the series. And once I finally stopped rewatching the trailer after about the 100th time, I finally started to realize that one the surface… this show does kinda feeeeeeel a little bit similar to another Patrick Stewart work out there… Logan, it’s Logan. Star Trek: Picard feels like Logan but if Patrick Stewart wasn’t Professor X but Hugh Jackman. [Picard with Jackman’s body]. I’m not the only one who finds that attractive right? Just me. Ok, yeah I’m weird.
But seriously, let’s take a deeper look at these two surface stories just on the surface. And keep in mind, I’m gonna be kinda speculating wildly on Star Trek: Picard’s story here, but basing it off of what we saw in the trailer.
We start the story off with a lead hero a franchise that we’ve been following for decades who used to fight for morality, virtue, and the rights of all people regardless of who they are. Yet, after a major catastrophe, the dissolution of their old team, and the death of several people close to them, and particularly one that they totally had extra special feelings for, they became disillusioned with the world and now try their best to just stay out of everything and occasionally check in with an old friend who reminds them of their conscious, as they still feel a calling in their heart to do the right thing. Yet, when a young girl who belongs to a marginalized group appears and needs our hero’s protection to meet up with their larger… collective as it were, they’ll reluctantly come out of retirement to go on a journey to protect this young child. Along the way, they’ll meet with wise, familiar friends who also happen to experts on and part of this marginalized group as they go rediscover their hope for the future, eventually passing the torch on to a… next generation. [cough]
I’m basing a lot of speculation on just a single two minute trailer. I’m just having fun here. And even if the show ends up being a literal beat for beat remake of Logan, which given that Logan was two hours and Picard is at least gonna be ten and that Pulitzer-prize winning writer Michael Chabon, long-time Trek writer Kristen Byer, Patrick Stewart himself and a team of talented writers behind Star Trek: Picard, I’d be massively surprised, but that won’t mean it’s bad. There are so so so many film’s and TV shows that are essentially copies of each other. Mr. Robot and Fight Club, Avatar and Pocohontas, Venom and Upgrade, People vs OJ and the real-life of People vs OJ. In the end, it all comes down to execution. You can have the best bare bones of a story but if the moment to moment events don’t ring true to your characters, then it’s not gonna matter. Hell, think of how many times any Shakespeare play has been remade, to both good and bad results despite using the same exact scripts. Plus Logan was one of the best superhero and geek film’s of the last decade (if not the best, don’t @ me). Wait is that controversial to say?
Wait, I forgot Into the Spider-Verse. That’s the best, but let’s say non-animated.
And honestly, I think Logan is a great story template to place Picard in, and one that I think will ring completely true to both the character, Star Trek’s message as a whole, and to what we as a society need to hear today. Throughout The Next Generation, Picard was always the stalwart paragon of virtue. I mean how many grandiose speeches on morality did Patrick Stewart have to deliver in just seven years?
You could talk moral virtues to me all day Picard. Picard constantly believed that humanity’s better nature could and would always win the day.
Yet, when we finally moved to the feature films, Picard’s morality and optimism began to be tested to it’s limit. In Generation’s his family is killed in a fire and he loses his home of the past 7 years, the Enterprise-D. In First Contact, he had to overcome his PTSD in order to hold onto that optimism. In Insurrection… he uhhh… he had to endure the horrors of a terrible script (story Steve Shives). And in Nemesis, he had to face the real truth of who he could have been if he hadn’t grown up in the Federation. All of these movies, and especially First Contact and Nemesis, were a darker journey for Picard then he had ever really faced before. And we know that the destruction of Romulus, a crisis he had a direct hand in dealing with the aftermath of, weighs heavily on his heart even 20 years later at the start of Star Trek Picard.
So, like in Logan, we are dealing with a main character who used to fight for belief in a brighter tomorrow who has now had the universe constantly test and beat down that optimistic view for the future. Who thinks that their legacy, and life work’s work, may have ultimately meant nothing in the grand scheme. And Star Trek: Picard, like Logan before it, could show us how Picard learns that hope and optimism is not naive, but does require a constant struggle. That there is always hope, as long as we all fight for it. That our better natures will always win, as long as we believe in it. That’s what Logan was ultimately about. And I think it’s a great story for Star Trek: Picard to build and riff off of.
And honestly, I don’t know a better story for today’s world and the world of Star Trek. No matter who you are or what you believe, it’s honestly feels quite hard to believe that our future looks bright right now, at least in the United States where I’m from. So I truly could use a story about how we fight to hold onto that belief in a better tomorrow. A better tomorrow that Star Trek has always managed to show us. And I can’t think of a better man to take us on that journey… than Wolverine.
Watch me make my case below.