Spoiler alert. Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard is dead. Picard, who lived through the many battles during the Star Trek: The Next Generation series years, as well as The Next Generation’s four films, has perished. Picard gave his life in order to save the synth homeworld of Coppelius, finally giving in to his neurological disorder Irumodic Syndrome. But wait. This is Picard we are talking about. He can’t truly be dead, can he?
The answer to that is a resounding no. As Patrick Stewart’s Picard was lying and dying, Alton Soong (Brent Spiner) and Dr. Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) were able to download Picard consciousness using Bruce Maddox’s consciousness transfer technology and place it into a new body, one that is an organic synth that resembles Picard to a tee. The body is even designed to age and die, though the best thing right now is the fact that Picard’s Irumodic Syndrome is no longer. And, he’s alive.
But what is he? A robot? Superhuman? Do his new body and upbeat personality also have superpowers? Well, according to co-showrunner Akiva Goldsman, Patrick Stewart’s Picard will not have any superpowers, so there is no reason to call him Super Picard. “We did fundamentally try to address that at the end of 10,” Goldsman said to The Hollywood Reporter. “He’s not Super Picard. We reset this congenital problem he lived with since Next Gen and gave him the opportunity for rebirth, but it’s nothing more than a record as he might have been where he not here.” Okay, fair enough. But what does that make Picard? That seems to be the question fans have had since the consciousness transfer technology was used on Picard.
Is this new version of Patrick Stewart’s Picard truly Picard or is it a completely new character, just dressed up to look and sound like Picard? There could be rational reasons on both sides of the ledger. For instance, there is absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind that Picard died. That final episode made no bones about that fact. This synthetic Picard is totally new based on the fact it was designed after the real Picard boldly went where no man has gone before. So, no real body, no real Picard.
But on the other hand, one can also argue that the synthetic body that Patrick Stewart’s Picard now possesses is simply a vessel. It holds his memories, his wants, his needs, so how can it not be Picard. Hell, after Picard was given his new body, he looked, acted, felt, and even drank himself a cup of tea the same. Goldsman chimed in by saying, via Trekmovie.com, that the initial death of Picard was a “closure on a chapter of his life.” He then went on to claim that the Picard fans see in the final is “new reinvigorated, reborn, and therefore most essential Picard.”
Even series creator Alex Kurtzman, who is everything Star Trek, added his two cents. “It is the same person, it is the same consciousness, it is the same body in many ways, just rebuilt.” Though Picard has been reborn, of sorts, and both Goldsman and Kurtzman seem to think that the synth Picard is the real deal, series writer Michael Chabon claims that “implications are going to be for Picard having this new body” and they will need to be addressed.
For now, though, getting back in front of the cameras was the priority. Like all series, the pandemic put a major halt on Picard’s production. Originally, before COVID, Kurtzman and Goldsman planned to shoot seasons two and three back-to-back but that plan is now up in the air with Goldsman unwilling to say if that is still the plan. But given the advancing age of Sir Patrick Stewart, don’t be surprised if that is not the case.
One big piece of news concerning the upcoming second season of Picard is the fact that John de Lancie will be back to reprise his role as Q. De Lancie joins a list of returning Next Generation stars such as Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, and Marina Sirtis. Even Star Trek: Voyager’s Seven of Nine Jeri Ryan made a big impact on the first season of Picard.
What Kurtzman, Goldsman, Stewart, and company have up their sleeves for Season 2 is a mystery in which fans are hoping the pace comes a bit faster. With Q rejoining the fray, it’ll also be interesting to see which, if any, Next Generation crew members show up to join Picard in one last adventure.