New Captain Picard Series Takes 'Star Trek' Timeline Beyond 'Deep Space Nine'

Star Trek: Discovery showrunner Alex Kurtzman announced the long-rumored Captain Picard series at the Star Trek Las Vegas convention, introducing actor Patrick Stewart to describe the iconic character's return.

"I've been spending a lot of time recently watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, including episodes I've never seen before, which was fun and exciting," Stewart told the assembled crowd. "Jean-Luc Picard is back."

Still early in development, Stewart could only provide some loose parameters. "He may not, and I stress may not , be a captain anymore. He may not be the Jean-Luc that you recognize and know so well," Stewart said. "Twenty years will have passed, which is more or less exactly the time between the very last movie—Nemesisand today."

The timeline described by Stewart means the new series will finally show us what many Star Trek fans had hoped to see when Discovery was first announced: the timeline after the events of Deep Space Nine.

All of Star Trek is set in a roughly 225-year period, between the events of Star Trek: Enterprise, which opens in 2151, and the aftermath of Star Trek: Nemesis, which saw the death of Praetor Shinzon (Tom Hardy) in 2379 and the renewed possibility of peace between the Federation and the Romulan Empire. This new series will jump forward, to the turn of a new century.

Captain Picard's life after Nemesis has already been described in novels and comics, though it's unlikely the new series will adhere to the future timeline developed outside the scope of TV shows and movies. Some of the landmark events include a disastrous Borg invasion, a rival diplomatic pact to rival The Federation and Picard's career as an ambassador.

But more than Picard's life, the new Star Trek series will offer an opportunity to explore the future's future, moving decades beyond the last span of Federation history depicted in a TV series. For seven seasons, Deep Space Nine followed the build-up and breakout of war between the Federation and the Dominion, an ancient empire on the opposite of the galaxy, ruled by a small population of shapeshifting Changelings. Though Nemesis was set after the Dominion War, Star Trek has never explored the aftermath of that conflict in any detail, essentially abandoning storytelling in a fascinating and new galactic order.

Discovery writer Ted Sullivan credits the new show to fellow writer Kirsten Beyer, who, in addition to authoring Voyager novels, coordinates Star Trek continuity across TV, comics and books. Beyer's involvement indicates the new Picard series will be more than a side-story. The addition of Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, makes the project even more interesting.

The new series has an opportunity to do more than explore Jean-Luc Picard; it could also unveil a whole new century of Star Trek.