'Star Trek: Picard' Teaser Alludes To Heartbreaking 'The Next Generation' Episodes

"Teaser" is the operative word when it comes to this first Star Trek: Picard teaser trailer, which offers little more than glimpses at a futuristic vineyard and a voiceover alluding to the unnamed events leading to Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) leaving Starfleet. But throughout the teaser hints, both obvious and subtle, point to specific episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation evoked by this introduction to Star Trek: Picard.

"15 years ago, today, you lead us out of the darkness," a woman says. "You commanded the greatest rescue armada in history. Then, the unimaginable. What did that cost you? Your faith? Your faith in us? Your faith in yourself? Tell us, why did you leave Starfleet, Admiral?"

While nothing released confirms this, the event that drove Picard of out Starfleet 15 years previous to the series is most likely the collapse of the Romulan solar system when its star went supernova. "Picard's life was radically altered by the dissolution of the Romulan Empire," executive producer Alex Kurtzman told The Hollywood Reporter in January.

The destruction of Romulus will be familiar to anyone who's seen the 2009 Star Trek, which splits off a parallel universe from the event when the Romulan Nero traverses a black hole to get revenge on a different Federation of Planets. While Star Trek only depicts Spock's role in the efforts to prevent Romulus' destruction, a prequel comic released in advance of the movie shows Picard's side of the story. In the comic, Star Trek: Countdown, Picard is the Federation ambassador to Vulcan, but boards the Enterprise-E to help the Romulans. He bears witness to Spock's disappearance through the wormhole.

But Star Trek: Picard may have a different take on those events than the comic series. What's more intriguing in the first teaser isn't what it reveals about the plot of the new series, but instead the past to which it alludes.

The first (and most obvious) Star Trek: The Next Generation reference is to the Picard family vineyards in La Barre, France, where they produce an excellent grand cru red wine, Chateau Picard. The vineyards have made two appearances in TNG, in the series finale, "All Good Things…" and the Season 4 episode "Family."

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In "Family," Picard takes leave on Earth after his traumatic experience being assimilated into the Borg. In the episode, Picard reconnects with his irritable brother Robert, who is jealous of Jean-Luc's success, but also offers his little brother the open, human perspective Picard needs to stop blaming himself for the damage Locutus (Picard's Borg name) caused. In "All Good Things…" a spatial anomaly causes Picard to experience one possible future, where a degenerating mind leaves him little other option than to putter around the vineyards.

In both episodes, the Picard family vineyards are a place of comfort where Picard can recenter. But it's also a reminder of his higher ambitions. Winding up at the vineyard is, in some ways, a defeat, or a retreat from the life he loves among the stars. It looks like it will serve a similar function in Star Trek: Picard.

The third TNG allusion in the Picard teaser trailer is significantly more subtle. Do you hear that flute theme, playing over the title reveal at the very end? There can be no doubt: that's a Ressikan flute.

The Ressikans are an extinct species of humanoids who launched a probe from their dying planet in one of the most beloved episodes of The Next Generation, "The Inner Light." The Ressikan probe took over Jean-Luc Picard's mind and gave him the complete experience of living as a Ressikan for 50 years. On the Ressikan planet, Kataan, Picard raised a family and became part of a community.

In his old age, his friends and family visit Picard and explain his life with them. "We hoped our probe would encounter someone in the future—someone who could be a teacher, someone who could tell the others about us." Picard returns to consciousness aboard the Enterprise, where only 25 minutes had passed. Having mastered the Ressikan flute in his life on Kataan, Picard continues to play it, especially when feeling wistful. It is his most prized possession; expect it to appear in Picard.

Captain Picard playing his Ressikan flute at the end of "The Inner Light." CBS Television Distribution

Other than the vineyard, these Star Trek: The Next Generation references may not play directly into the plot of the upcoming series, but it does indicate Star Trek: Picard's emotional ambitions.