It’s time to boldly go… into the second season of Star Trek: Picard! The new season premieres March 3 and continues the story of Picard and his friends as they try to tackle a new galaxy threatening anomaly. As we’ve seen in the trailer there is going to be a lot of twists and turns, with everything from the Borg to time travel to current 2020s Los Angeles.
At the junket for the second season the man himself, Sir Patrick Stewart, Admiral Jean Luc Picard in the zoom flesh, reflected on many things. He spoke about everything from nostalgia, to memory, to the positive effects of getting older and the ways that that breadth of life experience can help make one a better human being. And of course about the return of Guinan and Q to Picard’s life.
When asked about balancing nostalgia for the character and finding new ways for him to grow Stewart had this to say:
Sir Patrick Stewart: “There is one condition for what we’re doing now, which is an absolute understanding that the 30 to 33 years that have passed since I took off the captain’s uniform for the last time. That time has also passed for Jean Luc Picard and Commander Riker. And Deanna Troi. And everyone.
And therefore, it’s not just aging, it’s comprehension. It’s understanding. It’s compassion. It’s being brave enough to change one’s life by linking it to another person. All of these things, which… a lot, most of them, have happened to me. So we’re not looking at Jean Luc Picard in the future. We’re actually looking back over the last 30 years as well. We’re doing both things.”
When asked if Picard would be able to recover from the traumatic events of season one, (a season in which we return to Picard a bit of a broken man) and his ability to move on, Stewart hinted at Picard having to go back in even deeper to confront traumatic events from his own childhood:
Sir Patrick Stewart: “I think that he has put a lot of that aside. His new understanding is one related to individuals, and close relationships with people. He is understanding that his childhood was not resolved in the way that he’s always believed it was. That he had a misunderstanding about what happened within his family, between his mother and his father, and himself. And this, I think, is one of the primary reasons that led him to join Starfleet. Because then he escaped.
Joining Starfleet is a big running away, while at the same time putting yourself in the firing line for huge experiences to happen to you. So it’s both. It’s denying one thing and embracing something else. And so that’s been the fundamental heartland of this new Picard.
It’s the same man, because it’s Patrick Stewart. And, okay, I’ve undergone some changes. And I’ve had some drama in my life and good things and not too good. But it all has fed into being Picard. And I love it. I love it that we have come back to present Los Angeles. I didn’t have much to do in those sections, but it gave me enormous pleasure to be blending 400 years from now with the present day.”
Whoopi Goldberg is returning to the role of Guinan for season two, and so Stewart spoke about the special bond between her and Picard. Stewart explains why Picard values her friendship so highly.
Sir Patrick Stewart: “A feeling that is absolute openness, and frankness can exist between them. And I don’t know about Guinan. Because I don’t know about her whole life. She’s lived for about 500 years, I believe. But I’m not sure that Picard has ever encountered anyone like that before. And to be in the company of someone who requires openness, honesty, frankness, self-observation as part of their life, as well as having a good time – it makes for a fascinating combination of elements.”
And of course, because Picard’s biggest frenemy Q has returned to torment him (and possibly seek his aid), he spoke about that long friendship/rivalry and how it perhaps has shifted this time around.
Sir Patrick Stewart: “It’s about learning to live honestly, authentically, not hiding, not denying. But being open and accepting about how you live. And Guinan of course, is the one significant person who has brought this into Picard’s life. But so has Q. There have been little tiny details threaded into Q’s character. And the scenes that I played with him, which have been, in part Q, confessing something about himself or admitting something about himself.
And the impact that Q has had on Jean Luc becomes greater and greater with each episode. And I found that to be wonderful. And when John and I shot our last scene, and the director announced that it was “goodbye” I found that both of us had tears in our eyes. And in a sense, we were still being Q and Picard. Those tears represented history.
But at the same time, it was just the closing of the sheer delight of working with someone like John de Lancie, who brought so much to every single moment, and every shot that we did, and every scene that we were asked to do. And it was over. And it was very, very moving for everybody on the set that day, but it was the feeling that everyone had primarily about John de Lancie.”
Star Trek: Picard season 2 premieres March 3 on Paramount+.