At a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas in August 2018, Patrick Stewart shocked audiences when he said he would once again take on the role of Jean-Luc Picard in an upcoming episodic series for CBS All Access. Star Trek originally premiered in 1966 and went off the air in 1969. Audiences had to wait until 1979 before seeing James T. Kirk sit in the Captain's chair aboard the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The last time we saw Captain Picard was at the end of the 2002 film Star Trek Nemesis, in which audiences saw Riker and Troi leave the Enterprise as well as the death of Data. What kind of man will Picard be 17 years later? Perhaps to look at his future, we should examine Picard's past.
Star Trek: The Next Generation made its debut in 1987, and audiences saw early on that Picard was a different Captain than Kirk was. Picard favored diplomacy, let his First Officer take the majority of the Away Team missions and was, well... bald. He did have one thing that Kirk never had: seven seasons for audiences to get to know him. However, there are plenty of things that audiences have probably forgot about the man over the decades. Do you know that he wasn't the first choice to be Captain of the Enterprise-D? Just how many species did Picard make first contact with? Why exactly did he have superhuman hearing when he was a child? If you're reading this article on Captain Picard Day, celebrate by seeing how many of these Jean-Luc Picard facts you actually remembered!
20 HAS A DAY NAMED AFTER HIM
Let's state the obvious: we name holidays after people that have done good things for society. Are there any days named after evil people? We new Captain Picard was always awesome, but then it was made official when Captain Picard Day was established on the Enterprise D... but what day is it?
Most episodes start off with the Captain's Log stating the time stamp of the episode, which was a futuristic listing of numbers instead of dates on the Gregorian calendar. If you wanted to celebrate Captain Picard Day, then mark off on your calendar June 16! On that day, create a drawing or sculpture in his awesome likeness!
19 WAS COURT-MARTIALED
As a Captain, losing your ship is one of the worst things that can happen to you. Whether it's in battle or due to some other catastrophe, the destruction of a ship can result in loss of crew as well as significant damage to other ships nearby or the unfortunate planet that the ship might crash land on. Oh, you also get a mandatory court martial.
A battle with a Ferengi ship caused the destruction of the Constellation-class starship, the U.S.S. Stargazer. Picard was in command of the ship and in a court martial, had to recount the events leading to the loss of the Stargazer. He was acquitted of any wrong-doing and would be reunited with the Stargazer almost 10 years later.
18 WAS NOT FIRST CHOICE TO BE CAPTAIN OF THE ENTERPRISE
Who was the Captain of the very first ship to bear the name Enterprise? The pre-Federation Enterprise (NX-1701) had Captain Jonathan Archer in command of the vessel. The first Federation Enterprise (NCC-1701) was Captained by Robert April, who looked suspiciously like Gene Roddenberry. Did you know Picard wasn't the first choice to Captain the Enterprise-D?
In the Next Generation episode "Tapestry," Q showed Picard an alternate timeline in which he never became Captain. Picard learned that the Enterprise's Captain was a man named Thomas Bhupender Halloway. In the novel Buried Age, it's revealed that Halloway was assigned to be the original Captain, but decided to retire instead to spend time with his wife, Solveig.
17 FAILED ENTRANCE EXAM
What will an exam look like in the 24th century? Will it still require test-takers to sit at a desk and fill out forms, or will it be something that is performed in a holograpic environment? To enter Starfleet Academy, there are both written portions as well as oral exams. There's also a psychological evaluation that is tailored to the specific individual.
Although Jean-Luc Picard may be one of the best Starfleet Captains of all time, he failed his first attempt to get into Starfleet Academy. Picard got in on his second try, and thanks to the mentorship of the groundskeeper named Boothby, he became one of the most outstanding cadets in his class.
16 FELL IN LOVE WITH BEST FRIEND'S WIFE
Picard has had a number of love interests on Star Trek: The Next Generation, including the sneaky archaeologist Vash, a stellar cartographer named Nella Daren and some believe a possible romance happened between Picard and Guinan! Let's not overlook the relationship between Picard and Dr. Beverly Crusher, but some forget how they met.
Crusher met Picard while her husband was serving aboard the U.S.S. Stargazer. In the episode "Attached," Crusher learned when she's mentally connected to Picard via implant that Picard was in love with her when they first met, but kept it to himself. In the series finale "All Good Things..." an alternate timeline revealed Picard and Crusher married, but later divorced!
15 HAS ARTIFICIAL HEART
The future is a weird place. In The Empire Strikes Back, after Luke lost his hand in combat with Darth Vader, he received a robotic replacement. You would think that with all of the advanced technology in the Star Wars universe, they would simply grow Luke a new appendage instead of a clearly robotic hand. The same thing happened in Star Trek.
For many years, Geordi LaForge wore a Visual Instrument and Sensory Organ Replacement instead of getting ocular implants. Picard was stabbed in the heart during a fight with Nausicaans over a rigged dom-jot match. His heart was replaced with an artificial one, and then a second time after being ambushed by Lenarians.
14 MET PROFESSOR X
To some audiences, Patrick Stewart will forever be Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation. To others, he's the legendary Professor Charles Xavier, founder of the X-Men from Marvel Comics. Would it shock you to know that at one point, both men met?
In the comic, Star Trek: The Next Generation/X-Men: Second Contact, the X-Men met up with the crew of the Enterprise-D. Yes, both crews wondered why their leaders bore a striking resemblance to each other. The bizarre thing? The comic was written in 1998, two years before Stewart was cast as Professor X! Now that's uncanny!
13 INVENTED PICARD MANEUVER
Gene Roddenberry wanted a future in which everyone was in good shape and wore futuristic uniforms. The first season uniforms were designed by William Ware Theiss, and to keep them smooth, Patrick Stewart would be constantly tugging on them, which earned the name of his pull down on the front of his uniform the Picard Maneuver. There's also the other Picard Maneuver.
Picard came up with the tactical maneuver while engaging the Ferengi for the first time. He put his ship, the Stargazer, into high warp but for a very short distance, resulting in the Ferengi sensors thinking there were two ships. This confused sensors long enough for Picard to launch a counter-attack and destroy the ship. Not bad for a man famous for his diplomacy!
12 RESENTED BY HIS BROTHER
Jean-Luc Picard has saved the galaxy on numerous occasions, and he's easily one of the Federation's most famous Captains. Imagine what it must like to be the brother to Jean-Luc. Living under the shadow of a man who's literally saved humanity more than once has to be hard.
Robert Picard (not to be confused with Robert Picardo, the actor that played the Doctor on Voyager) was the older brother to Jean-Luc. Robert bullied his younger brother and Jean-Luc often got into trouble as a rebellious teen. Against his father's wishes, Jean-Luc left his parents and brother behind and joined Starfleet. This left Robert with the family wine business and a deep resentment towards his brother.
11 FIRST ONE TO MEET FERENGI
To Starfleet, space is the final frontier. Every Captain in the Federation is charged with seeking out new life and new civilizations. Captain Picard got to do just that, and the man was responsible for making first contact with over two dozen new species, counted among them was the profit-driven Ferengi (and he sort of did it twice).
The first time he met the Ferengi, he was the Captain of the U.S.S. Stargazer. An unidentified ship (later revealed to be Ferengi) attacked the Stargazer, with Picard destroying the ship in defense. The second official first contact meeting was around nine years later in the episode "The Last Outpost."
10 COMES FROM FAMILY OF VINTNERS
If Benjamin Sisko did not become a Starfleet Captain, he probably would have worked alongside his father in their family-owned restaurant in New Orleans. It is likely that if Picard never set foot on the bridge of the Enterprise-D, he would have joined his brother in working at the Picard family vineyards in La Barre, France.
Just how good is Chateau Picard wine? As luck would have it, you can actually order it on-line from a company that is not associated with Star Trek or Paramount. You may have also caught a bottle of Picard wine in the ready room of Captain Philippa Georgiou in the Star Trek: Discovery episode The Vulcan Hello.
9 WAS A SICK KID
Although Jean-Luc Picard was a skilled diplomat and savvy military strategist, he wasn't born that way. As he learned from Q in the episode "Tapestry," Picard made the mistakes necessary to give him life experience and become the person he is today. When he was born, he had a number of hurdles he had to overcome as well.
When Jean-Luc was born, he suffered from Shalaft's Syndrome, a rare condition in which young Picard had a hypersensitivity to sound. Although it's similar to the real-life disorder hyperacusis, it's not known why writers of Star Trek Nemesis made up Shalaft's Syndrome.
8 IN THE FUTURE, HE WILL GET SICK
Picard may have been able to overcome Shalaft's Syndrome as a child, but will he be able to overcome a disease that he'll be diagnosed with in the future? In the series finale "All Good Things..." Jean-Luc Picard is now an ambassador and suffers from a neurological disorder called Irumodic syndrome.
The syndrome deteriorated a person's synaptic pathways and seemed like a futuristic version of Alzheimer's Syndrome. Once Picard was able to disperse the anti-time anomaly, he was returned to his rightful timeline, but still retained the knowledge of his future endeavors. Medical scans showed that it was still possible for him to develop Irumodic syndrome in the future. He developed the syndrome in the Deep Space Nine book trilogy entitled Millennium.
7 FIRE TOOK AWAY HIS BROTHER
In the Next Generation episode Family, audiences got to meet Jean-Luc's brother, Robert, along with Robert's wife Marie, and their child named Rene. Unfortunately, while Picard and his crew are celebrating Worf's promotion on the holodeck at the beginning of the 1994 film Star Trek: Generations, the Captain received some disturbing news about his family.
In an event never fully explained, Robert and his son, Rene, perished in a fire. The event had a profound impact on Picard, who thought that his brother would carry on the Picard family line. In the Next Generation novel Paths of Disharmony, Picard and his wife, Beverly Crusher, had a son that they name after his late brother.
6 TRIED TO GET A TIME TRAVELER TO HELP HIM CHEAT
Every Starfleet officer will have to take an infamous test centered around saving a vessel known as the Kobayashi Maru. It's a no-win scenario to see how a person handles defeat. James T. Kirk found a way to beat the test but only by cheating. Would Jean-Luc Picard cheat in order to beat a no-win scenario? The answer is yes!
In the episode "A Matter of Time," the Enterprise-D mission was to prevent an ecological disaster from occurring on the planet Penthara IV. If Picard does nothing, thousands will definitely die, and if he acts, millions could die. With such a big decision, he enlisted the help of a time-traveling doctor named Berlinghoff Rasmussen to tell him the correct outcome, which Rasmussen refused to do.
5 HIS CLONE WAS IN CHARGE OF ROMULANS
In the 24th century, "clone" was kind of a dirty word. The Federation was about exploration and improving oneself, so the idea of cloning to sustain longevity wasn't seen by the Federation like a great way to celebrate life. The Dominion used cloning amongst the Vorta race and even the Romulans used cloning technology; something that would eventually haunt them.
In Star Trek Nemesis, audiences not only learned about the Reman members of the Romulan race, they also learned about their new leader, Shinzon. Praetor Shinzon was a failed attempt at cloning Captain Picard. As fate would have it, Picard's clone would overthrow the Romulan senate and proclaim himself their new ruler.
4 TURNED DOWN CHANCE TO BE ADMIRAL
At the beginning of the 1979 film Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Admiral Kirk is chastised by his friend, Leonard McCoy, who said Kirk made a bad decision to accept his promotion and give up the Captain's chair. Although we'd love to see Picard be a Captain forever, could a cushy Admiral position eventually entice Picard to take a promotion?
In the episode "Coming of Age," Admiral Quinn offered to promote Picard to the rank of Admiral and become the Commandant of Starfleet Academy. Although the position would have given him the opportunity to oversee the education of new Starfleet recruits, Picard opted to remain Captain of the Enterprise-D and explore the galaxy.
3 ALMOST HELPED BUILD ATLANTIS
In the episode "Best of Both Worlds," Commander Riker, Data and Captain Picard barely prevent the Earth from being assimilated by a Borg cube. It's only fitting after an action-packed episode to have the slower paced Family air right after. In "Family," Picard gets to go home to see his brother as well as his longtime friend, Louis Blanchard.
Louis tells Picard that he's currently one of many supervisors on the New Atlantis Project, which sought to create a subcontinent between North America and Europe. Louis suggested that Picard would be a great choice to be the new project director, but Picard eventually declined. Picard, in a comic book, met the X-Men. Would have he met Namor or Aquaman if he built Atlantis?
2 GAVE DATA HIS NAME (SORT OF)
If you have a mobile phone, chances are you also have a data plan. Thanks to Captain Picard, you have a DAYta plan, opposed to a DATa plan. Actor Brent Spiner stated that when he got the part of the android science officer, he thought that the character's name was pronounced "Dat-uh." Commercials were also released with his character's name pronounced that way.
Jean-Luc had other plans. Picard referred to his science officer as DAY-tuh, and because of Picard's commanding voice, everyone else followed suit. Of all of the ways that Picard and Star Trek have changed the world, this may be the biggest one of them all!
1 GAVE FEDERATION CRIPPLING BLOW AS LOCUTUS
In the season three cliffhanger "The Best of Both Worlds," Captain Picard is not only abducted by the Borg, he's assimilated by them and transformed into Locutus, a representative that would speak on behalf of the Borg. Locutus represented a demoralizing symbol of just how powerful the Borg were and how easily they could hurt the Federation.
Picard is an inspirational character, but even Gene Roddenberry himself was not eager to have him join the Federation's worst enemy. Could even Captain Picard be forgiven after what happened at Wolf 359, a sector of space in which the cube carrying Locutus was responsible for approximately 11,000 Federation officers either being assimilated or meeting their doom?