Every year, Star Trek super-fans flock to Las Vegas. No, they’re not there for the slot machines or the Star Trek Experience (which sadly went away many years ago). Instead, they are there for the annual Star Trek convention that serves as the biggest Trek-centric gathering on the planet. For years, these conventions essentially focused on the past. That is, various cast members of shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine would come and offer memories and anecdotes about shows that ended way back in the '90s, but this past year was a little different. First, there was the focus on Star Trek: Discovery. Fans finally had a new show back on the air (albeit the streaming air), and that was already something awesome to look forward to. But then the convention decided to set their announcements on “stun” and shock everyone there (as well as fans across the world).
Patrick Stewart took the stage and officially announced he would be returning as Jean-Luc Picard for a new, upcoming series. Fans were excited at his return, and this immediately kicked off intense speculation. And that’s because Stewart is the master of playing coy. All he announced was his return. We don’t know if anyone else is coming back, what the story will be... heck, we don’t even know if he’s “Captain” Picard anymore. And until more details come out, all fans can do is develop theories for what the show will be about. Don’t have time for speculation? Don’t worry: we’ve assembled all the best theories in one place. Just keep reading to discover 20 theories about what the new Captain Picard show will be about!
20 STARFLEET ACADEMY PRESIDENT
When it comes to ideas for a new Star Trek show, one idea has been kicking around for decades -- a Starfleet Academy show. Now, such a show is being discussed once more, but one theory holds that this show and the Picard show are one and the same.
It’s only “logical,” as Spock might say. The benefit of an Academy show is that it lures in new viewers, but veteran viewers may be wary of “Riverdale in Space.” By adding Picard as the president of Starfleet Academy, viewers old and new are likely to flock to this new show to see what it’s all about.
19 CARTOON PICARD
Another interesting new idea that is being explored is an animated Star Trek show. While the powers that be haven’t confirmed what such a show would be about, one theory has fans in an absolute frenzy and that it's an animated revival of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
So far, Patrick Stewart is the only member of the TNG cast confirmed to be returning. But if the rest of the cast follows, we could have more of everyone’s favorite series. And the animated aspect means we wouldn’t have to worry about the problem of the actors getting too old for various action-oriented scenes.
18 ALWAYS A PEACE GAME WITH THE ROMULANS
As you’ll recall, Picard had a special relationship with the Romulans. He once helped Spock in attempts to reunify the Vulcan and Romulan peoples. And later, Picard made significant diplomatic progress with the Romulans when he defeated Shinzon, a rogue clone of himself and leader of the Remans.
Therefore, many fans think it would make sense if the new show dealt with Picard seeking peace and reunification with the Romulans once more. Throw in the canonical destruction of their homeworld, and this secretive race is much likelier to negotiate with a representative of the Federation. And face it, Picard is a born diplomat!
17 RETURN TO “INNER” PEACE
While a new Picard show will have to explore new characters and new directions, many fans are hoping for some major homages to Next Generation. And one theory hearkens back to the fan-favorite episode of that series, “The Inner Light,” in which an alien probe forces Picard to live out an entire lifetime on an alien planet whose population has long since passed.
Given Picard’s natural interests in history and archaeology, many fans are hoping the older Picard will have found the planet and is leading research into their civilization. And there’s plenty of room for him to discover secrets that will change life in the Federation for many, many years to come.
16 STAR TREK: GALAXY
This next theory is a bit more detailed than others. That’s because it was developed by Youtube sensation Red Letter Media, and they went so far as to develop a video treatment for the idea. It’s a concept they call Star Trek: Galaxy.
The theory is that the show would revolve around the U.S.S. Galaxy (which is the same class of ship as the Enterprise-D) resurfacing and Starfleet sending in Picard and Geordi LaForge, who are experts in this ancient ship. These two (along with Geordi’s kids and a younger crew) must find and recover the massive starship while also navigating new threats to the Federation and the Alpha Quadrant.
15 PICARD VS. KHAN
So... third time’s the charm? That’s the mentality behind this next theory, which focuses on the return of famous Trek nemesis Khan. Remember, Into Darkness saw this character put back on ice, leaving the door open to his possible return. And that leaves room for the possibility of Picard vs. Khan.
Would it be cheesy fan service? Undoubtedly. But there is something really interesting about seeing how the cool and diplomatic Picard would handle Khan differently from the hotheaded and passionate Captain Kirk. And the possibility of recasting Khan as an old man means we could see a very different kind of conflict between these characters.
14 THE END OF THE FEDERATION
Part of what made Logan so special (and so sad) was its willingness to look at the end of things. This included (spoilers, beware) the end of the X-Men, the end of Wolverine, and the end of Professor X. But what would happen if Star Trek was willing to give “the end” a try?
One dour fan theory is that we might see Picard dealing with the end of the Federation. Through both external and internal conflicts, the mighty organization is now falling apart. This leaves Picard as the only man who can save the Federation, but he’s stuck with a moral quandary: is it even worth saving?
13 THE SEARCH FOR DATA
A notable feature of the otherwise lackluster Star Trek: Nemesis was the apparent destruction of Data. He gave his life to save his crew, but the movie ends on a note of hope. Specifically, we see that Data implanted some of his memories in the android B4, leaving room for the return of Data.
Accordingly, one fan theory is nice and simple: that Data returns in full force and then mysteriously vanishes. That leaves Picard as the only one who knows the android well enough to track him down. And along the way, Picard will get caught in the same galaxy-spanning mystery that sent Data packing in the first place.
12 WEST WING IN SPACE
Most theories about the Picard show make a simple assumption. Specifically, they assume that a new show would be too similar to the shows we’ve had before -- space exploration, some phaser fights, alien diplomacy, and so on. But what if the new show is completely different?
Some fans have expressed an interest in seeing Picard as the president of the entire Federation. And in a show about this, we’d basically have a futuristic version of The West Wing. Sure, it would be quite different, but such a show could give fans a valuable glimpse of the Federation’s inner workings and light the way towards its future.
11 THE BORG ARE BACK?
As a franchise, Star Trek must constantly walk a fine line between doing something that is familiar and beloved by fans and doing something that’s new and exciting. The very best Trek does a little bit of both, which is what the creators of this theory are hoping for -- the return of The Borg.
No, the fans don’t want to see Picard fight the Borg again -- we’ve had several episodes and an entire movie devoted to that. But what if the Borg were fading away, and looking to the Federation to save them? We could see Picard fight his inner demons and complete an emotional arc that has been nearly 30 years in the making!
10 CAPTAIN RIKER AND CREW
Like we said earlier, some fans are hoping that more cast members will return alongside Patrick Stewart. And if they can get Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis to return, then we can get the on-screen adventures of a ship many fans have wanted to see: the Titan!
If you’ll recall, this is the ship that Riker was taking command of after he and Troi got married. While several novels have explored this ship and its adventures, a new series would let us see such adventures brought to life. It would also let us see how life had treated Riker and Troi as well as Picard over the years.
9 BYE BYE, KELVINVERSE
This next theory is a long shot due to the constant tug of war over various Star Trek licenses. Nonetheless, fans can dream. And in this case, they dream of doing something that would make quite a few people happy with the undoing the Kelvinverse!
As you know, the rebooted Star Trek movies take place in a new reality caused when Spock and Nero go back in time after the former tries to save Romulus from destruction. A new series could show Picard trying to save billions of lives by saving Romulus, all while restoring reality to the way it should be (like in “Yesterday’s Enterprise”).
8 PICARD: DOUBLE AGENT
A surprisingly enduring plot in Star Trek involves Section 31. This is the super-secret organization within Starfleet that will do anything (and break any rules) to preserve the Federation. They were introduced in Deep Space Nine, played a major role in Star Trek Into Darkness, and now have popped up on Discovery.
The problem with Section 31 is that they are mostly amoral. They are willing to take out people, commit genocide...pretty much anything. So, one fan theory holds that Picard might try to infiltrate their institution. There would be drama all around while he tries to destroy them from the inside without becoming corrupted himself.
7 DARK MIRROR
Another enduring Trek concept has been the Mirror Universe. We first saw this dark reflection of the regular Trek universe in The Original Series. Later, Deep Space Nine explored this universe in multiple episodes. And, most recently, Star Trek: Discovery had a major Mirror story arc.
In the world of Trek comics, we have seen Mirror versions of Picard and the rest of his crew. For this upcoming series, one fan theory holds that we will see Picard takes on his evil twin and try to bring peace to two entirely different universes. If nothing else, it will be fun to see Picard in his “evil twin” outfit!
6 FROM P-STEW TO Q
When fans daydream about other characters to return alongside Picard, they usually focus on his crew or his friends. But what about his old nemesis? According to some fans, the new series needs to start with the return of the all-knowing and all-power entity known as Q.
How would this work? The entire frame of Next Generation was that humanity was being tested. Picard may think he passed the test, but Q warned him that he would see Picard “out there.” Think of this series like an extended “All Good Things,” where Picard is once again tested, and all of humanity is once again at stake.
5 PICARD AND CAPTAIN WORF
When Stewart announced that he (and only he) had been approached about returning, we can only imagine Michael Dorn was a little annoyed. Why? Well, he’s been waging a one-man marketing campaign for years now to start a “Captain Worf” series with himself as the star.
But what if this Picard show is actually a Worf show as well? Some fans theorize that the show will be about Captain Worf dealing with new Klingon threats and drama. And Picard, as both a super-diplomat and a Klingon expert, is brought on board as the final chance to avoid a new war between Starfleet and the Klingon Empire.
4 RETURN OF THE SWEATER
Fans like to dunk on Wesley Crusher for being annoying, but when you think about it, he had one of the coolest arcs in all of Star Trek. He went from being a whiny kid to being someone with cosmic powers who will now spend the rest of his life traveling the universe.
Some fans think the new series should focus on Picard trying to find Wesley, who has become lost somewhere in the cosmos. Such a series would provide a natural excuse for lots of exploration of “strange new worlds” and “new life” while capitalizing on the mentor/student relationship the two characters always enjoyed.
3 PICARD ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER
For every cool Trek character or concept that comes back, there are a dozen that we never see again. Take the Guardian on the Edge of Forever: this is a living, talking portal to any time and place imaginable. And as such, it represents a huge risk to all of reality at any given time.
Some fans think that a new series should be like an extended sequel to “City on the Edge of Forever.” The show would involve history being altered in a way where only Picard notices it, and he must now go through the Guardian and restore history. This would open the show up to take place anywhere (and anywhen).
2 PICARD’S RETIREMENT YEARS
Obviously, most of the Picard show theories involve the character being called out of retirement. Basically, fans assume that some major threat will force an old friend or Admiral to call Picard out of retirement to fix things, but what if he’s not called out of retirement at all?
There is lots of dramatic potential for a show that focuses on Picard’s retirement years on Earth. He could get embroiled in plenty of drama as he tries to rebuild his life... which is difficult when he’s one of the most famous people in the galaxy. Call us crazy, but we’d love to see how Picard spends his sunset years when he’s not warping around and saving everyone.
1 THE REUNION WITH GUINAN
One story element of Star Trek that was seemingly left hanging was the story of Guinan and her people. We eventually found out their name (El-Aurians) and what happened to them (their planet was destroyed by the Borg) that caused them to scatter. But what is the end of their story?
Some fans are hoping for a series where Picard is responsible for finding Guinan and the rest of her people and leading them to a new world. In this way, her race would get closure, even while we get some real closure between Picard and Guinan. We’re excited about this, if only to see Patrick Stewart and Whoopi Goldberg on-screen together again.