In anticipation for Star Trek: Picard, the Star Trek website has resurrected Captain Picard Day. A fun event from "The Pegasus" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation season 7, it's now the motivation for a very real Captain Picard Week.
As Star Trek fans are aware, Captain Jean-Luc Picard is an exemplary commander who possesses many virtues: he's extremely intelligent, wise, diplomatic, and fair-minded. Picard not only inspires the trust and loyalty of his crew but he also spurs them on to be their very best. However, Picard also has a few foibles that Star Trek: The Next Generation had fun exploiting from time-to-time, and one of them is his discomfort around children - simply put, the Captain doesn't like to be around kids. In the case of young Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton), Picard eventually warmed to the boy and learned to appreciate his genius-level intelligence; Picard promoted Wesley to Ensign as part of the bridge crew and he later sponsored Wesley's application to Starfleet Academy.
But there were other instances in Star Trek: The Next Generation where Picard was put into awkward situations with children. In the TNG season 5 episode "Disaster", Picard was trapped in a turbolift with three young kids who were winners of a school science fair. Because he was injured when the Enterprise was disabled, Picard had to find a way to calm the children down and teach them to work with him so they could be rescued. Amusingly, the tables were turned on Picard in the Star Trek: The Next Generation season 6 episode "Rascals" when Picard, Ro Laren, Keiko O'Brien, and Guinan were turned into 12-year-olds. Picard took advantage of being a child (with a full head of hair) and pretended to be Commander Riker's son; young Jean-Luc helped "my Number One dad" outwit a group of Ferengi who tried to take over the Enterprise.
However, those happy days aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise-D occurred decades ago and in Star Trek: Picard, the retired Admiral has left the stars behind to live at the Picard family winery in Le Barre, France. But there are mysteries as to why Picard left Starfleet after leading "the greatest rescue armada ever" that the new Star Trek series has to answer.
In the meantime, though, the Star Trek website bringing back Captain Picard Day - and expanding it to an entire Captain Picard Week - not only harkens back to the glory years of Star Trek: The Next Generation but it is a clever bit of marketing that looks to be setting up a big Star Trek: Picard reveal on Stardate 72920.6 (Sunday, June 16, 2019).
Captain Picard Day In Star Trek: The Next Generation
In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Picard Day was an annual event held aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise-D. Even though the Enterprise-D was the flagship of the Federation, as a Galaxy-class starship, it carried not just Starfleet Officers but their families as well. Picard's Enterprise had a school and Captain Picard Day became a way for the children to honor the ship's commander, who was a hero to them.
For Captain Picard Day, one of the ship's lounges was decorated with a colorful banner made by the children and the main activity was an art contest where the kids made paintings and models of the Captain. Picard himself judged the contest; in "The Pegasus", the Captain awarded first prize to a seven-year-old named Paul Menegay, who built an orange clay sculpture of Picard's distinctive head. While he was a good sport about it and begrudgingly saw the holiday as part of his duties to his crew, Picard was uncomfortable with Captain Picard Day in general because of his general discomfort around children - not to mention he was teased by Admiral Blackwell, who was unimpressed when Picard tried to explain that he was "a role model" to the children.
Adding to Picard's displeasure, Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes) also took a special delight in needling his commanding officer about Captain Picard Day, which Picard noted. As a bit of revenge, Picard arranged for a Commander Riker Day the following month and he joked that he would enter the art competition himself. However, Commander Riker Day didn't catch on the way Captain Picard Day has. Indeed, since 2007, June 16th has become the official date of Captain Picard Day when Star Trek fans celebrate their favorite captain.
What Is Star Trek Doing With Picard Day/Week?
On June 10, 2019, StarTrek.com announced Captain Picard Day would take place on Stardate 72920.6 (June 16th), sponsored by the Enterprise Booster Club. The website quickly expanded the celebration into Captain Picard Week with several days worth of activities to celebrate. In a tongue-in-cheek nod at how the Enterprise-D would celebrate the Captain and his command crew, the website announced a full week of fun activities like Make Your Own Picard with Lt. Barclay, Kids' Hallway Bowling, and Worf Wednesday, which includes getting to braid the surly Klingon's hair! Meanwhile, the adults aboard the Enterprise aren't left out of the Picard Week fun; there's a Wine Tasting and Saddle Oiling Event, Commander Riker's Afterparty, the Ready Room has been turned into an Escape Room, and Commander Data hosts a Chili Cook-Off. And if all that doesn't sound fun enough, Guinan has a Secret Show and there's even a Feelings Retreat with Counselor Troi.
However, beyond Captain Picard Week's delightful in-jokes for Star Trek: The Next Generation fans, there could be another reason to spotlight June 16th, which remains the official Captain Picard Day. Fan anticipation is extremely high for the upcoming show and Captain Picard Day could be the occasion when CBS All-Access finally announces the release date for Star Trek: Picard. There could even be a new trailer containing more footage than the provocative teaser trailer released last month. That would really be a reason to celebrate.
Picard Would Still Hate Picard Day
Within the reality of Star Trek, however, Jean-Luc Picard himself would probably still be against Captain Picard Day, perhaps more so than ever. The cheerful celebration is an echo of happier days that have long since vanished, back when Picard was in command of Starfleet's greatest ship and he led the finest crew in the fleet on legendary adventures, encounters against dangerous aliens, and together, they explored parts of the galaxy that no one had before (this is, incidentally, why many fans feel TNG is the best Star Trek series).
However, Picard has endured his share of tragedies. It's not clear yet what happened in the years since Star Trek: Nemesis, when Data (Brent Spiner) gave his life to save the Enterprise from Picard's evil clone Shinzon (Tom Hardy). In Star Trek: Picard's era, we know that Romulus was destroyed (which led to the creation of the Kelvin timeline in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek movies) and that this ties into Picard's current retirement and him "losing faith" in Starfleet.
Regardless, fans can't wait to be reunited with Picard and join him on a brand new adventure that will (hopefully) harken back to the glory years of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Though in Star Trek: Picard, the elder Jean-Luc Picard may not feel that his life and career are worthy of the honor of Captain Picard Day any longer, it's safe to say Star Trek fans would vehemently disagree with their favorite captain.
Star Trek: Picard premieres in late 2019 on CBS All-Access and internationally on Amazon Prime Video.