The Star Trek: Picard solo series is set to take an in-depth look at Patrick Stewart's iconic character, but also has a golden opportunity to explore the captain's pre-Enterprise days on the Stargazer and the incident with Jack Crusher. In a pleasant surprise for Star Trek fans, Stewart himself announced in August last year that he would returning to the franchise to reprise his role as Jean-Luc Picard in a solo spinoff series.
Featuring an older Picard, who has now retired from Starfleet, Star Trek: Picard will pick up from the destruction of Romulus that triggered the events of J. J. Abrams' 2009 movie - an event Picard himself tried and failed to prevent. Taking place around at the end of the 24th century, Star Trek: Picard will explore a largely untouched area of the franchise's timeline and is expected to premiere on CBS All Access in late 2019. Michael Chabon will act as showrunner and Jonathan Frakes (otherwise known as The Next Generation's Riker) will be directing the second block of episodes.
Star Trek: Picard has been mooted as a more detailed examination of the Enterprise-D captain, but plenty of the character's history currently remains untapped. In addition to the main timeline where Patrick Stewart returns as an aging former Starfleet captain, Star Trek: Picard could also use flashbacks to return to Picard's younger years and explore his backstory, namely, Picard's pre-TNG time as captain of the Stargazer.
Unlike James T. Kirk, Picard is already an established leader before the audience meet him in The Next Generation and has experienced over two decades' worth of adventures with a different crew aboard a ship called the Stargazer, however this period of Picard's life has gone largely unexplored, and has only featured briefly in The Next Generation's first season and in non-canon wider media. Since the main focus of Star Trek: Picard will obviously be Patrick Stewart's older version of the character, whose days of leading epic space battles and exchanging gunfire with aliens are unfortunately over, flashing back to a younger Picard on the Stargazer could allow for those more traditional action-based Star Trek elements to be included. The two timelines could seamlessly play into each other and combine to shed more light on the show's legendary title character.
One major story that a Stargazer flashback could finally shed some light on is the death of Jack Crusher. The Next Generation infamously introduced a young Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher, whose mother worked as Picard's chief medical officer. It's revealed that Wesley's father, Jack Crusher, served under Picard on the Stargazer and the two were close friends, as well as trusted colleagues. Tragically, Jack is killed while working aboard the Stargazer but the circumstances surrounding his death are not explicitly revealed, with only passing details and allusions in the dialogue to work from. It's established that Jack died as the result of a life-or-death choice and, as his captain, Picard feels a degree of responsibility for what happened. The 1991 Reunion novel by Michael Jan Friedman covered this topic, and the same author would pen a series of Stargazer adventures, but these books aren't considered part of official Alpha canon and Star Trek: Picard would certainly be free to write its own version of events.
The death of Jack Crusher feels like a potentially defining moment in Picard's development as both a person and a captain, and so it would be fascinating to discover how the event unfolded and what role Picard himself played. Set to be the most personal look at the character yet, Star Trek: Picard would be an ideal place for this tale to finally come to light.
Star Trek: Picard is expected to premiere later this year on CBS All Access.