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Star Trek Theory: Picard's New Ship Is TNG's USS Stargazer

Patrick Stewart and the Stargazer in Star Trek Picard

Star Trek: Picard may be ready to take Jean-Luc Picard back to the first ship he ever commanded, the USS Stargazer. Already one of the most anticipated new shows of 2020, Picard wowed fans with its majestic San Diego Comic-Con trailer, revealing the returns of Patrick Stewart's former Star Trek: The Next Generation co-star Brent Spiner as the beloved android Data, as well as Star Trek: Voyager veteran Jeri Ryan as the former Borg drone Seven of Nine; a few others were announced during the show's SDCC panel. The trailer also showed off the former captain's new supporting cast, a group of lost souls and outcasts that doesn't have a lot of overlap with the near-perfect personnel that populated Picard's Enterprise.

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The one thing the Star Trek: Picard trailer didn't reveal, however, was Picard's new ride. Showrunner Michael Chabon has confirmed the show takes place largely in space, so we know Jean-Luc is going to need a ship to take him on his mysterious mission. It's also been said by both the show's producers and Stewart himself that Picard is no longer a part of Starfleet and is not re-enlisting in this new show - Stewart went so far as to call his new crew "renegades" - so an active Starfleet vessel seems highly unlikely.

Related: Every Next Generation (& Voyager) Character Returning In Star Trek: Picard

Unfortunately, that means Picard will almost certainly not be using any of the ships called Enterprise; the Enterprise-D - the ship seen over seven years on The Next Generation - was destroyed in Star Trek Generations, and the Enterprise-E - the ship featured in the final three TNG films - was a brand new starship class when it was introduced, and is likely still in service; a particular surly Klingon might make more sense as the captain of that ship in 2399.

The Battle - Captain Picard - Star Trek: The Next Generation

And yet the idea of Jean-Luc Picard bouncing around the galaxy in some freighter or transport vessel just seems wrong. There's an obvious middle ground that could honor Picard's past while signifying his break from Starfleet - the USS Stargazer. The Stargazer was Picard's first command, a responsibility thrust upon him when he was a young lieutenant commander. After the ship's captain was killed in battle, Picard took command and saved the ship and crew, impressing Starfleet so much they decided to promote him to captain and give him the Stargazer permanently. Picard would command the Stargazer for the next 22 years, before it was critically damaged and abandoned during a battle with the Ferengi. The ship was eventually recovered and hauled back to a starbase several years later in The Next Generation episode "The Battle," never to be seen again. In the sixth season episode "Relics," Picard memorably opines how he sometimes misses his days on the Stargazer, despite the Enterprise being superior in every tangible way.

Given the ship's age and its association with Picard's legacy, it likely became a museum piece - easy enough to steal for some of the rougher characters Picard is suddenly hanging around. It's also, quite frankly, a really cool looking starship design that never got its due in past Star Trek series. If Star Trek: Picard is going to be about Jean-Luc coming out of retirement and getting his galactic groove back, maybe going back to his roots with the Stargazer - to remember why he joined Starfleet in the first place - is the best possible way to kick off this new frontier.

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