Both star Patrick Stewart and both tell of an aging hero in the twilight of his years, but Star Trek: Picard should take a completely different approach to Logan. Coming as part of CBS: All Access' new wave of Star Trek projects currently in development, the Picard solo series finds Patrick Stewart returning as Starfleet's most famous Ressikan flute-playing captain and will largely be set during the character's later years at the end of the 24th Century. While plot details for Picard are being kept firmly under wraps, an early look at the show's new Starfleet uniforms confirmed that the action won't stray too far from its space-faring roots.
Now reacquainting himself with one iconic character, Patrick Stewart said goodbye to another of his most famous roles back in 2017's Logan. The actor had portrayed Charles Xavier in the X-Men franchise since the turn of the millennium, but the psychic headmaster's story was brought to a solemn close in Logan. Of course, Logan also acted as a farewell for the title character himself, as Hugh Jackman's Wolverine carved a bloody path to a permanent retirement and exited the franchise in stunning fashion.
Aside from the not-inconsiderable presence of Patrick Stewart in both projects, Picard and Logan do appear to share certain parallels in their premise. And while it should go without saying that Picard probably won't be an R-rated, Western-tinged action thriller trying to break Hollywood's impalings-per-minute record, the series should also seek to avoid utilizing the same type of structure, tone and story arc that viewers saw in Logan.
What Do Star Trek: Picard and Logan Have In Common?
On the surface, the science fiction tale of a respectable, yet buccaneering, captain of a battle-ready spaceship and the comic book-inspired story of a wild, ageless savage with metal-covered bones couldn't be more different. But while this may have been the case for the majority of these characters' on-screen lives, their most recent adventures do cover some common ground.
Logan told the story of a man whose legend had far exceeded the reality. With the world turned firmly against mutantkind, the hero formerly known as Wolverine is little more than a broken shell, reduced to carrying around Bachelorette parties in a rented car and drinking himself from one day to the next. Hugh Jackman's final chapter as Wolverine saw the character return to his former glory one last time, battling against all odds in a dramatic solo Butch and Sundance-style effort.
While Picard is unlikely to begin on such a dour note, the idea of an old man whose reputation now inspires countless others still rings true and, just like Logan, Picard will find its title character removed from the life that made him famous. Circumstance forced Wolverine away from his life as a Brotherhood-bothering superhero, just like age has forced Jean-Luc Picard away from his time as an adventure-seeking Starfleet captain.
A key message in Logan was how Wolverine used his final days on Earth to safeguard a younger group of mutants, entrusting the future to the children in a noble act of self-sacrifice. In the Star Trek: Countdown graphic novel (a prelude to the 2009 J. J. Abrams movie), a post-Enterprise Picard is seen acting as an Ambassador on Vulcan, and since Picard producer, Alex Kurtzman, worked on this very comic, it seems likely that the former captain will still be actively trying to promote peace in the galaxy and herald in the next generation - just as Wolverine did in Logan, but with less stabbing.
What Star Trek: Picard Shouldn't Copy From Logan
Despite thematic similarities, Picard should forge a different path to Logan when it comes to charting the final chapter of an aging legend. Although both stories begin with their lead characters outside of the roles in which they are most associated, Logan's arc of a downtrodden man with blood on his hands on a journey to find redemption doesn't naturally fit the former Enterprise-D captain. Little is known about Jean Luc's later life, or what the Star Trek timeline looks like during this period, but it seems likely that Picard will still be held in high regard when the character's solo series begins and, subsequently, couldn't execute that same "returning hero" style of story.
Patrick Stewart's Starfleet captain showed a rebellious streak when required during his The Next Generation days and this would be a more fitting setup for the solo series - a respected and dignified older Picard eschewing a quiet retirement to fight for something he believes in, whether that be peaceful relations between different species, or the championing of a single individual Starfleet have no interest in.
Logan acts as a compelling "last stand" for the Wolverine character - two raised middle fingers to a world that turned mutants into a dying breed. Arguably, this trope could be a little easier to fit around Picard's character, but it would still be quite a deviation from the ex-captain's past. Wolverine's history is peppered with blood, mistakes and regret, and a valiant sacrifice was therefore a fitting conclusion. Picard undoubtedly harbors plenty of regrets himself and these could make excellent material for the character's forthcoming solo series. However, it wouldn't feel appropriate for those feelings to be resolved with the same kind of self-destructive abandon seen in Logan. As a more considered and measured personality, Picard's demons should be explored and exorcised with more reflection and awareness.
It has been confirmed that Picard's plot will pick up from the destruction of Romulus mentioned in the 2009 Star Trek movie. Ambassador Picard had a hand in trying to stop this event in Star Trek: Countdown and this could prove to be the focal point of Picard's story in his new solo series, giving the Ambassador a mission and a failure to try and atone for.
Should Star Trek: Picard Mirror Logan's Ending?
Among the heaps of critical praise Logan enjoyed, the film's ending was especially well-received. With both Professor X and Wolverine himself dying within the space of an hour, Logan's ending can hardly be called "happy" but, with Laura and her friends escaping capture, a glimmer of hope shines through. While there's currently no indication as to how many seasons Picard will run for, the show's eventual final episode will almost certainly act as Jean-Luc's swansong.
For this reason, it may be fitting for Picard to have some sort of death scene at the very end and, given the more mature route the solo series is taking, Picard's conclusion, like Logan's, doesn't necessarily need to be completely upbeat.
With that said, there are key elements to Logan's ending that wouldn't work within the Star Trek world. The main difference is that Wolverine dies in virtual anonymity. Even though he saved Earth countless times as part of the X-Men, Wolverine dies with only a group of kids for company, buried in a hastily dug grave to no fanfare. The world goes on turning, oblivious to the fact that one of its saviors has just passed away, and this single truth informs the real tragedy of Logan's final scenes.
As a famed figure of Starfleet, Picard's death would be a huge deal, even if he perished alone on a deserted planet. The fictional world of Star Trek hasn't entered Logan's state of political decay, and to try and shoot for the same kind of death scene would likely backfire. However he dies, Picard would be revered, not just as a figure of legend like Wolverine and the X-Men are in Logan, but as a man who achieved a great deal during his lifetime. The Picard series would, therefore, be better served embracing this level of recognition, and give Picard the type of ceremonial sendoff he deserves, rather than the pauper's death that had audiences sobbing at the end of Logan.
Star Trek: Picard is due to premiere later this year on CBS All Access.