Star Trek: Picard producer explains how the new show unites the Trek timelines

(Image credit: CBS)

Since Star Trek: Nemesis brought the Next Generation era to a close, Trek canon has mostly steered clear of what happened next. There’s one notable exception, however – we know from J.J. Abrams’ first Star Trek that a supernova destroyed the Romulans’ home planet, Romulus, eight years after Nemesis.

While it’s the event that sent Spock back in time, subsequently creating the alternative ‘Kelvin’ timeline, the disaster is very much part of Star Trek’s original ‘Prime’ continuity. And the supernova is absolutely pivotal to Star Trek: Picard, with the older, now-retired Jean-Luc haunted by memories of the rescue mission he led to Romulus – the one moment that ties the two strands of the Star Trek timeline together. 

“That movie gave us a wonderful plot point to draw from, and happened to sync up with Picard’s timeline,” says Alex Kurtzman, Picard executive producer and co-writer on the Abrams Star Trek, in an interview with GamesRadar+. “So when we were looking at the ways in which Picard’s life could have been changed in surprising ways, the idea that the supernova totally diverted the course of his life became a wonderful well to draw from. 

“I don’t think we set out to link it to the film deliberately,” Kurtzman continues, “but actually it was kind of fun to be able to do that. Certainly, when we made the movie we couldn’t have predicted [this show] was coming 11 years later, but it’s nice to be able to create a continuity of Star Trek. 

“[Picard is] in the Prime timeline, we’re not in the Kelvin timeline. But the thing that was interesting about that movie is it was the one element of the film that’s still in the Prime timeline, because it was the supernova, the destruction of Romulus, and Spock’s jump [back in time] that created Kelvin.”

GamesRadar+'s sister publication SFX spoke to Star Trek: Picard's leading star, Sir Patrick Stewart, about his future in the Star Trek universe, with the actor revealing he would love to work with Quentin Tarantino.  If you're eager to watch the new show, we've got plenty of options for you wherever you are in the world in our guide on how to watch Star Trek: Picard online.

Richard is a freelancer journalist and editor, and was once a physicist. Rich is the former editor of SFX Magazine, but has since gone freelance, writing for websites and publications including GamesRadar+, SFX, Total Film, and more. He also co-hosts the podcast, Robby the Robot's Waiting, which is focused on sci-fi and fantasy.