Jan 24, 2020
By Nicole Bitette
The creators behind the latest addition to the ‘Star Trek’ universe describe how they are developing the franchise’s legacy and audience.
If there were a captain of the modern fleet of Star Trek productions, it would be Alex Kurtzman.
Kurtzman is an executive producer and co-creator of Star Trek: Picard, a new series that premiered on CBS All Access on Thursday, Jan. 23. He’s also co-creator and executive producer on CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery and is tasked with expanding the Star Trek universe through an overall deal with CBS Television Studios. He was also the executive producer and writer of the two most recent Star Trek feature films.
According to Kurtzman, each new addition to the franchise should build on the Star Trek universe in a meaningful way. Kurtzman proved that Star Trek: Picard would be additive to the canon before the series even started filming with one key win: he convinced Patrick Stewart to return as Jean-Luc Picard. Stewart, who also served as an executive producer, hadn’t appeared in a Star Trek production since Paramount Pictures released Star Trek: Nemesis in 2002.
“Patrick had been asked to return as Picard many, many times over the years. But there had never really been a justifiable reason that would advance the cause in a way that I think he felt was highly necessary,” Kurtzman says. “Patrick began to understand that we were not interested in repeating what had been done, but actually taking it to an entirely new place. He got really excited about it and we ended up building this thing together.”
Picard’s release is significant, as it’s the first original, tentpole premiere on CBS All Access in the newly merged ViacomCBS. It’s also symbolic; since 2006, the franchise’s film and TV rights were split between Viacom-owned Paramount Pictures and CBS. Star Trek: Picard is the first Star Trek production that will benefit a unified balance sheet. In addition to Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Discovery, ViacomCBS is developing two Star Trek films at Paramount Pictures and two animated series, one at CBS All Access and one at Nickelodeon.
"'Star Trek' at its core is about wonderful characters."
Co-creator and Executive Producer of "Picard"