Star Trek: Picard is finally here, and it dives headfirst into classic Star Trek lore. Whether you're just learning about the Enterprise's exploits for the first time, or simply need a refresher after almost 20 years away from the title character, I've put together a handy guide.
While watching Star Trek: Picard's first episode, Remembrance, I made a list of references to specific episodes and movies in previous Star Trek series. In some cases, watching these stories is necessary to understanding Picard's plot; in some cases, they add another layer of texture to the story; in some cases, they're just fun Easter eggs.
While this list isn't 100% comprehensive (I couldn't identify the book in Picard's vault, or a lot of the tiny objects in display cases), here's a list of episodes and movies to watch if you want to understand every last detail in Remembrance.
(SPOILERS for the first episode of Star Trek: Picard, for those who haven't seen it yet. We've also got the Picard episode 5 release date confirmed if you're patiently waiting)
All Good Things… (The Next Generation, Season 7, Episodes 25 and 26)
Remembrance begins with a friendly game of poker between Capt. Jean-Luc Picard and Lt. Cmdr. Data aboard the Enterprise-D. You don't have to be a hardcore Trek fan to realize that this is a dream, as both the Enterprise-D and Data are long gone by the time Remembrance begins. But All Good Things…, TNG's series finale, was the first time that the captain joined his crew's weekly poker game.
Family (The Next Generation, Season 4, Episode 2) and Star Trek: Generations (1994)
Yes, Picard's family really has had a vineyard all along! We got our first look at it in Family, in which Picard returns to Earth to visit his brother, sister-in-law and nephew. Here, Picard tries to grapple with the trauma of being assimilated into the Borg collective and forced to attack Starfleet. In Generations, we learned that Picard's brother and nephew died tragically in a house fire, leaving Picard as the sole proprietor of the vineyard by the time Remembrance rolls around. (In All Good Things..., we also see a retired Picard tending to his grapes, suggesting that one way or another, he’s going to return to his homestead.)
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
Star Trek: Nemesis has a lot of fans and even more detractors, but I think that the movie may get a second life, thanks to Picard. Most of Star Trek: Picard's story follows directly from the events in Nemesis, from the dissolution of the Romulan political body, to the sacrifice of Lt. Cmdr. Data. If you want to know how Data died, where the android B-4 came from and how the Enterprise-E's crew went their separate ways, Nemesis is worth a rewatch. (Bonus points for Tom Hardy as the villain.)
Star Trek (2009)
While the bulk of J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot follows the alternate-universe adventures of Capt. Kirk and crew, some very important stuff happened back in the Prime Timeline to kick things off. Long story short: Ambassador Spock failed in his mission to prevent a supernova from destroying the Romulan homeworld. This has had profound consequences for both the Romulan Star Empire and the Federation, as Remembrance explores in detail.
Children of Mars (Short Treks, Episode 10)
In Remembrance, we learn that Picard resigned his commission in Starfleet after a devastating attack on the Utopia Planitia shipyards on Mars. While Children of Mars doesn't give us every detail about that tragedy, it does show how it affected other members of the Federation. We even get a few details about what Picard was up to at the time. And even if it's not your thing, watching this episode will take only 10 minutes out of your day.
Easter eggs in Picard's vault
In Remembrance, we learn that Picard has his very own vault in the Starfleet archives, full of treasured relics from his past. I'm not going to give exhaustive descriptions of each reference here, but these are the artifacts that I could identify:
· The model of the Constellation-class ship represents the USS Stargazer. This was Picard's first command, and you can learn more about it in The Battle (The Next Generation, Season 1, Episode 9).
· The model of the shuttlecraft next to the Stargazer is the captain's yacht from Star Trek: Insurrection (1998). It doesn't play an enormous role in the film's story, but that's where it's from.
· The bat'leth hanging on the wall is a heavy-duty Klingon sword, likely a gift from Lt. Cmdr. Worf. In Sins of the Father (The Next Generation, Season 3, Episode 17), Picard acts as Worf's "Cha'DIch," or "ritual second" during a Klingon political crisis.
· The "Captain Picard Day" banner comes from The Pegasus (The Next Generation, Season 7, Episode 12), where Federation schoolchildren celebrate Picard's accomplishments.
Measure of a Man (The Next Generation, Season 2, Episode 9)
When Picard discusses the fate of B-4 with Dr. Jurati, the roboticist references Cmdr. Bruce Maddox, who was a key player in Measure of a Man. In this episode, Maddox wishes to deconstruct Data to learn how to create more androids, but Data refuses, sparking a trial about synthetic life forms' civil rights. This episode almost single-handedly sets the stage for the "android rights" subplot in Remembrance.
The Offspring (The Next Generation, Season 3, Episode 16)
Are Dahj and Soji really Data's daughters? Possibly. As Picard pointed out, Data always wanted a daughter. In fact, he tried to create one in The Offspring. Data's daughter Lal surpassed her father in a variety of capacities, including her ability to feel emotions. But in the end, Lal's positronic brain was unstable, and Data had to deactivate her. However, Data kept Lal's memories within his own neural net — could Lal live on in one of the biological androids?
Endgame (Voyager, Season 7, Episode 25)
I was on the fence about including Endgame, since there are plenty of Next Generation episodes all about the Borg and Picard's experience with them. However, if the last few minutes of Remembrance are any indication, the Borg will cast a long shadow over Picard's first season. And Voyager's series finale is where we learned the ultimate(?) fate of the terrifying technological collective. After seven long years stranded in the Delta Quadrant, Capt. Kathryn Janeway finally has an opportunity to bring the USS Voyager home. To do so, however, she'll have to have one final showdown with the domineering Borg Queen and her invasion fleet. Whatever happens to the Borg in Picard will have to pick up where Endgame left off.