Tor.com content by

Ryan Britt

Michael Chabon Says Wrath of Khan Director Made Him Want to Be a Professional Writer

The complicated Star Trek timeline and canon will be a huge part of the upcoming TV series Star Trek: Picard, but, the real reason why we’re all excited is that we just freaking love the character of Jean-Luc Picard. Enduring franchises are not a series of Easter eggs, it’s all about great characters. Which is why, if you’re remotely familiar with the writing of Michael Chabon, the fact that he’s the showrunner of Picard is a huge deal. This is a writer who helped humanize Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2, to say nothing of his award-winning genre-defying 2001 novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. In other words, I’m excited for Picard not only because it’s a low-key Next Generation sequel, but because the head writer is literally one of the greatest novelists of the past twenty years.

And in a twist of overlapping fate, it turns out that if it weren’t for another novelist-and-Star-Trek-writer, Michael Chabon may not have become a writer himself. Recently, Chabon revealed to me that a Star Trek-adjacent Sherlock Holmes book inspired him to pursue his own writing career, which by extension, led to the existence of Star Trek: Picard.

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Nicholas Meyer on Sherlock Holmes Tackling Real-Life Hoaxes in The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols

If you’re a Star Trek fan, there’s more than a passing chance you’re also a Sherlock Holmes fan, too. And though many would point to 1988’s “Elementary, My Dear Data” as the moment when these two famous fandoms merged, arguably, the synthesis of Trek fandom and Holmes fandoms was promoted by one man several years before: Nicholas Meyer. Perhaps best known as the director of 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Meyer’s writing career exploded in 1976 with the publication of his novel The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, a Sherlock Holmes pastiche in which the famous detective meets and is treated by Sigmund Freud.

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6 Big Questions About the Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Trailer: Is this Roddenberry’s Future?

When Star Trek: Discovery debuted in 2017, it was billed as a show that followed “the adventures of Starfleet.” The show wasn’t just about the voyages of the starship Discovery, but also the USS Shenzhou and, eventually, the USS Enterprise. But now, in season 3, it looks like Discovery is all that is left of Starfleet, and the Federation is down to just a handful of member planets. At New York Comic Con, a new trailer gave us the first glimpse of the wilder, grittier Discovery. Now that the crew has landed 930 years in the future (they jumped from 2257 to 3187 in the blink of an eye) the landscape of Star Trek is suddenly very different.

Based on the short trailer, here are the six biggest questions about Star Trek: Discovery season 3, and what the answers to those questions might mean for the future of the franchise.

Trailer spoilers ahead!

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6 Big Surprises We Could See In the Forthcoming Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Trailer

The future of the future has never been more mysterious. In season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery, the beloved and seemingly immortal sci-fi franchise will go where it’s never gone before: 950 years into its own future. This week, at New York Comic-Con 2019, CBS will almost undoubtedly release the first trailer for Discovery season 3, which will certainly cause Trekkies everywhere to freak out. But, what will happen in this trailer, and by extension, the next season of Discovery?

Here are five big surprises that would be amazing to see in the new trailer, regardless of how absurd each idea might seem. So far, Discovery has done a fantastic job of subverting fan expectations, meaning the twists of the next season could be the craziest yet.

The following is all pure speculation. As of this writing, neither the writer nor anyone at Tor.com has any knowledge of what will happen in Star Trek: Discovery, season 3. Nevertheless, accidental spoilers may be ahead. (We’ve been right before! You’ve been warned.)

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Getting to Know the Weirdos at the Mos Eisley Cantina

I totally love the fact that the 1995 Star Wars short story anthology Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina bothers to mention the fictional city in which the cantina is located. Like we would be confused if they didn’t say “Mos Eisley.” Oh, that cantina. Got it.

The existence of this book raises a weird question: why are we so obsessed with this low-budget parade of rubber masks and cobbled-together costumes glimpsed only for a second in the original movies? I think it’s because we might identify with these weirdos more than the “real” Star Wars characters.

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Picard Probably Likes Coffee Just as Much — If Not More — Than Earl Grey

Everyone knows that Captain Jean-Luc Picard loves drinking Earl Grey tea more than any other caffeinated drink, but what this essay presupposes is: maybe he doesn’t? In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Picard certainly talks about Earl Grey tea more than Spock says “Live long and prosper” in the original series, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Picard actually prefers it to other types of caffeine. Instead, it’s very possible that the Earl Grey thing is an affectation, something Picard drinks because it became part of his persona, rather than something he actually prefers—kind of like how Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes is forced to wear the deerstalker cap in Sherlock, because “it’s a Sherlock Holmes hat.”

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6 Doctor Who Aliens That Would Be Great For Season 12 (And 3 That Wouldn’t)

In 2020, after more than a year without new Doctor Who, the never-say-die wibbly-wobbly series will return for Jodie Whittaker’s second full season as the 13th Doctor. And while current showrunner Chris Chibnall made great pains to keep familiar Doctor Who aliens and monsters out of the first season of Whitaker’s run, that’ll change in season 12. Back in May, the BBC revealed that the Rhino-faced Judoon—first seen in the David Tennant 10th Doctor episode “Smith and Jones”—will return to face Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor.

For long-term fans of Doctor Who, the return of the Judoon is excellent news, as it visually connects Whittaker’s Doctor with the goofier canon of the Russel T. Davies era back in the early aughts. But now that the monster gloves are seemingly off, what other old aliens and adversaries might return for the next season of Doctor Who? Here are six familiar faces that would be great for the Whittaker Who—and three baddies that we could do without until at least 2024.

(Note: Spoilers ahead for Class, the Doctor Who spinoff that aired in 2016.)

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Star Trek: Picard Timeline Updated and Explained: How Hugh, Data, and Seven of Nine Fit In

The new Star Trek: Picard trailer is perfectly suited for any viewer new to Trek, but it also contains a lot of layered mythology and timeline questions for decades-long fans of the various shows.

If it’s been a while since you engaged with The Next GenerationVoyager, or the Star Trek movies released nearly 20 years ago, some of the references in the trailer might seem a little confusing, or at the very least, very quickly glossed-over. Where was Data the last time we saw him? What is the history of the Borg up to this point? What’s the deal with Seven of Nine again? Is Picard living on a farm? (No, it’s a wine vineyard.) Okay, but why?

So that it’s all in one place: here’s a selected chronological timeline of important stuff featured in the show: from Hugh, to Data, and Seven of Nine; to Picard’s family, to Troi, and a certain supernova.

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Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Timeline and Location Might Be Different Than We Thought

Hit it! The future is here! On Saturday, straight from San Diego Comic-Con, new details dropped about season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery  and the big news is…the ship may not have ended up in the spot it was supposed to be. Remember when Burnham was really clear about the exact planet and time period in the season 2 finale? Well…it turns out they might not have arrived exactly where and when they planned. So, where are they in the timeline?

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Star Trek: Picard Trailer Is Here. Let’s Engage With It

If anyone was worried that Star Trek: Picard will be a depressing Trek series all about Jean-Luc drinking wine and being super-sad, don’t worry. It’s going to be awesome. And the new full-length trailer reveals that this series isn’t just a story about Picard walking around on Earth and feeling sad. This new series is the true — and hopeful — continuation of the story of The Next Generation era of Trek canon. (Which — wow — means Voyager too!)

The trailer will send chills up the spines of humans, Romulans, Borg and androids alike. Let’s very happily make it so.

Trailer after the jump

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Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Adds Supergirl and Doctor Who Star Actor David Ajala to the Cast

The first bit of Star Trek news out of San Diego Comic-Con 2019 just beamed in ahead of schedule. It looks like at least one new face has been confirmed for season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery, and if you’re a fan of the CW’s Supergirl, this should make you very happy. David Ajala is joining the cast as a character named Book.

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3 Possible Star Trek: Picard Storylines that Are too Depressing to Contemplate

One of the hallmarks of Star Trek: The Next Generation is its meditative quality; unlike like the excellent, nail-biting action in Star Trek: Discovery, the vast majority of TNG’s best episodes are quiet and more reflective. In fact, current Trek executive producer Alex Kurtzman has described Discovery as a “bullet” contrasting it with the upcoming TNG sequel saying: “Picard is very contemplative show. It will find a balance between the speed of Discovery and the nature of what Next Gen was.” And part of what the show is seemingly contemplating is not just what is happening with Picard in real time, but also what has happened since the events of Star Trek Nemesis. We’ve all got theories, but what if Kurtzman, Michael Chabon, Kirsten Beyer, and Patrick Stewart are willing to go super-dark? Here’s a speculative peek into the Picard possibilities you haven’t even brought yourself to consider yet…

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Ranking the Very Best Dogs of Star Trek

The latest Star Trek series—the forthcoming Next Generation sequel, Star Trek: Picard—will boldly go where no Trek series has gone before by seemingly having a dog as a central cast member. As fans surely know by now, a new poster for Picard reveals the titular former-Starfleet captain standing resolutely with his loyal dog Number One by his side. Now, in real life, this probably has something to do with Patrick Stewart’s love of pitbull rescues, but we really don’t know what role the dog will play in the show. Yet. But the possibilities are clearly awesome.

And although this is the first time a dog has featured on a promotional image for a big Star Trek event, this isn’t the first canine to brave the final frontier. Here are nine dogs (or dog-like creatures) from across the wide canon of Star Trek, ranked in ascending of how adorable and wonderful they are. All of these dogs are very good boys and girls (mostly), but some are just bolder than others.

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Star Trek: Picard — Ranking the 25 Most Likely Next Gen Cameos

For the first time since the Nineties, two different Star Trek TV series will have new seasons in the same year. After the epic (and classic Enterprise-centric) season 2 finale of Star Trek: Discovery, the franchise of the final frontier will trade Sixties nostalgia for Nineties nostalgia with the debut of a post-Next Generation series: Star Trek: Picard. Little is known about the new series, other than the fact that it takes place roughly 20 years after the end of Star Trek Nemesis, at the very end of the 24th century. Jean-Luc Picard is no longer a starship captain and has left Starfleet, and —as evidenced by a brief teaser-trailer—is chilling-out on his family’s vineyard. There’s also a mystery surrounding the “rescue armada” he’s mentioned to have led, which is rumored to be connected to the destruction of the planet Romulus. (According to producer Alex Kurtzman, “Picard’s life was radically altered by the dissolution of the Romulan Empire.”) Early casting information also indicates Picard is totally getting himself involved with some folks who are a little off-the-grid relative to the buttoned-up Starfleet crews we’ve been used to, and maybe even some criminals…

If you’re a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, all of this is freaking awesome and totally fascinating. Why is Picard getting himself mixed up with criminals? What happened to make him leave Starfleet? And, most important of all… is his barber still that blue alien named Mott??

It seems likely that at least some characters from Picard’s past might show up on our screens again—here are 25 Next Generation characters ranked from least likely to most likely that they’ll beam-in and hang out with Jean-Luc.

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5 Questions from Star Trek The Original Series That Only a Captain Pike Show Could Explore

When Star Trek: Discovery season 2 ended, there were two big questions left. First, and most obviously, what will Burnham and the crew find in the 33rd century? But also, is this really the last we’ll see of Ethan Peck, Rebecca Romijn, and Anson Mount as Spock, Number One, and Captain Pike? It looks like there’s a partial answer to the second question: according to the Instagram account of Mark Pellington, at least one forthcoming Short Trek will feature Peck as Spock and Romijn as Number One. The episode is titled “Chaos Theory,” and it’s thought to be written by novelist and Picard producer Michael Chabon.

So, while this isn’t confirmation of a full-on Spock/Pike/Number One series, it does mean contemporary Trek canon is giving us a little bit more of these characters. But there’s so much more Trek could do with this time period and these characters! Here are five big TOS canon mysteries that a series—or more Short Treks—could explore, all involving the 23rd century, Spock, Pike, Number One and… the Klingons.

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