Star Trek EP Akiva Goldsman Talks Evolving Q, "Picard" Season Two

With the keys to the Star Trek franchise, Akiva Goldsman has his mind currently set on filming season two of Picard and the new Kirk-era Strange New Worlds. The executive producer changed from non-serialized storytelling traditional fans were used to starting with Discovery and Picard. In the case of the latter, Jean-Luc (Patrick Stewart) dealt with survivor's guilt trying to come to grips with a beloved colleague's death while unraveling a conspiracy regarding synthetic life forms. Goldsman spoke recently about what to expect from the character and confronting another familiar face from his past.

Star Trek: Picard
Photo Cr: Aaron Epstein/CBS ©2019 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Goldsman said Picard will retain the non-serialized format for the second season. When it came to conceptualizing the series, he learned from his experience on Discovery and a classic Jack Nicholson film. "Certainly, there are different levels of complication over the seasons of Discovery — and I'm just a friend of the court at this point on Discovery," he said. "After season one, I started trying to excavate this Picard idea. But no, I think where our storytelling is complicated if it is frustratingly so, it's just our own fault for not doing it well enough. The great thing about plot complication and character excellence is they shouldn't be mutually exclusive. Even a really complicated plot should ultimately become invisible, that's sort of the job of it. Chinatown being the example that we all endlessly lean on in our imaginations — [the plot of Chinatown is] really complex and complicated, yet at the end of the day you just remember it's about water. There's this elegant disappearing act so the characters can shine. … Early on we made the choice to be agnostic when it came to the audience's knowledge of Trek. We want to welcome somebody who knows Trek and make it even better because of the things we have, but we don't want to alienate those who don't. If you know Next Gen, Picard is more fun, but you don't have to have watched Next Gen to watch Picard — but by the time we get to episode six, you better have watched episodes one through five or your eyes are going to cross. That's not true with Strange New Worlds, where you can drop in, watch one, drop out, then watch another one later."

Star Trek Actor John de Lancie Reflects Casting, Q's Return in Picard
Image courtesy of ViacomCBS

How Q Will Factor in Star Trek: Picard

One of the most enduring characters TNG ever created is Q, played by John de Lancie. Goldsman explained how they evolved the character in the realm of Picard. "You asked the exact right question, and the answer is: 'In the same way that we have tried to do with Picard himself,'" he said. "[Co-showrunner] Terry Matalas and I don't pretend that the interstitial years didn't happen. No, obviously, chronological time is less relevant to Q. The time between shows is probably not even the blink of an eye in Q time — if you even have Q time. But we definitely chose to follow suit when it came to him. So as we tried to evolve the other characters, the same is true of Q. This is a show of a different time with actors of a different age. We're now talking about the issues that come up in the last [stage] of your life. We wanted a Q that could play in that arena with Picard."

Goldsman delved further into what makes Q's relationship with Picard unique. "There are a lot of people who think of Q as a trickster god, right?" he explained. "And he is. But he's also a profoundly significant relationship in Picard's life. There's a lot of discussion in Picard season two about the nature of connectedness. Q's kind of a great lightning rod for that because in some ways he's one of Picard's deepest — not deep in the same way that Riker is or Beverly Crusher was — but in its own uniquely, profoundly deep relationship." One of the biggest dangling arcs at the end of season one is the former captain's status as a golem and its purpose. "We did fundamentally try to address that at the end of 10," he continued. "He's not Super Picard. We reset this congenital problem he lived with since Next Gen and gave him the opportunity for rebirth, but it's nothing more than a record as he might have been where he not here."

For more on Goldsman's thoughts on a Section 31 spinoff, if it's possible for Star Trek franchise fatigue, and his Stephen King-related projects in The Dark Tower and Firestarter, you can check out The Hollywood Reporter. Season two of Picard premieres on Paramount+ in 2022.

About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.