Fans of CBS All Access' upcoming Star Trek franchise spinoff series Star Trek: Picard have been buzzing about the series when it was first announced, with the release of teasers and trailers dumping a whole lot of fuel on an already blazing dumpster fire of speculation and excitement. Combine that with news that Star Trek familiar faces like Jonathan Frakes (Cmdr. Will Riker) and Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine) – and many more – would be reuniting with Patrick Stewart, it's easy to see why excitement levels were so high heading into its January 23 premiere – and the response has been growing strong ever since.
For those of you who've watched this week's episode "The End is the Beginning" (more specifically, the teaser at the end for next week's "Absolute Candor"), what we're about to report is something you already have a clue about – but if you haven't? MAJOR SPOILERS ahead…
Deadline Hollywood was the first to report that Amirah Vann (Queen Sugar, How to Get Away with Murder) is joining the series beginning next week, who is set to play Zani – a member of the fierce, all-female Romulan religious order Qowat Milat, who make their home on the colony planet Vashti. Having played an important role in Elnor's past (Evan Evagora), Zani is expected to have a major impact on Jean-Luc's future.
The streaming service's excitement was clearly pretty high during last month's Television Critics Association (TCA) winter press event, with CBS All Access confirming (reconfirming?) the series had been given a second-season greenlight. A day before the show's debut, Stewart was a guest on daytime talk show The View – which Star Trek family member Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost, CBS All Access' upcoming The Stand) is a co-host of.
You see where this is going right?
With the second season already on his mind, Stewart formally invited Goldberg to join the series for its second season. Goldberg played Ten-Forward lounge bartender, trusted personal and professional confidant, and more Guinan on Star Trek: The Next Generation and the films Star Trek Generations and Star Trek: Nemesis.
Here's what Executive Vice President of Original Content for CBS All Access Julie McNamara had to say about the decision to renew the series:
"The energy and excitement around the premiere of Star Trek: Picard has reached a magnitude greater than all of us at CBS All Access could have hoped for. We're thrilled to announce plans for a second season before the series' debut, and we are confident that 'Star Trek' fans and new viewers alike will be captured by the stellar cast and creative team's meticulously crafted story when it premieres on Jan. 23."
STAR TREK: PICARD features Sir Patrick Stewart reprising his iconic role as Jean-Luc Picard, which he played for seven seasons on "Star Trek: The Next Generation." The new series will follow this iconic character into the next chapter of his life.
Hanelle Culpepper directed the first two episodes of the season. The series is produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment. Kurtzman, Chabon, Goldsman, Kadin, Stewart, James Duff, Rod Roddenberry, and Trevor Roth serve as executive producers and Aaron Baiers (Secret Hideout) serves as co-executive producer and Kirsten Beyer as supervising producer.
In an interview with Trek Movie from April 2019, Frakes shared what he could about the upcoming series – and wants fans to know that's its something worth getting excited about:
"Eighteen years later. I think the fans are going to be thrilled and excited and surprised. I have had the privilege of reading the first couple of episodes and I have spent some time with Patrick who is so engaged [laughs] Sorry. It's wonderful. It's smart. I'm excited about it. He is obviously more excited. His announcing of it at Las Vegas — which I believe was his idea —was very smart. You know he is 78, and he is going to be carrying the show on his shoulders, his considerable shoulders.
I'm excited for him and personally, I feel so blessed to back. It's so ironic that I spent so many years trying to expand where I was working and I was lucky enough to get onto other types of shows. The directing has been a mitzvah for me—to learn another craft. And now I am deeply ensconced in the world I was in 31 years ago—and I've got to say—incredibly grateful for it, between The Orville, and Discovery and Picard. And hopefully the Empress Georgiou show."
– Jonathan Frakes
Star Trek: Picard will air exclusively on CBS All Access in the United States and will be distributed simultaneously on the global scene by CBS Studios International on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories; and in Canada on Bell Media's cable networks, Space and Z, and OTT service Crave.