How Star Trek: Picard May Connect to the Kelvin Timeline Movies

On Thursday, CBS All Access released the first teaser trailer for Star Trek: Picard. The series sees Patrick Stewart returning to the role of Jean-Luc Picard, which he originated in Star Trek: The Next Generation. One reason Star Trek fans are so excited about the series is that it will offer the first glimpse at the Star Trek universe after Star Trek: Nemesis. Star Trek: Picard takes place in the same timeline as the other Star Trek television shows — known as the Prime Timeline. It may also have an important connection to the Star Trek movies set in the Kelvin Timeline.

The Picard trailer reveals that, during the years since fans last saw Picard, Starfleet promoted him to admiral. Then, after he “commanded the greatest rescue armada in history,” Picard left Starfleet. The trailer doesn’t reveal any details about that rescue mission, but 2009’s Star Trek might.

As the film's co-writer, Roberto Orci, has pointed out, 2009's Star Trek is often called a reboot, but that’s not quite accurate. The film doesn’t take place disconnected from the franchise’s previous continuity or try to rewrite that history. It takes place in an alternate timeline following the same rules laid out by the franchise about alternate timelines and time travel. The only difference is that rather than visiting an alternate timeline for a single episode, they built an entire film series in the setting.

It’s the incident that creates that alternate timeline that may connect those films to the story behind Star Trek: Picard. The new show takes place years after Star Trek: Nemesis. 2009's Star Trek reveals that a star going supernova destroyed the planet Romulus in the Prime Timeline. Spock’s attempt to intervene by using red matter to create a black hole sent his ship and the Romulan mining vessel Narada backward through time. The Narada's vengeful captain, Nero, then destroyed the USS Kelvin, the Starfleet vessel on which George Kirk, James Kirk’s father, served. This act created the Kelvin Timeline, where the rest of the film and its sequels take place.

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Star Trek: Picard begins after the destruction of Romulus in the Prime Timeline. It seems likely that Picard’s rescue armada was on a mission to save as many Romulans as possible. Comments made by Star Trek: Picard executive producer (and co-writer of 2009’s Star Trek) Alex Kurtzman back up this theory. In January, Kurtzman said, "Picard's life was radically altered by the dissolution of the Romulan Empire." The destruction of the Romulan homeworld likely led to the dissolution of the Romulan Star Empire.

What do you think of this possible connection between 2009’s Star Trek and Star Trek: Picard? Let us know in the comments. Star Trek: Picard debuts on CBS All Access in late 2019.