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[This story contains spoilers for the premiere episode of Star Trek: Picard]
Star Trek: Picard brings one of science fiction’s most iconic heroes back to the small screen after a 26-year absence, and with the premiere episode comes a legacy’s worth of Easter eggs and Star Trek references.
The last time Star Trek fans saw Patrick Stewart’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard in action was in 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis, the creatively disappointing box office misfire that served as the last feature film headlined by the crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Despite the movie’s negative reception amongst critics and fans, the plot of Nemesis provides some of the bedrock of Picard’s first season storyline — along with select callbacks and nods to that film and several decades worth of Trek lore.
Some of Picard’s Easter eggs are obvious, while others offer varying degrees of “deep cuts.” All that The Hollywood Reporter spotted are listed below.
The classic standard song appears in the opening shots of the premiere episode, 18 years after we first heard Data sing it at Riker and Troi’s wedding in Star Trek: Nemesis. The song was also reprised at the end of that film, when Data’s inferior android copy, B-4, lazily sings it to Captain Picard following an attempt to put Data’s memory engrams into the childlike android.
(While not an Easter egg, it is important — if not exciting — to note that the squee-worthy appearance of the Enterprise-D is the first time the ship has been on TV screens since the series finale of Star Trek: Enterprise in 2005. It is also the first time we’ve seen the former flagship in action with Picard and Data aboard her since the 1994 feature film Star Trek: Generations, which hit theaters four months after the Next Generation aired its season finale.)
That Poker Game
Thanks to Picard’s opening dream sequence, we revisit the poker game — a popular pastime that the Enterprise-D’s senior staff would partake in Star Trek: The Next Generation. The first time Picard would join his crew for a hand would be in the TNG series finale, “All Good Things…” (Though the crew would play the game in Riker’s quarters, not in Ten Forward — the lounge bar aboard the Enterprise-D — as seen here.)
The game contains an Easter egg of its own, one that could hint toward where the series is going.
Data’s Hand of Five Queens
All Queens — Qs — is an obvious wink at TNG’s most infamous villain, the omnipotent Q (John de Lancie). Where there are Q’s in play, even in a dream, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that fans could see the biggest thorn in Picard’s side soon become a reality.
Think of this renowned institution as the MIT of Starfleet. Named after Dr. Richard Daystrom from The Original Series episode “The Ultimate Computer,” Daystrom is first mentioned by Dahj (Isa Briones), who has just been accepted to study there. We also get our first glimpse ever of the institute’s Okinawa campus.
The Opening Titles
During the opening bars of the show’s theme song, a flute that sounds suspiciously like the one Picard played in the classic TNG episode “The Inner Light” can be heard. “Inner Light” featured Picard being forced to live an entire lifetime of a humanoid-looking alien in a matter of moments, courtesy of a probe sent by the alien civilization following their extinction.
“Tea, Earl Grey – Decaf”
A nod to the good captain’s beverage of choice aboard the Enterprise, now with a change to decaffeinated. Though instead of ordering it “hot,” it seems Picard finally got around to programming the replicator to accept that temperature as a given.
Callbacks to TNG Episodes and Films
When the FNN (Federation News Network) reporter quickly recaps Picard’s Starfleet history before her interview, we glimpse stills from key Trek episodes and films. They include highlighting Picard’s diplomatic stint on the Klingon homeworld in season three’s “Sins of the Father,” a production still of Picard in his white dress uniform from 1998’s Star Trek: Insurrection and a still of Picard seated from either 1996’s Star Trek: First Contact or Nemesis.
Utopia Planitia Shipyards
The shipyard from Star Trek, this is where the Enterprise-D and other famous Starships were built. It is a facility in orbit of and on Mars that was destroyed following the events of a synthetic uprising with ties to Picard’s relocation efforts of Romulan refugees. Their homeworld was destroyed in the events of 2009’s Star Trek movie, directed by J.J. Abrams and co-written by Picard executive producer Alex Kurtzman.
Picard’s Second Dream of Data
This dream sequence features Data and Picard wearing their redesigned TNG uniforms from season three, the first time we have seen the characters in that attire since 1994’s Star Trek: Generations. The dream also features Data painting — a favorite pastime for the android, as seen in several episodes of The Next Generation.
Picard’s Storage Room
Picard’s trip to Starfleet’s Quantum Archive is full of Easter eggs for Trek plans. Here, we glimpse Worf’s bladed weapon, the bat’leth, and a Klingon ceremonial dagger key to events in “Sins of the Father.”
We also see Picard’s book of Shakespeare from his Ready Room, a detailed ship model of the Enterprise-E, a model of the E’s Captain’s Yacht, named The Cousteau, Picard’s personal shuttle, first seen in 1998’s Insurrection, the “Captain Picard Day” banner students aboard the D made in the season seven episode “The Pegasus” (though it is on a significantly less shiny paper stock than the one from the original episode) and a model of the U.S.S. Stargazer, Picard’s first command.
First introduced in Nemesis, we find B-4 as we last saw him: In pieces. Disassembled and relegated to a storage bin at the Daystrom Institute, we learn that Data’s attempt to download his memories and experiences into this inferior copy of himself ultimately failed. The procedure resulted in the near total loss of all Data ever was. Why? Because Data is unique, and no one in Starfleet has been able to replicate that success. Not even…
Dr. Bruce Maddox
This character is a deep-ish cut for fans, who will remember Maddox from the landmark season two TNG episode “The Measure of a Man.” Here, Maddox wants to dissect and see if he can replicate Data on the grounds that the android is nothing more than Starfleet property.
Picard fought Maddox in a tribunal and won for his friend. Prior to Picard’s premiere episode, Maddox disappeared after the ban on synthetics — but he continued his work even after Data’s death in Nemesis.
Data and His “Offspring”
Picard’s line about how Data “always wanted a daughter” is a reference to “The Offspring,” the season three episode of TNG where Data built his first kid — a female adult named Lal — only for his creation to malfunction and tragically, heartbreakingly, expire.
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