Being a Star Trek fan can be difficult. After all, there are so many different casts scattered between the various TV shows and movies, not to mention more than one timeline. Most of Trek–including Star Trek: The Next Generation–is set in what has been dubbed the Prime timeline. However, the 2009 movie from JJ Abrams, which essentially served as a reboot, was dubbed the Kelvin timeline. Given that’s confined to those films, it should be easy to tell them apart. Unfortunately, the 2009 film also crossed over with the Prime timeline.
So where does the latest addition to the franchise, Star Trek: Picard, live? Thankfully, executive producer Alex Kurtzman cleared up any confusion at the TCA winter press tour panel for the show. “We’re in the prime timeline,” he explained. “Events from the Kelvin timeline impacted Picard, but if you look at that movie, the destruction of Romulus was in the Prime timeline. It is what enabled the Kelvin timeline jump to happen. So that is very consistent with canon.”
While it makes complete sense for Picard to be set in the Prime timeline, it’s an interesting question to think of in light of the Viacom/CBS merger, which brings the films produced by Paramount Pictures under the same corporate umbrella as the expanding Star Trek presence on TV and streaming. As for whether this series could end up a movie itself, Kurtzman isn’t closing the door on that possibility, but notes there has to be a reason to take it to the big screen. “What can we do in the movie that we can’t do on the television show? That’s the only reason to do it,” he said.
Picard picks up years after the end of The Next Generation and finds the titular captain living a reclusive life on Earth, long-retired from Starfleet. Patrick Stewart returns to the role he made famous and will be joined by a host of familiar faces from The Next Generation–Brent Spiner as Data, Jonathan Frakes as Riker, and Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi. Additionally, Jeri Ryan will reprise her role as Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager. For more about Picard, make sure to check out our guide to everything we’ve learned thus far, plus a look at why Picard’s dog may be one of the show’s most important characters.
Star Trek: Picard debuts on CBS All Access on January 23.
Disclosure: CBS All Access is owned by ViacomCBS, GameSpot’s parent company.