Mild spoilers for Picard Season 1 ahead.
More than any of the new Star Trek series, Picard is the one that is the most stuffed with obvious Trekkie nostalgia. Yes, when Strange New Worlds starts showing some footage, we might feel differently, but because Picard is a sequel to the ‘90s-era of Trek, for this present moment, it connects with various generations of Trekkies at the same time.
On “First Contact Day,” Paramount+ dropped a minimalist, spare teaser-trailer, similar to the vineyard teaser for Picard Season 1. But this time, as we swept through Picard’s study in Château Picard, the trailer was basically nothing but Easter eggs. Here’s a full breakdown of what we caught and what it all might mean.
Château Picard is NOT a hologram
Notably, the first shot of the trailer is of the outside of Château Picard, which seems to imply what we’re looking at isn’t the holographic recreation of Picard’s study on the La Sirena, but instead, the “real” place. This could imply that Picard actually returns to Earth in Season 2. Unless this is some idealized version of his study we’ll never see.
This one is obvious. Prominently displayed in Picard’s study is that famous painting of the Enterprise which Picard had in his Ready Room for all seven seasons of The Next Generation, and the film, Generations. Like the Captain Picard Day banner in Season 1, you really have to wonder if this is the same painting. After all, when the Enterprise-D was crashed in Generations, we only saw Picard take his photo album with him, which seems to imply somebody else had to grab that painting for him later. That said, this painting looks a little different from the one made by Andrew Probert and Rick Sternbach for The Next Generation.
Is any of this real?
One of the books visible in Picard’s study is Paradise Lost by John Milton. Mostly, this is a book of verses about Satan and other fallen angels. Paradise Lost is a revered work of literature insofar as many critics cite its metaphoric power over a variety of subjects. The most famous quote from Paradise Lost is easily, “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.” Now that Picard is a Snyth/Golem (and no longer human) he might feel this way about himself. But, this thematic notion of Satan could also easily be applied to Q, a trickster god, often at odds with the other beings in the Q Continuum.
Star Trek also loves referencing this book. Khan alludes to this book in “Space Seed,” and Kirk explains to Scotty the significance at the end of the episode. When Chekov and Terrell find the Botany Bay’s cargo bays in The Wrath of Khan, a copy of Paradise Lost is clearly visible next to Moby Dick.
The Long Dark Tunnel
Sitting underneath the copy of Paradise Lost is a made-up book (meaning it doesn’t exist IRL!) of The Long Dark Tunnel. If you look close you can see the words “Dixon Hill.” Meta-fictionally, Dixon Hill a hardboiled detective who, in the Star Trek canon, was the main character of a series of crime noir novels published in the 1930s. The “author” of the Dixon Hill book was “Tracy Tormé” a writer on TNG’s early seasons. (The new Picard trailer honors that authorship too!) According to the Enterprise computer, “The Long Dark Tunnel” was the second appearance of Dixon in fiction. So, if you think of Dixon Hill like Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, then The Long Dark Tunnel is like Farewell, My Lovely, or, perhaps, more appropriately, The Long Goodbye.
“Dixon Hill,” and the detail about The Long Dark Tunnel, was first mentioned in the TNG episode “The Big Goodbye.” The last time we heard mention of Dixon Hill was in Star Trek: First Contact when Picard played him on the holodeck and pumped some Borg full of lead.
The Promellian battlecruiser- in a bottle!
You can barely see this, but on Picard’s mantle, underneath the Enterprise painting, is a model ship in a bottle. Some fans, including Jörg Hillebrand on Twitter, have zoomed in very close and think this is a Promellian battlecruiser, in a bottle! Why would Picard have this? Well in the TNG episode, “Ship in a Bottle,” Picard mentioned having built model ships and putting them in bottles.
Picard’s Shakespeare books
We’ve seen these before, but the two big glass cases containing books appear to be Picard’s collected works of Shakespeare. Relevantly, Q threw huge volumes of Shakespeare at Picard (literally) in the TNG episode “Hide and Q.”
The Kurlan Naiskos
Given to Picard in “The Chase,” the Kurlan Naiskos is an ancient alien artifact. It represents “many voices” inside of “the one.”
The USS Stargazer
Perhaps the most prominent Easter egg in the teaser is Picard’s model of the Stargazer. This Easter egg may not mean anything, but then again, this entire teaser is focused on Picard talking about regret and “second chances.” Picard was the Captain of the Stargazer before he was the Captain of the Enterprise. His best friend, Jack Crusher, died on the Stargazer based on orders given by Picard. Jack was Wesley’s dad and Beverly Crusher’s husband. We’ve only ever seen the Stargazer for real in the TNG episode “The Battle.” Interestingly, the Stargazer is also an Easter egg for Picard Season 1. In the Picard episode “Maps and Legends” Jean-Luc is visited by Dr. Benayoun, who we learn was a medical officer on the Stargazer. Other than Jack (and maybe Beverly) the canonical info about the Stargazer officers — and that Trek time period in general — is limited.
The Queen of Hearts
This Easter egg seems linked to a scene at the very start of Picard Season 1. While Data and Picard playing poker, Data suddenly has five queens. It’s at that point that Picard relives the attack on Mars, and wakes from his nightmare. Back in 2020 Michael Chabon and Akiva Goldsman denied that this was an Easter egg for “Q,” but now, maybe, retroactively, it was?
Has Q just been hanging around, waiting to mess with Picard for a while?
While it’s probable that there wasn’t a plan to bring Q back in Picard Season 1, this Easter egg lets us believe that even if the writers’ didn’t intend for this reference at first, Q totally had other plans.
Picard Season 2 is expected to hit Paramount+ sometime in 2022.