In a recent interview with Akiva Goldsman, the executive producer was asked how the production of Star Trek: Picard was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were not shooting,” he said. “We were to start shooting in June, which I guarantee you we will not unless the world opens tomorrow. We had broken the season; we were about halfway through the writing of it. You know, we will start as soon as we can once the world opens, you know? Prep will have to resume, and then we’ll start. We know what it is, and it’s cool. And we’re excited by it, and I feel like we learned a lot from season one. It’s…of the things I have in my life it is the one that is most imminent when the world opens. It’s the one that feels like that’s the thing, at least in my life, that’s going to come back fastest.”
In some ways, the delay has been a blessing for the writers, providing extra time to refine their writing. “…it is fundamentally a gift to be able to do all of them [the episodes] if you can,” said Goldsman. “Because unlike previous iterations of television, this serialized ten hour narrative has setups and payoffs that require a thoughtful view of the object once it is completed. It’s very funny, in the first season of Picard, there were all these reviews of the beginning, ‘Oh, it’s so dark; it’s so dark; it’s so dark.’ And I kept saying, ‘They’re reviewing the first act of a movie.’ The first act of a movie is always dark. If you stopped It’s a Wonderful Life at the bridge, it’s a really dark movie! Because fundamentally in a longform narrative, it’s a redemption story. It’s a healing story. It has to be bad at the beginning so it gets good at the end; otherwise there’s nothing to fix. So we’re in this weird world now where we create one narrative object but we dole it out bit by bit, which is fascinating. And can be kind of fun. But what you really want is to be able to refine your setups once you’ve written your payoffs…if in fact you could have the time to write ten hours first, that would be amazing. And maybe we will.”
Goldsman was also asked how many seasons Star Trek: Picard could run. “I mean, I think we have discussed it as both a three season show, a five season show, a ‘let’s just keep going forever’ show,” he said. “But we certainly…Star Trek: Picard in my view will go as long as Patrick Stewart wants to do it…As I’m sure you know, he was not interested in coming back. And we did a lot of…really good collaborative story breaking and talking and you know and I think he’s particularly delighted in a good way about having come back. And we will rely on that good will until he feels he’s done.”