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Picard Season 2 Breaks Star Trek’s Time-Travel Rules

Star Trek: Picard Season 2 involves time-travel and the race to restore the timeline. Here’s how the franchise rules on time-travel have changed.

As part of its Star Trek Day festivities, commemorating the 55th anniversary of the franchise’s debut, Paramount+ has unveiled a new trailer for Star Trek: Picard Season 2. Providing a glimpse at the returning Q tampering with history as part of his continuing trial of humanity’s worth, with Jean-Luc Picard as the species’ representative, Season 2’s mission heavily involves time-travel in order to restore the timeline. And in traveling to the past to undo Q’s latest set of antics, Picard Season 2 appears poised to revise some of the Star Trek‘s franchise rules regarding time-travel mechanics.


After confronting Picard back at his family chateau in France, Q alters reality with a snap of his omnipotent fingers, creating a new world where Starfleet has become a totalitarian regime, with Picard among its members. Realizing that Q changed history, Picard and his assembled friends pinpoint the source of the revisions to the timeline during the 21st century and travel back in time to restore history and prevent these alterations from taking place. And as Picard and his friends reacclimate to their surroundings as they move to locate the source of the temporal anomaly, the venerable Starfleet officer observes that they only have a limited amount of time before the timeline is rewritten in Q’s image for good.

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Star Trek has featured timeline stories ever since The Original Series‘ first season, with the Season 1 episode “The City on the Edge of Forever,” having a similar central premise. In that episode, a drugged Doctor McCoy traveled back to the United States in the 1930s and inadvertently changed history, resulting in the Allied Powers losing World War II. Kirk and Spock went back in time after him, determined to restore the timeline before the changes became permanent. Other time-travel adventures during the TOS era featured more inconsequential time-travel stories, at least in regards to preserving the timeline, with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home having the Enterprise traveling to 1986 to bring back whales to the 23rd century.

The biggest deviation from Star Trek‘s established time-travel rules was the 2009 cinematic reboot that saw an older Spock and the Romulan villain Nero catapulted into the past by a massive singularity. Nero changed history by killing Kirk’s father and destroying the planet Vulcan, but, instead of altering history completely, the changes resulted in a divergent timeline. Star Trek: Discovery disclosed that the prime timeline was aware of the divergence, though the rationale for a divergent timeline being formed instead of history being rewritten was not quite fully articulated. The possibility of a divergence forming in Picard Season 2 does not appear to be on the table, however.

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Star Trek: Picard Season 2

Of course, Picard himself is no stranger to traveling back to the 21st century to ensure the preservation of the timeline, with Picard leading the Enterprise back in time in Star Trek: First Contact to prevent the Borg Collective from assimilating Earth in the past. With the Borg Queen similarly confirmed to appear in Picard Season 2, Jean-Luc’s time back in the past and the tampering of history may somehow tangentially tie into the Borg’s own attempts to change the timeline. And with Picard and Seven of Nine’s trauma being erased by the changes to reality, the two will have to make some hard choices in the past if they want to restore history. And, of course, all bets are off whenever Q is involved and pulling the strings.

You can see Jean-Luc scrambling to fix the timeline when Star Trek: Picard Season 2 premieres in Feb. 2022 on Paramount+.

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