Note: This interview with Akiva Goldsman was conducted prior to the announcement of the Pike Star Trek Discovery spinoff series, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
Collider recently got the opportunity to speak with Star Trek: Picard writer, director, and executive producer Akiva Goldsman about his work on the expanding Star Trek universe. As you may know, Goldsman is a Hollywood staple, having penned blockbusters like Batman Forever and The Client, in addition to winning the Academy Award for his screenplay for A Beautiful Mind. We got him to tease some details about Picard Season 2 and the future of the series.
When asked about how the coronavirus pandemic affected production, Goldsman said:
“We were not shooting. 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.”
Goldsman also offered some insight into how many seasons they’re planning on running, with a heartening but predictable answer:
“I mean, I think we have discussed it as both a 3 season show, a 5 season show, a “let’s just keep going forever” show… 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.”
Goldsman shed some light on the production of Season 2, and how the coronavirus has been a weird blessing to the writing team:
“…it is fundamentally a gift to be able to do all of them [the episodes] if you can. 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 10 hours first, that would be amazing. And maybe we will.”
Goldsman didn’t have much to say about the animated comedy spinoff series Lower Decks, from Rick and Morty writer Mike McMahan, about the grunts behind the scenes of every Star Trek adventure. But what he was able to offer some tidbits that make us even more excited for the show’s impending premiere.
“[Lower Decks] literally couldn’t seem funnier to me… There was a test reel going around the office and I didn’t see it and that sucks. But I’ve seen the still frames, and the pitches for it are funny. Like literally the pitch for it is the funniest thing you’ve ever heard. ‘Second Contact’? I mean, it’s the greatest thing ever… I think Mike McMahan is actually a genius.”
For more on Star Trek, check out our review of Picard.