Jean-Luc Picard Pilot Lands ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Director Hanelle Culpepper

     March 2, 2019

hanelle-culpepperLast August, CBS All Access announced that Patrick Stewart, who either through science or unspeakable witchcraft has not aged since 1992, would reprise his Next Generation role of Jean-Luc Picard for a brand new Star Trek series. Now, the network has landed its director for the series’ first two episodes and it’s a bit of a history-making moment for the long-running sci-fi franchise. The Wrap reports Hanelle Culpepper will helm the pilot and episode 2, making her the first woman to launch a Star Trek series since Captain James T. Kirk and co. first set out into space in 1966.

Culpepper is no stranger to that particular corner of the universe, though, after helming two episodes of All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery. The director is a proven talent behind the camera, bouncing around the television landscape in recent years from Counterpart to Mayans M.C. to Supergirl to Gotham. She will also be in the director’s chair for an episode of AMC’s upcoming Joe Hill horror series NOS4A2.

Showrunner Alex Kurtzman had this to say about Culpepper coming aboard:

“Hanelle is a gifted and dynamic filmmaker whose directorial choices are always deeply rooted in character. I’ve been a huge fan of her work since she started with us on Discovery, and she’s the perfect person to re-introduce the beloved character of Picard to longtime fans and new viewers alike. We’re thrilled she’s joining our Trek family on this next adventure.”

Early plot details from Kurtzman have already confirmed that the Picard series takes place during the aftermath of the destruction of Romulus—we saw it happen in J.J. Abrams‘ 2009 Star Trek movie, written by Kurtzman—an event that “radically altered” Picard’s life. When the show was first announced at “Star Trek: Las Vegas”, Stewart explained why he felt it was the right time to return to the role:

“During these past years, it has been humbling to hear many stories about how The Next Generation brought people comfort, saw them through difficult periods in their lives or how the example of Jean-Luc inspired so many to follow in his footsteps, pursuing science, exploration and leadership. I feel I’m ready to return to him for the same reason — to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times. I look forward to working with our brilliant creative team as we endeavor to bring a fresh, unexpected and pertinent story to life once more.”

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