Promotional photo of Jean-Luc Picard standing in the ship, La Sirena.

Jean-Luke Skywalker and the Attack of the Synths

Star Trek: Picard is finally within my grasp!

I’ve been waking up an hour earlier than usual to watch the episodes, and so far, I haven’t been disappointed. From Jean-Luc Picard visiting different aspects of his past and Dahj discovering her true nature to Picard’s shocking prognosis and the mysterious Romulan reclamation site, it’s exciting to see the story unfold in such intriguing ways. 

Being the enthusiastic Star Wars fan I am, however, I couldn’t help but notice some similarities between Jean-Luc and other iconic heroes, like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, and Luke Skywalker.

Although their paths are completely different, the tragic events they experienced forced them into isolation.

“Patrick [Stewart] didn’t want to play Picard as we last saw him because it’s 20 years ago, so he wanted that character to be informed by a life lived longer — real losses, plans gone awry, all the things that happened,” said Executive Producer Akiva Goldsman in Episode 2 of The Ready Room. “If you feel that someone died in your place and someone who you love, that’s a haunting. And those ghosts don’t go away. You can hide from them, but I think given the chance to come to terms with them, there’s good story.”

For Luke, specifically, he saw the destruction of his Jedi Temple and subsequently fled to Ahch-To. For Picard, a group of rogue synthetics destroyed the rescue armada on Mars and he walked away from Starfleet to his family’s vineyard. Not only that, but he tragically lost one of his closest friends. For years, both legends remained haunted by their pasts.

These two characters also share a similar sentiment and an interesting choice of words.

Luke vowed never to train another generation of Jedi and he added, “I came to this island to die.” When Picard woke up from the explosion that killed Dahj in “Remembrance,” he said, “I haven’t been living. I’ve been waiting to die.”

Both men found themselves at the lowest point in their lives, and they chose to remove themselves from the equation and hide as hermits because that’s the easiest thing to do when all hope is seemingly lost. Commodore Oh even called Picard “The Hermit of La Barre” in the second episode, “Maps and Legends.”

It wasn’t until outside forces appeared and reminded them of their true purpose that they decided to change. Rey arrived on Ahch-To, looking for a legendary Jedi Master. Dahj found herself at Château Picard, looking for solace and safety. Their individual journeys of self-discovery brought Luke and Jean-Luc, respectively, out from isolation and onto paths of action.

When talking about the Star Trek: Picard main theme in the first episode of The Ready Room, Composer Jeff Russo explained how he wanted it to capture Picard’s journey over the years. At one point, he said, “I wanted to… evoke how he has been awoken again because he realizes there is the potential for a reconnection with Data, who has been dead [for] a long time, but with the discovery Data might have kin, that sets him on a new journey and wanting to figure out how to unravel that mystery.” 

The word “awoken” immediately brought Star Wars: The Force Awakens to mind and how something awoke within Rey, just like how something activated within Dahj. Their awakening had a rippling effect because their presence awakened a newfound purpose within Luke and Picard.

At the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Luke turned to unconventional means and Force projected himself to protect the remnants of the Resistance — his last heroic act being one of self-sacrifice.

Jean-Luc will also have to turn to unconventional means, since Starfleet refused his request to find Bruce Maddox and Dahj’s twin sister. Will this choice to do the right thing also put him on the path to self-sacrifice? Otherwise, he’ll succumb to the abnormality located on his parietal lobe. Even Dr. Benayoun said, “I don’t know what kind of trouble you’re planning to get into. Maybe if you’re lucky, it will kill you first.”

A more fitting end would be Picard sacrificing himself for Data’s daughter, much like Data sacrificed himself for Picard. The story would come full circle in an event like that.

Anyway, I’m jumping way ahead. It’s funny how the series just started, and I’m already thinking about how things are going to end for the titular character. I don’t know what Picard’s future holds, but I do hope he’s able to achieve his personal goal of finding Soji, and thus, help preserve Data’s kin.

Speaking of Soji, I was completely surprised by the twin reveal because I thought Isa Briones was portraying one character — Dahj. I have no doubt this comparison crossed other minds, but I love how the twin story reminds me of Luke and Leia in Star Wars and how they were separated at birth for their own safety. Also, I can’t help but point out the similarity between Picard’s “So there’s another one” and Yoda’s “No, there is another.”

What secrets does Soji hold? It sounds like she’s the key to uncovering several mysteries, so I hope her meeting Picard has positive ramifications on the grander picture.

One last comparison to Star Wars came from my brother when he randomly shouted, “Execute Order 66!” during the Mars flashback sequence at the start of the second episode. I almost spit my water out, but he was right in saying those words because it’s clear the synthetics on Mars were hacked and their programming was altered. When receiving the order from Emperor Palpatine, the organic chips embedded in the clone troopers changed them and forced them to attack and murder their Jedi leaders. They were strategic tools and a means to an end, just like the synthetics on Mars.

Was the Zhat Vash behind the hack? Is their hate and fear against synthetics so deeply seated, they were willing to risk millions of lives in the process? It stands to reason they were the culprits because the Federation ban on synthetics only pushed their cause. Or is this ancient and secret Romulan group a red herring? What if there is another player on the chess board we don’t know about yet? Are these echoes of Control from Star Trek Discovery, an artificial intelligence that also hacked and corrupted Lieutenant Commander Airiam?

So many questions coursing through my mind, but I can’t wait to see what more this show has to offer. Stream new episodes of Star Trek: Picard Thursdays, only on CBS All Access.


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Featured Image: CBS Television Studios

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