In the first two seasons of "Star Trek: Picard," many Trekkies may have sensed something was amiss. While those seasons did feature Picard (Patrick Stewart) commanding a group of rogues that might be said to resemble an ersatz "crew," they weren't in uniforms, and — quite noticeably — they weren't operating from the bridge of a starship. All of the Trek shows up to that point had been explicitly about the operations of Starfleet, and each series was essentially a workplace show about the staff of either a Federation vessel or a Bajoran space station. "Picard," in removing the "home base" element, emerged as a different dramatic entity altogether. It was a violent ensemble mystery show. For many Trekkies, that didn't ever quite feel correct.
This was by design, of course. The creators of "Picard" seemed to be adhering to a self-imposed mandate to make their new "Star Trek" as unlike old "Star Trek" as possible. Additionally, as lead actor Patrick Stewart said in a 2019 video interview with TVLine, he would only agree to appear on the show if he was allowed to play the part out of uniform. He didn't want "Picard" to be a retread of familiar Trek territory.
After two seasons, it seems that both Stewart and the show's creators have warmed to the idea of more traditional Trek iconography, and much of the third season of "Picard" will once again take place on a starship and all its related indicia. Many of the characters will be wearing uniforms, and familiar notions of diplomacy and technical acumen will creep back into the series' central themes.
As such, the central ship — as well as its capabilities and its captain — will be vital going forward.
Officers, I introduce you to the U.S.S. Titan-A.
The History Of The Titan
The U.S.S. Titan was first mentioned in the 2002 feature film, "Star Trek: Nemesis." Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes), after spending over a decade serving as the first officer on two different ships named Enterprise, is finally going to get the promotion he frequently advocated for, and just as frequently turned down. In "Nemesis," he finally marries his first love, Counselor Troi (Marina Sirtis), and agrees to leave the Enterprise to serve as captain of the Titan.
The Titan, NCC-80102, is a Luna-Class starship that measures about 450 meters in length, according to online fan websites. That would make it slightly larger than the U.S.S. Voyager and not much bigger than the original U.S.S. Enterprise from the 1960s. "Nemesis" did not depict the Titan in action, although the 2020 animated series "Star Trek: Lower Decks" — set only a few years after the events of "Nemesis" — would see the Titan a lot. One of that show's main characters, Ensign Boimler (Jack Quaid) was a nervous careerist, often driven to neuroses by his desire to get promoted. Boimler would eventually get his wish and serve briefly as the ship's conn officer.
As a commanding officer, Captain Riker proved to be an enthused, danger-courting maverick, always a little too eager to fly his ship into danger. He seems to have taken the "boldly go" part of "Star Trek" a little too seriously. Riker's crew consisted of men and women of action, each one an Indiana Jones in the making. Eventually, Boimler transfers off the ship, unequipped for the danger that Riker regularly liked to face. Worry not, as he was replaced by a transporter clone. The Titan is mentioned several times on "Lower Decks" thereafter.
On the second season of "Picard," the Titan was mentioned in dialogue as one of the ships that a graduating ensign was going to be stationed on. It was surprising to hear the name of the Titan on "Picard," as that show takes place some 22 years after "Lower Decks," and ships don't tend to stay commissioned that long. At least not without a massive retrofit.
In terms of redesigns, something similar seems to have happened with the Titan in those aforementioned 22 years. The ship on "Picard" is the U.S.S. Titan, NCC-80102-A, now commanded by one Captain Liam Shaw (Todd Stashwick), and seems to have undergone a dramatic re-build. It's now referred to as a Neo-Constitution Class, and Riker appears to have served as its first captain; Shaw mentions that when he took command, he decided to (heresy!) delete Riker's jazz collection from the ship's computers. The Titan-A is mostly new, but will still possess a lot of parts left over from its older skeleton.
For reference, the original Enterprise from 1966 was a Constitution-Class vessel. This new Titan still appears to be quite small, and doesn't appear to feature certain comforts and amenities. "Picard" doesn't take audiences into, say, its holodecks, lounges, or mess halls, but it's seemingly more functional than the Enterprise-D of yore.
Importantly, though, it serves as a central base of operations for the series as a whole. There are rooms where characters can regularly meet to discuss solutions to immediate problems. There is a bridge where characters can survey the show's drama. Just by being on a starship, "Picard" is more Trek than it has ever been.
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