To say the Star Trek franchise is "boldly going" in some progressive directions on CBS All Access is a bit of an understatement at this point. Beyond the various changes in Star Trek: Discovery, a Section 31 series, and an adult animated comedy, it looks like change is hitting the Jean-Luc Picard sequel show as well. In fact, the upcoming project will feature a franchise first, as it adds female director Hanelle Culpepper on to direct its first two episodes.
The gig marks the first time in Star Trek history that a woman has directed the pilot/premiere of a franchise series. It won't be Hanelle Culpepper's first time working with Star Trek, as she presently has two episodes under her belt on Discovery. The Wrap reported Discovery co-showrunner and current Star Trek series mastermind Alex Kurtzman was high up on the hire, citing Culpepper's directorial focus on character as making her a great choice for re-introducing fans to Jean-Luc Picard.
Hanelle is a gifted and dynamic filmmaker whose directorial choices are always deeply rooted in character. Iâ€™ve been a huge fan of her work since she started with us on Discovery, and sheâ€™s the perfect person to re-introduce the beloved character of Picard to longtime fans and new viewers alike. Weâ€™re thrilled sheâ€™s joining our Trek family on this next adventure.
Outside the world of Star Trek, Henelle Culpepper has worked a lot in the world of television and has been a part of some other shows in line with the science fiction genre. Culpepper's worked on The Flash, Gotham, Lucifer, Grimm, and many other shows of the sort, making it clear the Picard show is right up her alley. Culpepper is also set to direct some episodes of AMC's much-anticipated NOS4A2, so she's really having quite the year.
As for what the Picard series Henelle Culpepper will direct may be like, recent news on the series has teased this will be a Captain much different than he was on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Specifically, the dissolution of the Romulan empire changed him in a big way, so fans may be in for quite a shock in the first couple episodes. They should also be very character-driven which, as Alex Kurtzman said, is Culpepper's wheelhouse.
Take that and pair it with the ambiguity of whether or not Patrick Stewart's other co-stars from Star Trek: The Next Generation will appear, and we're still very much in the dark about what to expect from this upcoming project. One thing we can assume, of course, is that the legendary Stewart is committed to putting on a powerful performance for fans, and has been actively involved behind-the-scenes in crafting the new direction for his character.
The release date for CBS All Access' Picard series has yet to be announced, but it is expected to arrive before the end of 2019. Keep an eye on CinemaBlend for more details in the meantime, and keep up with all details on Jean-Luc Picard's upcoming Star Trek adventure. For a look at what's coming to television in the coming weeks, head on over to our midseason premiere guide.