It looks like the untitled Star Trek Jean-Luc Picard series will explore some progressive territory, much like its Star Trek: Discovery predecessor. Per Deadline, Hanelle Culpepper will direct the first two episodes, making her the first woman ever to direct a pilot or debut episode within the franchise’s 53-year history. Another element it shares with Discovery: You’ll have to venture beyond CBS All Access’s damn paywall to see history in the making, which is only mildly migraine-inducing.
Culpepper is already familiar with the Starfleet way. She directed the episode “Vaulting Ambition” in Discovery’s first season as well as an upcoming episode in season two, which is currently streaming. Her directorial expertise can also be found on Starz’s Counterpart on Starz and episodes of Shooter for USA.
Showrunner Alex Kurtman is all too excited to see what Culpepper will bring to Picard’s story: “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.”
The news means that she’ll be directing Patrick Stewart, who will be returning to the legendary 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,” said Stewart, who broke the news during a surprise visit to the Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas. “I feel I’m ready to return to him for the same reason.”