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First trailer for season 2 of Star Trek: Picard teases the return of Q in 2022

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And a possible time-travel plotline?

John de Lancie in his judge costume from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Encounter at Farpoint” faces Jean-Luc Picard Photo: CBS Broadcasting

The first trailer for season 2 of Star Trek: Picard was released Monday, and it’s certainly designed to get fans talking. There’s no footage from the show yet, just a pan across various items in the home office of Jean-Luc Picard: a clock and an hourglass, a painting and model of the starship Enterprise, a copy of Milton’s Paradise Lost and the Dixon Hill novel The Long Dark Tunnel. But the real tease comes at the end, with an image of a playing card dissolving to leave a telling “Q” behind, and a single line spoken in voiceover by John de Lancie, the actor who played the powerful reality-warping alien Q on various iterations of Star Trek shows past.

The teaser implies that Q is going to return to face off against Picard, his first Trek foil and favored adversary, when the second season airs in 2022. Even more so, though, the theme of this 63-second teaser seems to be about Picard’s regrets, and how nothing can be done about “what could have been” — unless, that is, Q offers him a chance to change the past. The visual emphasis on timepieces, along with Patrick Stewart’s voiceover as series star Jean-Luc Picard, talking about “second chances” and history, suggests possible timeline shenanigans in season 2.

Much of Star Trek: Picard’s first season centered on Picard’s feelings of failure and regret after the Romulans’ home-system star went supernova. He promised them aid and resettlement assistance, but the Federation reneged on that promise, leaving the Romulans to suffer a catastrophe. Picard quit Starfleet in a fury and became an exile, and his feelings of betrayal and helplessness drove much of the first season’s frequently contradictory and troubled plot. It’s possible that season 2 will continue dealing with the fallout of these life-changing events, and how Q’s powers over space and time could change them and let Picard redeem himself. Or the series could just let Picard step into a past iteration of the show and deal with someone else’s problems, as the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Trials and Tribble-ations” did by placing the cast into the original Star Trek episode “The Trouble with Tribbles.”

Where Q is concerned, just about anything is possible — including a DS9 flashback or crossover episode, given one more mysterious item in the teaser. Sitting in the middle of Picard’s office for some reason is the ancient Bajoran tablet Captain Sisko broke in the DS9 episode “The Reckoning.” It’s unclear what that could mean for the second season — it could be anything from a return to Deep Space Nine’s plotlines to a throwaway Easter egg for hardcore Trek fans. As a way of whetting the audience’s curiosity, though, it’s a smart play. With possibly more than a year of waiting for the next season ahead, they’ll need something to mull over in the meantime.