It all started with this photo, Michelle Hurd told me in a recent Zoom interview with her Star Trek: Picard co-star, Jeri Ryan.
The two married, straight actors play long-distance lesbian lovers in the second season of the Paramount+ streaming series. The drama picks up roughly a year after last season’s adventures of retired Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (played by series star Mr. Patrick Stuart) and his new teammates, including ex-Borg Seven of Nine (Ryan), Raffi (Hurd) and captain Cristôbal Rios, played by Santiago Cabrera.
“You can thank Jonathan del Arco for this,” Hurd told me. The actor who played Hugh in the first season and in the series on which it is based, Star Trek: The Next Generationtook the photo of Hurd and Ryan at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019, hugging very, very tightly.
“I remember Jeri was wearing this fabulous red, was it a red suit or a dress? It was gorgeous and I was wearing this white thing,” Hurd said. “We just kinda hugged, or whatever, and [del Arco] to take a picture. Jonathan was like, ‘Oh my God, this is so beautiful. We have to show the producers! »
Co-showrunner and executive producer Akiva Goldsman told me that he too remembers Hurd and Ryan coming to him and writer/executive producer Michael Chabon.
“‘We know what we want to do for next season,'” Goldsman recalled, saying. “They put their arms around each other, and Chabon and I were like, ‘This is great.’
“” You are in a relationship. “” Hurd recalled Goldsman and Chabon saying. Their pitch landed, and Ryan told me it’s something she’s been pitching since she star trek Television debut in 1997.
“What’s thist Star Trek has always stood for inclusion and diversity,” Ryan said. “We need to represent and include all parts of our society, and that character, there’s no better character to do that particular story with than Seven, even back on Traveler.”
Thus, the clue conveyed by the couple shaking hands in the finale of season 1 of Star Trek: Picard became a subplot for season two. The main plot is something that will not be revealed here, as per the pledge not to provide spoilers. Needless to say, season two’s themes center around love, loss, and an adventure through time, as revealed in promotional videos featuring Picard’s nemesis Q (John de Lance).
The actors spoke to reporters during an online junket on Feb. 18, as did Stewart, Cabrera, de Lancie, as well as co-stars Evan Evagora and Isa Briones. Whoopi Goldberg and Brent Spiner also appear in the second season, which premieres in the US on Paramount+ on Thursday, March 3 and on Amazon Prime in 200 countries worldwide.
The cast was joined by executive producer and co-showrunner Akiva Goldsman.
Below are excerpts from the transcripts of my interview with Ryan and Hurd from the junket. No spoilers ahead! Every day before the premiere, look for another story about my interviews with the cast and Goldsman.
Read my interview with Sir Patrick Stewart by clicking here.
Click here to read my interviews with John de Lancie, Santiago Cabrera, Evan Evagora and Isa Briones.
And to watch the interviews in full, watch the YouTube video below:
Dawn Ennis: I have to ask right away: Are Christophe [Émé]and Garrett [Dillahunt]are your husbands okay with this new relationship you explore in season 2?
Michael Hurd: I think so.
Jeri Ryan: Yes, Garrett is fine with any relationship I’m going to do as long as I do it on camera.
Hurd: Garrett worked with them. Jeri, you didn’t work together?
Ryan: Yes! On SVU.
Hurd: You’re not saying no to Jeri Ryan.
Ennis: Well, when we saw you holding hands at the end of season one, all of us in the LGBTQ community – I’m a transgender woman – were all like, “Yeah! Yes! That’s what we wanted!”
Ennis: Jeri, you’ve been trying to get LGBTQ represented for Star Trek: Voyagerand that didn’t happen.
Ryan: It didn’t happen then because, you know, that was 20 years ago, that was a different time. It was on network television, they had different standards and practices and blah blah blah blah blah. But she’s the perfect character to tie into that kind of storyline, because she wasn’t even human. There are no preconceptions with her, so it makes perfect sense.
Hurd: Wouldn’t it be nice to think about the future, we don’t have to put labels on anything, that we actually… If my heart speaks to this heart? Let me go to this heart.
Ennis: Are we talking about love in this season 2?
Ryan: Yes, in its various forms, yeah.
Ennis: And the connections, right? And how can we find our authentic self?
Ryan: Yes. That’s really, I think, what the season is for all these characters, love in its different forms and finding your authentic self. It’s always been Seven’s struggle to begin, you know, the struggle between her Borg and human halves, and find out, “Who am I, really?” And where do I stand and where do I belong and what part of me is real, who am I? And this is a big step in his journey.
Ryan developed this point with TrekMovie’s Anthony Pascal:
“I think there are so many people in our society who are going through the same kind of struggle. And trying to figure out where they’re accepted and where they fit in, and who they really are and where they feel good and at home. And, and I love and hear a lot of them. Whether it’s non-neurotypical people or people from the trans community or the LGBTQ community who relate to Seven, and have for years since her introduction on Voyager. And I love to hear from each of them that they found a character that they could identify with and that they felt represented by. It’s an honor.”
The second season of Star Trek: Picard begins streaming on Paramount+ in the US on Thursday, March 3. Overseas viewers can find this and other series on Amazon Prime. Look for another Star Trek: Picard junket interview tomorrow.