Star Trek’s Picard Admits the Real Reason He’s Quitting Starfleet (Again)

In IDW’s Star Trek: Picard – Stargazer #1 (by writers Kirsten Beyer and Mike Johnson, artist Angel Hernandez, colorist J.D. Mettler and letterer Neil Uyetake), readers learn that the eponymous former admiral once more handed in his resignation to Starfleet following his final tangle with Q, which involved he and his crew getting transported into the past. Back on Chateau Picard, Jean-Luc tells his close friend Laris that he couldn’t be what he was expected to be in his new role at Starfleet, which involved being « an old relic wheeled around to bless starships and bore cadets to death with tired stories. »

Originally, Picard was compelled to retire because Starfleet didn’t represent the ideals to which he had committed his life. And yet, even though Starfleet now shares the very values that currently make it possible for him to stay, even that’s no longer enough. Affiliation with an honorable organization only offers so much – he must also respect his role in that organization. This is interesting particularly because Picard originally despised the thought of becoming admiral. He always felt that his place was on the bridge of a starship as captain, to boldly go where no one had gone before. This is why he turned down many offers to become admiral.

Picard’s decision to leave the Federation originally was always about more than just what Starfleet represented. Even during his time as captain, Picard butted heads with admirals on several matters including the Prime Directive and his dealings with the Borg. In fact, he was once put on trial for those very reasons during the incredible Star Trek: The Next Generation episode « The Drumhead. » Although Picard respects and believes in what Starfleet signifies, he also has a vision of what his own life could and should mean. Star Trek: Picard – Stargazer #1 makes it clearer than ever that Picard is not synonymous with Starfleet, and that his personal journey is as much about how he can best employ his considerable abilities as it is the principles to which he puts his name.