On April 5, 2063, the future history of Star Trek tells us Vulcans made first contact with humans. As a result, that date — established in the film Star Trek: Contact — has been an important holiday throughout the Trek canon ever since.
And now, it’s a huge date for Trek fans as well, in very practical terms.
On April 5, 2021, the minds behind Star Trek will celebrate “First Contact Day” here on Earth with what is effectively a miniature virtual convention. First Contact Day will consist of a series of panels designed to deliver news about Paramount+’s extensive Star Trek Universe. Could we get a trailer for Star Trek: Prodigy? A release date for Picard Season 2? What about a Strange New Worlds release date?
Here’s what to expect from “First Contact Day.”
First Contact Day, Explained
Paramount+ has just revealed a celebratory day of online panels, very much in the tradition of the numerous online panels hosted by StarTrek.com for “Star Trek Day” on September 8, 2020. And like those “Star Trek Day” panels, the format for “First Contact Day” is very similar: various different discussions about specific aspects of the Star Trek franchise, with some “what’s next” news sprinkled in.
As per Paramount’s press release, the panels will begin streaming at 3 PM EST on StarTrek.com here. The panels will also be on PlutoTV and Paramount+’s Twitch page. The total runtime of the live panels lasts from 3 PM to 5:45 PM EST. The panel lineup includes:
- Star Trek: First Contact 25th Anniversary
- “Creating First Contacts” (costumes, make-up, and design)
- “Women In Motion” (a tribute to Nichelle Nichols and diversity in Trek)
- “Second Contact” (Lower Decks and humor)
- Star Trek: Prodigy (information about the upcoming series)
In addition to the panels, throughout First Contact Day, PlutoTV will be streaming a “First Contact Day” marathon. Paramount+ will also be pushing #StarTrekUnitedGives, a charity initiative that grew out of social justice fundraisers related to #BlackLivesMatter in 2020.
As for the panels, let’s take a closer look. The First Contact panel is essentially a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the famous TNG 1996 movie of the same name. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, and Alice Krige (who played the Borg Queen) will be on hand to reminisce about the good-old mid-90s.
While it’s likely this panel is mostly about TNG-era nostalgia, the fact that Alice Krige is is talking about the Borg Queen is notable. Jonathan Frakes and Patrick Stewart are certainly involved with Picard Season 2, and Picard Season 1 had quite a bit of former-Borg action. Could the First Contact panel be a trojan horse way of announcing that Alice Krige is back as the Borg Queen? We can hope!
The second two panels sound amazing, but our prediction is that those panels won’t have a lot of news about what’s coming next for Star Trek. With that said, any and all Trek fans are strongly advised to check out the documentary Woman in Motion, which is about Nichelle Nichols and her relationship with NASA. It will probably give you some context for the “Women in Motion” panel featuring Sonequa Martin-Green, Isa Briones, Michelle Hurd, and Dawynn Lewis.
Both the “Second Contact” and “Prodigy” panels are the ones to watch. The “Second Contact” panel will feature Mike McMahan, the creator of Lower Decks, chatting with Paul F. Tompkins. This means a Lower Decks Season 2 trailer and release date are almost certainly coming. Mike McMahan has recently told Inverse that Lower Decks Season 2 is coming this year, for sure. So, look for those revelations here.
Finally, the Star Trek: Prodigy panel feels like the moment when the premise, cast, characters, trailer and release date for the next animated Trek series will actually be confirmed. What is Janeway’s role on the show? Where does this show fit into the timeline? What does it actually look like? Our bet is that is all answered here.
What about Strange New Worlds, Discovery and Picard?
Although there’s nothing listed in the press release about news surrounding these three live-action shows, the entire event is about “First Contact,” which really makes you wonder if there will be some casting confirmation or release date info about Strange New Worlds.
Of all the new Trek shows in production, Strange New Worlds is the one that is specifically about making old-school first contact with alien species. It’s right there in the title! You don’t explore strange new worlds without having some first contacts along the way, so it feels likely that at the very least one of these panels will tease out a release date for Strange New Worlds, if not outright confirm it.
In fact, the second panel could very well have some sneaky references to Strange New Worlds. Costume designer Gersha Phillips is responsible for the updated The Original Series colorful uniforms worn by Pike and the Enterprise crew in Discovery Season 2. Is she updating those for Strange New Worlds? Will production designer Jason Zimmerman drops hints about the classic-era Enterprise in that same series?
It’s also possible that the third panel, “Women in Motion,” could feature a surprise drop-in or two from some of the just-announced Strange New Worlds cast members. Who are Christina Chong, Celia Rose Gooding, Jen Bush, and Melissa Navia playing? This could be the spot we find out.
As far as Discovery Season 4 and Picard Season 2, those casts are well-represented on all these panels. Could Sonequa Maritn-Green or Patrick Stewart drop some hints or release dates for their perspective series? As Spock once said, there are always, possibilities.
All the Star Trek TV series are streaming on Paramount+. As of this writing the wonderful 1996 film, Star Trek: First Contact, is streaming for free on Pluto.