We might know the exact year the Star Trek Picard show takes place in – and it’s heading into uncharted territory

If you’re not already tingling with excitement when it comes to the new Star Trek Picard show currently in pre-production (opens in new tab) then there’s a tiny piece of info that might make certain Trekkies – and even casual fans – mentally filing this away as a must-watch. It’s all down to the year we could find ourselves in for Patrick Stewart’s return to the bridge – it’s going to boldly go where the series has never gone before.

The show’s executive producer Michael Chabon has recently taken to Instagram to tease a few things, namely a large and pointed reference to ‘99’ and ‘99ers’, which TrekMovie (opens in new tab) takes to mean the show will be set in 2399. Trust me, it’s not a big of a leap as you’d imagine (read their article for more details).

So we finished our first amazing two weeks in the #space2999 writers’ room, and I think all you 99ers out there are really going to “grok” what we have planned. (Hint: Metamorphs! But you didn’t hear it from me.) [Note: this post has been certified free of Trek hints and/or spoilers by the United Federation of Planets’ Standards Measurement Bureau] Michael Chabon (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by @michael.chabon on Sep 7, 2018 at 6:19pm PDT

Patrick Stewart’s original turn – as detailed by TIME’s comprehensive Star Trek timeline breakdown (opens in new tab) – in Star Trek: The Next Generation ended in 2379. We’re, give or take, twenty years removed from that moment. If Chabon’s hints and nudges are correct, that also marks something truly historic for the new Star Trek TV show.

As of 2018, including Star Trek Discovery (opens in new tab), the Original Series, the J.J. Abrams movies, and all the rest of it, the TV and movie canon has never strayed into the 25th Century. If the 2399 date rings true, we’re on the cusp of moving into a completely unknown future, free of all of the restraints of knowing what comes before and after, all baggage that has weighed down many a spin-off.

Captain Picard, then, gets to forge his own path forward in a future where we don’t have a single clue about what’s going to happen. Star Trek, for the first time in a long, long time, has carte blanche to do what it wants with certain characters, races, and planets. Whether you’re a hardcore Trek fan or a jaded one, you’ve got to admit: that’s just a little bit good, isn’t it?

Picard has often been the gold standard for the franchise so it’s little surprise he features in some of the best Star Trek episodes. (opens in new tab)

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