This is a theory I have held for a while: Captain Jean-Luc Picard is still trapped in the Nexus from Star Trek: Generations and everything we’ve seen afterward has been a part of his ideal reality.
Background on the Nexus can be found on the always amazing Memory Alpha site.
In Star Trek: Generations, Picard was taken by the Nexus before a shockwave destroyed the planet and everyone else on it. It was said that the Nexus allows whoever is in it will live out their fantasies. This was initially projected as a family life for Jean-Luc, but that’s not who he is. He has to save the day.
Instead, he teams up with the iconic Jim Kirk and prevents the disaster from happening in a “redo” type of adventure. How many of us would want a redo on our biggest failures, especially the one that took all of our closest friends’ lives?
In Star Trek: First Contact, the movie immediately after that, he deals with his unresolved issues with the Borg while playing an integral part in Earth’s history in the galaxy.
Star Trek: Insurrection finds him on a planet that stabilizes and prolongs the aging process, which helps him deal with his thoughts on mortality and companionship, two issues that would rightly affect an unmarried man in his fifties/sixties.
Star Trek: Nemesis is actually one of the better examples. It literally puts Jean-Luc face-to-face with a younger version (clone) of himself, forcing him to again come to terms with his past and his life choices.
I’m Not Alone
While doing my research for this post, I found a great article on Reddit by WilliamtheV that helps articulate this theory further. Check it out, because as he wrote: “The Nexus gave Picard what he wanted. A world where his actions have consequences, but he still got to live out his dream life.“