'Star Trek Picard': Here's decoding Romulan history of 'Star Trek' Lore after 53 years of the franchise
The Romulans made their first appearance in Season 1 of the show, in the episode titled 'Balance Of Terror' (1966)
Undeniably, the Romulan empire and its complicated history with Starfleet has been one of the most compelling and intriguing threads in the 53-year-old 'Star Trek' franchise. The Romulans debuted in 'Star Trek: The Original Series', flourished in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' and are now at the heart of the story of 'Star Trek: Picard'. In the latest episode of the CBS All-Access show, the Romulans expressed their anger and distrust at Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart).
At the beginning of the show, it was revealed that Picard turned his back on Starfleet as it decided to abandon the Romulan rescue mission during the Supernova. Rogue synthetics had attacked the rescue armada on Mars, making the planet unfit for habitation. Picard tried to persuade Starfleet to revise their evacuation plan and even gave them the ultimatum of his resignation, which they chose to accept.
In the fourth episode, the Romulans side of the story was shown and how they felt about Picard's decision, as he chose to do nothing at all after his resignation. Picard had assured them that he would do everything he could. Yet, the promises rung hollow and he never returned.
Considering the Romulans and the Federation were known for their fractious relationship, this was pretty much the breaking point. For the unversed, the intense dislike between the two goes back to several franchises. Here's tracing it all the way back to the original series.
'Star Trek: The Original Series'
The Romulans made their first appearance in Season 1 of the show, in the episode 'Balance Of Terror'. A century before the events of this episode, the Romulans had attacked Earth. After this bloody war, a Neutral Zone was established between the Federation Space and the Romulan Empire. Neither side crossed it as they were afraid of starting a new conflict. Interestingly, neither race had actually properly seen each other in this battle.
In the episode 'Balance Of Terror', the Romulans display their aggression towards the Federation and attack their outposts. This is the first time Kirk and his crew see the Romulans, and realize they look quite similar to the Vulcans. It turns out that the Romulans had evolved after the Vulcans decided to adopt the philosophy of logic. Many did not wish to discard their emotions and thousands departed for space and began a new culture.
Following this, the Romulans are next mentioned in the third season, where Kirk and Spock attempt to steal a cloaking device from one of the Romulan ships. And then for a long time, we do not hear about the race.
'Star Trek: The Next Generation'
It's, in this series, the Romulans make their presence felt. The Enterprise crew comes to blows with the race several times over the course of six seasons. We learn more about Romulan culture and how their intelligence bureau, the Tal Shiar, is brutal and intensely disliked by the military ranks. However, not all the Romulans wish to continue the hostilities with the Federation. In one of the episodes, Spock even tries to bridge the gap between the two. The Romulan government will not hear of it and try to invade the Federation again.
'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine'
Ironically, the Federation and the Romulans find themselves on the same side as they fight a new race called 'Dominion', which seeks to conquer the Alpha Quadrant and that includes the Romulans.
The Romulans make it clear though, after the war, the hostilities with the Federation will continue, just as before.
'Nemesis' and 2009 'Star Trek'
'Nemesis' might have been a dud, but it provided some valuable information and saw the beginnings of a probable peace between Starfleet and Romulans. The film showed how the Tal Shiar had cloned Picard, in an attempt to accelerate his aging and have him trade places with the Captain. The Romulans decided not to go through with the plan and sent the clone child named Shinzon to the planet Remus, Romulus's twin planet.
Remus had an indigenous population that Romulus had conquered and enslaved. The slaves revolted and took over the Romulan senate and made Shinzon their leader. However, Shinzon died and the Romulans were in power again. At the end of 'Nemesis', the Romulans fight with the Remans, alongside the Federation.
Yet, things went South for the Romulans in the 2009 film 'Star Trek', during the Supernova. Romulus was destroyed.
'Star Trek: Picard' shows the guilt that Picard has lived with for years, as he could not save a million lives.
It remains to be seen whether the race will find a way to come to peaceful terms with Starfleet or try to conquer the galaxy again.