Shinzon was a clone of Human Starfleet captain Jean-Luc Picard, initially created by the Romulans for the purpose of replacing Picard with a Romulan agent. Shinzon later became the leader of the Reman people, staging a successful coup d'état against the Romulan Senate and plotting the annihilation of Earth in the name of Reman freedom. (Star Trek Nemesis)
Shinzon was meant to replace Picard, one of Starfleet's and the Federation's most decorated and noted starship commanders of the 24th century. As part of this plot, Shinzon's design incorporated temporal RNA sequencing, which could be used to accelerate his physical age to Picard's at any time.
Like his progenitor, Jean-Luc Picard, Shinzon was diagnosed with Shalaft's Syndrome at an early age. Hypersensitive to any kind of sound, young Shinzon suffered until a physician could be found who was capable of treating rare Human illnesses.
Not long after Shinzon was created, though, power within the Romulan Empire shifted and the Romulan Senate abandoned its plan, believing it to be too provocative an act if discovered. With no use for such a clone, the Empire exiled Shinzon from Romulus, sending him, still a child, to work as a slave laborer in the dilithium mines on Remus.
Reviled by the Romulans working there, Shinzon became the target of abuse. In his time in the mines, he was severely beaten, having his nose and jaw broken by brutal Romulan guards, and also being forced to work for eighteen hours a day, being constantly lashed with Romulan whips. One Reman, however, took pity on Shinzon, teaching him strength and compassion and protecting him when he could from the Romulans. This man would become Shinzon's Reman Viceroy in the conflict to follow.
Rise to power
During the Dominion War of 2374 and 2375, the Romulan military drafted Shinzon out of the mines and onto the frontlines, where he distinguished himself in battle and became a capable commanding officer of Reman troops, fighting twelve successful engagements against the Dominion.
Following the end of the Dominion War, Shinzon had both military experience and a capable army at his disposal. Forming an alliance with several Romulan officials, including Senator Tal'aura and Commanders Suran and Donatra, Shinzon vowed to free his Reman "brothers". Setting into motion a plan to overthrow the Romulan government, he and his cohorts constructed a massive warbird, the Scimitar. Operating out of a secret base, Shinzon and his people also developed a weapon, utilizing deadly thalaron radiation. Deploying a small thalaron projector in the Romulan Senate, Shinzon was able to kill all the Senate members.
Shinzon's days, however, were numbered. Abandoned by his Romulan creators, Shinzon's temporal RNA aging program was never activated, and thus it began slowly breaking down his cellular structure. The only way for him to avoid death was to make a complete blood transfusion from the only genetically-compatible donor, Jean-Luc Picard himself.
Towards this end, Shinzon concocted an elaborate plot to lure the USS Enterprise-E (and by extension Picard) to Romulus. He planted the pieces of a Soong-type android, B-4, on Kolarus III, where he knew that the Enterprise would find it. As a result, the Enterprise was the closest starship available when Shinzon offered to open peace negotiations between the Federation and the Romulans, so the Enterprise was subsequently ordered to Romulus by Starfleet.
Meeting with Picard
Upon meeting Picard, Shinzon delayed his plans, having acquired an intense interest in his originator's history and that of the Picard family. He also became smitten with Counselor Deanna Troi, who was the first Human woman (albeit, only half-Human) he had ever seen.
During his first meeting with Picard and members of his crew, Shinzon remained hidden in the shadows (he and his Reman "brothers" were not comfortable in the light) and informed Picard of his intentions to negotiate peace with the Federation. After correctly guessing what Picard thought of such a negotiation, Shinzon revealed himself to his doppelgänger. This revelation shocked Picard, who now realized himself to be facing a younger version of himself. Shinzon then cut his own hand with his knife and gave the knife to Lieutenant Commander Data to have Doctor Beverly Crusher examine his blood. Afterward, he invited Picard to dinner in the Romulan Senate, insisting that they had "much to discuss".
During the dinner, Shinzon explained to Picard how and why he was created and his upbringing in the mines of Remus. Shinzon then asked with great curiosity about the history of the Picard family. Despite their obvious similarities, however, Picard was reluctant to forge a friendship with Shinzon and an alliance with his Romulan government until the Praetor had earned his trust. When Picard left, Shinzon was informed by his viceroy that they were wasting time and reminded the young clone of their mission.
Afterward, Shinzon and the viceroy returned to the Scimitar. Instead of proceeding with their mission, however, Shinzon had the viceroy form a telepathic link between Shinzon's mind and that of Counselor Troi's so that he could make love with the woman he had become fascinated with. This telepathic form of rape was a violation and traumatic experience for Troi.
When further delay became unacceptable because of the accelerating deterioration of his condition, Shinzon ordered B-4 to be beamed aboard the Scimitar, believing the android to have secretly downloaded Starfleet's communication protocols, giving Shinzon the location of all Starfleet vessels. Afterward, Shinzon kidnapped Picard by transporting him from the Enterprise's sickbay to the brig aboard the Scimitar. Shinzon then told him that he would always feel to be just an echo or shadow as long as Picard was alive.
As soon as Shinzon left the brig, Picard managed to escape from the Scimitar with the help of Data, who had taken the place of B-4 and given Shinzon inaccurate data about Starfleet, and left the Romulan system aboard the Enterprise at maximum warp.
During the subsequent trip, Data assured Picard that Shinzon would not have been him even if the two had lived the same lives, because Picard had always aspired to better himself and his understanding of the universe around him, while Shinzon sought nothing but death and destruction – both for those who had oppressed him, those he erroneously believed oppressed him, and those who he might harm for personal gain.
The Battle of the Bassen Rift
Desperate, Shinzon ordered the Scimitar to pursue the Enterprise, and launched an attack in the Bassen Rift, a region where subspace communications were unavailable. In the battle that ensued, Picard continued to elude capture with the assistance of Romulan reinforcements – Commander Donatra had betrayed Shinzon, realizing that Shinzon didn't just plan to attack the Federation with the thalaron radiation weapon, but actually planned mass genocide by wiping out Earth's population. She subsequently aided Picard in a battle for some time before her starship, the Valdore, was heavily damaged by a disruptor blast from the Scimitar.
For some time, the battle was in Shinzon's favor, due mostly to his ship's ability to fire while cloaked. Things changed, however, when Troi reopened the telepathic link between herself and the viceroy, allowing the Enterprise to pinpoint the Scimitar's exact location. With its cloak disabled, the Scimitar began taking damage – but Shinzon was not defeated yet.
After the Enterprise's shields took extensive damage, Shinzon ordered the viceroy to lead a boarding party to retrieve Picard. But the boarding party that had beamed to the Enterprise was pinned down, and the viceroy himself was killed by William T. Riker in a maintenance shaft.
On the whole, however, the battle was not going well for the Enterprise. Shinzon had nearly crippled the Sovereign-class starship and had even destroyed a section of its bridge, sending at least one Starfleet officer hurtling to his death. Overconfident, Shinzon had the Scimitar turn to face the battle-damaged Enterprise. Picard then turned the tables by ramming the Enterprise into the Scimitar, a move which Shinzon did not expect and which he could not avoid. With both starships heavily damaged, Shinzon ordered a Reman officer to activate the thalaron weapon and to fire at the Enterprise. He then ordered the officer to take the Scimitar into Federation space and complete their mission once every living thing aboard Enterprise was dead.
To stop the thalaron weapon from firing, Picard beamed himself to the Scimitar. On the Scimitar bridge, Picard managed to kill all Reman crewmembers with his phaser rifle. As Shinzon's health worsened, he engaged Picard in a ferocious hand-to-hand combat which moved from the bridge itself to the thalaron radiation generator room. In the end, Shinzon was killed when Picard used a piece of wreckage to impale Shinzon as the clone lunged in for the kill. With his plans collapsing around him, the dying Shinzon used the last of his strength to pull himself down the makeshift spear and grab the captain by the throat. His last words to Picard were: "Our destiny is complete".
As Picard stood in shock, Data arrived and transported the captain back to the Enterprise. Data then fired his phaser at the thalaron generator, destroying himself and the Scimitar and effectively concluding Shinzon's plan for galactic conquest. (Star Trek Nemesis)
|Praetors of the Romulan Star Empire|
|Colius • Unnamed (c. 2266) • Neral (c. 2374) • Hiren (c. 2379) • Shinzon (c. 2379)|
Shinzon was played by actor Tom Hardy and by an unknown actor as a boy. Other actors who were considered for the role were Stargate SG-1 actor Michael Shanks, movie star Jude Law (The Talented Mr. Ripley, Cold Mountain), and Buffy the Vampire Slayer star James Marsters.
In addition to shaving his head, Hardy had to wear a prosthetic nose and chin in order to more closely resemble Patrick Stewart, as he was supposed to be playing a younger version of Stewart's character. Ironically, in the film Shinzon cites his nose and jaw as being different from those of Picard.
A deleted scene which took place early in the film revealed that Shinzon's motives in wiping out the population of Earth were twofold; firstly as an act of revenge against Humanity, and secondly as the first step of a larger plan to invade the United Federation of Planets. By destroying Earth, Shinzon would also have wiped out the Federation Council and Starfleet Command, rendering the Federation unable to mount an adequate defense against the Blitzkrieg-style attack that the Romulans would then deploy. His ultimate aim was to make a name for himself as the man who destroyed the Federation, thereby eclipsing Picard in the history books. While the scene was removed, during a meeting of the senior staff later in the movie, Riker and Picard comment that destroying Humanity would "cripple" the Federation, allowing the Romulans to invade.
It remains uncertain as to when exactly Shinzon was created. He was sent down to the mines on Remus as a child and spent "nearly ten years" there, probably until he left for the Dominion War. Since that conflict took place in 2374/2375, he would have been exiled around 2364/2365, and his creation would have been several years earlier, placing his birth somewhen in the 2350s. A power shift within the Romulan Empire around 2364/2365 would be somewhat consistent with Alidar Jarok's 2366 comments from "The Defector" about "new leaders" and the Romulans increasing their activity in the Romulan Neutral Zone in 2364, as depicted in "Angel One" and "The Neutral Zone".
In an interview given years after this movie came out, Tom Hardy said that he took the role very seriously, as it was intended to be his big break. The commercial failure of the movie, and the response from long-time fans, apparently led to his relationship dissolving, his turning to alcohol, and considering suicide. It was only when he pulled himself together and starred in Bronson that he got over the film. (citation needed • edit)
According to Beverly Crusher, Shinzon was supposed to "skip thirty years" to replace Picard, though it is unclear whether Shinzon's "activation" was imminent or still further in the future at the time of his exile. In any case, since Picard was born in 2305, the age difference between Picard and Shinzon would be closer to 50 years based on the 2350s creation date.
Depending on the exact date, Picard was either still commanding the USS Stargazer or in the (never canonically described) interval between the Stargazer and the USS Enterprise-D when his DNA was taken. It is possible that Picard, already before commanding the Federation flagship, was prominent enough for his DNA to be taken or even that the Romulans learned about Picard's future prominence from the alternate timeline Natasha Yar from "Yesterday's Enterprise".
- According to the novelization, the name "Shinzon" is Reman for "liberator". This, however, was never referenced in the film.
- Also, in the short story "Twilight's Wrath" (see below) it is stated that the name "Shinzon" is Reman for "twilight." This name was given to him by his viceroy, Vkruk, because of his "irrepressible fascination with the fine line that separated light and darkness."
- In his foreword to J.M. Dillard's novelization of the film, screenwriter John Logan says that he based the name "Shinzon", as well as all the other Reman and Romulan names in the story on ancient Chinese names, in homage to Gene Roddenberry's creation of the Romulans as an analog to 1960s Communist China.
- The short story "Twilight's Wrath" (in the novel Tales of the Dominion War) is the back story to Star Trek Nemesis as Shinzon and his viceroy begin their plans to takeover the Romulan Star Empire, when he and his regiment of Reman shock troops are ordered on a suicide mission to re-take a secret Tal Shiar research facility from the Dominion. Inside the facility, Shinzon finds the thalaron generator and a powered-down copy of Data, known as B-4. The story implies that B-4 was also intended by the Romulans to infiltrate the Federation, hence Shinzon refers to B-4 as "brother". Shinzon also discovers in the facility's records the truth about his own origins, which he was previously ignorant of.
- The story implies that Shinzon and B-4 were created by the Romulans at roughly the same time; if this were true, the most opportune time for them to have "copied" Picard and Data would be in 2368, after the two were captured on Romulus while trying to locate Ambassador Spock. (TNG: "Unification II")
- In the prologue to Michael Jan Friedman's novel Death in Winter, Picard's DNA is taken in 2348, along with that of Walker Keel, Leo Blais, and Marielle Kumaretanga, by a Romulan agent masquerading as a waiter at the wedding reception of Jack and Beverly Crusher. This would be while Picard was still in command of the Stargazer.
- In the briefing prior to a mission inside the Federation campaign within the game Star Trek: Starfleet Command III, Captain Picard tells the player the following: "Recent intelligence reports suggest that a suspicious person – not a Romulan – is forming a coalition to challenge the Praetor's authority.". This could be a reference to the character.