If you’re a Star Trek lover, you can’t have missed the news that has the fandom wired: Patrick Stewart’s returning to the Trek universe as Jean-Luc Picard and will be starring in his own series for CBS All Access.
Of course, Picard’s one of the most iconic characters from the franchise’s half-century of history, but we haven’t seen him for a long while. In fact, the last time Stewart played the part was back in 2002’s underwhelming Star Trek: Nemesis. So what led the actor to decide to come back as the character that he first brought to life in Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987? Has the British thespian just been sitting by the phone, waiting for the call? Actually, quite the opposite.
The announcement of Stewart’s return was made by the actor himself in an appearance at the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas over the weekend. Before he dropped the big news, he explained why he’s stayed away from the franchise for so long. After recounting a story about the time he lost a job because he was typecast, Stewart spoke about how he’d made a promise to himself never to play Picard again. But that changed when he received an interesting email.
“I was determined that that was the past, it was over. And it would be a voyage I would never undertake again. I made a particular point of stressing that… Until earlier this year when an email arrived and there was an offer, interesting and charming, but one that I knew I would have to turn down.”
Stewart paused for a laugh from the crowd and then went on to explain what changed to make him want to do the project. It seems it was a mix of the exciting plans the showrunners have in store and the actor rediscovering what he loves about the franchise that helped him decide to hop on board.
“Well, that’s how it felt. And I had a meeting, there were five of us in the room and I spent 20 minutes explaining why, with sadness, I would have to say no. But something has happened and it’s not only the impact of the people I have been talking to and working with for the past almost six months now, but it’s also because i have spent a lot of time recently watching The Next Generation … gradually it became clearer and clearer to me the power [and] the success of that show.”
Picard’s new show comes from the minds of all-round Star Trek architect Alex Kurtzman, Star Trek: Discovery‘s James Duff and Akiva Goldsman, acclaimed novelist and screenwriter Michael Chabon and Kirsten Beyer, who’s also in charge of maintaining continuity across the multimedia franchise. Details on what exactly they’ve got planned remain under lock and key, but we’ll keep you posted with more about Picard’s exciting comeback as and when we hear it.