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Patrick Stewart reveals he had big doubts about playing Picard

Patrick Stewart's portrayal of Captain Picard is legendary – but in a recent discussion he revealed that he thought the show would flop.

For many people, Patrick Stewart is Jean-Luc Picard. The actor’s portrayal of the captain of the USS Enterprise-D secured him a permanent place in pop culture history, and an iconic status among sci-fi fans.

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But it very nearly might never have happened. When Stewart auditioned for the role of Picard, he already had commitments to various stage plays in England, and his agent wasn’t even convinced that The Next Generation was possible. Speaking as part of the L.A. Times Envelope Drama Roundtable, Stewart revealed that his agent advised him: “It’s not going to work. You cannot revive an iconic series like Star Trek. You’ll be lucky to get halfway through the first season. Sign up for it, then go home.” The Yorkshire-born Stewart also revealed he had never even heard of such a thing as a six-year contract when Hollywood offered him one.

Of course, The Next Generation did turn out to be a massive success – so much so that seven years later, Stewart was still playing Picard. The Next Generation had become just as iconic as The Original Series, and Stewart himself had been launched to international stardom.

Despite his initial skepticism, Stewart eventually settled so well into the role of Picard that, in his words, “there was a blurring of the connection between actor and character” as he increasingly put more of himself into his performance. He even went on to say that “the longer I worked on it, the more he became me.”

Stewart also had a lot to say about his fellow Next Gen actors, enthusing that they were “a group of individuals with whom the connection has never been broken.” According to Stewart, there was constant laughter on set, with every one of the main cast being responsible for at least one big laugh every day of filming. The mood was jovial to the point where one director, frustrated by the constant pranks, got down on his knees and begged Stewart to “please, just say the line.”

He ended the interview by saying that although he loves Star Trek, he loves his fellow actors more.


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Matthew Doherty
Matthew Doherty is a writer at We Got This Covered. His work has also appeared on WorthPoint and The Collector. Matthew loves to write about anything TV and movie related, but has an obsession for all things Star Trek. In his spare time, he is writing a science fiction novel that will be finished at some point in the 22nd Century.