Patrick Stewart made a huge swathe of Star Trek fans very happy when he announced that he was returning to the role of Jean-Luc Picard for a new ongoing series. There were rumors that this was the case, but most (including me) thought it was extremely unlikely. After all, Stewart has repeatedly gone on record to say that he was terrified of being typecast as the character and that he was proud of his work on the show but that he was done with it.
His return makes this video of a 2017 interview very interesting indeed. In it, Stewart talks of his disappointment at auditioning for a role only to be told by the director, “Look, you’re a terrific actor, but would I want Jean-Luc Picard in my movie?” Stewart explains how hard that was to hear and goes on to say that he intentionally took roles that were as far from Picard as he could get. He even said to his agent at one point, “I don’t care what my next job is, but it has to have nothing to do with science fiction … and nothing to do with sitting in a chair!”
So, what changed his mind? Well, when Stewart announced his return at this year’s Trek convention in Las Vegas, he said:
“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.”
However, he agreed to meet with Alex Kurtzman, if only to do him the courtesy of saying no in person.
“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.”
As far as what we know about this new project, well, we’ve already seen a meeting of the minds behind Picard’s return, comprising Stewart, 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 brings Picard back into action remain a mystery, but we’ll keep you posted with more about his Star Trek comeback as and when we hear it.