It’s official — Patrick Stewart is returning to the Star Trek franchise. The acclaimed Shakespearean actor is set to headline a new Star Trek series for CBS All Access, reprising his iconic Next Generation character, Captain Jean-Luc Picard. The project, which has been rumored since the June announcement of a Star Trek universe expansion with new series, was just unveiled by Stewart himself in a surprise appearance at the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention (watch the video above).

The new series, which is not a Star Trek: Next Generation reboot, will tell the story of the next chapter of Picard’s life. It will be shepherded by Star Trek: Discovery co-creator/executive producer Alex Kurtzman who was tapped to oversee development of new Star Trek content under a big new overall deal with CBS TV Studios.

“With overwhelming joy, it’s a privilege to welcome Sir Patrick Stewart back to the Star Trek fold,” Kurtzman said. “For over 20 years, fans have hoped for the return of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and that day is finally here. We can’t wait to forge new ground, surprise people, and honor generations both new and old.”

On the creative team for the new series starring Stewart, Kurtzman will be joined by James Duff, who recently joined Star Trek: Discovery as executive producer and signed a CBS Studios overall deal, former Discovery exec producer Akiva Goldsman, Michael Chabon, and Discovery writer Kirsten Beyer.

Stewart, Chabon and Goldsman executive produce with Discovery executive producers Duff, Kurtzman and Heather Kadin of Secret Hideout as well as Roddenberry Entertainment President Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, and Roddenberry Entertainment COO Trevor Roth.

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“I will always be very proud to have been a part of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but when we wrapped that final movie in the spring of 2002, I truly felt my time with Star Trek had run its natural course,” Stewart said. “It is, therefore, an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him. Seeking out new life for him, when I thought that life was over.”

“During these past years, it has been humbling to hear many stories about how The Next Generation brought people comfort, saw them through difficult periods in their lives or how the example of Jean-Luc inspired so many to follow in his footsteps, pursuing science, exploration and leadership,” Stewart continued. “I feel I’m ready to return to him for the same reason – to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times. I look forward to working with our brilliant creative team as we endeavor to bring a fresh, unexpected and pertinent story to life once more.”

Stewart is one of the most popular stars of the Star Trek franchise. He headlined the Star Trek: Next Generation series for its seven-season run and also portrayed Picard in the movies Star Trek Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) as well as in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s pilot “Emissary.”

This is the third Star Trek series to be officially announced, joining Star Trek: Discovery, which is heading into its second season, and the upcoming Star Trek: Short Treks four-part limited series.

Stewart, who recently toplined the Starz comedy series Blunt Talk, is repped by ICM Partners, Independent Talent Group and Anonymous Content.

Watch the announcement of Stewart’s return in the video above.