Nearly two decades after he last played USS Enterprise Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Patrick Stewart admits he was initially wary to assume the mantle of the legendary Star Trek character again. “You know, there have been other interested parties, I say that very politically, over the past 18 years who have approached me about reviving Star Trek: The Next Generation or Star Trek: Picard or something like that,” he said during Deadline’s virtual Contenders Television event. “I always thanked them kindly and moved on,” he added, stressing how proud he was of the TNG tales told on both the small and big screens from 1987-2002.
However, as Star Trek: Discovery took off in 2017 and with the success of Logan that same year, Blunt Talk star Stewart found himself considering changing his mind after a meeting with executive producer Alex Kurtzman and his team. “If you can find that transformation of the man and his spirits, then I’m up for it,” he said he told the big-name EPs. The rest, as they say, is TV history.
Announced with great surprise and a personal appearance by Stewart and Kurtzman in August 2018 at Las Vegas’ annual Trek convention followed by a triumphant unveiling at San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H the following July, the 10-episode first season of Picard debuted on the ViacomCBS-owned streamer on January 23. Set 20 years after the shocking tale of 2002’s Nemesis movie, Picard found the now-retired admiral in self-imposed exile over the death of his Starfleet companion Data (Brent Spiner) and the apparent android uprising that fatally hobbled a rescue of the home planet of the Romulans.
Clearly entwined with real-life issues of immigration and realpolitik, plus the infamous Borg from TNG and Federation intrigue, Picard’s re-engagement unveiled a very different man than the philosopher-captain fans had come to know and love before. “He has learnt to deal with some of the emotional and psychological problems that he had been having for the last 12 or 15 years,” the Emmy and Tony nominee Stewart said of a first season that encapsulated both a personal journey and an intergalactic adventure.
Picard is executive produced by Stewart, Star Trek overlord Kurtzman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Michael Chabon, Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman, Terry Matalas, Heather Kadin, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth.
Along with Stewart, Season 1 of Picard starred Next Gen vets Jonathan Frakes, who helmed a couple of episodes too, along with Spiner, Jeri Ryan and Jonathan Del Arco. Additionally, The Newsroom alum Alison Pill, Santiago Cabrera, Michelle Hurd, Isa Briones, Harry Treadaway and Evan Evagora were also on board for CBS All Access’ latest leap in the ever-expanding Trekverse franchise.
Renewed before its premiere, Star Trek: Picard is scheduled to return for Season 2 next year.
Check out the panel video above.