Patrick Stewart To Reprise Role As Captain Jean-Luc Picard In New Star Trek Series

Make it so!

It’s been sixteen years since Patrick Stewart last donned a Starfleet uniform to play the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: Nemesis, and twenty-four years since Star Trek: The Next Generation ended its television run. In the years since then Stewart has had a wide and varied career both via a return to his Shakespearean roots and other stage performances, and, of course, his role as Professor X in the hugely successful X-Men film series. Now, it looks like both Stewart and the character are headed back to television:

Adjust your uniform (tugging as needed) and make sure your tea — Earl Grey, of course — is hot.

“Jean-Luc Picard is back,” Patrick Stewart told a jubilant audience in a surprise appearance at a “Star Trek” convention in Las Vegas on Saturday.4

Mr. Stewart played the celebrated captain of the Starship Enterprise on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and in four films: “Generations,” “First Contact,” “Insurrection” and “Nemesis.” Now, he is confirmed to lead a new “Star Trek” show on CBS All Access, the network’s digital streaming service, which will explore the next chapter of Picard’s life.

The rumors that Mr. Stewart would resurrect his most famous role had circulated for weeks, especially after Alex Kurtzman, an executive producer of “Star Trek: Discovery,” signed a new deal with CBS.

The last time we saw Picard, he was saying a farewell of sorts to crew members of the Starship Enterprise E. For the first time in years, he had a new first officer, since William Riker, Picard’s longtime deputy, and Deanna Troi, Riker’s wife and the ship’s counselor, were heading to the U.S.S. Titan. It was after Data, the trustworthy android, had died to save the ship.

That was in 2002’s “Star Trek: Nemesis,” the last film of the “Star Trek” franchise featuring the original cast of “The Next Generation.” (A deleted scene from the movie shows Dr. Beverly Crusher at Starfleet Medical.) While it wasn’t well received by the dedicated Trekkie fan base, it seemed a logical conclusion for the crew.

But Mr. Stewart and the “Star Trek” brass felt there was more of Picard’s story to explore, much to Mr. Stewart’s surprise.

(…)

In a statement, Mr. Kurtzman, an executive producer on the project, said: “With overwhelming joy, it’s a privilege to welcome Sir Patrick Stewart back to the ‘Star Trek’ fold. 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.”

It is unclear what part of Picard’s story will be explored or when the project will begin production. It is also uncertain whether other “Next Generation” cast members will be a part of the project. Mr. Stewart, Rod Roddenberry, Akiva Goldsman, Heather Kadin, Trevor Roth, James Duff and Michael Chabon are also listed as executive producers.

And while “Star Trek” fans are excited about Mr. Stewart’s return to the franchise, the move comes with a great deal of risk. Films involving “The Next Generation” have been met with mixed reviews, and critics accused the film writers of mangling Picard’s character in comparison with the portrayal on the television show.

But at a moment when several legacy television shows have returned or are in the process of coming back to the screen, perhaps it is fitting that one of the most famous roles in science fiction history will return.

More from Variety:

Sir Patrick Stewart will reprise the role of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard in a brand new “Star Trek” series on CBS All Access, Variety has learned.

The exact plot details are being kept mostly under wraps, though the series is said to tell the story of the next chapter of Picard’s life. That indicates that it will take place after the events of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” rather than being a prequel or reboot.

The untitled series hails from Alex Kurtzman, James Duff, Akiva Goldsman, Michael Chabon, and Kirsten Beyer. Kurtzman, Duff, Goldsman, and Chabon will also serve as executive producers on the series along with Stewart, Trevor Roth, Heather Kadin, and Rod Roddenberry. CBS Television Studios will produce. The new series does not currently have a premiere date.

“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,” he 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.”

(…)

News of the series order comes less than two months after it was reported that CBS TV Studios was developing multiple shows set in the “Star Trek” universe. Other shows that were reported to be in development at that time include one set at Starfleet Academy from creators Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz as well as a limited series based around the “Wrath of Khan” story.

The studio also announced that they had signed Kurtzman to a new five-year overall deal that will see him supervise the expansion of CBS’ “Star Trek” franchise.

During San Diego Comic-Con, CBS TV Studios also announced that they had ordered a four-part miniseries called “Star Trek: Short Treks.” Launching this fall then rolling out on CBS All Access on a monthly basis, each of the four episodes will be approximately 10-15 minutes long, and dig deeper into specific characters and themes explored on “Discovery.”

Stewart also posted the news on his Twitter and Facebook feeds:

This news, of course, comes on the heels of the first season of Star Trek: Discovery, the first new Star Trek television series since Star Trek: Enterprise ended its run in 2005 and in the wake of the rebooted movie series that began in 2009 with J.J. Abrams Star Trek, which takes place in an entirely different timeline from that of the original series or any of its follow-ups. Unlike earlier series, Discovery did not air on broadcast or cable television but on CBS’s video streaming service CBS All Access, which is only available via subscription. Personally, I have not seen Discovery yet in no small part because I’ve been reluctant to sign up for yet another streaming service just to watch one show, but from what I have heard from friends who have watched the show is that, while it started out somewhat weak, Discovery ended its first season on a strong and promising note. In any case, the show was picked up for a second season and, as noted, CBS is talking about expanding its offering of Trek-related programming, so I suppose it is working out for them quite nicely.

As for this new Picard series, it’s hard to know what to think about it until we get more details. A show that focuses on Picard as an Admiral behind a desk or an Ambassador doesn’t exactly sound like one that will bring in viewers, and a show that just replicates The Next Generation could quickly run out of material before becoming repetitive. In any case, I’ll be willing to give it a chance simply because its Patrick Stewart and it would be nice to see Jean-Luc Picard in action again.

FILED UNDER: Entertainment, Popular Culture, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Miles says:

    I pirated the 1st half of season 1. It was OK, but not enough to pay for CBS’s limited All-Access offering. I’m a big ST fan but will pass on Picard if he’s also on All-Access

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  2. Gustopher says:

    Huzzah, we will be getting some stable, honest, dispassionate leadership again!

    The movies failed by attempting to make Picard an action hero, which just isn’t what he is. If they follow the Discovery format, with long arcs, they will have the space to do a more nuanced version of the character.

    I hope they don’t try to make it “relevant” with a xenophobic Federation building a wall to keep refugees out.

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  3. Kathy says:

    FWIW, in Mexico Netflix has Star Trek Discovery available with a Netflix subscription. No clue whether you can fool the service into thinking your’e located south of the border.

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  4. Mister Bluster says:

    It was after Data, the trustworthy android, had died to save the ship.

    So, no spoiler alert!

    You should not go around assuming that everyone knows this!

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  5. Dave Schuler says:

    Make it so.

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  6. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    So, no spoiler alert!

    You should not go around assuming that everyone knows this!

    Seriously? You had SIXTEEN YEARS to watch that movie if you were going to. I don’t think that requires a spoiler alert.

    And by the way…

    Ripley killed the Alien.

    Bambi’s Mother died.

    Dumbo flew.

    That wasn’t Hynkel in the Great Dictator. It was Chaplain.

    Edison was a directorial hack.

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  7. Mister Bluster says:

    …and Elaine ran off with Ben after she was wedded to Carl.

    Best use of a Cross in a movie, ever!

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  8. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Another good “wedding gone bad” movie: Feeling Minnesota.

    Very underrecognized film.

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  9. Timothy Watson says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: The webcomic Penny Arcade pointed out there was a statute of limitations for spoilers, after one character “spoiled” that King Kong dies at the end of the movie.

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  10. Mister Bluster says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:..Feeling Minnesota

    I see that Vincent D’Onofrio is in the cast so I will be Netflixing it soon.

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  11. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve been reluctant to sign up for yet another streaming service just to watch one show

    I hear you. I subscribe to Netflix, HBO and Amazon Prime. But I have a voracious appetite for “hour long” TV series (actually 41-43 mins long) because I do 45 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical 4-5 days a week. There is simply no way I’m going to sign up to some $9.95/month streaming service to get one show. So here’s how I feed the beast: first, I check out what’s available on Netflix and Prime. There’s a lot there. (The HBO stuff tends to be event programming for me and my wife and not treadmill fare.) When something new comes out that I want to see I can easily wait a year to see if it comes out on one of those two. Exceptions: “The Good Place”, which is actually a half hour (21 minute) show, and incredibly brilliant, a philosophical slapstick comedy. It’s one of the best shows I’ve ever seen and I’m usually not one for comedies. My wife and I buy that one week by week on iTunes. And “Killing Eve”. Gotta put in a plug for that. Same deal – once we discovered it we bought it on iTunes.

    But in general if there is a show I want to watch and it doesn’t show up on the two streaming services (ex: “Legion”, another brilliant show), I check out the local library and see if it is there on DVD. Generally the DVD comes out a month or two before the next season starts. If so, I rip it to my computer and transfer it to the iPad.

    Finally, if it’s not at the library, once a year I sign up for Netflix DVD and relentlessly rip and return until I have a few months worth lined up.

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  12. Name withheld says:

    @MarkedMan:

    tl/dr. I torrent. 40TB home server, baby! :O)

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  13. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Miles: I subscribe to All Access because I stream instead of cabling and there are enough offerings on CBS to justify the additional $8 or whatever. But I don’t watch anything that is “exclusive to All Access” because I don’t have the time to watch that much TV with other shows I stream from other sources. I enjoyed the first episode of The Good Fight but never got around to watching another episode even though I’m a big Christine Baranski fan from when she played Maryanne on Cybill. I thought I might get to it during the rerun season, but I haven’t so far.

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  14. Bill says:

    Star Trek Nemesis was such an abomination (The worst Trek movie IMHO) plus the dreadful Voyager, that I have avoided the reboot movies, Enterprise, and Discovery. I’m not likely to watch the return of Picard. Which reminds me of something Dr. Bashir once said.

    “But Garak, Shakespeare is one of the giants of human literature.”

    Star Trek was a giant. Not anymore.

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  15. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Bill: I wouldn’t even say “giant.” Star Trek was entertaining in the mindless sort of way that I’ve often used television for. The guy who called it “the plug-in drug” wasn’t far off.

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  16. Bill says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I wouldn’t even say “giant.” Star Trek was entertaining in the mindless sort of way that I’ve often used television for.

    Before I discovered the original ST, I watched Lost in Space. That show with the exception of a few Season 1 episodes was totally devoid of a mind.

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  17. Matt says:

    @Bill: The only thing that was good in nemesis was the scimitar battle sequence. The outside sequences looked amazing and they actually did the combat stuff pretty well with Picard giving off rapid fire orders while employing reasonable strategies. That movie might of been the first time the shields of the Enterprise actually worked well….

    The Romulan ships looked really good too.

    Part 1 of the battle sequence :
    https://youtu.be/56iTxduUacs

    I stopped watching voyagor part way through the first season because it was seriously not my cup of tea. Apparently it got a lot better after a few seasons. I’ve watched several of the later episodes and they were quite good. I just don’t like the whole lost in space shit in any show.

    Deep Space 9 is the last trek that I watched and enjoyed. DS9 and Babylon 5 (the show DS9 ripped off) are both available on Amazon Prime right now. I went through B5 again recently and it’s still good despite having poor exterior graphics and some gaudy interior pieces.

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  18. Boyd says:

    Despite the fact that there are several shows on CBS All Access that I’d like to watch, I so far refuse to subscribe. While my efforts may amount to a fart in the wind, I still resist endorsing that business model for the broadcast networks.

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  19. Mister Bluster says:

    @Boyd:..I still resist endorsing that business model for the broadcast networks.

    Hang in there old timer. I’ll bet you start your Model T with a crank too.

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