Ahead of the show’s premiere later this month, Variety has done a feature piece on the upcoming “Star Trek: Picard” and its star Patrick Stewart.
Stewart’s profile was raised by his role over thirty years ago as Captain Jean-Luc Picard on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” leading to more work such as on the “X-Men” franchise and other films like “Green Room”.
The feature is partly a retrospective on how ‘Next Generation’ helped usher in the age of premium television, and Stewart remains very proud of the series even as he’s less proud of the film that ended it all – especially compared to his final outing as Professor Charles Xavier:
“Hugh [Jackman] and I were so thrilled when the last thing we did for ‘X-Men’ was ‘Logan’. It was the best ‘X-Men’ experience we both had, because we were the same characters but their world had been blown apart. ‘Next Generation’ didn’t end like that. In fact, our last movie, ‘Nemesis,’ was pretty weak.”
It was because of that film he realised a return to Picard could be desirable and could give the character a proper outing. Nevertheless he still wasn’t interested until producer Alex Kurtzman and writers Michael Chabon and Akiva Goldsman got in touch with him in 2017:
“I explained to them all those elements of ‘Next Generation’ which belong in ‘Next Generation,’ and why I didn’t want to go near them again. But they talked about it in such an interesting way. And they talked for a long time.”
He told them no, but quickly changed his mind and asked Kurtzman to put his ideas in writing. 48 hours later, Kurtzman sent over a thirty-page packet outlining a possible series.
The series begins with Picard living in near-isolation in his family’s French vineyard – retired and estranged from Starfleet and haunted by both the death of his android colleague Lt. Cmdr. Data (as seen in “Star Trek: Nemesis”) and the refugee crisis spawned by the destruction of the planet Romulus (as seen in 2009’s J.J. Abrams-directed “Star Trek”).
Those two separate things soon crossover and Picard returns to action without Starfleet’s help. In fact one of the new show’s most interesting elements will be its portrayal of the interstellar naval service Picard spent much of his life in service of. It seems the Federation has taken an isolationist turn:
“In a way, the world of ‘Next Generation’ had been too perfect and too protected. It was the Enterprise. It was a safe world of respect and communication and care and, sometimes, fun. [This show] was me responding to the world of Brexit and Trump and feeling, ‘Why hasn’t the Federation changed? Why hasn’t Starfleet changed?’ Maybe they’re not as reliable and trustworthy as we all thought.”
The ten episode first season kicks off January 23rd on CBS All Access in the United States and a day later on Amazon Prime Video around much of the rest of the world.