UPDATED article with quotes from panel and more photos
Star Trek: Discovery co-creator and showrunner Alex Kurtzman was a surprise last-minute addition to the Saturday schedule at Star Trek Las Vegas. The man who has been put in charge of the CBS plan to expand the Star Trek universe for television broke some huge news shortly after hitting the stage.
Kurtzman noted that there has been a lot of speculation about the future of Trek, so he decided to use STLV to announce “what the next Star Trek series is going to be.” The producer then had a little fun with it, saying he wanted to bring out a friend to talk about the next Star Trek show, at which point Sir Patrick Stewart joined him on stage and the capacity Vegas crowd went wild.
This introduction confirmed the previous rumors, Sir Patrick Stewart is returning to Star Trek, reprising his iconic role as Jean Luc-Picard. Stewart began his remarks by simply stating “I have returned, thank you.”
Patrick Stewart’s long trip back to Jean-Luc Picard
Stewart then took a stroll through memory lane, starting back in March 1987 when he auditioned for The Next Generation, but not believing it “would ever lead to anything at all.” He then said how being cast and playing Jean-Luc Picard has became “something that would touch every corner my life.” And after being very proud of the work he did for seven seasons and four feature films, with the last in 2002, he had decided he would not return to the role and it was “a voyage I would never take again.”
Stewart said the offer from CBS to reprise the character came earlier this year and while he described it as “interesting and charming” he said he was set to turn it down. According to Stewart he met with the producers and spent twenty minutes “explaining with sadness why I would have to say “no.” But through a process of discussions over six months, and spending time rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation, he came around to the idea:
Gradually it became clearer and clearer to me, that the power of that show, the success of that show, the benefits that it gave – I have never, ever grown tired of hearing from people who say “You’re show changed my life. Without Star Trek: The Next Generation I might not be here.”
And for these reasons he said, Stewart made the following simple, and yet profound statement:
Jean-Luc Picard is back
UPDATE 2: VIDEO
CBS has release a clip of Stewart’s introduction and initial comments.
May be a very different Picard
A few details were provided for the new show. Stewart revealed that things have changed for Jean-Luc Picard:
He may not, and I stress may not, be a captain anymore. He may not be the Jean-Luc that you recognize and know so well. It may be a very different individual. Someone who has been changed by his experiences. Twenty years will have passed, which is more or less exactly the time between the very last movie – Nemesis – and today.
He also promised it will not be like TNG, but in some ways it would be:
It will be, I promise you, I guarantee it, something very, very different. It will come to you with the same passion, and determination and love of the material and love of our followers and our fans, exactly as we had it before.
Still in early development
No release information for the unnamed show was provided, and Stewart revealed as of this moment there weren’t yet any scripts, adding “we are talking and talking about story lines.” There were no hints about other characters for the series and if any other Star Trek: The Next Generation actors will be reprising their roles.
It is also unclear at this time if the Jean Luc-Picard Star Trek show will be an ongoing series, or a one-off mini-series. It is expected that the show will be on CBS All Access, in the USA, like Star Trek: Discovery and the upcoming Star Trek: Short Treks series of min-episodes tied into Discovery. At San Diego Comic-Con, Discovery executive producer and president of Secret Hideout Productions Heather Kadin told TrekMovie that “all live-action Star Trek will be on CBS All Access.”
Creative team includes Chabon and Beyer
According to Deadline, the creative team for the Picard series will include James Duff, who recently joined Discovery as an executive producer, former Discovery executive producer Akiva Goldsman, Discovery writer and Star Trek novelist, Kirsten Beyer, and Pulitzer prize-winning author Michael Chabon, who is also writing one of the Star Trek: Short Treks.
After the announcement, Discovery co-executive producer and writer Ted Sullivan took to Twitter to reveal that the show was the “brain child” of Kirsten Beyer.
This #Picard news is very exciting. It's the brain child of our dear friend and lifelong Trek "keeper of the flame" #KirstenBeyer. This couldn't have happened to a better or more talented artist and human being! Exciting times for #StarTrek!
— Ted Sullivan (@karterhol) August 4, 2018
Stewart, Chabon, Goldsman, and Kurtzman are all executive producers on the show, along with Discovery executive producer, and president of Secret Hideout Productions, Heather Kadin. Also named as executive producers is Rod Roddenberry and Roddenberry Entertainment COO Trevor Roth.
Alex Kurtzman said in a statement:
“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.”
Stewart’s statement on Twitter
Sir Patrick also issued a statement about his return to Trek on social media.
It is 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. Read my full statement in the photo. #StarTrek @cbsallaccess Photo: @shervinfoto pic.twitter.com/8Ynuj3RBNm
— Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) August 4, 2018