Patrick Stewart “Turned On” To Play Picard Again, Says New Star Trek Show Will Be Binge-Worthy

Sir Patrick Stewart’s publicity tour for The Kid Who Would Be King appears to have wrapped up, but there are a few more anecdotes to round up from his mentions of Star Trek and his upcoming Picard series.

Pumped to return for a very different Star Trek

In many interviews, Stewart has talked about his initial reluctance to return to the role, but as production nears (in mid-April), the actor is expressing more and more enthusiasm. In an interview with the Empire Podcast Stewart took this to a new level, saying:

I don’t think anything has excited me as much as the prospect of this new Star Trek series is going to do. One of the reasons is for the first time ever I have a co-executive producer role and I am working with brilliant people. Akiva Goldsman – who has an Oscar for writing A Beautiful Mind, and Michael Chabon – who got a Pulitzer Prize. I am so turned on about going back to the character, but it is twenty years in the future. So, it is a very different world that we are going to encounter.

Patrick Stewart in a publicity photo for Star Trek Nemesis, his last time playing Picard

Listen to the podcast below (Stewart interview starts at 60-minute mark):

Picard show is made for binging, STLV surprise announcement was Stewart’s idea

Earlier this month we reported on comments Stewart made to Yahoo about how the first season is being mapped out as a single 10-episode story, along with some other comments. Yahoo has now posted their entire unedited interview with Stewart (which you can watch below), which adds some more context on that quote and more. Regarding plans for the show’s story and future, Stewart said:

We are hoping for more than one season. And with this first [season] – and this is one of the things that is so interesting about the writers’ room – they are writing a ten-hour movie. So, in The Next Generation it was a story, a different story, a different story – all with the same characters, as many series are. But this time it is one story, from beginning to end. I hope that will lead people to binge-watching, because the idea of it being an unfolding narrative is really terrific.

The extended Yahoo interview also reveals the backstory behind the surprise announcement of the Picard series at Star Trek Las Vegas in August of 2018. According to Stewart, announcing at STLV was his idea with the studio initially looking to announce at another event (likely the San Diego Comic-Con Discovery panel and post-panel press conference in July 2018). Here is how Stewart recalls it:

[I] went back to them and said “Look, I have done a lot of Star Trek conventions over the years. I do very, very few appearances now. Here is what I think, coming up is the [Star Trek] Las Vegas [Convention]. Why don’t I just show up?” … Nobody was expecting me to be there. Alex Kurtzman – who is senior executive producer – he went out and said “Well, I would like to talk to you about Discovery and I know there have been rumors about other things, you know what, why don’t I bring somebody out who knows what is going on.” He didn’t announce my name, I just walked on to the stage and of course there was a lot of enthusiasm. I talked very, very little about what we had in mind, but at the end of my little five-minute speech, I said “The one thing I have to tell you is the captain is back.” And the response was incredible and far better than any press conference could have been. That excited me too, there is still enthusiasm.

Alex Kurtzman announcing Picard series with Patrick Stewart at Star Trek Las Vegas 2018

The extended video (which you can watch below) also includes Stewart talking about filming Star Trek: Generations with William Shatner, noting how the actors didn’t realize at first what a big deal it was until “I got this feeling from the crew, that this is a cinema moment. These two characters are coming face-to-face for the first time.” Stewart also noted he will “always be grateful” to Shatner for recommending wearing long johns for shooting days on horseback, to avoid chaffing.

Watch the full video interview: 

Keep up with all the news on the Picard show and other upcoming Star Trek TV shows here at

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When does it start filming? I read April somewhere?

Yes, he confirmed it would be mi-April and probably why he’s talking about it more and more now. I imagine in the next month, both casting news and story premise of the show will be released then. We could even get it even sooner but not counting on it.

Stewart certainly has a flair for the dramatic. The STLV 2018 appearance not only brought down the house but it sent the social media universe into overdrive. As he said, no press conference could have done what the surprise appearance did that afternoon in Vegas. Btw some food for thought regarding the Picard show being made in Hollywood. I read a National Post story from last month about the lack of available production space in Toronto. Sounds like since Discovery continues to take up the Pinewood Bell Studio facility down on the waterfront, there is virtually nothing available until the new 260,000 sq ft CBS facility in the west end of the city (Mississauga) opens later this fall – so there was no room for Picard or any other new major productions to be made in the city. Even though the summers are nice and hot up here, I am sure Sir Patrick is very happy to be working in California in April, especially if winter goes into overtime up here north of the border.

The guys I’ve talked to working on UMBRELLA ACADEMY say that Toronto has been swamped for the last year or more, but that right now pretty much all the regular spots are busy, and that even L.A. is almost busy. I’ve covered three films in the last five months that shot mainly in L.A., and that is the first time I’ve been able to say that in years.

I’m just excited to have Star Trek in my backyard again. Until just recently Beyond and now Discovery, Star Trek was strictly home to Paramount studios, which felt cool for me for some reason (although yes, its tons of stuff made here).

I totally understand. It is cool to see the Discovery cast out and about in my home city and I always thought it was cool to see familiar landmarks on tv, when the Stargate franchise was being made out in Vancouver. I can only imagine what it is like to have the majority of major productions being made down in SoCal.

Its true, you do get use to a lot of these productions around L.A. to the point you start to take it for granted. One of my friends went to the same high school where they shot the original 90210 show (not in 90210 lol) and would watch them film between classes when they were there. There is always something shooting in downtown L.A. and remembered one infamous time I was down there with a friend and turned a corner to see a big crowd and wondered what was going on only to realize we stumbled upon the Spider-Man 2 set. Which was bizarre since we assumed they shot the entire film in New York, guess not.

My all time favorite was bumping into Mel Gibson in the bathroom at a Denny’s at 3 a.m. lol. They were shooting Lethal Weapon 4 a few miles from my friends house at the time. It was him and a couple of guys there who I assumed cane after they finished shooting. Its very weird to be next to the stall of a big actor and just say nothing because it would be creepy making conversation to someone in a bathroom stall at 3 A.M.

Crazy enough the only time I got close to a Star Trek production was Voyager when they were shooting the episode Future’s End at the Santa Monica boardwalk. Just happen to be there that day and wondered why is Janeway and Chakotay there in regular clothes???? This is before internet was that big so had no idea what the episode was but it was surreal to watch with a TON of people. And between shots Kate Mulgrew came and talk to us. A really cool woman.

It’s got to be pretty cool to get to catch some of that going on. The closest I ever came to any live-action was watching some T2 copter stuff shot up in Fremont, about a mile from where I worked graveshift, on my lunch break.

I did get to see the ILM fx guys blow up a model for a GENERATIONS reshoot once, but it was a shot that isn’t in the movie and the piece of Veridian that I caught melted away to nothing before i could even put it in my pocket. And a couple years after that I saw the -E and the Phoenix on an ILM mo-con stage, but I don’t think any of that has quite the ‘whoa!’ factor.

Yeah its always fun, especially when its never planned but you just stumble upon it.

And I would’ve died to see the behind the scenes stuff on some of the movies like you did, especially seeing the Enterprise E in person!

Tiger, I think LA has pretty much been shot to death. It’s really hard to find locations there that haven’t been used 100 times before and are recognizable.

I’ve seen a few film crews over the years up my way. I watched Clint Eastwood working on the Santa Cruz wharf at oh-God:30 preparing to shoot the tossing of a stuntman off it. I decided watching films shoot is an awfully dull affair. :)

I recall reading some off-hand comments that they’re filming mostly on location, in the middle of an area called Death Valley. If it’s a story set in a Romulan refugee camp, it makes sense they want somewhere like California.

Probably got tired of dodging pup in Frisco

Love it! Make it so number one! :)


I hope we see at least two or three years of Picard but if not, maybe they will come up with a season of what happened to Sisko. A long story arc about what happened to the Emissary and the wormhole aliens could go to all sorts of strange places – but I am not sure how much interest there is for that.

I don’t think Avery Brooks would return sadly.

I would love that, but I’m not sure if there is enough interest. Captain Picard is an iconic character. Even non-fans know who he is. Captain Sisko is really only known to DS9 fans.

Captain Sisko is my Captain

Yeah, Patrick Stewart and his portrayal of Jean Luc Picard transcended Star Trek. Not that it matters, but I think he was even voted Sexiest Man of the Year by People Magazine one year. That said, I guess not enough people would want to see a story arc about Sisko.

But wasn’t his story wrapped up? Isn’t he either dead or part of the wormhole alien realm or with the Bajoran Gods or something? It would take a rather convoluted explanation to bring him back. I liked Sisko as much as anyone but have no interest in reviving him. I’d actually rather see a DS9 show moving on without him.

A shame his voice is faltering given his age and years of projecting on the stage.

If this starts filming in mid-April, casting should be occurring over the next six weeks or so, right? Hope we start getting more info like that over the next couple of months!

They’re really doing a tremendous job telling old-school fans: This is not for you!

Weird how an old-school Trek fan like myself is looking forward to this so avidly, then. Maybe my old school was cool and yours was kind of crap?

Ben, it’s not the school, it is what you learned there. Maybe you didn’t take the right courses?

Vulcan Soul, Ben Adams and kmart: you all act like you’re still in school with comments like these…

kmart, that statement sounds an awful lot like gatekeeping. “No True Trek Fan” and that kind of muck. Let’s not go there.

Excuse me? Read the Adams comment again, this time with your brain in the ‘on’ position.

I apologize. My ire was misdirected because I saw you using similar language.

No prob … I’ll cop to going down into the gutter when provoked, but I’m almost never the first one to do the bottom-of-barrel-scraping.

its simple…. cbs paid you for this omment ;)

I’m looking forward to it, been a fan since TNG started. Maybe it’s just you?

That’s great news then.

I’ve been a Star Trek fan since TOS and everything since Disco started has most definitely been for me.

I am an old school fan from TOS, and I am looking forward to this also.

Or maybe some of us who are backing it doesn’t care at all it has anything to do with TNG but just want a show to go forward again? I love that Patrick Stewart is back, but I would’ve happily took any new character and replaced him as well. I just want to be back in that era again more than anything.

Let me elaborate: they keep hammering down how this is a “bingeworthy” 10 hour movie and more emotional than Discovery (while probably as gritty, with the destruction of Romulus at the core), then how different Picard and the world has become since TNG… and I just dont give a rats about all that! I understand that they don’t wanna do TNG 2.0 (although I would watch it) and I’m not opposed to all change, but this is bad change and frankly also “more of the same” of what they have been trying since DS9 season 4 really: more grimdark, more serialization, less Utopia and less episodic high-concept science fiction about the wonders of space exploration and scientific discovery. It is the latter I “learned at the Star Trek school” as kmart put it, and I see zero willingness on the part of creators to give even one or part of the new series to fans who see nothing wrong with the old style of storytelling. There’s nothing “less sophisticated” about not being into endless twists for the sake of twists, season-long trauma, soap opera and filling in irrelevant minutiae of fictional Star Trek history. I like the diversity of storytelling that old episodic Trek brought and that had something for everyone (yes, including the fans of political intruige and character family stories!) , all within one season.

If they can succeed in making Picard interesting instead of his dull self from TNG then I am on board 100%.

What you call dull, I call intruiging.

That means from my point of view you find perfect fictional characters intriguing.

I have mixed feeling thinking about Patrick Stewart being Turned On.

I doubt that.

yes there is no such thing. Either you find it raincoat creepy or you are OK with it. There is no mixed halfway point there.

I haven’t been looking forward to a show as much as this one since Doctor Who came back in 2005!

I think that’s probably a good analogy. The show won’t be TNG, like the 2005 season of Doctor Who wasn’t in the same style of the original series, but will continue the story in a satisfying way.

Exactly so.

Interesting still to think about the striking difference stylistically between Stewart and Shatner— and the 2 actors behind the scenes seems like oil and water though both are certainly pros.

horseback enthusiast Shatner giving Stewart a tip is adorable.

I’d previously heard a version where he’d told Stewart to wear pantyhose, not longjohns.

OK but let’s not get too turned on there. This is Star Trek not Blunt Talk.

Man… Blunt Talk was just awful.

They’ve also called it a 10-hour movie so you can expect it to be pretty serialized.

That’s weird, one of my posts went away. That’s never happened before. Was it an error or was it flagged? I don’t know how it would be the latter since I only said I’m looking forward to the show. And I didn’t curse anyone out (this time).

You have repeated so many times that you look forward to the show that it has been marked as spam and deleted ;-)

LOL, I can see that happening (and I am really looking forward to it!).

You’re mean sometimes ☹️

I’m new here

Bingeworthy, to me at least, means the shows will all be available at once. As opposed to STD which comes out weekly. Does this mean that CBS will release the 10 episodes in one shot?

I don’t think so. They will want to space it out to keep people subscribed for longer. You can binge it once the full season has been released.

I would have thought CBS would continue their practice of releasing one episode a week so you cannot binge unless all episodes were available. Like they have been. Pretty much every show, once you have all the eps, are bingeworthy.

Yeah that definitely won’t change. AA is not Netflix, look how desperate they got once Discovery ended and they came up with the Short Treks thing just to bring people back a bit earlier.

I think Stewart just meant the story is so good people are going to want to watch it in one sitting after its all done. And ten hours are doable. There are very few shows I can watch an entire season all at once mostly due to the length.

There is no show I will sit through 10 hours for. The most I have sat through… Ever… Was four. That was only because I needed to get the disc back the next day, so I felt like I had to. Under most circumstances the max has been three. And that often feels like too many.

CBS is not Netflix

I wish the Picard show was on Netflix in the US

I’m not a Discovery-hater, but this really is the only Trek news I care about these days. Sooooooo excited for Picard’s return and everything I’ve read about it.

Same. I was a bit curious about the first Kelvin movie but I didn’t really care either way because they were going back to the past (which didn’t excite me at all) and Trek really belongs on TV. It was exciting to see TOS characters again in revamped form with a big Hollywood budget and director but it was more curiosity than actual interest. With Discovery I was definitely on the fence about it for many reasons but I was happy Trek was at least coming back to TV and in the prime universe again.

But THIS news has hit all the buttons for me! To FINALLY go back to the 24th century and bringing back Picard, one of the beloved characters in Star Trek is a dream come true. I miss the TNG era immensely and its great we are now going to get a resurgence of this period again. And it opens the door for other characters to come back from TNG to Voyager!

I support all and any Star Trek end of the day, but this is the first news that put an instant smile on my face the second I read it in decades and I’m still smiling about it months later.