Variety released an excellent profile on Sir Patrick Stewart this morning. Among the look at his personal and professional history are new tidbits about his return to the role of Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: Picard, the new series that debuts later this month.
Variety gives an overview of the state of the galaxy when Star Trek: Picard starts:
Picard finds its hero living in near-isolation on a very un-cosmic French vineyard. He is retired and estranged from Starfleet, the interstellar navy to which he devoted most of his life. He’s haunted by a pair of catastrophes, one personal, the other societal — the death of his android colleague Lt. Cmdr. Data and a refugee crisis spawned by the destruction of the planet Romulus. When those two seemingly disparate strands of his life cross, Picard returns to action, this time without the backing of a Starfleet whose moral center has shifted.
Patrick Stewart was initially reluctant to return to the role of Jean-Luc Picard, but eventually the 34-page pitch Alex Kurtzman, Kirsten Beyer, and Michael Chabon wrote swayed him. Stewart came on not only as an actor, but also as an executive producer with input on the storylines for the show.
CBS Trek head honcho Alex Kurtzman said of working with Sir Patrick:
He is uninterested in repeating himself, everything he does is filled with innate integrity. He fights for the things he believes in. And he’s very willing to collaborate once you’re on the same wavelength.
Stewart explained his point of view on the new TV show:
I think what we’re trying to say is important, the world of Next Generation doesn’t exist anymore. It’s different. Nothing is really safe. Nothing is really secure. 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.
Mirroring real-world 21st century events, the Federation of the late 24th century has become more isolationist. Stewart says that this aspect of Picard, “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.”
Work on Season 2 is just beginning
At the end of the Variety profile it is mentioned that in mid-December, Stewart had producers Michael Chabon and Akiva Goldsman at his home to hear their pitch for Picard Season 2. This fits with the very early stages of preparing for a second season, along with securing the California Film Commission tax credits to film the next season later in 2020 (which TrekMovie covered last month).
Star Trek: Picard will premiere on January 23, 2020. It will be available on CBS All Access in the USA and on the CTV Sci-Fi Channel and CraveTV in Canada. It will premiere on Amazon Prime Video for the rest of the world on January 24. Episodes will be released weekly.
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Picard news at TrekMovie.