Patrick Stewart Hopeful For Hugh’s Future, Compares Laughter On ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Set To TNG

Jonathan Del Arco (Hugh) has his own political podcast called Hollywood Caucus. This week’s episode features his TNG and Picard co-star Sir Patrick Stewart, where in addition to talking politics, Stewart talks about how he and his wife are dealing with the lockdown at home and limiting guests, saying, “No third persons shall cross our threshold until this is over.” They eventually ventured into talking about Star Trek: Picard as well, which includes discussing past episodes (so there are SPOILERS for those who are not caught up).

Signing up one of his smartest moves as actor, attracted to “dangerous” Picard

Stewart told Del Arco about his reluctance to return to the role and how he now feels it was one of the smartest moves he has made as an actor:

I thought when we wrapped [Star Trek: Nemesis] that I didn’t want to do more because I thought I felt said everything that was to be said about Jean-Luc Picard and his crew. But here they were offering me a completely different narrative, even a completely different person—somebody in who in the eighteen years since I had taken off my uniform for the last time, so many serious and damaging things had happened to Picard that he was no longer the man he had been. He was sad, he was disappointed, he was angry, he was even potentially a little dangerous, I think. And he had made mistakes.

But overriding this was his sense of guilt at the death of Commander Data, which as we all know by now has been one of the most significant storylines in our new show. So, yes, I signed up for it and it is one of the smartest things I ever did. Because I had such a great times on the first [season] and working with such a brilliant team of writers and producers, and the cast that was assembled—in which I played a small, modest part—are so remarkable, and I include Jonathan, yourself, in that. Every day that I work there is exciting and interesting and fun because of the quality of people I am working with and of course the directors that we have had also.

Sir Patrick Stewart as Picard in “The Impossible Box”- Episode #106

Happy with fan reaction and how relevant Picard and Star Trek is today

The veteran actor also talked about his initial—but now abated—worry that the world might not have been interested in more Picard:

I didn’t expect [the outpouring of love]. That is actually the one element I was most uncomfortable about, that the feeling might be, “Oh we know who they are, we have seen that, we have had enough of Picard, let’s move on to something completely new.” And it didn’t happen like that at all; on the contrary. You witnessed it yourself.

What is particularly interesting is how strongly people feel that this is exactly the right time for a show like Picard, with the state of the world. And of course, there was no coronavirus when we started shooting the show, but where we are now, the understanding and compassion and sympathy and rightfulness of what Gene Roddenberry first instilled into Star Trek is still there and it would still it is still as potent as it was all those years ago.

Sir Patrick Stewart with fans at Picard premiere (CBS)

Stewart holds out hope for Del Arco’s return

Del Arco (who played Hugh the Borg on Star Trek: The Next Generation) had the chance to work again with Patrick by reprising his role on Picard. In one of the more dramatic moments of the season, Hugh was killed. However, in a fun exchange between the actors during the podcast, Stewart (who is also an executive producer on the show) held out his hope that Del Arco could still return in the future:

JDA: You are just such a gift Patrick. You know that I adore you and was so grateful I got to work with you again.

PS: It is entirely mutual, Jonathan. It gave me so much pleasure when they told me Hugh Borg would be back and I am so glad you agreed to do it. It has been fun. And don’t speak in the past tense, as it is not over.

JDA: Well, it is not over for you [laughs]

PS: Look, it’s Star Trek. It’s never over when you are in Star Trek!

Isa Briones as Soji; Sir Patrick Stewart as Picard; Jonathan Del Arco as Hugh in “The Impossible Box” — Episode #106

Laughter on Picard set rivals TNG set

While answering a question on what Shakespeare play would he use the Picard cast for, Stewart said either As You Like It or Twelfth Night. In explaining why, he gave some fun behind-the-scenes details, comparing the levity on set with his time on The Next Generation.

They are both challenging plays and our cast would certainly be up to the challenge. As you are aware, our ensemble has a great sense of humor. As one of the great things that is always reminiscent with The Next Generation cast is there is always a lot of laughter on the set, especially when it comes from Alison Pill, it is impressive laughter.

Picard cast members having a song break (CBS)

New episodes of Star Trek: Picard are released on CBS All Access in the USA Thursdays at 12:01 AM PT/3:01 AM ET. In Canada it airs Thursdays on CTV Sci-Fi Channel at 6PM PT /9PM ET and streams on Crave. For the rest of the world it streams Fridays on Amazon Prime Video. Episodes are released weekly.

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Picard news at TrekMovie.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I had a feeling Hugh would be back. He’s an ex-Borg on a Borg cube. There’s got to be 100 ways he could use Borg tech to come back.

I didn’t read that as for sure Hugh is coming back. Only that in Star Trek dead people have come back before so it could be possible Hugh does as well.

No one said Hugh is coming back. Stewart was merely joking around about the fact that people on Star Trek tend not to stay dead.

I remember an episode of Voyager where Seven brought Neelix back after being dead for hours, so . . .

“Mortal Coil”

Well that’s interesting.

I’d be very happy to see Hugh back. That death did not go in the ‘victory through personal sacrifice’ column. And, there is a fairly straightforward canon-based solution.

While The Doctor from Voyager would be a natural in terms of sorting out some of the identity issues with Rios holograms (he’d be appalled), one of the natural and obvious things would be to enlist his expertise to better rehabilitate the XBs on what remains of the Artifact.

If Hugh body was reanimated as a Borg when Seven activated the cube, he could be in a healing chamber. It wouldn’t be a reach (the Borg aren’t wasteful). On would expect that the distinctiveness of an individual Borg like Hugh would likely be automatically retained.

More than that though, I sincerely believe that it makes sense for Picard’s parietal lobe problem to be an artifact or sequela of his assimilation and rehabilitation. Dr. Crusher is top notch, but had no precedents to work from when Picard was removed from the Collective. The Doctor is the expert, and could be expected to see a Borg-related dimension to Picard’s illness, and mitigate it.

I don’t really expect Hugh to ever reappear but thank you for handing me such a convenient theory to hold a little hope. The idea of him being reanimated by Seven during the Cube activation is such a cool one and adds further bittersweetness to that difficult decision for her.

“But here they were offering me a completely different narrative, even a completely different person…” Yep, not a Star Trek narrative, not Jean-Luc Picard. Some strange, twisted imitation at best. Shouldn’t be called Star Trek.

Here we go

Yet you are still here the clown that you are commenting on something you have no interest in.

Keep your insults to yourself. I expressed the same opinion that many other people have said. Don’t like it? Skip it. If you’re going to reply, stop the insults and stop assuming things about me. I could love this show deeply, but it’s still not Star Trek in my opinion. So…yeah, try better or be quiet.

One thing is clear: PaulB is a child.

Because I have an opinion, I’m a child? Wow, that’s as pathetic as Commander Insult up there.

The ones who need to grow up are people like you who cannot accept differing opinions.

Oh, grow up, Comic Book Guy.

Oh look, TWO sneering comments from you without anything of value to say, just insults. Meanwhile, I spoke about the show, not about you or any other fan. Strange that you feel the need to insult me for expressing the same opinion that countless others have expressed.

It’s obvious who needs to grow up, child. Either reply intelligently or be quiet. Save your insults for someone who cares about your opinion.

Stop the bickering people

Anthony, the only bickering I’m involved in is in response to insults. I posted a comment about the show–not even a hateful comment. In reply, I was insulted by Commander K and then insulted TWICE by His Name is Rios.

How about “Stop the insults people” and “Stop acting like cult members who can’t accept hearing negative things about their beloved show, people”?

The problem is the sycophants who attack EVERYONE who dares to speak ill of their beloved show. Maybe tell them to stop trying to squelch different opinions.

You could… you know, IGNORE the insults and rise above them instead of simply responding with note vitrol.

I’m tired of the insults. I’m tired of being attacked for having a critical mind. And I’m not sure what you mean by “note vitriol.” Do you mean my note/reply has vitriol? Compare the insults aimed at me to my replies. The vitriol is aimed at me.

I shouldn’t have to put up with being insulted just for speaking my mind. Maybe you should try telling the others to just ignore my comments, since that would have avoided any issue at all. I’m not the problem here.

I’m curious, what don’t you like about it?

Honestly, I think the problems with the show are so well-discussed that I’d simply be repeating what others (and I) have said repeatedly. Bad writing that is shallow and shows no thought for ramifications. Dark, ugly-looking show–drab colors, drab clothes, drab everything. Starfleet & the Federation are now essentially evil. Picard isn’t remotely the same character, and he behaves idiotically from the beginning. (Ep2, telling an admiral he’d accept a demotion…dumbest scene, no sign of the great negotiator Picard.)

It’s a bitter, violent, gross, often poorly directed show that doesn’t expand the Star Trek universe, only twists it into a dark, mean, bloody world of misery.

Primarily, the godawful writing and terrible creative decisions, just like the two seasons of Discovery we’ve seen so far.

As Stewart said, it’s not the same narrative or the same character, but I got attacked for agreeing with him.

I genuinely cannot see how any Trek fan can enjoy this show at all.

This had devolved into gatekeeping and personal attacks. Locking

Nanoprobes fix everything. One thing refreshing about ST:P is that it remarkably devoid of technobabble.

It is ironic there is way more technobabble in Discovery than Picard. But I guess it makes sense when not every other episode there is a ship trying to keep itself from being sucked into a black hole or it’s mixed up in some time paradox.

Picard is probably the most straight forward and least sci fi Star Trek show we ever seen, at least this season. Outside of the Synths themselves, the rest of the story is more social/personal.

Smaller ship , less technobabble.

As long as that hamster on the wheel in the warp core keeps going, we’re fine…

I said I wasn’t coming back for S2, but if they rez Hugh, I will be CBSAA’s bitch. I am truly surprised at how attached I got to this version of the character, despite his having about 20 minutes of screen time total, but I loved how Del Arco revisited the role.

Yeah Hugh is great! I think that’s the great thing the show did right, all the legacy characters seem to got really good material for them and has made them loved again in the fanbase. I know some here question things like Seven’s new role or hated how quickly Icheb and Maddox was killed off but I think the consensus is everyone has been welcomed back with open arms for a reason.

So I’m really hoping we get more returning characters for next season and hopefully one or two from DS9 since we know more TNG and VOY characters will most likely show up.

Given that every familiar face that wasn’t part of the opening credits got killed off, I’m a little leery on hoping for more cameos until the showrunners get over the blatant emotional manipulation. ;) With Maddox and Icheb I was kind of “OK, I don’t like this at all, but it does serve the larger story”, then when it was three for three with Hugh, I was peeved on multiple levels.

(Yeah, watch me growl, but if they revisit Bashir and Garak, I will be there with the $$$. ;) )

Yeah I hear you BUT to be fair they only killed off supporting or guest players. Between Hugh, Maddox and Icheb, their combined appearances would equal about half a season on TNG or VOY. NOW if they killed off someone like Seven or Riker then OK I understand why it would be a bigger deal.

And I’m not saying just because they didn’t appear a lot before doesn’t mean they aren’t valued or popular characters obviously but I don’t think we would be talking about any of them frankly if they weren’t on this show. This is the most I heard anyone talk about Hugh in decades lol. But I agree he is a great character and I would be happy to see him back.

The overuse of minor character death as a tool of emotionally manipulation and exploiting viewers is an ongoing personal issue for me with creative media. I have always preferred the “Redshirt” trope, the ‘Kenny’ joke, over letting characters with potential to grow be tossed aside. I’ve not even seen enough “Voyager” yet and felt a little slighted when I found Icheb was an existing character. I would have had the same impression as a casual viewer if it was some random friend of Seven between shows.

I don’t think Maddox’s death served the larger story at all; they could have easily said he already left Freecloud and had him appear in the last two episodes with or instead of Dr. Soong and had the same longer story. It only seemed there to serve the desire to traumatize Dr. Jurati’s character for those themes, as her being the mole didn’t amount to much either. I found it disappointing and a twist for twist’s sake. I had little attachment to him and can live with it character-wise, but viewer-wise, it just felt needless.

Hugh’s death, similarly, didn’t impact the story and felt a little careless. The only aspect of it I liked was Seven’s later “This is for Hugh” bit. It felt like a lot of work and interesting ideas lead to Hugh’s return that went unexplored and that I don’t think Seven will explore either. The whole exB thing felt so overlooked.

I’m honestly much more forgiving with situations like Data, or even if Picard died permanently here, because at least they treated those situations with some full and proper gravitas. Those moments on this show I can mostly enjoy.

Bring. Back. Hugh.

Jonathan Del Arco has fantastic acting chops. True pleasure to watch him onscreen. He was completely natural with his character. Dialogue flowed; facial expressions were spot-on. Here’s to hoping there is a way to revive him, or find another way to bring him back.

completeley agree!! bring back HUGH and DEL ARCO. the hugh-picard secenes were some of the highlights of this season.

Just engineer yourself a Hugh AI life form, will have full personality, imagination and everything. Make it Hugh IMPROVED, could the original Hugh run forever, live forever, mind meld, and breathe in space? And if he does get blown away this time, make sure a little pieces of him survives that you can appearently clone 100000 of him with all his emotions, thoughts, personality, etc. Isn’t this fantastic!?!!?

If by “fantastic” you mean “the implications are utterly horrifying” then yeah sure, fantastic!

Remember the magic dirt on Riker’s planet.

It was just good fertilizer. It didn’t save Thaddeus.

For those who are looking for 1960s or 1980s Star Trek, I may be wrong but some of those fans are looking for an episodic series, where each week you have a complete story, occasionally light-hearted, adhering to a theme and canon, that is concluded more often than not with a whimsical epilogue where everyone is happy and laughing. I can see how that would appeal to many of us fans (especially since this is what we grew up with), so when SOME say that Picard isn’t Star Trek, I can respect that opinion – even though I don’t necessarily agree with it. Perhaps, if the much rumored Pike series comes to fruition, then maybe the producers can create individual one hour adventures for Pike, Spock and Number One. It may not depict how things work in reality, but I completely understand that people are often looking for a place to escape to once a week, like they did in tv shows from 20-30 years ago or more.
As for Star Trek Picard, I really have enjoyed S1 with one particularly gruesome exception. For those of us from north of the border, SciFi Space Channel is showing a Star Trek Picard marathon leading up to the 75 minute (with commercials) season finale. It is going to be hard not reading any spoilers since those fans south of the border get to watch starting early tomorrow morning. Enjoy the finale everyone, it sucks that we are not allowed to socialize for things like watch parties, but this will pass. LLAP and stay safe!

Hello Dean – thank you for your post. I’d like to reply as I count myself among the people that you talk about. While I agree with some of your characterization, I’d like to respectfully note that for some of us critiquing – it isn’t just because we don’t like serialised Star Trek.

Firstly, I enjoyed the Dominion and Xindi arcs and you could argue that Voyager was serialised because the running theme of “getting home” continued throughout it’s run – and frankly near the end it seemed like the arc was “The Fantabulous Emancipation of Seven of Nine”.

Secondly, my biggest problem is NOT that Picard or Disco are attempting a serialised show, the problem is…they aren’t doing it particularly well. There are many posts and even the podcasts talk about stories that don’t make logical sense…plot threads that go nowhere…inconsistent characterization and the sense that there was too many writers and the ‘end’ of the story wasn’t decided before they shot the ‘beginning’.

Thirdly, I have advocated an approach whereby what is clearly an inexperienced but ambitious writing team can develop into a team that can handle a serialised show. Start with some self-contained episodes, simple, beginning-middle-end stuff. They’ll write some good ones and they’ll write some bad ones, but at least the bad ones won’t infect the whole season! Imagine if TNG’s Ep2 “Code of Honor” stretched for an entire Season! It would have killed Star Trek. Then, perhaps in Season 2 or 3 they attempt a few 2 or 3 parters…and then and ONLY then they can do a Serialised arc.

Right now they just aren’t pulling it off. Not even technically. The editing is extremely rough and the direction is poor. The sound design is very good and the visual effects are impressive…but of course, that’s the easiest part nowadays. Jared said it best…the most popular and successful ending of any Star Trek movie was a middle-aged men swimming through a sunken ship to let out some Hump Backed whales. Not 1000s fighter shows going PEW PEW PEW with a Skybeam in the background

Thanks for taking the time to articulate your thoughts about what CBS is delivering. I see what are saying and I can agree on a lot of your points – the main one being episodic series allow viewers to completely dismiss badly written episodes or even deaths of minor characters with little or no ramification on the overall story. Unfortunately with serialized story telling, that is much harder to do. One thing I did like about the Zindi storyline is that the Enterprise writers still managed to encapsulate distinct stories, even when they were part of a season long narrative. I think Picard has done a better job than Discovery, but they still need to find a way to “wrap up” an episode while still moving the story along. As for the writing, I am always looking for great storytelling and I do believe that Picard has done a better job. We shall see what Disco S3 brings us, whenever it gets to air. Hopefully that won’t be too long of a wait. Stay healthy everyone.

DeanH, in a short season the story arc take precedent. There is not much time for a quasi stand alone like Similitude. But they had 24 episodes to fill out. Picard has a mere 10. They HAVE to move the story. (except where they didn’t in the first 3 episodes)

Chabon’s new interview in Variety is definitely worth reading.

I found it odd that while Kurtzman has been very clear that they would be looking at the fan and critical reaction before locking down season 2, Chabon’s response to a question specifically about whether fan reactions would influence season 2 was pretty much that it would absolutely not.

I have to say that the openness to sincere input is one of the things I’ve been appreciating about Alex Kurtzman’s leadership. So, it’s discouraging to hear from Chabon that he is with Avika Goldsman in not letting feedback interfere with ‘the object.’

Now, again, I may be misinterpreting the messaging in the interview comments, but it’s coming across as groupthink in general, and specifically on the point of Hugh’s death.

So, it’s all the more odd that Patrick Stewart is currently creating some hope that Hugh could be back.

Personally I would rather the filmmakers ignore the fans. More often than not we fans either want what was already done or we don’t know what we want. But… This view is contingent on TPTB knowing how to run a railroad. It feels very much like Secret Hideout had no idea what they were doing from day one. And things only have improved with each outing because they are learning. At this rate it will take a few more seasons at least before they really get a good one.