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.
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.
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!
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.
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.