Patrick Stewart Thinks Gene Roddenberry Never Really Accepted Him As Captain Picard

(Getty/Albert Ortega)

Patrick Stewart’s arduous journey to becoming Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation is legendary—and it’s no secret that it took a lot of convincing to get show creator Gene Roddenberry on board with the casting  choice. Now in a newly released video of a panel interview conducted earlier this summer, Sir Patrick Stewart speaks more candidly about how Gene made him feel on set and more.

“What the f–k is this guy doing in my show?”

In June, The Hollywood Reporter released a partial transcript from a virtual roundtable discussion with television drama actors Kieran Culkin (Succession), Daveed Diggs (Snowpiercer), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II  (Watchmen), Tobias Menzies (The Crown), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), and Sir Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: Picard).  The original report included some comments from Stewart about Roddenberry, but a video released this week (which you can see below) shows the full discussion, including more specifics from Stewart about being cast as Picard.

Stewart recalls that his audition with Roddenberry didn’t go well:

It was very odd with Gene because I was dragged in to audition for him in his living room the morning after I’d been seen doing something at UCLA. My meeting lasted about six minutes, and then it was perfectly clear I was not wanted in that room any time longer. It was Gene who said, “What the hell? I don’t want a bald, middle-aged Englishman.”

According to Star Trek: The Next Generation executive producer Rick Berman, the top runner-up for the role of Picard was American actor Stephen Macht, who says he turned Gene Roddenberry down when offered the role. A 1987 Paramount casting memo lists Stewart along with a handful of other actors being considered for Picard. It notes that Belgian actor Patrick Bauchau had recently auditioned for Roddenberry and the audition went well. He and Stewart were considered the top contenders for the role at the time. Apparently Gene preferred the Belgian, feeling he was a better fit for a French-born character.

Patrick Bauchau in the 1985 Bond film A View to a Kill 

It was producer Robert Justman who brought Stewart in, having seen him perform at UCLA. Both Justman and Berman campaigned for Stewart to get the role, but Roddenberry continued to resist. Stewart recalls, “There is somewhere in the cellars of Paramount Pictures, a Post-it note which says, ‘I do not want to hear Patrick Stewart’s name mentioned again, ever! signed Gene Roddenberry.'”

Obviously, Roddenberry was eventually convinced, but Stewart recalls that he still didn’t feel Gene’s warm embrace when he visited the set:

Gene used to come on the set once a week, maybe twice… it depends on who the cast were. And I would catch him looking at me with an expression on his face which said, ‘What the f*** is this guy doing in my show?’ It was clear he couldn’t understand why I was there.

Gene Roddenberry and Patrick Stewart on the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation

Stewart told the THR Roundtable that Gene’s opinion made him “a little uncomfortable.” He went on to describe his one and only lunch with Roddenberry:

I had lunch with him only once, just the two of us and I said, “So Gene, to help me: Where did the idea for the character spring from? Can you give me any connections that I could use and build on for this?” And he said, “Oh yeah I’ve got it here with me,” and he pulled out a beaten-up paperback copy of one of the Horatio Hornblower books, and said, “It’s all there.” So the character, it turns out, was based on Horatio Hornblower, but as I was in a spaceship and not an ocean-going ship, I felt that I never really satisfied Gene the way he wanted to be satisfied.

Due to deteriorating health, Roddenberry’s operational involvement in TNG ended in 1989 after the second season. He passed away in 1991, never able to see the full success his series and Stewart achieved.

Watch the full roundtable


See more Star Trek history here at

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

What would Gene Roddenberry think of Star Trek if he was alive today? His creation has changed over the years. Star Trek has moved beyond past its humble beginnings back in the 60s.

Star Trek was a product of its time. I love Captain Picard more than Kirk to be honest. I grew up on The Next Generation.

The franchise could’ve been different today if Gene Roddenberry was around for a few more years still in charge of Star Trek. I appreciate him giving us this world of a optimistic and enlightened future. Without Star Trek, the world wouldn’t be the same.

Patrick Stewart will always be my captain. Gene Roddenberry and his opinion of Stewart, we may never know.

I think he’d be cashing his check and finding a way to live with it.

Sounds like something Sisko would say. :P

it’s pretty clear from all the stories i’ve heard from tng, tas and tos era people that gene was great at forming these shows but not much beyond that… he was lucky to be surrounded or he was skilled at surrounding himself with more creative people who could make his visions work. if anyone wants to know what trek looks like with more roddenberry involved it’s season 3 of tos… the motion picture and the first two seasons of tng… better people went on to make better trek… berman… ira behr… ron moore… dc fontana… kurtzman… chabon… etc…

You’re poorly informed- of TOS seasons, Roddenberry was the least involved with Season 3. He was the most involved with the first season of TOS, which I consider the strongest season. While Roddenberry had limitations as a writer, many involved with TOS consider his uncredited rewrites as generally helping scripts. His mental and physical health was not optimum during the time of TNG.

Roddenberry intervened in the story for Deja Q- it went from another “Q tricked us all again” episode to a story that balanced some good comedy with a genuinely engaging- and real- journey for Q. One of my favorite TNG episodes.

no. all these great creators (and im not being sarcastic) but people like roddenberry, chris carter, lucas, the wachowskis… great at times yes and at creating worlds but lose sight of the whole thing… roddenberry was in no way the reason trek was as good as it was (i mean after tos)… when he created trek he was recreating a failed navy show just put it in space… i saw dc fontana and others who worked on trek dish it out at a 50th screening a few years back… he basically copied and pasted the other show… i dont think berman was a great creative but he was able to guide things… lots of good writers then and now have kept it going but i will say it again even though you refuse to listen roddenberry was tmp… he was tng year 1 and 2… barely… i still love what he created then and now but holding him up like a creative genius is illogical and factually wrong

I’ll eat my hat the day I accept critical analysis from a guy who can’t be bothered to use capital letters. I don’t even own a hat. I’ll have to go get one first. Which is fine, because it won’t happen.

ee cummings isn’t a good writer in your view then Bryant Burnette?

Or perhaps you have no tolerance for someone using voice-to-text, but not having the time to clean it up with majiscules.

I don’t know tom riker’s situation, but let’s be a bit more generous with someone who is making a sincere effort to bring some balancing input and is backing it up with reasonable evidence.

Sometimes I feel that there’s a group on this board that would like it to be the “Academie Anglaise” discussion group.

He was most involved in the first season but that didn’t last particularly long. Only the first handful of episodes produced had him as the more hands on producer. Those duties fell pretty quickly to Gene Coon from what I have gleaned over the years.

Season 3 was produced by Fred Frieberger who was installed by NBC after Roddenberry basically walked aware from the show as a form of protest for NBC moving it to an unfavorable time slot. Roddenberry took an “Executive Producer” credit and pretty much had nothing to do with the show during that final season.

Fred Frieberger: The Killer of Shows. Season 3 of TOS isn’t even his worst work. Season 2 of Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century is all his too. The one where they got rid of all of the world building and recurring characters that worked in the first season, turned the show into a Galactica rip-off (minus any interesting villains) and added a six foot tall bird to the cast. Oh, I almost forgot; he also decided that Mel Blanc was making too much money voicing the robot sidekick and replaced him when Mel wouldn’t take a pay cut. That decision was so bad, NBC made him rehire Blanc.

Don’t forget that he also killed the second and final season of Space: 1999 by turning it into essentially a monster of the week kids show.

Roddenberry disliked all Trek that he wasn’t in charge of. He hated Trek 2. He is a flawed genius.

I never understood so.many English manners , when picard was french .
Felt like french part was back story only. Early grey And based on hornblower

I’ve read Gene’s biography from the 80’s and I do believe that he would object very much to Star Trek DS9. Much of his biography was on how he envisioned a much more peaceful co-existent enlightened universe. True, there were conflicts in TNG and other Star Treks but they were more confined and more from exploration of different worlds. ST:DS9 (which I deemed is quite popular) is just a full-scale war between all the races which I would say departed much from what he was conveying/envisioning. Having said that of course, maybe with all the royalties and all that, he may not object so much today. People can change over time.

This is a well-documented subject. I wasn’t crazy about Stewart at first either, but over the years he grew on me. Growing up on Shatner’s Kirk, it took me a while to adapt to a more ‘cerebral’ captain. Meantime, over the first two seasons of TNG I went into every episode hoping they’d kill Picard off so Riker could take over…:) (Personally, I think Yaphet Kotto, who was considered for the part of Picard, would have been fantastic).

omg… yaphet? i mean i like yaphet but i barely understand him when he talks. this reminds me of all the trek fans who hate new trek… tos fans hated the new tng… jonathan trakes talked about that recently… tng fans hated ds9… silly now when you look back but yeah it was the same bs… this isn’t star trek… and that odd tradition continues today.. i guess it’s just a fanboy thing i dont know but i used to think of trek fans as smart and looking ahead and open to new ideas like trek was seeking out new worlds but when it comes down to it so many are just the opposite… IMO

There were TOS fans who wanted to de-canonize TMP because the Klingons had ridges.

All of this has happened before, and will happen again.

So say we all

There were TOS fans who wanted to de-canonize TMP because the Klingons had ridges.”

Ruffles have ridges.

hear hear

I grew up with TOS and TNG was required viewing at my house. DS9 is my favorite Trek series. The only one I own a boxed set of. I’ve been to every movie at the nearest theater when it originally ran and I’ve seen every episode of Voyager and Enterprise. So I think your assessment of who hated what doesn’t hold water. I won’t bad mouth Patrick Stewart or William Frakes for their opinions, they have other points to veiw their work from. Leave it to you don’t speak for me so don’t generalize.

Patrick Stewart is a great actor, in the sense that he can portray absolutely any emotion that a well-bred Englishman can feel. What he’s not so great at is creating a character who’s very different from himself; his Picard does not feel AT ALL French.

Stewart was great as Picard, provided that you accepted that a character named “Jean-Luc Picard” was, in fact, English. :-)

So I don’t think Gene Roddenberry was entirely wrong. Stewart was wonderful, but if they were going to cast him, they should have renamed the character and not given him a French surname and background.

A lot of actors have built their entire careers on playing some exaggerated versions of themselves or some aspects of their personalities.

That’s true, but in that case, it’s best not to cast them for a character who is different than they are. :-)

Historically, a great deal of French people are educated in England, and vice-versa. It would not be unusual for someone with a French name to have an English accent. They actually tend to be more well-rounded and multi-lingual. My last name is of Irish origin. I definitely do not sound Irish. And according to my DNA, I’m Norwegian! Go figure.

That … and clearly Englad has finally conquered France by the 24th century.

OK… Let’s go with that. LOL

John Luke Pickard?

well bred? he didn’t come from a posh family (and that is what that means)

To me Picard was a Human copy of a Vulcan. A reason why there were no Vulcans at the bridge in TNG.

It is a small thing but yeah… It would have been better had they changed the Picard character to be British to accomodate the actor chosen for the role.

I watched the original Trek as a kid and then TNG as a teen and young adult. Picard is lightyears better than Kirk I’m sorry to say. Kirk was really a one dimensional character because of his acting. Amazing supporting cast and brilliant story lines made the original Star Trek.

Kirk, McCoy, and Spock are three sides of one character. Each is a bit one dimensional, but they playoff each other to be whole.So its an internal dialogue made open.

Fair enough. Others of us found Picard to be an impossible character. Too perfect to be interesting. He was actually quite a boring person working with a staff or other boring people. He never seemed to forge any kind of friendship or kinship with anyone he worked with. He did seem to care for Data but it felt more like how someone would care about a pet more than an actual friendship. Sure, I give you that Stewart could act circles around Shatner. And he did have a charisma that made even the bad episodes watchable. But Shatner felt a little more like a “real” person. He handled command differently, wearing it like a comfortable jacket is how Shat put it. And he and his two friends formed an amazing trinity. They worked perfectly well together and you could see the friendship among them. Something that felt forced on TNG.

I did enjoy TNG just fine for what it was and liked seeing a different take for the captain. But Kirk is still the best in my book and the Captain I would feel most comfortable serving under if I were in such a situation.

I wasn’t crazy about the Picard character (and still am not) but felt Stewart had enough acting chops to make it work and enough charisma to make even the cruddy episodes tolerable.

Sir Patrick will always be my Captain, but I’m forced to acknowledge that Bauchau would have been great for the role.

Agreed. It’s very interesting to speculate what the series would have been like had a French-speaking actor been cast as Picard. Should there ever be a TNG reboot, I’d like to see a French-speaking actor cast.

Well talking about Belgian actors I think we are lucky they didn’t consider Jean Claude Van Damme for the role :))

It’s more than just the fans adjusting to Stewart: Stewart has spoken about loosening up over the course of the series and after, being a bit less serious, used to how American TV series production works, how American TV actors interact. And you can see it in his portrayal – its not just the writing, its Stewart changing his approach too. Gene Roddenberry probably never would have fully accepted him, but maybe if he saw the Picard of the seventh season instead of the first, he might have changed his mind. I think Gene would have approved of how the characters essentially formed a family by the end of the series.

“I should’ve done this a long time ago…”

I can’t see anyone better than Sir Patrick Stewart playing Jean Luc Picard. He is part of my college years! He was a total success to be the (STNG) captain. Because of STNG, DS9, Voyager, and ENT were produced.

If this is accurate, I feel bad for Roddenberry, to reject Stewart…so sorry, but nailed it!

Never knew Macht turned down the offer. What I read said that Paramount and Rick Berman wanted Stewart. Macht would have been a more active, physical Kirk type captain, but I think Stewart did an excellent job. But even Stewart seems not to be sure about the Picard character, after the character’s transformation in the latest series. Still, they were lucky to get Roddenberry back for TNG. He planned to retire. A Starlog interview back then suggested he wasn’t too happy with Paramount’s plans to revive the series before he got involved– they would never have reimagined the ships, uniforms and tech and ideals as he did.

Steven Macht played a Bajoran general in the “Circle” trilogy of DS9; you can probably get a glimpse of what his Picard might have been like by watching that.

I’ve never before heard Macht turned it down either. You can hear him doing French Cajun in GRAVEYARD SHIFT, where he does a great job of chewing the scenery. I like him as an actor, would have preferred him in fact.

He isn’t doing French Cajun in “Graveyard Shift,” he’s doing a Maine accent.

Really? Shows you what I don’t know about accents, I thought people in Maine sounded liked people in Massacusetts.

I only know because of knowing the short story the movie is based on. Macht is … something else in that movie.

I grew up in south Louisiana. I know the real deal Cajun French accent. Macht’s accent was supposed to be a Maine accent, but who know what he was actually doing?

I’ll never understand why they kept the character French after casting a very English Englishman.

They should’ve cast a French actor for a French character.

Stewart didn’t get the French accent right. Can’t blame him there.

Learning French on Duolingo.

Stewart tried a French accent very early on and then they decided it wasn’t for him.

Yes I saw that. Actually that’s a perfect immitation of the French trying to talk english. Especially his facial expression (mouth movements) and the way he pronounces “Entreprise”. It was perfect and hilarious. I for one have never figured out why the French can’t pronounce the TH phoneme as in “the”, they have to pronounce it like “ze” which pisses me off! I’m French Canadian and I can pronounce TH with no problem (as well as every other French Canadian, no one here says “ze”)! How hard is it to say TH?

Very absurd statement. Why can’t Americans pronounce “r” properly like every other person on this planet? (By the way, the British can!) What about German “ö”, “ü” or “ä”? What about Danish “d”? Try that! Probably because you haven’t been trained to as a child to make sounds like these. 🙄
(Fun fact: Patrick Stewart never pronounced “Luc” correctly, but English speakers never noticed. French “u” is pronounced like German “ü” not like English “u”. How hard could that be? 😉)

So rude… What you state is obvious. Since we haven’t been taught as children to pronounce this or that phoneme, it can be difficult to pronounce them correctly in adulthood. That’s why people have accents. The TH phoneme is slighly different however, since the position of the tongue to pronounce it correctly is blatantly obvious. Such is not the case for many other phonemes, like the ones you mention as examples (I assume). My post however was made tongue-in-cheek, since if it was so easy to pronounce TH for French people (at least European French), then they wouldn’t all be pronouncing it as Z.

Great post! Very amusing. And very appropriate.

Well, he kind of did a fake French accent in Stardust City Rag and I didn’t like it. I don’t want to imagine all of TNG like that ;-)

I have never heard any actor get the French accent right, unless they’re French or from a country that speaks French. And the accent is not only not right, it’s completely wrong… My first language is French, so it’s very noticable to me, but for the non-French I suppose it can pass.

It’s not just the accent; Picard’s body language and expressions aren’t French, either. Well, not unless the Frenchman in question were partially paralyzed. :-)

I’ll defer to Silvereyes for the final word as he’s a native French speaker and sees more French-French film and television than I do, but from what I’ve seen and the French from France I’ve known, there is a wide variety of body language and expression.

In fact, revolutions and republic or not, class is a big thing in France and it definitely shapes non-verbal expression. Picard’s stiffness isn’t as much a bad fit as you seem to think.

I was a French major as an undergraduate, and I stand by my statement. We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. :-)

It’s a future where Britain finally conquered France, that’s all. ;)

The Horatio Hornblower influence dates back to the original series. All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her. You could feel the wind at your back. The ship is yours. And the stars are still there.

At least he didn’t tell him ‘Wagon Train to the Stars”.

Well, to satisfy Gene the way he really wanted to be satisfied, you needed ovaries.


Yes, exactly. He didn’t seem to let the fact that he was married hold him back either. I guess he was one of those “producer-types” that took advantage of their position to get their kicks. I’m sure he would have been exposed today with the Me too movement.

It wasn’t the ovaries he was interested in…

OMG, so true. It was higher up.

I appreciate the finesse and regalness that Sir Patrick Stewart brought to the role. I used to read Star Trek novels. One was based on a TV show, but I can’t remember which. Maybe Unification. In the book, which was based on the script, Picard gets angry when Mot, his barber, tells Picard that one of his ears is higher than the other. “No it is not!” Picard yelled in the book. But in TV the episode that aired, Picard said, “No one’s perfect” and smiled. That is the class that Sir Patrick Stewart brought to Star Trek: The Next Generation and his role of Picard. Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek, but it evolved, and Patrick Stewart was at the helm.

Gene also had a way of diluting the contributions of others (especially David Gerrold). DC Fontana also had quite a bit to do with TNG. He was involved in the first season of TNG (not really a very good season) and then Paramount put Rick Berman in charge. I would argue that the TNG that we know came more from Rick Berman, Ron Moore, Michael Piller than Gene. As for TOS Gene was part of it but so was Robert Justman (also TNG), Gene Coon, Leonard Nimoy (without Spock TOS would never have become the phenomenon that it was),DC Fontana and many others. Gene could start things but was not so good at implementation.

Yep. Gene Coon, Dorothy Fontana, and Bob Justman were just as much the geniuses of TOS as Roddenberry. We’d never have had Star Trek without Roddenberry, but it never would have been the success it was without Coon, Fontana, Justman, and Nimoy.

You have to hand it to Justman and Berman (and eventually Roddenberry) for taking the chance, casting a bald, middle-aged English actor few in the US had heard of during the era when just about every hero was a square-jawed man of action spouting bullets and one-liners. Stewart’s Picard was different and it paid off.

Remember, they had Riker for the role of TNG Kirk. And early on made a point of him leading the landing parties.

And it didn’t really work. Thankfully Riker came into his own in later seasons.

Not really. The characters of Riker and Picard were both two separate aspects of the Kirk character. It was actually quite obvious from the start.

Someone here on these boards also brought up connections of TNG to the abandoned Phase II show. Where Picard was a more seasoned Kirk and Riker was Decker. Which I can also see but I think the idea of split Kirk makes more sense.

Didn’t everyone know Patrick Stewart from Excalibur? He had a large part in the movie. I recognized him when I watched the first episode.

Large part? He’s bald man swinging a sword for a scene or two. Not exactly Merlin. And how long had it been? Six or seven years in between Excalibur and TNG’s debut? I’m going to go out on a limb and say Stewart wasn’t a household name at the time.

I think people interested in sci-fi would be more familiar of Stewart from his roles in Lifeforce or Dune.

He was Gwenevere’s father. And was not around for a lot of that film.

re: Patrick Stewart…

Keep in mind the option of Roddenberry is a man who cast his mistress as second in command in the original STAR TREK pilot in late 1964…(I can think of at least three actresses who would have been BETTER as “Number One” well known at the time) What did he really know about good casting…

Gene was still hung up on Horatio Hornblower as the model for a Captain 23 years later – he already got that in Hunter and later Shatner!

This just proves Justman was just as sharp as he was during the 1960’s and Berman clearly understood what the show needed. He gets a bad wrap sometimes, but let’s face it – he kept TREK on track – he was “the company man” Paramount put there to keep Gene in line,(Something Herb Solow did in the 1960’s actually) they knew that Gene was “out there” – all the issues with Star Trek:TMP were clearly Gene’s “vision”.

David Diggs was not in Watchmen. He’s in Snowpiercer and Hamilton. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is in Watchmen. These two men look nothing like each other. How can you get them confused?

It looks like it’s been corrected. Most likely I would guess these are simply names read off a sheet and copied into the article, and they were accidentally flipped.

When Patrick Stewart channelled Picard, he was great. But the times when Patrick Stewart’s own character came through were awful. I imagine Roddenberry never wanted some camp British public school boy to command the Enterprise.

Stewart never attended public school (that is, what Americans call private school). He attended a “voluntary controlled school” (state-sponsored, but affiliated with the Church of England), and left school when he was 15.

He may sound posh to us Yanks, but his roots are in working-class Yorkshire.

Brutally grim working class Yorkshire, in fact.

It’s worth reading interviews with Stewart where he discusses how acting was his means to escape a traumatic home.

From what I have read through the years, Gene Roddenberry was a VERY complicated man. He gave us all the basic setup of aspiration in Star Trek which has affected the world, and fans, for the better. However the womanizing in his personal life was beyond any level of acceptance in today’s culture of “times up” and “me to”. Teri Garr to this day refuses to talk about Trek, without being highly pressured, because of the obsession of Gene wanting her skirt to be shorter and shorter. The costume designer, Gene and Teri were at war over it during the filming of “Assignment Earth”. You can see Teri’s undergarments briefly as she struggles to keep her skirt down. Also, the “unnamed producer” incident in articles & books regarding Grace Lee Whitney being fired from Trek conjures up theories still. In today’s environment that name would not have been able to be kept hidden for so many years.
To be sure, the 60’s & 70’s were very different from today and Gene was a product of his time. He, and those around him, didn’t think he was a bad guy. He was a macho guy that liked lots of women. He had very specific ideas of how men and women should look, what the age of actors should be in productions and the importance of hair in appearance. The cultural importance of hair in those days can not be overstated. I think had he lived a few decades longer he would have evolved and been less narrow minded and sexist. Especially had he been able to observe what Patrick Stewart did with the role and the respect he received. It’s quite admirable that Patrick Stewart can be as open, honest and understanding about his early environment working with Gene. Thanks for bringing us this interview.

This article got it totally wrong. Gene was very pleased with Patrick as Captain Picard. I thought he had let him know that on several occasions, but if not, Patrick shouldn’t feel this way. Gene was delighted with Patrick’s portrayal and they got along very well, as far as I could see. And I was “in the room where it happened.”

Also, the Horatio Hornblower captain was the blueprint for James T. Kirk. I never heard that it was also for Captain Picard, but it’s very likely. Hornblower was always Gene’s go-to captain prototype and alter-ego.


Thanks for dropping in. We appreciate your unique perspective. We are only reporting on what Patrick said, just as The Hollywood Reporter also reported and can be seen in the video. And this isn’t the first time Patrick has discussed this topic either. For whatever reason, Patrick feels this way. Maybe you should reach out to him.

– Anthony

Well, I’d love to speak with Sir Patrick, LOL! However, I’m no longer involved with any incarnations of Trek, having left California 26 years ago for early retirement. But from everything I observed back then, they got along very well, and Gene seemed very pleased with Patrick’s handling of the character. All I can say is I never heard him say anything negative about him or his portrayal of Picard.

To me I fell in love with Stewart when the episode THE MEASURE OF A MAN was shown Favorite line A trial is a crucible in which we burn away irrelevancies until we are left with one thing THE TRUTH absolutely majestic! I love all things TREK the acting talent on TNG was nothing short of amazing wish there had been more conflict between the characters

“Your honor, Starfleet was founded to seek out new life. Well, there it sits!”

Just stunning.

I still like my Trek old school, but that’s just a personal preference. You have to admire the stunning success of TNG, how it created its own rich ensemble of characters, how it expanded and refined the Star Trek Universe, and how it lived on for years, invulnerable to the whims of network suits.

Here’s a trivia question: can you name the show that replaced the original Star Trek in NBC’s Friday Night Line-Up. The answer: Bracken’s World. Remember Bracken’s World? Me neither.

OK, showing my age. Leslie Nielsen was Bracken. It was a soap opera about running a studio like Paramount Pictures. I never thought I’d see Star Trek again after that schedule replacement. Instead Star Trek has been timelessly influencing the future like Bill and Ted in their movies!

Leslie Nielsen was also the lead in The Forbidden Planet, the mid 1950s film that many have argued was the source for the main plotline in The Cage.

Let’s face it, without Stewart (and Spiner) TNG wasn’t awash with especially talented actors so it’s hardly a surprise that Patrick was able to stand out.
On the small screen Picard was fine. Expose the audience to him on the big screen and it somewhat fell apart. Unlike Shatner’s Kirk.

I couldn’t believe it when I read that Stewart wanted Picard to be more of an action hero. Say what? Don’t you understand your own strengths and weaknesses as an actor? Action hero … is not your forte, Mr. Stewart. Go give rousing speeches. :-)

This seems to be one of those situations where, as Marina Sirtis puts it, the new people around Stewart need NOT to be over-reverent with Patrick.

Yes, Stewart has continued to build his reputation, but if the Trek EPs and directors can’t frankly tell him where his strengths lie, and do not, they’re doing him a disservice.

Very true.

He kicked ass in ‘first contact’.

Trouble is Picard didn’t have that great mid life crisis arc that Kirk had in the movies.
They kept moving things around from the death of his brother, nephew to PTS about the Borg.

Tony, the sci-fi trope that every male lead needs a mid-life crisis and to be confronted with his failed romantic/marital relationships is overdone. Just cringy at this point.

My take is that TNG had stood out by finding other character-driven crises for Picard to face. PTSD for a hero leader captain was a great choice.

Letting Riker and Troi have the “confronted by your failed relationship at work” challenge was a way to side-step this almost de rigor cliché in sci-fi.

By the way, I had thought that this trope, which many scientific fiction book editors pushed for decades as a way to create “authentic” 3-dimensional main characters was finally done, but it just keeps coming back.

Seth McFarlane put it front and centre on The Orville, but has managed to carry it off, but it seems that a large proportion of the new science fiction novel series with male leads have them who have to work with their exes. Meanwhile, the authors thanks their supportive spouses in the acknowledgement – definitely not writing what they know, but a conflict they have been told is necessary.

…and people question Mariner being posted to her mother’s ship…

But it worked for kirk in the movies.
Being promoted away from ‘the chair’s and out of sorts drove his actions in TMP and saw him reunited with carol, David in ‘khan’.
The rest of them saw his maturity and acceptance of mortality as he stood down as captain.

I never really thought about that. I always knew the TNG cast were not very good actors at all. Some were marginally better than others but even someone like Burton, who had done good work in the past, came across as amazingly wooden and devoid of any kind of life. Is it possible that Stewart just looked great by direct comparison? Fascinating thought.

Picking of nits aside, I like the way #SirPatStew was dressed, myself. Nice-looking suit. ‘The suit is dead’, my dimpled butt.

I wouldn’t mind a peek into the alternate universe where Macht played Picard; I like that guy. But I’m glad it was Stewart, who I’ve loved from the first second I saw him in that role to the final time he played it, in “Nemesis.”

Oh come on, you know that Nemesis is not the last time he has played Picard.

You’re right; it might’ve actually been “Insurrection.”

Stephen Macht as Julien Picard, Billy Campbell as Ryker, Marina Sirtis as Macha Hernadez, Denise Crosby as Troi, Tim Russ as George La Forge!

I’d watch a couple of episodes.

I appreciate that Gene “created” Star Trek and TNG but it’s annoying how every story seems to centre around him. Frankly the guy sounds like a hack who managed one or two good ideas. The people (actors, writers, producers, etc) created Star Trek. It may have lost it’s way now, but it was and is so much more than one (arguably terrible) man.

Man, the photo of Gene & Patrick looks like they can’t get away from each other fast enough.

Yeah, I can totally see why Gene would have had his doubts. A bald Englishman playing a French born Captain of the Enterprise? On the surface it made no sense whatsoever. Fortunately, Stewart was cast and the rest is history. Too bad that Gene didn’t live to see what I perceive are the glory years of TNG and season’s 3-6. I hope he would have liked what he saw.

Have any of you who think Gene was a poor writer, ever seen the other shows he wrote epic episodes for? One of my favorites was Have Gun, Will Travel. His complex human struggle narratives still show so well today.

Is that why he’s destroying the franchise with “Picard” now? To get back at him? :-/

After reading the title of the article alone…. Neither did anyone else! Picard was a giant punk in comparison to Kirk.

There are very few Roddenberry purists among Trek fans when you get down to it.

To be honest it took about two seasons to get used to Captain Picard. It also took about that time for the team to start working well together and for the acting and scripts to become more coherent.

Note that mistakes were made. The show destroyed the career of Will Wheaton as an example because the character was cast so poorly. I can see how Gene would look at that first season of TNG and be upset about it.

After season two I became a fan and just realize Kirk and Picard are different and from different TV eras.

I don’t think Wil Wheaton was cast poorly, it seems more to me that the writers had no idea what to do with the character and punished the audience, character and actor for their lack of openness to writing the struggles of a prodigy.

Contrast that with Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon that embrace the reality of the super bright.

If Starfleet is comprised of the really bright scientists and engineers, more likely than not the crew’s kids will include a disproportionate number of gifted kids and prodigies. The issue seemed to be the writers’s discomfort with that and lack of knowledge about what families of researchers at places like Caltech, MIT or Polytechnique are like.

I think we are in agreement. Wesley could have been bright -but not to the point he constantly knew more than the senior staff in various engineering departments and constantly saved the day. It was cloying. If he were presented as a really smart kid who they let run the comms every so often and came up with solutions as a team that would be different. The show really improved when the Wesley character (and his mom) were deemphasized in the show.

And it did ruin Will’s career. Before then he had some fairly prominent roles and was moving up. After STTNG he didn’t have much to show and now seems to have a role playing roll playing and board games on public access TV.

Wil has had prominent roles recently in ‘leverage’, ‘eureka’ and as himself in ‘big bang’ along side other TNG actors.

It wasn’t just Stewart as Picard that was the problem with TNG for the first two seasons. TNG as a whole was really clunky for the first two seasons. I don’t know that I want to say that it was stuck in the past, or if it was the general presentation, but there was something that was maybe too focused on recreating “classic” TOS style episodes like Code of Honor…

I wouldn’t say it destroyed Wheaton’s Career. It was a terrible character and he did what he could with it. But that wasn’t his fault. Wes was a mistake long before they hired an actor to play the part.

Always felt that Stewart was channeling Jacques Cousteau. Stewart made a great captain

i was at a screening for the 50th of the original movies and Nicholas Meyer among many others trek creatives were there… he told a story he probably has shared before about how he didn’t get along with roddenberry… showed him scenes or went over things with him as a courtesy but really didn’t want to and felt roddenberry was no help… at that point he was very sick and didn’t have much time left… what struck me is how he told the story… he tells it in a very haunting kind of way… the look on meyer’s face and his voice was filled with regret on how he treated roddenberry… maybe because now that meyer is older but it was very disturbing and real…

Thanks for sharing that tom riker.

I know that some of the candid moments with the EPs, writers and production leads at cons that I’ve attended really stick in my minds.

It seems really clear that the production environments for both TOS and early TNG were very fraught. As much fun as we’ve had watching, the overall vibe is that most everyone involved was not having fun making Star Trek at those points.

Based on past experience working on film sets?. I’d guess it wasn’t Patrick that Roddenberry was upset about. He may have felt a loss of control. After the first Trek movie he was demoted to “consultant.”
When the other producers started lobbying for Patrick he may have thought these Producers were trying to take over his show.

I’m still convinced that the Picard character was only supposed to last the first season, that Will Riker was the intended star. Roddenberry wanted to show the rise of this character from first officer to captain. It would explain why the first season focused so much on Riker at first.

I swear recall reading elsewhere that Patrick Stewart also felt that the show was going to bomb, and he was just auditioning for the role to tide him over until something else came along (apparently believing TNG would only last one season).

So there ya go.

Yeah, I heard about this too. The fact that he also didn’t unpack his suitcases for the whole first year.

Great Bird of the Galaxy? Hah!

He was the series creator after all, and as I posted below, he might have been ill, as it sounds like a statement either misquoted, or a result of a man’s late-in-life illness. He was only a few years away from personally exploring “the undiscovered country from which no visitor returns,” after all...

No way to know how GR truly felt since he’s been gone a long time. My question has always been–why didn’t they just make Picard a Brit?

well, now unfortunately post star trek nemesis & picard allot more people no longer fully accept Patrick Stewart, thanks a bunch why did you put your name to that mess!

Re: the reported comment: “What the f–k is this guy doing in my show?”
Seems like a comment from someone with early Alzheimer’s or somesuch. No reason to blame him for it, as he was only a couple years away from dying, after all!

I LOVE Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard! I’m upset now. So what if Sir Patrck Stewart is bald and a Britt. He is WONERFUL! !!!

Sir Patrick Stewart is and always will be my Captain! Aye Captain! I don’t care for Bill Shatner Captain Kirk at all!

Frankly, despite being a kid of TOS and the 1950s/60s, I also prefer Stewart.

Patrick Stewart is arguably the BEST actor ever in a Star Trek production

I am very glad that Berman and Justman supported Patrick. That may very well have turned the tide in his favor.