Star Trek: Picard is days away from debuting on CBS All Access, and at the TCA winter press tour, series star Patrick Stewart reminisced about his days working on The Next Generation and why Star Trek is still relevant.
The original Star Trek series first debuted in 1966, and more than half a century later, it’s still part of pop culture. But why? “Hope,” Stewart stated. “It is the dominant emotion behind everything we did on The Next Generation and as I’m beginning to discover, on Picard too. It has always been part of the content of Star Trek that it will attempt to create a better future with the set belief that a better future is possible.”
While Stewart wasn’t a part of the original series, his iconic character Jean-Luc Picard first made his debut in 1987 on The Next Generation, arguably one of the most important science fiction television series of all time. He portrayed that character up until his final appearance in the 2002 movie Star Trek: Nemesis. “I was proud of the work we did in seven years on the series and the four movies we made,” said Stewart. “That brought the franchise to a close. I was very content with that because I felt, as I said, very proud of the work we’d done, the context in which the work was done.”
Coming back to the character didn’t seem to be a huge obstacle to Stewart, since Picard is just as much a part of him, as he is of the Starfleet Captain. “It has been far easier than I expected to make this transition nearly 20 years later. Because, as I’ve said, the man exists inside of me. We’ve talked for days about the backstory, what happened in those 20 years. Little snippets of the backstory will creep into the series because it’s important our audience gets to know why we are living in the world that we are.”
Picard follows the former Starfleet Captain, years after the end of TNG, as he lives on Earth. There will be plenty of familiar faces popping up from the beloved Star Trek series like Brent Spiner as Data, Jonathan Frakes as Riker, and Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi. And don’t worry Voyager fans, Jeri Ryan will also be appearing as Seven of Nine.
For more on Picard, check out the announcement for Season 2 of the series, along with series star Patrick Stewart discussing why there is a dog on the show and how Picard fits into the already confusing Star Trek timeline.
Star Trek: Picard debuts on CBS All Access on January 23.
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