Star Trek fans were filled with emotion recently when Star Trek: The Next Generation star Patrick Stewart announced that he will be returning to his role as Jea-Luc Picard in a new Star Trek series on CBS All Access. It seems the immediate reaction to the announcement hit Stewart just as hard as the announcement itself hit the fans.
A quick, two-minute video of Stewart’s announcement from Star Trek Las Vegas was previously released online, but now the official Star Trek YouTube page has released the full, uncut video of Stewart coming onstage to make his announcement. Following Star Trek: Discovery co-creator and showrunner Alex Kurtzman’s introduction, Stewart recalled learning he was cast in Star Trek: The Next Generation and how it changed my life.
“I was startled, stunned, and utterly disbelieving because never for one moment had I imagined this succession of audition at Paramount would ever lead to anything at all, and here, now, I was,” Stewart told the crowd. “What I didn't’ know either was I was on the very, very brink, the edge of something that would touch every corner of my life. Every single corner. Of course career, emotional, domestic, home, everything was going to be affected by it.
“Seven years later, in ‘All Good Things,’ we wrapped our television series after 178 episodes,” Stewart continued. “I was always so proud of what we did. We worked very hard. We worked long hours, as people on television series do, but we were working to do the best possible show that we could. Every single member of the cast, the production team, of the front of house, of the studio, was supporting us in this labor of love.”
Stewart then goes to describe how he learned of some of the drawbacks to being on a successful TV show, such as being turned down for other roles because you are too recognizable as your iconic television character.
“And so I was determined that that was the past,” Stewart explains. “It was over. It would be a voyage that I would never undertake again, and I made a particular point of stressing that.”
But Stewart received an email earlier this year with an offer, and offer that he spent 20 minutes in a meeting explained why he’d have to decline. But then, something began to happen.
“But something has happened,” he says. “And it is not only the impact of the people that I have been talking to and working with over the past almost six months now, but it is also because I have spent a lot of time recently watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, including episodes I’d never seen before, which was fun and exciting. And gradually it became clearer and clearer to me that the power of that show, the success of that show, the benefits it gave - I have never ever grown tired of hearing from people who stop me in the street...who say to me ‘Your show changed my life. Without Star Trek: The Next Generation, I might not be here.’ And I always respond to those letters and to those notes and to those words when I hear them in the street.
“And that lies at the very center of what I have to tell you now,” Stewart continued. “Jean-Luc Picard is back.”
And the crowd in that room absolutely blows the roof off, so affecting Stewart that he begins to cry.
“Whatever happens in the next few years, whatever you just did makes it all worthwhile anyway,” Stewart responded.
He then went on to explain that Picard will have changed by the time the new series catches up with him.
“He may not be a captain anymore,” Stewart said. “He may not be the Jean-Luc that you recognize and know so well. It may be a very different individual. Someone who has been changed by his experiences. 20 years will have passed...We have no scripts as yet, we’re just talking, talking, talking storylines. It will be, I promise you, I guarantee it, something very, very different, but it will come to you with the same passion and determination and love of the material and love of our followers and our fans exactly as we had it before.”
Are you excited for Patrick Stewart’s return to Star Trek? Let us know in the comments!