Star Trek fans will catch up with Jean-Luc Picard later this year. Patrick Stewart returns to the role in Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access. Stewart is also a producer on the series. Alex Kurtzman, the producer in charge of developing CBS’ Star Trek television franchise, told Deadline why it was so important to have Stewart’s creative input into the series.
“It was essential,” Kurtzman said on an episode of the Crew Call podcast. “We spent a lot of time with Patrick, and you know what? He’s incredibly brilliant just as a human, and very warm, and obviously he knows Jean-Luc Picard better than anybody — and you know, he was really the one who from the outset said, ‘I don’t want to do this unless we’re breaking new ground. I don’t want to just play the character I played, why come back to that? We did that already.’
“So it’s been a really wonderful give-and-take in our collaboration with Patrick where he very quickly came to trust that we were both going to do exactly what he said in taking Picard to a new place, but also — and he doesn’t look at himself this way — we’re reverent of him, you know? He’s Patrick Stewart! When we’re in a room with him, his opinion really matters to us, and his happiness really matters to us, and ultimately, we couldn’t do this show the way we’re doing it if he wasn’t excited about it and excited to play it.”
Kurtzman and company have kept the details of the new show’s plot under wraps. We do know that Picard is no longer a Starfleet captain. The last time fans saw Picard was in the film Star Trek: Nemesis. Set decades after that film, Kurtzman teases that Picard has changed and that he be regretting some of the choices he’s made in the intervening years.
“I think we’ve found a story that honors everything that people love about the character, but in ways that are not what you expect — and yet, become more and more familiar as the show goes,” Kurtzman says. “And that’s what’s exciting. A lot has happened to Jean-Luc Picard in the intervening years [since Nemesis]. There’s been a lot going on and he’s had to deal with some new things, he’s had to deal with some old things, and both of those things kind of come colliding together.
“He’s made choices that he’s not necessarily feeling great about — and yet I think the audience will understand exactly why he made them.”
(h/t Trek Core)