The last time Patrick Stewart played Capt. Jean-Luc Picard was in the 2002 film Star Trek: Nemesis. The film saw Stewart’s Picard going up against a younger clone of himself named Shinzhon, played by Tom Hardy. The film was not well received by fans or critics and it turns out Stewart feels about the same way. In a profile piece in Variety promoting Stewart’s return to the role in Star Trek: Picard, Stewart compares how he ended Picard’s story in Nemesis to how he ended X-Men’s Professor X’s story in Logan. Nemesis does not come out of that comparison looking good.
“Hugh [Jackman] and I were so thrilled when the last thing we did for X-Men was Logan,” he says. “It was the best X-Men experience we both had, because we were the same characters but their world had been blown apart.” He adds, “Next Generation didn’t end like that. In fact, our last movie, Nemesis, was pretty weak.”
Some of Stewart’s co-stars have spoken in public about their disappointment with Star Trek: Nemesis in the past. Some say they had trouble working with director Stuart Baird, who had no particular fondness for Star Trek. Jonathan Frakes played Picard’s First Officer, Cmdr. Will Riker, in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Frakes also directed two of the Star Trek films he and Stewart starred in, Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection. Frakes turned down the opportunity to direct Nemesis, a decision he’s come to regret.
“I would have loved to have done Nemesis, but it seemed like, ‘Really? That’s all you’re going to do, is Star Trek movies?’” Frakes said in an interview last year. “It’s glib to say now. I wish I had done Nemesis.”
The film also included the death of Data, the Enterprise's android officer. That death will haunt Picard into the new CBS All Access series. The decision was divisive among fans, but Brent Spiner, who played Data then and returns in Picard, believed it was the right choice.
“I'll tell you what. I thought it made a lot of sense and because I was also part of the team that wrote the story, I knew that was going to happen,” Spiner said in an interview after his return was announced. “We had been told in almost no uncertain terms by Paramount Pictures, that this was going to be our last film, so I thought it made a lot of sense to leave the audience with a really big, dramatic, emotional moment at the end of the film. If that's the last time you were going to see the character then that's the way it should be, you know … at the time I thought it was the right way to go.”
Star Trek: Picard premieres on January 23rd on CBS All Access.