After years of saying that he could never reprise his role as Jean-Luc Picard, Patrick Stewart is returning to the role in a new Star Trek series on CBS All Access. Now the legendary actor has revealed how that came to be the case.
Speaking to Yahoo, Stewart says that it all started with him planning to explain exactly why it was never going to happen.
"I agreed to a meeting with the people who were going to produce this new version of Star Trek only because I wanted to seriously and respectfully explain to them why I was turning the project down," Stewart recalls. "But in that first meeting, which lasted an hour and a half or so, I heard just enough to realize this was something very unusual, and I was intrigued."
Stewart recalls that he asked to get something on paper about what they planned to do with the series.
"What I was afraid of was … this was going to be jokey, and I didn't want to do that," he says. "I respect the work we did on Next Generation and also it changed my life in every way."
Even after receiving a lengthy pitch document, he still wasn't entirely sold.
"I asked a lot of questions and the answers were all very satisfying I was struck by how clever these people were I was talking to, who could tell a narrative very well and seemed to be tuned into what an actor might need to hear," he says. "So I signed on."
Stewart went on to announce his return to Star Trek at Star Trek Las Vegas in 2018.
"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, reflecting on being cast as Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation. "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.
"He may not be a captain anymore. 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."
The new Star Trek Picard series is expected to premiere on CBS All Access in late 2019.