Patrick Stewart is returning to Star Trek as Jean-Luc Picard, but fans shouldn't expect this to be more of what they got in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Alex Kurtzman is an executive producer on the still-untitled Picard series headed to CBS All Access. At the TCA Winter 2019 Press Tour, Kurtzman spoke about how and why the Picard series will be different from The Next Generation.
"Everybody in that room loves Jean-Luc Picard very deeply, and obviously, the benefit that we have is that Jean-Luc Picard is in the room with us," Kurtzman tells ComicBook.com. "And so, as we're breaking story, we're asking ourselves, 'How do we live to the spirit, and to the character, and for the tone that Next Gen set, but also make it something very, very different in other ways?' And Patrick was really clear with us from the beginning. He did not want to repeat what he had already done. And by the way, it's been 20 plus years, so he couldn't possibly be that same person anymore.
"And so, the question becomes, 'What has happened to him in that period of time? Have there been occurrences that forced him to reckon with choices that he's made in his life? How do you hold on to being the person everybody loved when the circumstances around you may have changed so radically?' And those are the big questions that we're asking."
Stewart is more than just the star of the new series. He's also a producer and spent weeks in the writers' room when the series was being developed. Stewart's presence helps ensure that while the series will be a departure from The Next Generation, it will still be true to Picard's character.
"It's interesting, Patrick didn't want to put handcuffs on us in any way by saying, 'I don't want to do this, and I don't want to do that,'" Kurtzman says. "He said, 'I want you to have the freedom to explore this character from a new perspective, and I will always know in my gut if it feels like something he would or wouldn't do.' And that's the conversation that we have as we're building it scene to scene.
"So, we're started to internalize his thinking about Picard, and because that conversation is literally daily, either on email, or in the room in person, I think we feel confident that we're making choices that he would be happy with, and is happy with, because ultimately he's a producer on the show too, and he gets as much of a say."
Are you excited about the new Picard series? Let us know in the comments!
The new Picard series is expected to debut on CBS All Access in late 2019.
Additional reporting by Scott Huver.
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