Patrick Stewart to reprise Star Trek role in new series – after a lot of convincing
Getting Patrick Stewart to reprise the role of Capt Jean-Luc Picard in a brand new Star Trek series took a lot of convincing, according to the franchise’s executive producer, Alex Kurtzman, but was made possible by ensuring it wouldn’t seem repetitive.
Kurtzman revealed the story of how he and his team wooed Stewart at Variety‘s CES Summit in Las Vegas on Wednesday (Jan 9).
“We heard he was very reticent, for a million understandable reasons, to do it,” Kurtzman told Variety. “I think he just felt ‘I don’t know what else there is to do?'”
“He threw down an amazing gauntlet and said, ‘If we do this, I want it to be so different, I want it to be both what people remember but also not what they're expecting at all, otherwise why do it?’”
Kurtzman and his writers pitched to him a fresh storyline for Picard, in which the character’s life is deeply affected by the dissolution of the Romulan empire.
This will be the first Star Trek screen series set in the aftermath of that event, which would have altered the balance of power in the galaxy.
“We proposed it to him, he sat there and listening very thoughtfully as he does, said, ‘Thank you, let me think about it,'” Kurtzman recalled. “We thought we failed. But… his agent called and said, ‘He’s interested and he’d like to know more and can you write down what you had.'”
According to Variety, what was to be a four-page treatment ballooned into 34 pages that fully fleshed out the untitled series, currently entering pre-production.
While the exact plot details are still a mystery, the series will take place after the events of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The series, which ran from 1987 to 1994, saw Stewart portray the role of Capt Picard for the first time, with the Los Angeles Times calling him an “unknown British Shakespearean actor”.
Stewart portrayed the character in four Star Trek films from 1994 to 2002 and received a 1995 Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series.
The 78-year-old actor is also known for playing Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men film franchise, which began in 2000.