‘Star Trek: Picard’ great start thrills Sir Patrick Stewart

 With limitless possibilities, STAR TREK: PICARD will reflect the world around us as it takes its place in the pantheon of the ever-hopeful Star Trek franchise universe.

Sir Patrick Stewart stars in ‘Star Trek: Picard’ (Photo courtesy CBS All Access)

 Trek fans have waited a long time to see Captain Jean-Luc Picard take the helm of a starship again, after reveling in his Star Trek: The Next Generation voyages for seven seasons on TV (1987-1994) and four blockbuster movies—Star Trek: Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).

 The series premiere of Star Trek: Picard got a launch January 23, 2020 exclusively in the U.S. on CBS All Access.

 So what does Sir Patrick Stewart have to say about reprising his iconic role as Captain Picard? Stewart was at the 2020 Television Critics Association (TCA) at The Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, California on January 12 with the cast and creative team of the series. He said, “I’m absolutely thrilled to continue.”

 Then Sir Patrick continued to talk about the beginning of his new journey as the show begins, “I only appear very briefly in my uniform (in the first chapter of the series). This was another one of the rather presumptuous conditions that I laid down, that I didn’t want to wear a uniform in this, because I felt it very important that we put a lot of distance between ‘Next Generation’ and what we are seeking to do here in this.”

 “Not ignore it,” Stewart insisted. “No, not at all. But so far, as the character’s concerned, halfway through Season 3 of ‘Next Generation,’ I no longer knew where Jean-Luc started and Patrick Stewart left off. We became melded, and has never left me. So there was actually nothing that strange to be stepping into ‘Star Trek: Picard,’ because he’s never actually left me. He has always been there, and it’s a relationship that I am happy to continue with. That’s an understatement. I’m absolutely thrilled to continue.”

 Stewart revealed he pushed the writers of the show to come up with something different to do with his character. He’s different from the Picard he played in films and what fans have seen on TV.

 Steward said, “First of all, I wanted to make it clear, I never put a hand on these writers. No, that’s not in my nature. I mean, there were many occasions where but I restrained myself. I have never been a co-executive producer on any show I’ve ever been part of, and I was welcomed into the producers’ meetings and the writers’ room so generously, and it was a dazzling experience. I had never been in a writers’ room before. And to listen to these brilliant people pitching and pitching, and exchanging and throwing out ideas and taking new ones, and listening to one another, and becoming excited, and becoming gloomy, and then becoming excited, it was it was exhilarating. I mostly kept my mouth shut because I felt I could not compete with this level of input that I was getting from my fellow producers and writers.”

 Well, that’s not exactly true. Sir Patrick did push to integrate his passion for pit bulls into the series.

Stewart said, “The dog, it was my idea. Picard’s life has changed. He’s troubled, disturbed, lonely, and with feelings of strange, unnatural guilt. To just see him with a dog seemed to me to write a lot of things that didn’t have to be said. The presence of the dog alone means that he’s looking for some form of comfort, which he cannot find anywhere else, but he finds it in the dog.”

He told the TCA journalists, “Yes, it had to be a pit bull, because I’m passionate about these dogs, and they are abused and treated appallingly all over the world. I’m now campaigning in the UK for the laws to be changed and for them to be allowed into the country. So it’s terrific to have Dinero (a rescue dog) in the sequel, and I hope we see much more of him.”

At a Hollywood screening of Star Trek: Picard, the audience cheered when they heard Picard call his dog “Number One.”

Tune in Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.