Patrick Stewart reveals the one thing that would bring him back to Star Trek

Patrick Stewart is renowned as a stage actor, but for most people, he's known for playing two characters: X-Men's Professor X, and Star Trek: The Next Generation's Jean-Luc Picard. 

After sending off his version of Charles Xavier in a fairly decisive manner in this year's Logan, Picard is the most iconic non-Shakespearean character left in the actor's stable. But while X-Men movies have been coming out on a fairly even clip since 2000, Picard's story has stalled, with the character living on in the new millennium largely thanks to reruns, retrospectives and memes.

But with remakes and revivals such a baked-in part of pop culture these days, would Stewart ever consider going back into the captain's chair? 

The actor discussed the possibility in an interview with Variety, responding to a question about whether he would ever play Picard again with a big, weary no—with one major caveat.

"Oh, lord. I cannot think of another instance in which that might happen," the actor said. "My feeling is I hung up the space suit and left all that behind a long time ago. Maybe if someone came up with a brilliant idea, I'd do it." 

As it turns out, Stewart has a brilliant idea of his own. 

"One thing that might interest me would be to bring all the existing casts of Star Trek from the last 50 years together for one big story," Stewart said. 

That Stewart would only consider bringing Picard out of retirement for an event of that magnitude makes sense. What makes it worth talking about is that Star Trek is a franchise where, in a story sense, that could easily happen. In fact, many similar events have already happened in the TV shows and movies. 

Whether it's the crew of Deep Space Nine visiting the era of Kirk and Spock, or Montgomery Scott visiting the Enterprise-D, Star Trek has never been a series afraid of playing in its own sandbox.  

Stewart last played Picard in 2002, closing out the TNG franchise with its fourth film, Star Trek: Nemesis. As a swan song, the movie could have been a lot better. As far as Star Trek's chronology is concerned, it remains the place where audiences last saw most of their favorite characters—sort of a bummer, given the quality of the flick. 

Considering the emotional reaction Stewart had saying goodbye to Professor X in Logan, it makes sense that the only thing that would bring him back as Picard is a similarly evocative, powerful story. 

The world being a bizarre and unpredictable place, writer-director Quentin Tarantino recently pitched an idea for a Star Trek movie that was apparently so good, a writer's room has been assembled to further sketch the idea out. Along with Star Trek 2009 and Into Darkness director J.J. Abrams, the intent, should things go well, is to make a new movie out of Tarantino's concept.

No one knows yet what Tarantino's story idea entails, and there are no indications right now that it would involve the TNG characters. But in a time-hopping franchise like Star Trek, it's always a possibility. 

The moral of the story is this: we now know what it would take to see Stewart as Picard again. All that's left to do now is have someone write it up.