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Patrick Stewart Was Initially Afraid Picard Would Undermine Past Star Trek Work

Before Sir Patrick Stewart took on the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," the actor spent over 20 years laboring in relative obscurity in film and television, with his biggest breaks being a semi-regular appearance on "Maybury" and a television anthology's production of "Oedipus Rex" where he played the lead.

According to Stewart's interview with The A.V. Club in 2017, the actor wasn't sure about doing the "Star Trek" revival series and thought it was a bizarre idea to have him on such a show. "It seemed to me an absurd notion to cast a middle-aged, bald, English, classical actor in a science-fiction T.V. series," Stewart told The A.V. Club. When Stewart's agent explained that he would be signing a six-year contract, Stewart panicked over the commitment. His agent had to assure him that it was impossible to bring back a legendary series like "Star Trek" and that the show would be canceled after one season. Luckily for the "Star Trek" franchise, Stewart's agent proved very wrong.

But, even though Stewart's deep skepticism at the beginning of "The Next Generation" was quickly overcome as he started to appreciate the show he was working on, trying to entice him to come back to the role again for "Star Trek: Picard" so many years later was much more difficult. It took a lot of convincing by some very prestigious people to coax Stewart back onto a starship once more.

Patrick Stewart thought Picard's story finished

In a 2020 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Patrick Stewart explained that when he was approached about doing "Star Trek: Picard," it hadn't been the first time he had been contacted about reviving the character, but that he had always turned them down. "I felt that after 178 episodes and four feature films that we had said everything that needed to be said about our world. And to go back to it would perhaps be something that would undermine the work that we'd already done." But, according to Stewart, once he got in a meeting with producers Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman, Kirsten Beyer, and Michael Chabon, they were able to talk the actor into it.

In another interview with The Guardian in 2022, Stewart elaborated that he wasn't even going to take the meeting but realized that the four producers who wanted to meet with him included Oscar and Pulitzer Prize winners. "So I thought the most courteous thing to do would be to have a meeting to tell them face to face why I was going to turn them down." Stewart went on to explain that the reason he was willing to agree to this pitch when he turned down so many others is that they had no intention of retreading old ground from "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Instead, they wanted to focus on a version of the character in a different place in his life with new people around him.