Star Trek: TNG: Patrick Stewart's Agent Thought It Would Only Last 12 Episodes

Sir Patrick Stewart easily ranks among the best-loved figures in the whole of science fiction fandom. The actor cemented himself as one of the genre's kings by playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard on "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

Initially more of a cult hit, by the time it ended "TNG" was every bit as beloved by some "Star Trek" fans as the iconic series that preceded it. Some might even have argued "TNG" was better than the original "Star Trek," and that Picard was a better Captain than even O.G. Enterprise boss James T. Kirk (William Shatner). That debate will no doubt rage for all eternity, despite Stewart benefitting greatly from playing his beloved role far longer than Shatner.

Turns out longevity was not what Stewart had in mind when he signed on to play Picard, with the actor admitting during an appearance on "The Late Late Show with James Corden," he nearly balked at signing the six-year contract for "TNG" as he worried it would prevent him from his beloved theater gigs. Seems Stewart's agent finally convinced him to ink the deal by assuring the actor "TNG" would only last a dozen or so episodes. "My agent said, 'Look, you know you cannot revive an iconic show. It's not going to work,'" Stewart told Corden, adding, "That was the prediction for me — six months, no more."

More than three decades later, Stewart is finally done playing is iconic Star Trek character

As any "Star Trek" fan knows, "The Next Generation" went on to run for seven full seasons during its late-'80s, early-'90s heyday, with Patrick Stewart logging a whopping 176 episodes in the Captain's chair of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Just for point of reference, that's almost 100 episodes more than William Shatner racked up on the original "Star Trek" series. Stewart would, of course, also reprise the role of Jean-Luc Picard in four feature length "The Next Generation" movies, appearing in an episode of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," and voice the character in numerous video games.

To the surprise of many, Stewart even returned to his old Starfleet stomping grounds in 2020 when Paramount was prepping their streaming hit "Star Trek: Picard." As Stewart admitted on The Graham Norton Show that same year, he was as surprised as anyone about the return as he'd been quite vocal about not going back to play Picard again. That was precisely the line Stewart claims he was prepared to take when he agreed to a meeting about "Picard," telling Norton the fateful encounter was booked largely out of respect, "I took the meeting with four very, very distinguished people, and I didn't want to just say, 'No, pass.'"

Stewart's feelings were somehow swayed, with "Picard" eventually running for three seasons on Paramount+ itself. But with the "Picard" series finale now in the books, it seems Stewart's near 4 decade journey as the titular shot-caller is finally at an end. And we can only imagine his agent has been laughing along every step of the way.