Patrick Stewart Was Going To Turn Down The Picard Spin-Off Until He Heard The Pitch

The upcoming Picard Star Trek spin-off series almost didn't have its beloved captain at the helm. It was announced in August 2018 that Patrick Stewart would reprise his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in an upcoming Star Trek series for CBS All Access, but it turns out it took a little wrangling for the actor to boldly return to the role.

The last time we saw Patrick Stewart as one of the most beloved TV characters of all time was in 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis, after which he had no intentions of donning the Star Fleet uniform again. But those feelings soon changed, with Stewart calling it "an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him" when the series was announced.

In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Stewart explains why he decided to return to the role again after nearly two decades away.

"I agreed to a meeting with the people who were going to produce this new version of Star Trek only because I wanted to seriously and respectfully explain to them why I was turning the project down. I heard just enough to realize this was something very unusual, and I was intrigued. What I was afraid of was ... this was going to be jokey, and I didn't want to do that.' I asked a lot of questions and the answers were all very satisfying."

Now Stewart is full speed ahead on the still-untitled series set to be executive produced by Alex Kurtzman, the current showrunner on CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery. "We're hoping for more than one season," Stewart told Yahoo, describing the upcoming season as something more akin to a "10-hour movie" than a TV series. He continued:

"What we have coming up is exciting. It's exciting for me because it excites me as an actor. Oh, the story is great. And – I could be so careful what I say or they'll skin me alive if I say the wrong things. But it has – it references the present day at times, and that's all I can say, really. I'm not saying we are in the present day. We're not. But the world that we find Jean-Luc Picard in is not quite the world that we left him in...."

Stewart's exciting vote of confidence for the series tracks with Kurtzman's claims that the spin-off will have "an extremely different rhythm" to previous Star Trek stories. "Discovery is a bullet. Picard is a very contemplative show," Kurtzman explained. "It will find a balance between the speed of Discovery and the nature of what Next Gen was, but I believe it will have its own rhythm."