Patrick Stewart Wasn't The First Choice For Captain Picard Star Trek: TNG

It is hard to imagine anyone but Patrick Stewart playing the role of Jean-Luc Picard on "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Through the entire run of the series, he was the clear-thinking, soothing head of the starship Enterprise crew, and the absolute moral center of the entire franchise. "Star Trek: The Next Generation" could have looked very different, though. According to a casting memo from April 13, 1987, other actors were up for the role.

Casting nets are wide, of course. Other names up for the role of Picard included Mitchell Ryan ("Grosse Pointe Blank"), Roy Thinnes ("The X-Files"), Yaphet Kotto ("Alien"), and Patrick Bauchau ("A View to a Kill"). "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry just couldn't see Stewart following in the footsteps of Captain James T. Kirk, played by William Shatner. It's not that he thought Stewart wasn't a great actor. He just didn't see him in the captain's chair and wanted Stephen Macht ("The Monster Squad") instead. Thank goodness his mind was changed! No offense to Macht or any of the other actors, but Stewart is my captain forever.

Still, one of those listed actors was neck and neck with Stewart: Patrick Bauchau. 

Make it so

In part, the memo said: "Patrick Bauchau did come in to read for Gene today in the role of 'Picard.' His reading was well received; he and Patrick Stewart seem to be the favorites for the role of 'Picard.'" Bauchau, whose sister-in-law happens to be Brigitte Bardot, played the role of Scarpine in the 1985 James Bond film "A View to a Kill," with Roger Moore, Christopher Walken, and Grace Jones.

More recently, he played Archon Raine in "Kindred: The Embraced," Lucien Baines in "The Cell" with Jennifer Lopez, Sydney on the TV series "The Pretender," and he even had a role in "Big Ass Spider!" He's also known for his French language films. That would have made more sense in terms of Jean-Luc's French background, but it wasn't, as they say, in the stars. 

It's a little bit jarring to think what might have been in terms of casting for any beloved show, but Jean-Luc Picard just couldn't exist in my mind with anyone but Patrick Stewart, and I'm sure I'm not alone. The face palm memes just wouldn't be the same. Stewart's take on the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" captain was so popular that he now has a series based around him. "Star Trek: Picard" is currently streaming on Paramount+ and will end with its third season, premiering in early 2023.