It’s been almost two decades since Patrick Stewart last played Jean-Luc Picard in live-action, and it sounds as though time has not been kind to the legendary Star Trek character.
Last seen still captaining the USS Enterprise at the conclusion of 2002 film Star Trek: Nemesis, new spin-off series Star Trek: Picard will find the now-retired Jean-Luc “discontented, angry, and guilty”, Stewart has revealed.
“Picard’s world is so different,” he told RadioTimes.com and other press. “He is no longer part of Starfleet, and the Federation also has been undergoing changes… there are conflicting bodies within the Federation, and Starfleet seems to have some subterranean plans of how it’s fleet should be used.
“Picard has walked away from it all, and is living on his chateau, growing grapes, living with the two wonderful people who care for him, and his dog, but he is discontented, angry, and guilty.”
The events of his last screen outing Nemesis, which saw the death of long-standing Star Trek character Data (Brent Spiner), continue to haunt Picard in the new series, as Stewart explained. “He feels that he failed. Not only did he fail Starfleet and the Federation but he failed his great friend and colleague Data as well, that Data should have died when he [Picard] believes that it ought to have been him.”
Though it sounds as though Picard the character at least starts off in a rather melancholy place, Stewart the actor described reprising his famous role as a “somewhat exhausting but very stimulating experience”.
“The man never left me, because we overlapped so strongly in the things that we believed in and the way we saw leadership,” he said. “I didn’t find it remotely challenging.
“What I did find challenging was when Jonathan [Frakes, returning as Will Riker] and Brent [Spiner] were there… they’re both very funny guys and they teased me quite a lot!”
One other challenge for Stewart? Donning his Starfleet garb once more… “We have one flashback where I’m in the captain’s uniform, and I felt very uncomfortable,” he explained.
Star Trek: Picard is set 18 years after Nemesis and finds its lead character mourning not just the death of Data but also the destruction of Romulus, as referenced in the 2009 film Star Trek.
Stewart will be joined by fellow franchise veterans Brent Spiner (Data), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), Jonathan Frakes (Will Riker) and Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi), as well as new cast additions Santiago Cabrera (Cristobal ‘Chris’ Rios), Isa Briones (Dahj), Alison Pill (Dr Agnes Jurati), Harry Treadaway (Narek) and Michelle Hurd (Raffi Musiker).
Star Trek: Picard launches on Friday 24th January on Amazon Prime Video