There have been plenty of arguments over the years about the relative merits of the various Star Trek captains—Does Kathryn Janeway get a bad rap? Does Kirk’s blend of machismo and heart stand up? Why didn’t they let Sisko shave sooner?—but you’d be hard pressed to find a modern Trek fan without at least some affection for Patrick Stewart’s erudite, empathetic bad-ass, Captain Jean-Luc Picard. CBS is obviously counting on those decades of stored-up affection, announcing today that it’s bringing back Picard—and Stewart—for a new CBS All Access show, charting the post-Next Generation course of the great captain’s career.
Fans of the series last saw Picard at the end of the lackluster Star Trek: Nemesis, and caught glimpses of his unhappy future in the series’ final episode, “All Good Things.” Now, Deadline reports that the new series will follow him through whatever comes next, and will not—let’s be clear about this—be any kind of reboot or remake. Alex Kurtzman (who recently took over the lead showrunner role on Star Trek: Discovery) will executive produce the series, along with Michael Chabon and Stewart himself.
Here’s Stewart—who made a surprise appearance at the Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas today to break the news—on his decision to return to the iconic role:
I will always be very proud to have been a part of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but when we wrapped that final movie in the spring of 2002, I truly felt my time with Star Trek had run its natural course. It is, therefore, 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. Seeking out new life for him, when I thought that life was over.
During these past years, it has been humbling to hear many stories about how The Next Generation brought people comfort, saw them through difficult periods in their lives or how the example of Jean-Luc inspired so many to follow in his footsteps, pursuing science, exploration and leadership. I feel I’m ready to return to him for the same reason—to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times. I look forward to working with our brilliant creative team as we endeavor to bring a fresh, unexpected and pertinent story to life once more.