Typically, an actor can call themselves enormously fortunate when land one role which becomes iconic, but very few have managed that feat multiple times. Patrick Stewart is one of those actors who has given us several iconic characters, such as Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Professor Charles Xavier. When it comes to the leader of the X-Men, Patrick Stewart said his final farewell to the character in LOGAN, James Mangold‘s excellent 2017 superhero drama which also served as Hugh Jackman‘s last performance as Wolverine. Up until that point, Patrick Stewart had always said that he wouldn’t return to Star Trek, but LOGAN suggested that perhaps there was room to bring back Jean-Luc Picard after all.
While speaking with Variety, Stewart said, “Hugh and I were so thrilled when the last thing we did for ‘X-Men’ was ‘Logan.’ It was the best ‘X-Men’ experience we both had, because we were the same characters but their world had been blown apart. ‘Next Generation’ didn’t end like that. In fact, our last movie, ‘Nemesis,’ was pretty weak.” Getting the chance to revisit the character of Picard in his senior years, as well as show a very different side of the former Starfleet Captain, much like LOGAN, was something Stewart couldn’t pass up; However, Stewart says that we shouldn’t expect the world of the Federation to be quite the same place we remember from The Next Generation.
“In a way, the world of ‘Next Generation’ had been too perfect and too protected. It was the Enterprise. It was a safe world of respect and communication and care and, sometimes, fun.” In “Picard,” the Federation — a union of planets bonded by shared democratic values — has taken an isolationist turn. The new show, Stewart says, “was me responding to the world of Brexit and Trump and feeling, ‘Why hasn’t the Federation changed? Why hasn’t Starfleet changed?’ Maybe they’re not as reliable and trustworthy as we all thought.”
That said, Stewart added that they are “remaining very faithful to Gene Roddenberry’s notion of what the future might be like.” I hope so. For me, Star Trek has always been about optimism and exploration, both of space and the human spirit; sure, you can take darker turns and the characters can struggle in different ways, but at the end of the day, Star Trek represents a future were humanity has finally sorted out their shit.
Star Trek: Picard will debut on CBS All Access on January 23rd, and the studio has already renewed it for a second season. Patrick Stewart is soon set to meet with Michael Chabon and Akiva Goldsman to hear their pitch for the next season of the series.