Patrick Stewart is to return to his role as Jean-Luc Picard in a new TV series of Star Trek.
The new CBS All Access series will chronicle Picard’s adventures after Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the original series which ran between 1987 and 1994, Stewart played Picard in 178 episodes across seven series.
Stewart’s character also appeared in four feature films for the franchise: Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek: Nemesis.
Stewart made the announcement himself after making a surprise appearance at the annual Star Trek convention in Las Vegas.
Announcing the news, Stewart said: “I will always be very proud to have been a part of the 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.”
With Stewart’s portrayal widely regarded as one of the most acclaimed in the franchise alongside William Shatner’s Captain James T Kirk, the news was received warmly by Star Trek fans on social media.
It is 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. Read my full statement in the photo. #StarTrek @cbsallaccess Photo: @shervinfoto pic.twitter.com/8Ynuj3RBNm
— Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) August 4, 2018
ALEX KURTZMAN JUST BROUGHT OUT PATRICK STEWART TO ANNOUNCE A NEW STAR TREK SERIES!!! pic.twitter.com/lLcnqNnBhd
— Hector Navarro (@Hectorisfunny) August 4, 2018
— Chase Masterson (@ChaseMasterson) August 4, 2018
— TrekCore.com ? (@TrekCore) August 4, 2018
that moment when i saw sir patrick stewart coming back for picard pic.twitter.com/9PUp4ChLLo
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) August 4, 2018
STOP. WHAT. OMG. https://t.co/uKMPbB53dd
— Hannah Hart (@harto) August 4, 2018
Oh my lord, I'm not even a big Star Trek person and that statement has me tearing up. https://t.co/3PtzRCjQfr
— Brett White (@brettwhite) August 4, 2018
Jean Luc Picard was formative for me, the first outright hero who aspired to intelligence, political savvy and nerve over guts and strength, @SirPatStew showed us that leaders weren’t just biceps and great hair. I’m beyond excited that he’s reprising the role in #StarTrek
— Robert Kazinsky (@RobertKazinsky) August 4, 2018
Stewart added: “During these past years, it has been humbling to hear 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 people to follow in his footsteps, pursuing science, exploration and leadership.”
“I feel I’m ready to return to 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 endeavour to bring a fresh, unexpected and pertinent story to life once more.”
Alex Kurtzman will work as an executive producer on the show. Previously, Kurtzman had worked on 2017’s acclaimed Star Trek: Discovery. Speaking about the announcement, he said: “With overwhelming joy, it’s a privilege to welcome Sir Patrick Stewart back to the Star Trek fold.”
“For over 20 years, fans have hoped for the return of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and that day is finally here. We can’t wait to forge new ground, surprise people, and honour generations new and old.”
Since leaving Star Trek, Stewart has starred in the X-Men franchise as Professor Charles Xavier. 2017’s Logan was his outing as the popular character.
Details of the show are as yet scarce, although it is believed to be an exploration of Picard’s later life rather than a reboot of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Stewart said: “We have no scripts yet [but] we are talking story.”
Rumours of a return have been circulating for months after Stewart teased that he might be making a return to the franchise.
When asked if he had seen the show’s latest incarnation, Star Trek: Discovery, Stewart teased: “No, I haven’t – but I may have good cause to look at it very soon.”
Stewart concluded his announcement by saying that Picard will be “something different” from his previous incarnations.
He said: “It may not be the Jean Luc you know and love. He may be a man who has been changed by his experiences…it will be, I promise you, something different…but it will come with the same love for the universe and our fans we had before.”
Star Trek: Discovery, which stars Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones and Anthony Rapp, will return in January 2019.