Patrick Stewart is now known for many iconic roles, but the one that brought him to his primary American prominence was that of Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the USS Enterprise in TV’s ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation.’
But it was not all smooth sailing to get Stewart on the iconic sci-fi show, and nor does he sound keen on any sort of possible return to the role – although the latter is likely due more to logistics and career choices than any actual animosity. In a recent interview, when asked if he could ever see himself returning to ‘Star Trek,’ Stewart answered bluntly:
“Oh, lord. I cannot think of another instance in which that might happen. My feeling is I hung up the space suit and left all that behind a long time ago. Maybe if someone came up with a brilliant idea, I’d do it. One thing that might interest me would be to bring all the existing casts of ‘Star Trek’ from the last 50 years together for one big story.”
As that “mega-reunion” idea seems unlikely, I think it’s safe to say that fans have seen the last of Stewart in a Starfleet uniform. They were lucky they got to see him at all, apparently, as ‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry didn’t think Stewart was a good fit for his part; as Stewart relayed in a different conversation:
“Gene and I did not have a close relationship. We had a respectful relationship. Gene had very strongly felt that I was wrong for the role. I am told, and I don’t know the details, but there was a lot of warfare that went on in the producers’ offices about that.
“I was invited up to Gene’s house one morning after I had been seen by Robert Justman on the stage at Royce Hall in UCLA. Justman discovered me. Apparently – and his wife claimed this was true – at some point during this scholarly, academic evening he turned to his wife and said ‘we found the captain.’ Gene saw me the next morning and profoundly disagreed.”
Most fans would likely agree that while Roddenberry certainly was a visionary with a lot of great ideas, his preference to not have Stewart feature in ‘The Next Generation’ was certainly not among them.