Whether he’s exploring the far reaches of space or running a school for exceptional mutant students, Sir Patrick Stewart is one of the most recognizable and beloved actors in the sci-fi genre. And today we at ScienceFiction.com want to wish him a Happy 71st Birthday!

Although best known for his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Sir Patrick Stewart has also appeared in other science fiction movies such as ‘Dune’, ‘Lifeforce’, ‘Eleventh Hour’ and was even the voice of Winter in ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.’ But it’s his iconic portrayal as the Captain of the Enterprise in ‘Star Trek: TNG’ that has made him a household name. Although we now see him as the perfect actor for this role, during the first season of filming, Patrick Stewart thought he would be fired and didn’t unpack his bags for 6 weeks! He has since become one of the most favorite Captains of the franchise that even now, seeing a picture of him, one can’t help but hear him say in his proper English accent, “Engage!”

After his success in ‘Star Trek:TNG’, Patrick Stewart traded his captain’s chair to a wheelchair in his next well known sci-fi role as Professor X in the ‘X-Men’ movies. When asked how he prepared for this role, he replied that he read a lot of comic books. The casting of Stewart in this role was spot on according to many of the comic book fans of ‘X-Men.’

Again, Happy Birthday from the Science Fiction community!