Did you ever think Patrick Stewart would return to the role of Jean-Luc Picard? Neither did he.
But he will! Sir Pat Stew himself just announced the news on Instagram, timed to line up with an on-stage announcement at the Star Trek Las Vegas 2018 convention:
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 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.
The official account for the new (but separate) Star Trek Discovery series sheds light on a few more details: the story will focus on the “next chapter” of Picard’s life (after Next Generation, presumably), and will be made available on CBS’ online subscription/original content service, CBS All Access.
Stewart shared a few more details at the Las Vegas convention, noting that it was still early days and they’re still working out what it’ll all look like:
He may not… be a captain anymore. He may not be the Jean-Luc that you recognize and know so well. It may be a very different individual; someone who has been changed by his experiences. Twenty years will have passed — more or less exactly the time between the last movie (Nemesis) and today.
We have no scripts, as yet. We’re just talking, talking, talking storylines.
It will be, I promise, I guarantee, something very, very different. But it will come to you with the same passion, and determination, and love of the material, and love of our followers and fans… exactly as we had it before.
Alas, just about everything else about the show is still a mystery for now, presumably because it’s not all totally finalized yet. Name? Unknown. How many episodes? Who knows!
Maybe what the world needs right now is some Star Trek. Not the flashy, snappy JJ Abrams Trek — just good ol’ Picard out there getting his Prime Directive on.
Here’s Patrick Stewart’s surprise Star Trek convention visit in full, as uploaded by Jaime Bastidas (the announcement comes in at 9:20):