Star Trek fans got quite the lovely surprise a few months ago when it was revealed that Patrick Stewart would be returning to the fold as Captain Jean-Luc Picard for a new Trek series. And, it turns out that the legendary actor is so invested in the show, that he actually spent some time working with the writers. Pultizer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon, a life-long Star Trek fan who is working on the show, recently revealed that he got the chance to work directly with Stewart as part of the writer's room. And, it sounds like it was a wonderful experience.
He was in the room for two weeks. It was fantastic. That was sort of in the preliminary writers room that we had going before it expanded to the full room that it is now with a bunch of writers in there. I'm up in Berkeley and they are down in L.A. But that time with Patrick as a resource and as a very willing and literate resource, I think it's going to make the show. It's going to take it to another level. Just to have him participating in the way he participated? Amazing.
Honestly, as a Star Trek: The Next Generation fan, and a Trekkie in general, I'm actually getting chills thinking about a new show with Jean-Luc Picard that also has Patrick Stewart so invested in the idea that he's been active behind the scenes as the series is beginning to take shape. While it's usually not standard for actors to be a part of the writer's room, even at an early stage such as the one Michael Chabon talked about with Deadline, most diehard Trek fans would understand why Stewart was allowed into the depths of the creative process on his new show.
Even though it's unusual for actors to be invited (or allowed) into the writer's room as ideas for a show are brewing, Patrick Stewart and others of his stature are a different matter. First of all, the man played the Captain Picard, basically the leading role in TNG and the movies that followed that show, from 1987 through 2002. It would be a massive mistake to have Stewart actually be interested in taking part in the development of this show, and for the writers to not take advantage of his 15 years of experience getting inside the character's head and bringing him to life.
Along those same lines, even though we haven't gotten official word on this, it wouldn't be unheard of if Patrick Stewart is actually a producer on his new Star Trek show. Because he has boots on the ground knowledge of Picard, and the show will star him and focus on his life, it would make a lot of sense for Stewart to have taken an immediate interest in making sure the basic plot and the types of weekly stories they'll tell are in line with what he feels is right for the character.
And, it's not uncommon for leading actors on long-running shows to be given producer credits, so Stewart's long history with the character would be the kind of thing that would get him grandfathered in and allow him to voice his opinions on the shape the story should take even though the show itself is brand new and dealing with a different chapter in Picard's life.
In fact, when Patrick Stewart officially announced that he was on board for a Jean-Luc Picard series, he noted how "excited and invigorated" he was to be able to take up the character again after so long, and believing that his time in the world of Star Trek was over. Stewart also called the opportunity "an unexpected but delightful surprise" and noted that he was eager to work with the "brilliant creative team" that was looking to put together "fresh, unexpected and pertinent" stories. It sounds to me like he was a part of this process from the get-go, with the other creatives behind the show making sure Stewart was as involved as possible as they put the Picard series together. And, rightly so.
As Michael Chabon said in his interview, the process of working alongside Patrick Stewart for two weeks served to be an invaluable resource for the writers. Not only because of his time spent as Picard on screen, but also because of all his other work in the theater, and his general knowledge of drama and what makes a strong, compelling story that will make people stop and pay attention. On top of all that, it sounds like Stewart's just a really nice guy. According to Chabon:
He understands drama and he understands character and can bring to bear on that all of his experience doing Shakespeare and Beckett and everything in between. Plus he's incredibly sweet and funny and charming and surprisingly humble and modest. He's a wonderful collaborator and I can't say enough about the amazing and unexpected benefit of the process.
Alright, if you're a Star Trek fan, especially if you're a fan of The Next Generation, and you're not excited by the thought of this process bringing us new Captain Picard stories, I just don't know what to do with you. Right now we don't know when the Michael Chabon and Patrick Stewart Picard series will air, what the main story will be about or have an official title for the series, for that matter, but we do know that it will join sister shows Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Short Treks on CBS All Access when it's ready for all of our eager eyes.
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend, and we'll keep you up to date on the latest Star Trek series as details become available to us. In the meantime, Star Trek: Short Treks can be seen on CBS All Access right now, along with the first season of Star Trek: Discovery, with Season 2 hitting the streamer on January 17, 2019. Once you've taken in all the Trek you can handle, catch up on all the other new and returning shows this season by checking out our 2018 fall premiere guide.