Patrick Stewart has been heavily involved in Star Trek: Picard since the very beginning, and reports throughout the CBS All Access original's development have shown he's nothing short of thrilled to be back playing Jean-Luc Picard. As Stewart recently revealed during the show's panel at the TCA winter press tour, that's because Alex Kurtzman and crew listened to the actor on things he wanted done for the series that he felt best reflected Picard as a character.
In short, Patrick Stewart had ground rules for what he would and wouldn't do as the character. CinemaBlend's Nick Venable was there for Stewart's somewhat surprising reveal of one of his conditions, which spurred from a question about what it was like for him to get back in "costume" and play Picard again for the first time in a long time.
Well, of course I wasn’t in costume because I only appear very briefly in my uniform, and this was another one of the rather presumptuous conditions that I laid down, that I didn’t want to wear a uniform in this, because I felt it very important that we put a lot of distance between Next Generation and what we are seeking to do here in this. Not ignore it, no, not at all. But so far as the character’s concerned, halfway through Season 3 of Next Generation, I no longer knew where Jean-Luc started and Patrick Stewart left off. We became melded, and has never left me. So there was actually nothing that strange to be stepping into Star Trek: Picard, because he’s never actually left me. He has always been there, and it’s a relationship that I am happy to continue with. That’s an understatement. I’m absolutely thrilled to continue.
Patrick Stewart was not interested in getting back into his classic Starfleet uniform, though there is a brief sequence shown in trailers where he is. For the most part it sounds like Jean-Luc Picard will be in plain clothes, which makes sense considering the revelation that he has left Starfleet. Stewart's request of not wearing a uniform is interesting, and one has to wonder if that rule was established before it was decided he would be out of Starfleet in Star Trek: Picard.
Patrick Stewart mentioned distancing Star Trek: Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation, which is something he has harped on since the show's announcement. While this series will feature characters from the previous show and Stewart mentioned at TCA he hopes to feature all of the principal cast eventually, fans have been told not to expect this to be a sequel to TNG in any way. Instead, fans should expect the series to be more of a hybrid that blends elements of the past with some of the newer storytelling Star Trek has embraced in shows like Discovery.
Which is another one of the things Patrick Stewart wanted ahead of agreeing to Star Trek: Picard. Alex Kurtzman told THR that Stewart only agreed to the show when he was assured the series would have some familiarity, but be largely different than what Star Trek fans are used to. Taking Picard out of his iconic Starfleet uniform for a bulk of the series is one way of accomplishing that, and I'm sure there will be many other changes like that in Season 1.
Star Trek: Picard premieres on CBS All Access Thursday, January 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET. Stick with CinemaBlend for more on the world of Star Trek, and for a look at what's happening in the news in the world of television and movies.