In Development: A New Movie Script Featuring Jean-Luc Picard
With the third and final season of Star Trek: Picard having proved a success, Sir Patrick Stewart remains eager to explore his character of Jean-Luc Picard. Even before the last season of Picard premiered, the TNG star expressed a desire to return as Jean-Luc Picard on the big screen. Talking recently as a guest on host Josh Horowitz’s podcast Happy Sad Confused, Stewart excitedly mentioned that a movie script featuring Picard is in the works, the first hint that a potential new Picard movie is in development.
Mentioning the Movie
Whereas the Happy Sad Confused podcast began in 2014, the most recent episode, featuring Josh Horowitz’s interview with Patrick Stewart, was recorded (as reported by TrekMovie.com) back in early November 2023. At the time, Stewart was promoting his autobiography, Making It So.
Although it’s been two years since Patrick Stewart played Picard (Season 3 of Star Trek: Picard wrapped production in March 2022), Stewart appreciates that the new movie script, if produced, will again enable him to flex his acting muscles. “I’m hungry to start experimenting again,” he said. “After we finished recording our seven seasons of Next Generation, we made four movies, one after the other — Star Trek movies of varying qualities. It’s an ongoing procedure for me, and I heard only last night about a script that is being written specifically with the actor, Patrick [Stewart], to play in it, and I’ve been told to expect to receive it within a week or so. I’m so excited, because it sounds like the kind of project where the experimentation that I want to do will be essential for this kind of material.” Stewart expressed pleasure at still being able to experiment within the acting realm at age eighty-three and confirmed that the proposed movie will be significantly different from the Picard TV series. “So yes, I would like us to have one last shot at a Picard movie. Or rather, no, it wouldn’t be a Picard movie. It would be a Star Trek movie, but it would have the Picard cast, as we saw them in Picard.”
Recalling Star Trek: Picard
As part of the same podcast, Patrick Stewart reflected on having starred in the Picard TV series. “What was so interesting about Picard and the main reason why I decided to commit to three seasons of it,” he explained, “was that Akiva Goldsman talked to me about the changes that had happened in my life in the last twenty years. And he said, ‘Were there any?’ And I, of course, said, ‘Yes, lots and lots, and new journeys and new experiences and relationships.’ And he said, ‘Exactly. Well, that has also been Jean-Luc’s experience. He’s not the same man. He’s no longer captain of the Enterprise. He was made an admiral. It became, really, desk work, which is not what he ever wanted to do. And now he’s back at home, living on his vineyard and seeming to be reasonably content.’ All that was an act. All that was Jean-Luc trying to pretend, as I think my father did, that everything was all right, but it wasn’t.” As Stewart explained, in his youth, his father returned from war service with what would nowadays likely be diagnosed as PTSD. Recalling how the war had changed his father heavily inspired Stewart’s performance as Picard.
Patrick Stewart thoroughly enjoyed portraying Picard in the third and final season of the titular show. “Particularly the last season of Picard was extraordinary to perform because I was continually being faced, because of the wonderful job the writers did, with a different man,” he commented. “I mean, there was one wonderful moment I really enjoyed researching, when Picard literally didn’t know what to do, how to deal with the situation. He was stunned by it and watching him having to cope with that realisation of ‘I’m old and and I can’t work out how to deal with this’ was a fascinating process, so I enjoyed that.”
As Stewart noted, in Picard Season 3, it’s not only the character of Picard who’s different from pre-established Trek. “Everyone was so different,” he remarked, citing Worf as a specific example, “in his appearance [and] quiet, gentle manner, and because he changed; he’d learnt different things about life.” As such, Stewart had high praise for Worf actor Michael Dorn. “I have great, great respect for Michael, what he did — well, for all of my colleagues on that show — but Michael in particular took a giant step into the future with the performance that he gave.”
The “movie” Stewart refers to has not officially been announced by Paramount; the only officially announced big-screen Star Trek project is a Chris Pine-led “Star Trek 4”, but rumors and reports have suggested other Star Trek movie scripts in the works as well. Stewart might be referring to a streaming TV movie, similar to Michelle Yeoh’s upcoming Section 31. Last year, reports indicated that Paramount+ wanted Section 31 to kick off a series of streaming Star Trek movies.
The film project featuring Stewart could act as a backdoor pilot for the speculated but unconfirmed Star Trek: Legacy series, proposed by showrunner Terry Matalas. That said, the series finale of Star Trek: Picard, “The Last Generation”, ultimately shifted focus to the newly rechristened USS Enterprise-G, commanded by Captain Seven (Jeri Ryan). If Legacy does go ahead, it will probably not feature Jean-Luc Picard as a main character.
Look for many more Warp Factor Trek articles about Star Trek: Picard when the show celebrates its fourth anniversary on 23rd January.
Editor of WarpFactorTrek, Dan is an avid Star Trek fan who lives in Aberdeen, Scotland. Dan has loved Star Trek ever since discovering it in his childhood. He worked as an administrator, for six years, on the encyclopedic Star Trek website Memory Alpha, which involved studying the making of the various series and films. He has been mentioned in the official Star Trek Magazine, has qualified from a Star Trek course taught at Glasgow Clyde College, and coordinates the SubSpace Chatter (formerly The Scotch Trekker) YouTube channel, which regularly features live interviews with the cast and crew of Star Trek.