Star Trek: How Logan Inspired Patrick Stewart To Return As Picard
Patrick Stewart has explained how Logan influenced his decision to return for Star Trek: Picard. The fast-approaching CBS All Access series brings the actor back to his beloved Star Trek: The Next Generation role for the first time in eighteen years, following the release of 2002's TNG-era movie, Star Trek: Nemesis. However, those who're anticipating a show that feels like a sequel to The Next Generation may want to readjust their expectations a bit. Yes, Picard will feature appearances by a handful of TNG fan-favorites and embrace a similarly aspirational tone, but it's also a series that aims to reflect the troubling state of the world today.Click the button below to start this article in quick view. Start now
Season 1 will find its namesake living on his family's old vineyard in France, having become disillusioned with Starfleet's shifting moral priorities and still haunted by not only the death of his android friend Data (who was killed during Nemesis), but also the destruction of Romulus (as depicted in the 2009 Star Trek reboot) and the Romulan refugee crisis that followed. And while the show's older Picard isn't a broken man the way Stewart's Professor X was in his final X-Men movie, Logan, there are enough parallels between the two that it's not at all surprising to learn the actor's great experience making Loganinspired him to return to Star Trek at long last.
During an in-depth interview with Variety, Stewart said he and Hugh Jackman were "so thrilled when the last thing we did for ‘X-Men’ was ‘Logan'. It was the best ‘X-Men’ experience we both had, because we were the same characters but their world had been blown apart.” He went on to indicate that spurred him to find a way of wrapping up his time working on The Next Generation on an equally strong note since "our last movie, ‘Nemesis,’ was pretty weak". This, in turn, led to him meeting with Picard creator Alex Kutzman and writers Michael Chabon (who was also showrunner on season 1) and Akiva Goldsman in 2017, before agreeing to make the show.
As Stewart pointed out, Nemesis was far from a high note for The Next Generation crew to go out on. In addition to earning mixed to negative reviews from critics (who felt its prioritized big action scenes over a compelling story and themes), the movie flopped at the box office and left the greater Star Trek film series dead in the water until the reboot came along seven years later. Beyond that, Nemesis lacked the depth and meaningful character drama of the strongest Next Generation releases before it, having little to say about the state of the world in the early 2000s. By comparison, Stewart told Variety Picard is his way of "responding to the world of Brexit and Trump and feeling, ‘Why hasn’t the Federation changed? Why hasn’t Starfleet changed?’ Maybe they’re not as reliable and trustworthy as we all thought."
This isn't the first time Stewart (or anyone for that matter) has noted the similarities between Logan and Star Trek: Picard, and how the former led him to the latter. Both are more somber and lyrical character pieces that explore how time and trauma have shaped the older version of one of Stewart's beloved characters, with more than a little political subtext on the side. Some fans are even speculating that means the show will have to ultimately end with Picard's death, much like Charles Xavier met his final destination in Logan. Be that the case, though, it won't happen right away - seeing as Picard has already been renewed for season 2, based on the sheer amount of excitement for the series ahead of its launch.
Star Trek: Picard streams on CBS All Access this month beginning Thursday, January 23.