Sir Patrick Stewart speaks of Brexit sorrow at Star Trek launch
At 79, Sir Patrick Stewart is back in the role of Jean-Luc Picard, and boldly going somewhere no USS Enterprise captain has gone before – their own Star Trek spin-off show.
But it was terrestrial matters that were concerning him more at the London premiere of the new series Star Trek: Picard on Wednesday night, where he described Brexit as “the grimmest thing” to have happened to him in his political life.
“It makes me very, very sad,” Stewart told PA Media. “I think what is happening with the European Union is actually the saddest, grimmest thing that has happened to me since I have been involved in politics.”
Having first played the part of Picard when Star Trek: The Next Generation hit screens in 1987, the new web television series sees him return to the role after a gap of 18 years.
Stewart says he had met the producers of new show intent to turn them down face-to-face, only to find their ideas for how the character of Jean-Luc Picard had developed compelling. “I began to realise it was something I had to do, and what a smart decision. There was a quality about Jean-Luc Picard that I had felt from the very beginning that was unlike any acting experience I had before.”
The actor, who has been vocal in his opposition to Brexit, has ditched plans to try and gain US citizenship in order to vote against Donald Trump. Speaking on the Star Trek-themed white carpet outside the event in London’s Leicester Square, he said: “I think we have our own Trump in our country here today, so I am going to be using my vote to try and get rid of him.”
Star Trek: Picard is attempting to be the best of both worlds to Trekkers old and new. It brings back some much-loved characters, piquing the interest perhaps of a generation of 90s fans who had fallen by the wayside. But it also puts them firmly in the current Star Trek universe, with the kind of production values and sleek special effects you’d expect from a high budget production.
And to celebrate the launch London Underground’s Piccadilly Circus station was rebranded as ‘Picard-illy Circus’, complete with Starfleet insignia on the famous roundels.
While Stewart may be being made very sad by Brexit, his spirits were lifted by long-time friend Sir Ian McKellen, who jokingly proposed to him outside the premiere.
Jeri Ryan, who reprises her role as Seven Of Nine in the new show, said of it that “Old fans will be happy, and people who might not think they want to watch Star Trek will impressed”.
Internationally Star Trek: Picard will be streaming on Amazon Prime Video from 24 January, a day after its first US showing on the CBS All Access streaming service in the US
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