Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Patrick Stewart Was Shocked By Picard's Profanity

Patrick Stewart says he was shocked by the profanity in Star Trek: Picard. Conceived by Gene Roddenberry, the original Star Trek imagined a high-tech Utopian future where humanity had overcome many of its worst tendencies, creating a society free from most of the ills that plagued America at the time of the show’s run in the 1960s.

Of course, the world has changed a lot since the ‘60s, and Star Trek has largely managed to evolve with the times. The latest Trek shows, the CBS All Access series Discovery and Picard, have tried in their way to continue that evolution by introducing more diverse characters and tackling politically charged themes. The most recent Trek series Picard also tackled new frontiers when it came to language, seeing characters employ profanity at a rate that was previously unheard of in the Trek universe (after Discovery officially broke the Star Trek F-bomb barrier).

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Many fans indeed complained about the relatively free use of F-bombs and other profanity on Picard, and it turns out lead actor Stewart also was initially put off by the show’s bad language. Speaking to TV Guide, Stewart addressed the issue of swearing on Trek and said he actually raised concerns about it to showrunner Michael Chabon:

Indeed, profanity was not part of the Trek universe on the original show, mainly because that show was produced during the 1960s when things were much more restrictive. Swearing was allowed in the Trek movies however, and was actually used to great comedic effect in the time-traveling Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home as Spock became enamored with 20th Century Earth slang. TNG itself did not feature much profanity, again as it was a TV show operating under certain restrictions, but later Trek movies tended to keep profanity to a minimum even if it would have been allowed, largely out of fidelity to the spirit of Trek.

But the newer Trek properties seem less concerned with staying true to the “spirit” of the older shows and more concerned about appealing to younger audiences for whom swearing is much less of a big deal. Indeed, the issue of Picard and Discovery pandering to young viewers has been brought up a lot by older fans who feel they were somewhat left behind by the newer streaming shows. The shows’ emphasis on action over character was one area older Trek fans complained about, as were the shows’ darker themes and overall abandonment of the optimistic Roddenberry approach.

Ultimately, it doesn’t seem that much of a big deal that a few F-bombs were dropped on Star Trek: Picard, though it can be argued that the swearing was really only included to help the shows feel more “edgy” in a rather superficial and silly way. For his part, Stewart clearly had some concerns, but at the end of the day Chabon, Alex Kurtzman and company followed through on their vision for Trek, delivering what they thought would work for the audience they were trying to bring in. It just happens that many fans who grew up on the exploits of Picard and company thought that new vision was a betrayal of what Trek is supposed to be. And just maybe Stewart does too.

Source: TV Guide