Legendary actor Sir Patrick Stewart and CBS took literally everyone by surprise when it was announced that the Star Trek: The Next Generation actor was returning to the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in his own solo series. After the conclusion of the series and four TNG feature films, Stewart had all but hung up his red and black uniform. And yet, the actor was presented with a new project that he felt he was ready for: the return of a changed Jean-Luc Picard.
The news came to the general public via a post made by the actor on his Facebook and Instagram accounts on August 4. However, Stewart actually delivered the news in person to a crowd of devoted fans at a panel during the Star Trek 2018 Convention in Las Vegas, which unfolded earlier this month, from August 1 to 5. Finally, a week later, the official Star Trek YouTube account has released the video of the announcement, in full, which you can watch here:
While the panel started with Star Trek: Discovery executive producer Alex Kurtzman talking about the future of the franchise on the CBS All Access streaming service, it wasn't long before Kurtzman invited a "good friend" to announce the next Star Trek series. Stewart took to the stage to the crowd's roaring applause, and spoke for nearly 15 minutes about why he chose to return to the role after more than 16 years.
After telling stories about how he first nabbed the role in 1987 to what fan interactions mean to him, Stewart revealed that Jean-Luc Picard was returning to the screen, an announcement that made the crowd in attendance cheer beyond belief. It was enough to make Stewart get emotional, saying "whatever happens in the next few years, what you just did makes it all worthwhile anyway."
Speaking of the series, Stewart said that while there were no scripts yet, "it will be something very, very different... But," he assured, "it will come to you with the same passion, and determination, and love of the material -- and love of our followers and our fans -- exactly as we had it before."
Starring Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard, the latest Star Trek series does not have an official title or release date yet. As for Star Trek: Discovery, the series is only returning in 2019, but fans won’t have to wait that long to see new material: CBS All Access will soon feature Star Trek: Short Treks, a four-part monthly series of 10-15 mini episodes showcasing different characters.