In the fall of 1987 a six-year-old boy sat down with his family to watch the premiere episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. For seven seasons, 178 episodes, 4 feature films, and countless adventures through the stars, Captain Jean-Luc Picard was my guide through the perils and pitfalls of human existence, the success of diversity, and the basic understanding of right and wrong. Sure, Sisko, Janeway, Archer, Kirk, and Star Trek: Discovery‘s Michael Burnham continued these life lessons, but Picard was a singlular diplomatic example that still resonates through my life.
This announcement may come as no surprise to some as CBS recently inked an exclusive deal with Star Trek 2009 writer and Star Trek: Discovery executive producer Alex Kurtzman to develop new Trek content and expand the Star Trek brand. Kurtzman made his first appearance at the Star Trek Las Vegas convention and introduced Patrick Stewart who announced the news to a live audience. Simultaneously both Stewart’s and CBS All Access’ Facebook pages posted the announcement in which Stewart said, “I will always be very proud to have been a part of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but when we wrapped that final movie in the spring of 2002, I truly felt my time with Star Trek had run its natural course. It is, therefore, an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him.” During his appearance at STLV he told fans that he had initially turned down the offer to return to the role. However, after re-watching episodes of The Next Generation and hearing directly from fans how powerful the positive message of Star Trek is and how it offers an escape to the sometimes grim world of today’s headlines, Stewart decided that now is the time for Jean-Luc Picard to return and give hope to a new generation of Star Trek fans.