A little earlier this year, Patrick Stewart hinted he’d finally be making a return to the Star Trek universe in the critically-acclaimed new series, Star Trek: Discovery. Though he admitted to Red Carpet News TV reporters he hadn’t yet watched an episode of the sci-fi show, he said that he “may have good cause to look at it very soon.”
Then on August 4 he confirmed the news himself at a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, saying: "I look forward to working with our brilliant creative team as we endeavour to bring a fresh, unexpected and pertinent story to life once more.”
To celebrate the comeback, we’ve decided to take a look at five of the best moments that Stewart has been a part of throughout Star Trek in the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard...
5. Unleashing his rage
Captain Picard isn’t somebody you’d want to get on the wrong side of, as Alfre Woodard realised in Star Trek: First Contact when she accused the Captain of letting prior encounters with the Borg Queen of clouding his judgement, and pushing his refusal to let the Enterprise self-destruct. This tips Picard over the edge, with the character launching into a scream and smashing a display case of model starships. Though he looks set to make the wrong decision, fate steps in and he comes to realise Woodard was always in the right. Fortunately, the Enterprise doesn’t have to be destroyed in the end for everybody to come out of the chaos with their lives intact!
4. Being stabbed through the heart
During season 6 of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Picard took a giant spear through his artificial heart after a confrontation with the Nausicaan in an alternate timeline. Going back and living a life of mediocrity because of the brawl that led to his injury, he comes to realise that the life he had, whilst imperfect, was what was best for business. Instead of keeling over and screaming following his stab wound, he lays there, bleeding out, smiling in the knowledge he’d made the best choice.
3. A poignant moment
Season 5 was packed full of chaos, but there were also a few moments in The Next Generation that risked audiences having tears in their eyes (see video below). One of them was towards the end of the season’s run in an episode called The Inner Light, where Captain Picard came to realise he had been living as part of an experiential hallucination for a number of decades. Despite that, he had lived an incredible life, even learning to play a small flute which he would play a few notes of, alone in his living quarters.
2. Breaking the code
There are some hardcore Star Trek fans that like to take what they’ve learned from the show, and implement it in their real lives. Captain Picard added to their catalogue of information when he discovered how the Tamarians spoke to one another in an incredible season 5 episode called Darmok. Marooned with just a campfire to keep him safe, Picard would eventually come to the conclusion that the race would communicate via metaphor, rather than in a way that the Federation’s universal translators could understand.
1. A nod to George Orwell
Captain Picard’s most iconic and memorable moment came during the two-part season 6 story arc Chain of Command, which saw the space explorer tortured both physically and psychologically at the hands of Gul Madred. In a bid to make Picard see things his way, Madred pointed to a fixture of four lights and would continuously torture the Captain until he told him he saw five. With such a fantastic spirit, Picard was able to hold out until his rescue, at which point he spat in Madred’s face and shoved one of the guards who were supposed to keep him prisoner. An icon of the sci-fi genre; we certainly hope Captain Picard is making a return to the screen soon.