Make it so: Patrick Stewart (78) is returning to headline a new Star Trek TV drama series as his iconic character of Jean-Luc Picard, that will be set 20 years after his last Star Trek film, Nemesis, in the Star Trek: The Next Generation universe.
The new and as yet unnamed Star Trek TV series will be produced by CBS Television Studios for the CBS All Access subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service in America, meaning that the series will very likely also become available at its debut on Netflix South Africa, similar to how the new Star Trek: Discovery starting its second season in early-2019 is available on Netflix worldwide outside of the United States.
An episode order and debut date for the new Patrick Steward-led series that will "tell the story of the next chapter of Picard's life" has not been announced and no scripts have been written yet, but it's the latest in a growing number of new Star Trek television productions from CBS Television Studios.
In June CBS Television Studios expanded its Star Trek: Discovery franchise contract with the series' co-creator and executive producer Alex Kurtzman into a new 5-year deal that will include several possible miniseries, animation and spinoffs, and Alex Kurtzman at Comic-Con 2018 in San Diego in July revealed during a Star Trek: Discovery panel that the first miniseries will be entitled Star Trek: Short Treks.
The new Jean-Luc Picard centred series will not be one of these miniseries but a fully-fledged drama series, taking place in the universe of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the USS Enterprise that ran for 7 seasons and the 4 movies that followed afterwards. The series will be set 20 years after the last film in that universe, Nemesis.
"With overwhelming joy, it's a privilege to welcome Sir Patrick Stewart back to the Star Trek fold," says Alex Kurtzman in a statement.
"For over 20 years, fans have hoped for the return of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and that day is finally here. We can't wait to forge new ground, surprise people, and honour generations both new and old."
In a statement he released on social media, Patrick Stewart says "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. Seeking out new life for him, when I thought that life was over."
"During these past years, it has been humbling to hear many stories about how The Next Generation brought people comfort, saw them through difficult periods in their lives or how the example of Jean-Luc inspired so many to follow in his footsteps, pursuing science, exploration and leadership."
"I feel I'm ready to return to him for the same reason – to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times. I look forward to working with our brilliant creative team as we endeavor to bring a fresh, unexpected and pertinent story to life once more."
It is 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. Read my full statement in the photo. #StarTrek @cbsallaccess Photo: @shervinfoto pic.twitter.com/8Ynuj3RBNm— Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) August 4, 2018
The new Star Trek series will be executive produced by Patrick Stewart, Alex Kurtzman, James Duff who recently joined Star Trek: Discovery as executive producer, as well as former Discovery executive producer Akiva Goldsman, Michael Chabon and Eugene "Rod" Roddenberry, son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.
'Something very, very different with the same passion as before'
The announcement was made to coincide with the latest Las Vegas Star Trek Convention where Patrick Stewart made a surprise appearance after which applause erupted with a standing ovation.
Patrick Stewart revealed that when he was approached to return for a new series, and took a meeting, he knew that it was an offer to which he would sadly have to say no.
Afterward the meeting with producers, he said, "I have spent a lot of time recently watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. And gradually it became clearer and clearer to me, that the power of that show, the success of that show, the benefits that it gave - I have never grown tired of people who stop me in the street or in a restaurant, who say to me 'Your show changed my life".
"Jean-Luc Picard is back. However he may not be a captain anymore. He may not be the Jean-Luc that you recognise and know so well. It may be a very different individual - someone who has been changed by his experiences."
"20 years will have passed - which is more or less exactly the time between the very last movie, Nemesis, and today."
"We have no scripts as of yet. We're just talking, talking, talking storylines. It will be - I guarantee you, something very, very different. But it will come to you with the same passion and determination and the love of the material and love of our followers and fans - exactly as we had it before."