Patrick Stewart Reflects On The 'Next Generation'

By Lisa
September 19, 2001 - 6:15 PM

When Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard) needed inspiration for his Next Generation character, he had to look in only one place. The scripts themselves.

"The thing is, Gene (Roddenberry) had created such a powerful character in the pilot," he told Star Trek: The Magazine (via Section 31.)"All the foundations of what was to become Jean-Luc Picard were laid down in that episode, so really all I had to do was act it well enough. Other than that [Rodenberry] thought the spirit of what we were trying to achieve was present in the [C.S Forrester] 'Hornblower' novels."

The actor was quick to acknowledge the influence of the Star Trek creator on the Next Generation. "Gene was certainly the primary influence and the source of all our work and inspiration." he said. "But quite quickly all of us became champions of the cause ourselves and would fight for it. It was this underlying passion about Star Trek that I think made the series hold together successfully for seven years."

Though Stewart felt Picard was already developed in the pilot episode, he agreed that there were other elements he brought to the character. "There were many things that interested me that we developed - they were already present in much that was Star Trek, but maybe they got a little more attention. We had human rights issues, a stronger political view of the world, and certainly my interest in certain sporting activities came through - such as riding and fencing and so forth!"

Has the actor been following the development of the newest Star Trek series in town, Enterprise? "This sounds like an excellent group of actors," he said. "And they will find their own way, as we did. Everyone expected that we would be a rip of the Original Series but the great strength of Next Generation was that while holding onto the fundamentals of Star Trek, it became entirely its own world - not the world of Spock and Kirk and McCoy."

Later this year Stewart will don the Starfleet uniform again to reprise his role as Picard in the tenth Trek feature film, provisionally titled 'Star Trek X: Nemesis.' The actor was coy on the subject of the film, but did say that fans can look forward to "A big bang" in the movie.

More from Patrick Stewart, including his thoughts on theatre and current projects, can be found in the latest issue of Star Trek: The Magazine on sale now. Alternatively, scans of the article can be found here at Section 31.

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