Patrick Stewart On How Alex Kurtzman Lured Him Back To Picard Role – The Hamden Journal

Patrick Stewart received an otherworldly reception on his arrival on stage at this year’s Cannes Lions conference, where he was clearly in his element discussing ‘Long-term Creative Effectiveness – Building Fandoms with the Star Trek Franchise.’

Stewart is clearly well positioned to observe the changing nature of devoted fandom in the digital age. Since his first appearance in 1987, his character Jean-Luc Picard has remained a central, essential figure in a franchise that has spawned 800 episodes of TV across 11 series, in addition to 13 films.

Stewart has recently returned to the cast as Jean-Luc Picard after 15 years away, and revealed that, while initially he had no intention of resuming the role, it was the series writer and executive producer Alex Kurtzman who persuaded him by pointing out how both men, Stewart and his alter ego, would have changed over that time.

“That got my attention,” said the actor, who then agreed to read the synopsis for the new series. “It was brilliant, so I was back in.”

This year’s Star Trek: Strange New Worlds alongside the other existing titles has the franchise showing no sign of slowing down, while continuing to champion diversity amongst its cast and characters. CBS Studios president Michael Stapf described this as honoring Gene Rodenberry’s original vision for the Enterprise and its inhabitants. He said: “At root, the franchise is about hope. It projects what he and we would like the world to be.”

However, it was a simple story told by Stewart that most movingly made the panel’s point about the importance of fans and their relationship to the show. He recounted receiving a letter through the post from one particular fan. He told the audience:

“There’s one letter I received that meant so much to me.

“It was from an LAPD sergeant, and his letter began by writing about how much he’d always wanted to be a policeman, how he loved the job, he was so proud to be a sergeant in the LAPD, but there were days, he said, when I go home and what I have seen and experienced and witnessed in the world out there has been so discouraging and shocking and depressing.

“When that happens, I go home and I put on an episode of Star Trek and I begin to believe in people again.”