Patrick Stewart was famously not the first choice for the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard. The creator of Star Trek told everyone around that he didn’t want that guy, or so the story goes. Gene Roddenberry said Stewart was “too old and too bald” to be a starship captain. So how did Stewart maintain his composure and become the iconic leader who is famous the world over?
It turns out the Enterprise-D set had a whole lot to do with why Stewart found his footing so well on Star Trek. In an interview yesterday with Gold Derby, Stewart said that when he arrived on set he found that in a way, it was very much like the theaters he was used to in England.
“Shakespeare must take a certain amount of credit,” said Stewart in the interview.
Stewart said that he worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company for 12 years, and no where else. He said to the Derby staff that friends asked him why he didn’t try films or television, but he said that he had everything he needed on the stage.
“There were so many delicious complications about the Shakespeare work I was doing,” said Stewart. “From the first time I walked on the bridge set, I began to access them.”
Stewart says that he noticed that the height and slope of the Enterprise bridge was similar to the way the Elizabethan stage had different heights as well.
“The upstage entrances and downstage entrances … there was a forestage,” said Stewart. “And there was a raised area at the back, which there always was on Elizabethan stages.”
Stewart said the other similarity that struck him was the lack of pockets in the Starfleet uniforms. He said that it forced the actors to figure out what to do with their hands, and it bothered some.
“But for me it wasn’t,” he said. “Because I had spent so many years in tights, or doublet and hose with no pockets. I just let them hang!”
NOTE: We interviewed the designer of the Enterprise-D, Andrew Probert, and he never mentioned that the bridge was designed to replicate the style of an Elizabethan stage set. This is must be another case of things falling into place just ‘because.’
Stewart wins a Critics Choice award
Speaking of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Stewart took home an award for the “Best Actor in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Series” for his title role in Star Trek: Picard from the Critics Choice SUPERAwards, which were held on January 10. The Star Trek franchise also took home a Legacy Award from the gala.
This legacy honor was for “the cultural impact [Trek] has had across multiple decades while continuing to appeal to and grow its loyal fanbase with new stories and characters.” Stewart accepted the award with Michael Burnham herself, Sonequa Martin-Green.
Both Picard and Discovery were nominated for the Best Science Fiction/Fantasy show, but The Mandalorian won instead.
Picard to begin filming in February
Speaking of Picard, you might be wondering when we can expect a second season. Well, Jeri Ryan noted on Twitter that the film date will be February 1. This is much delayed thanks to the COVID-19 virus. The first season of Star Trek: Picard debuted on January 23 of 2020, and the second season was originally planned to begin shooting in June 2020. Not much is known about Season 2 other than Whoopi Goldberg will be returning to her role of Guinan.
Fans can tune into Season One of Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access.