Patrick Stewart is back to explore new worlds but he’s not optimistic about this one.
The star of “Star Trek: Picard” is on the cover of the new Variety, and in the issue he discusses his return to the franchise that made him famous and offers his take on the current political climate.
Remembering “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry’s resistance to casting him as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in “The Next Generation”, Stewart says, “God, I wish he had not died when he did. I have a lot of respect for Gene, and I have to say also gratitude… I know more than once, I caught him sitting in his director’s chair looking at me, and I knew he was thinking, How the f**k did we end up with this guy?”
As for why he took the role in 1987, the 79-year-old admits the series offered “more money than I’d ever seen in my life.”
When he was approached to return for “Picard”, Stewart says, “I explained to them all those elements of ‘Next Generation’, which belong in ‘Next Generation’, and why I didn’t want to go near them again. But they talked about it in such an interesting way. And they talked for a long time.”
As for how the new show will differ from the original, the actor explains, “I think what we’re trying to say is important. The world of ‘Next Generation’ doesn’t exist anymore. It’s different. Nothing is really safe. Nothing is really secure.
“In a way, the world of ‘Next Generation’ had been too perfect and too protected,” he adds. “It was the Enterprise. It was a safe world of respect and communication and care and, sometimes, fun.”
“Picard” also reflects more modern political situations, with Stewart claiming the show “was me responding to the world of Brexit and Trump and feeling, Why hasn’t the Federation changed? Why hasn’t Starfleet changed? Maybe they’re not as reliable and trustworthy as we all thought.”
The actor also offers his own opinion on the political climate in both the U.K. and the U.S.
“I’m not sure which one of us is in the most trouble,” Stewart says. “I think it’s actually the U.K. I think we’re f**ked, completely f**ked,” adding, “There is a time limit to your f**ked state, which is four years away.”
He also hopes the U.S. can change for the better, but when it comes to Donald Trump, Stewart predicts, “He will likely get re-elected.”
“Star Trek: Picard” premieres Jan. 23.