Sir Patrick Stewart will return to arguably his most iconic role—Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard—in a new Star Trek series coming to CBS All Access. Stewart delivered this exciting revelation via Twitter Saturday, also making a surprise appearance at the 2018 Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas to announce to elated fans, “Picard is back.”
The as-of-yet untitled series is not a reboot of The Next Generation, but rather will focus on the “next chapter” of Picard’s life. No other plot, casting or production details are available at this time.
“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,” Stewart wrote in his statement. “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.”
The actor went on to cite the personal impact The Next Generation had on many viewers as the primary impetus for his return to the beloved character: “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,” he wrote. “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.”
The Next Generation ran from 1987 to 1994, comprising seven seasons and 176 episodes. The show won a whopping 18 Emmys and a Peabody, and—and this is true—it holds the Guinness World Record for “most successful sci-fi TV franchise.” Stewart last brought Jean-Luc Picard to the screen in 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis.
After the success of the recently renewed Star Trek: Discovery, CBS tapped co-creator and executive producer Alex Kurtzman to oversee the expansion of the network’s Star Trek universe, establishing an overall deal to include “a new Star Trek series, miniseries and other content, including animation.” With the announcement of this Stewart-starring new series, Kurtzman’s expansion efforts are off to a stellar start.
“With overwhelming joy, it’s a privilege to welcome Sir Patrick Stewart back to the Star Trek fold,” said Kurtzman, who will executive produce the new series alongside Stewart. “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 honor generations both new and old.”
Find Stewart’s full statement on Picard’s next chapter below.