Could anyone else ever play Jean-Luc Picard? After all these years, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard, the typically level-headed and beloved Starfleet Captain. However, that’s exactly what Paramount wants to do. Thanks to information from one of our trusted and proven sources, Giant Freakin Robot has learned that Paramount wants to recast a young Picard for the movies set in the JJ Abrams universe.
At 80 years old, Patrick Stewart isn’t going to be playing a young version of his character. Still, it will be a tall task for Paramount to find the right actor for this role. Moreover, it’s going to be difficult for them to write the younger version of this character in a way that will make sense for Picard. Of course, the JJ Abrams universe did do a great job casting a young Captain Kirk with Chris Pine, but how will they manage to approach this for Picard? There are some unique challenges here.
As a Starfleet Captain, we know Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard as a respectable and honorable man interested in doing the right thing. He comes across as a little pretentious, but that can be forgiven. Somehow, this is often charming on Jean-Luc. However, it was established in Star Trek: The Next Generation that a young Jean-Luc took this to another level. He was arrogant, pompous, and liked to sleep around, ruining his romantic chances with his friend, Marta Batanides.
We learned the most about what a young Jean-Luc Picard was like in the episode Tapestry, in the middle of season six of Star Trek: TNG. When Patrick Stewart’s character dies, the meddling Q shows up and offers Picard the chance to relive his early years. Picard goes for it. His young friends were very confused when he showed up suddenly acting the way we know the Captain Picard to behave, because the two personalities are so wildly different.
In a lot of ways, this is a good thing for Paramount. When they recast Patrick Stewart for a young Jean-Luc Picard, the new actor won’t be required to behave exactly the same as the Captain Picard we know from the Star Trek: The Next Generation series or Picard. His younger version is so different, that a new actor can handle this arrogant character in an entirely appropriate way. In another sense, it creates a problem or how to make sure that audiences who know Picard can see how the new actor and Patrick Stewart are still playing the same character.
One of the best ways to handle this character growth may be to introduce the new actor for a Young Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: Picard. Right now, Paramount has the obvious opportunity to do this. It seems like we’re likely to see a young Jean-Luc in season two of the series, since there are going to be alternate timelines and time travel involved. Q will make introducing a young Picard easy.
Hopefully, there is someone working within the Star Trek franchise aware of the needs of the JJ Abrams universe and the Star Trek: Picard series. We’ll need these two Star Trek universes to work together to tie this character together. By using the same actor in both iterations it should make better visual sense for audiences. Even in an alternate timeline, seeing the same actor play a Young Picard on the series, and then seeing him in the JJ Abrams universe, will help audiences better understand this difference in Picard’s behavior for the younger version before he grew into the older Star Trek captain audiences know and love.