Patrick Stewart seems like he will be around forever. The guy is 81 years-old for Pete’s sake and he’s about to enter the second season of his current show like it’s no big deal. It’s quite remarkable the longevity he’s had and frankly, there’s no sign of slowing down at all. But for all his vim and vigor in the real world, his on-screen persona went through a major shift at the end of last season. And we are finally getting an idea of how it will effect him with Stewart recently discussing how Picard will change now that he’s essentially a robot.
At the end of Season One of Star: Trek Picard Patrick Stewart’s titular captain underwent a major alteration and, in many ways, became an entirely different person. That’s because he died in a final altercation on Coppelius and the neuro disorder he’d suffered from finally was too much. But while his physical body was clearly no more, the show was able to go on because Dr. Alton Soong and Dr. Jurati were able to transfer his consciousness into another body. They referred to it as a “golem” with a full resemblance to the previous iteration. So while Picard the actual living, breathing dude wasn’t around anymore, the essence and mind of the character would clearly live on.
Patrick Stewart talked in an interview about what this change was going to mean for the character and the show going forward. Clearly, the shift has ramifications, but how much the show creators were going to lean into the robot aspect or whether that was just a convenient device was a little unclear. He tried to clear up at least some aspects of those questions when he spoke with Gold Derby. This is what he had to say about it:
“That’s a question that I brought up with (co-creator Akiva Goldsman) and (showrunner Terry Matalas) when the three of us were having a script discussion,” Stewart says. “I wanted to know what, exactly, they had done to me when they saved my life, and was there any chance that this might have an impact on Picard’s personality or behavior. They felt that it probably wouldn’t, but it lies there as an option should we need to take it. But also, there is another human aspect being introduced into season two, which I am not allowed to talk about, but it’s going to have, I think, quite an impact.”
It seems from this discussion that the transformation into an artificial body won’t have some of the consequences, unintended or not, that we usually see in science fiction works when machinery or artificial aspects of the body are brought into the mix. Typically, that kind of move goes poorly for a character with some questions about their ongoing humanness. But it doesn’t appear that will be the case for Patrick Stewart’s Picard. If anything, it seemed like the actor wanted there to be more of an underlying story there, but the show’s creatives didn’t see it happening. Maybe that’s for the better and makes for less animosity around the character’s “being” in order to focus on the larger story elements.
Star Trek: Picard is heading back to CBS All Access for a second season after the initial run was a hit for the platform. Bringing back Patrick Stewart in the title role proved to be a draw for viewers who flocked to the platform for the first season. According to their numbers, at the time it was the most viewed original piece of programming on All Access. And critics loved it too, earning it an 86% on the Tomatometer with many raving about Stewart’s performance and the human storylines.
Patrick Stewart even won the newly formed Critic’s Choice Super Award for Best Actor in a Science Fiction/ Fantasy series. He had a star turn for sure and it’s actually kind of nice to know the character won’t change all that much going forward even with the new body.
Star Trek: Picard Season Two was supposed to start filming over the summer but pandemic-related closings and regulations pushed that timeline back. As of this writing, production was supposed to get underway in February. And if this Patrick Stewart interview is any indication, they are really dialing in the path for the character.