The Star Trek Movie That Brought Patrick Stewart To Tears

By Britta DeVore | Updated

Aside from William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart may be the name that most associate with Star Trek. The actor played the notorious Captain Jean-Luc Picard on the series Star Trek: The Next Generation and gave audiences a new favorite to root for. All good things must come to an end, and it seemed like that was happening for Sir Patrick Stewart’s revered captain during the filming of the feature-length film Star Trek: Nemesis, a project that brought Stewart to tears.

Patrick Stewart laid out his farewell experience on the set of Star Trek: Nemesis in the book The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, an all-inclusive text that puts the sprawling world of space adventures in a collector’s edition book. Emotions were running high for Stewart while filming those final moments of Picard’s cosmic travels, with the actor remembering an especially tough scene between him and Jonathan Frakes’s Riker. “I found myself completely caught up in the moment. I broke down,” the actor says.

Patrick Stewart goes on to explain that he completely “collapsed” into his co-star’s arms, something that he didn’t see coming. With the “entire crew” of Star Trek: Nemesis gathered around and whispering about what the problem was, Stewart says that he was simply overwhelmed at what had been years upon years of work playing the fan-favorite Captain and getting to know him on an incredibly deep level. “Saying goodbye was absolutely terrifying and agonizing for me,” Patrick Stewart recalls of those difficult final moments on set that put an end to Picard’s story – or so it seemed until Paramount picked up the series Star Trek: Picard in 2020.

The show would pick up with Patrick Stewart’s character almost two decades after his farewell in Star Trek: Nemesis. Living a life of solitude while still grappling with the loss of Data (Brent Spiner), the series pulled the Captain back into action with a handful of new and old faces alike. The series recently wrapped up its third and final season, which was a particularly special installment for fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Scene from Star Trek: Picard season 3

Season three of Picard was special because, along with Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard, the show brought back a slew of characters that audiences hadn’t seen since Star Trek: Nemesis. Included in the lineup of fan-favorites were Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden), Worf (Michael Dorn), Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), Data (Brent Spiner), Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg), Q (John de Lancie), and more.

Clear proof that you never know when something is truly gone, Star Trek: Picard gave Patrick Stewart and his Next Generation co-stars an extra batch of episodes to wrap up any storylines that may have felt unfinished after Star Trek: Nemesis.

Patrick Stewart’s recent revelations about his challenging and unforeseen emotional swell at the end of filming for Star Trek: Nemesis are another example that he was the right man for the job of portraying Captain Picard. For him, the role went deeper than the lines and blocking of the show’s seven-season run and the off-shoot films to come after. His reflections in The Fifty-Year Mission show that the character was truly a part of him, one that he was deeply uncomfortable with giving up.