From 1987 to 1994, the distant future universe envisioned by Gene Roddenberry in his original “Star Trek” TV series in the sixties was alive and well for the viewers of that newer time. The appropriately named “Star Trek: The Next Generation” chronicled the adventures of a new starship Enterprise, commanded by Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and a new crew from nearly a century since the original-series days of Captain Kirk (William Shatner). That series has long ended and others have aired, but the “TNG” characters have always been fondly remembered. That explains why fans rejoiced at Stewart’s return to “Star Trek”, announced just last month.
And as Entertainment Weekly has it, it was like he never left. The celebrated British actor who brought Jean-Luc Picard to life in “Star Trek: TNG” found himself reunited with his co-stars of several years during Labor Day weekend. On a Twitter photo shared by actress Marina Sirtis, who played Enterprise-D’s ship counselor Deanna Troi, she and Stewart have gathered together will nearly all but one of the major stars of “The Next Generation”: LeVar Burton (Chief Engineer Geordi LaForge), Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher), Brent Spiner (Lt. Data) and Michael Dorn (Lt. Commander Worf).
“The gang’s all here. Well most of them anyway,” wrote Sirtis on her Twitter caption. And true, the photo would have been a replication of the many images of the Enterprise-D bridge crew from “TNG”, were it not for the absence of Jonathan Frakes, who played First Officer Will Riker. There is not much of a hint as to what Stewart and his old co-stars may have talked about during their Labor Day get-together, but there most likely would have been discussion about the 78-year-old British actor ready to reprise his role as Picard for a new “Star Trek” series.
Said “Star Trek” show, being developed to premiere at CBS All Access with current series “Star Trek: Discovery”, could be taken as a direct sequel to the “TNG” era of the multimedia-spanning franchise, seeing as the network has billed its story as the “next chapter of Picard’s life”. Patrick Stewart himself never expected to come back to character after they completed the “Star Trek: Nemesis” film in 2002. “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,” he noted. “Seeking out new life for him, when I thought that life was over.” There is no premiere date yet for the proposed series.
Image from Memory Beta (Trek Fandom)