Star Trek has always been popular at Comic-Con, and this year was no exception as there was a big Star Trek panel in Hall H dedicated to the hit CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery, as well as the new animated series Lower Decks. What fans are really excited about is the return of Sir Patrick Stewart from Star Trek: The Next Generation getting a new series called Star Trek: Picard, and Stewart was there to debut the first trailer.
Before I say anything else, why don’t you watch it for yourself?
— Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) July 20, 2019
The Beat‘s Carolyn Hinds and Hannah Lodge are on the ground providing intel from the panel. Carolyn was one of the first to see the trailer, reporting: “New Picard trailer shows Picard looking for a purpose and finding it when a young woman, played by Isa Briones, comes to him for help. He finds a new crew and new mysteries and secrets along the way. Surprise appearance by Seven and Data!”
We got a teaser a few months back, but seeing a full trailer with all these beloved ST:TNG and Voyager characters is likely to make this new CBS All Access series a very welcome prospect from old school Trek fans, many of whom have already been loving Discovery.
Stewart explained what it was like working with some of his old castmates, some for the first time since Star Trek: Nemesis in 2003: “You’ve got to get your laughing gear in place, that’s for sure, because we have more fun I think than should really be allowed in a very expensive series.”
The show’s executive producer and award-winning author Michael Chabon added: “Having observed it, the joy on Patrick’s face on the days when we’ve had returning cast members and in particular one whose name came up earlier but I just want to mention is a part of Star Trek: Picard — not only directing two episodes but will be returning along with Marina Sertes and that’s Jonathan Frakes (aka “Commander William Riker” aka “Number 1″). Seeing when Frakes was directing, seeing Patrick and Jonathan together, I would go to the set just to see the smiles on their faces.”
In fact, Stewart got quite emotional when talking about the last scene they shot for The Next Generation when Riker says, “It’s been honor, Captain” and Stewart was supposed respond, “No, the honor has all been mine.”
“I couldn’t say it,” Stewart said, getting more serious. “The emotion of saying goodbye to those seven years was so intense, we tried again and again and again to get it on camera, and it was almost impossible. I found as soon as we began talking in the writer’s room, that powerful emotion came surging back, and it’s still here — and it’s not going to go away.”
Brent Spiner joined the cast on stage to add a bit of the humor Stewart referred to. “I first heard there was going to be this Star Trek: Picard, I called the producers and said, ‘Do you have anyone for the role of Picard yet?'” (Even Stewart found this funny.) “They hung up on me,” he joked, “But then I spoke to Patrick, and he said, ‘There’s a possibility. Would you think about coming on the show in some way, appearing on the show?’ and I said, ‘I don’t think I can do that.’ And he started crying… and I just couldn’t take it!”
They were then joined on stage by Jeri Ryan, who played “Seven of Nine” on Star Trek: Voyager, and Jonathan Del Arco, who famously played “Hugh the Borg” on The Next Generation, to talk about how they were approached to reprise their roles for Picard.
“I was sitting at the Hollywood Bowl,” Ryan told the enthused crowd. “I was with Jonny, actually, and one of the creators, who is a good friend of ours as well. After about four glasses of champagne, he decided it would be a good time to bring it up and said, ‘Here’s what I’m thinking…’ And I thought it could be fun, but I really never thought anything was going to come of it, and then I kept hearing it from other creators of the show over the course of the year and it was mentioned again. I thought that was cool but still never thought it was going to happen, and then, here we are. It’s pretty surreal.”
“I was also drunk at the Hollywood Bowl,” Jonathan added coyly. “My experience was one the Borg shared with me. It’s a collective. So yeah, that conversation began and we were both like, ‘Is it going to happen? No….’ Cut to the realization that it was going to happen and I’d have to have the lifemask (sic), which is basically ‘Borg cement’ onto your face, and I said to Jeri, ‘I can’t do it, I can’t do it…I can’t do the lifemask since I’m majorly claustrophobic. She said, ‘Honey, take a pill and I’ll drive you.’ She stayed with me for five hours like a Momma Borg and made sure I was alright. It was 100% with it, because… well, we can’t talk about the design of the make-up .. but James Buchanan, who was the key make-up and head prosthetics artist on our show just got nominated for an Emmy.”
That’s about it for Star Trek: Picard. A release date for the series still hasn’t been announced yet, but it will be sometime in 2020.
Let us know in the comments if you’re excited to see some of your returning favorites, and look for more from the panel later.