Patrick Stewart is boldly going where he has been before.
As has been rumored for months, the actor has officially signed on to star in a new Star Trek series for CBS All Access in which he will reprise his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard. The new series will not be a reboot of The Next Generation, but instead is being described as an exploration of the next chapter of Picard's life. Additional details about the new series, including its title, episode count or a premiere date, are being kept under wraps. The creative team for the newest Star Trek series includes Alex Kurtzman, who serves as showrunner on CBS All Access' Discovery and whose recent overall deal with CBS Television Studios included marching orders to expand the beloved and global franchise.
"With overwhelming joy, it’s a privilege to welcome Sir Patrick Stewart back to the Star Trek fold. For over 20 years, fans have hoped for the return of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and that day is finally here. We can’t wait to forge new ground, surprise people, and honor generations both new and old," said Kurtzman, who leads a creative team that also includes James Duff (The Closer, Major Crimes), Akiva Goldsman (Discovery), Michael Chabon (the John Carter writer who is also penning one of the recently announced Star Trek: Discovery shorts) and Kirsten Beyer (Discovery).
Stewart confirmed his return to the franchise Saturday at a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, where he made a surprise appearance onstage. (Watch him make the announcement, below.)
"I will always be very proud to have been a part of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but when we wrapped that final movie in the spring of 2002, I truly felt my time with Star Trek had run its natural course," said Stewart, who will also executive produce the new series. "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. Seeking out new life for him, when I thought that life was over. During these past years, it has been humbling to hear many stories about how The Next Generation brought people comfort, saw them through difficult periods in their lives or how the example of Jean-Luc inspired so many to follow in his footsteps, pursuing science, exploration and leadership. I feel I'm ready to return to him for the same reason — to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times. I look forward to working with our brilliant creative team as we endeavor to bring a fresh, unexpected and pertinent story to life once more."
Star Trek: The Next Generation ran for seven seasons and more than 170 episodes, earning 19 Emmys and a Peabody Award. Stewart would go on to star in a number of Star Trek features, including 1998's Star Trek: Insurrection and 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis, as Picard.
Joining Stewart as exec producers on the new untitled Star Trek series are Kurtzman; Duff; Goldsman; Chabon; Kurtzman's Secret Hideout president Heather Kadin; Rod Roddenberry, son of late Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and CEO of Roddenberry Entertainment; and Trevor Roth.
The Stewart-led series marks the third new Star Trek effort on CBS' SVOD platform All Access, joining Discovery and the shortform spinoff Short Treks. The latter is a four-episode series with each installment running 10-15 minutes that offers deeper explorations of the characters and themes from Discovery and the expanding Star Trek universe. The series will launch in the fall and roll out monthly, helping to keep awareness of Discovery high before its return in January 2019.
For his part, Kurtzman was tapped to spearhead development of what would become Discovery. He is now the series' third showrunner after it parted ways with Bryan Fuller (following creative differences) and Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts (following leadership and operational issues). Days after The Hollywood Reporter broke the news of Kurtzman's promotion to showrunner, he signed a new $25 million overall deal with producers CBS Television Studios that included expanding the Star Trek world.
Stewart is repped by ICM Partners, Anonymous Content and Ziffren Brittenham.