Patrick Stewart Talks Picard vs. Kirk, 'Star Trek' Morality

The "X-Men" actor, who covers Smithsonian magazine's May issue, also elaborates on an often asked question: Who would win in a fight between Kirk and Picard?

Patrick Stewart appears optimistic about the future of science fiction. The veteran actor dispelled the idea, floated by a Smithsonian magazine writer, that modern sci-fi is becoming more dystopian. 

"[Gene Roddenberry's] view of the future was fairly utopian and benevolent, mostly," Stewart told the magazine of the series' creator. "And it's one of the reasons, I always believed, why the series continues to be such a success. What is it, 50, 60 years? There's nothing like it. No other show has ever had a history of this. And it is because of the fundamentally optimistic view of what happens in Star Trek."

The actor, who will reprise his role as Professor X in the latest X-Men installment next month, graces an upcoming cover of the 44-year-old publication. The May issue is billed as the first celebrity cover. Stewart will be featured along with fellow Star Trek alum George Takei during a May 16-18 festival titled The Future Is Here, which coincides with the issue. 

During the interview, the actor also elaborated on a presumably often asked question among Star Trek fans: Who would win if Capt. Kirk faced off against his Capt. Picard? 

"Gene set up certain moral parameters that we endeavored not to break through. And if we did, there had to be a damn good reason for doing it, and you had to justify it," Stewart said. "And that made those seven years for me, for the most part, very interesting because Picard was a thoughtful man. I used to get asked, 'In a fight between Kirk and Picard, who would win?' And my answer always was there wouldn't be a fight because Picard would negotiate his way around it. Picard saw force as a last resort. Absolute last resort."

The actor's full interview at the Smithsonian site will be published on April 22.