Patrick Stewart on saying goodbye to Star Trek: "It changed my life"
It was more than three decades ago when actor Patrick Stewart first took the reign of the USS Enterprise and helped shoot the character of Captain Jean-Luc Picard into transcendental fame.
Stewart had already found success acting in some English theater plays prior to entering the Star Trek franchise. He said that when he was first offered the role for the revival of the series, he thought that it wouldn't last a season. But taking the role would send him on his own star-filled journey.
"It changed my life. There was nothing in my life that was not affected," Stewart said.
He entered the franchise as Patrick Stewart but by the end of season two, he said he didn't know where Stewart began and Picard ended as the two identities became lockstepped with each other.
As the series took off, Stewart attended a science fiction convention where he got a standing ovation from thousands of fans of the Star Trek franchise.
He said that it was at this moment that he realized the impact that the American series had on "Trekkies" across the world as the franchise embodied diversity and equality within its roles and introduced topics that were at the time unfamiliar to new audiences.
"I saw the impact that Star Trek could have on people and their lives, the diversity of the show, its belief in honesty, fair play, equality, all those elements which kind of get a little sketchy these days," he said.
Stewart left the show in 1994 but would return for brief roles in the different franchise movies that were released in the years after.
He continued to make a name for himself in Hollywood, gaining further fame when he portrayed Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men series.
But it wasn't long until he would return to the Starfleet in 2020 for the spinoff series: "Star Trek: Picard" on Paramount+. The series follows Picard into new chapters of his life.
The show is now entering its third and final season and like Picard, Stewart is looking forward to new adventures by returning to familiar territory.
"There is a movie, and that's possible in the future. But principally, I think the moment has come when I'm going to return to the live theatre, to the stage. In fact, there are a couple of Shakespeare roles I've never played," he said.
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