The Star Trek franchise is at the point in the reboot cycle in which questions are beginning to be asked about what comes next. The third film with Chris Pine as Captain Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Mr. Spock, Star Trek Beyond, is in production, so one natural question to ask is, will the franchise ever revisit to the Next Generation era?
Patrick Stewart was asked that very question in a recent interview. His answer? The return of Captain Picard is possible, but still unlikely.
“It’s possible… I think it’s unlikely, but it’s possible. The series wrapped over 25 years ago and we’ve got a rather elderly Captain Picard now. So I don’t know. It would be… it could be entertaining.”
Stewart’s answer makes it fairly clear that no plans are presently in the works for such a project, but that Stewart likely gets asked this specific question often enough that he has an answer prepared. There are undoubtable logistic challenges to a Picard comeback: Stewart is 75 years old, and while he’s still an active and fairly busy actor, it’s worth noting that he’s more than ten years older than William Shatner was the last time he played Captain Kirk on screen, in Star Trek: Generations; Shatner wasn’t coming off a 13-year break from playing the role, either.
Could some future Star Trek movie with the Pine/Quinto cast somehow shoehorn Captain Picard in, through a time-travel plot or some other form of plot creativity? Sure, but once again, we’d be reminded of Star Trek: Generations, which is not generally considered to be one of the better Star Trek feature films.
Then again, these Trek series crossovers can absolutely work. The time Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) interacted with the Next Generation cast (season five’s Unification two-parter) was a highlight of that series, and Nimoy’s appearances as Spock Prime were among the better parts of the last two Trek films. But now that the late Nimoy won’t be appearing anymore, a Picard cameo in a future Star Trek film or TV show could be a lot of fun - provided the creators had a good idea for it.
Blunt Talk, Stewart’s new series on Starz, debuts this Sunday, August 22, although the first two episodes are now available online. Star Trek: Beyond opens in U.S. theaters on July 8th, 2016.