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Author Topic: A Star Trek Without Stewart??  (Read 1202 times)

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Offline Geekyfanboy

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A Star Trek Without Stewart??
« on: April 23, 2007, 09:44:39 AM »
As we prepare to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the premiere of Gene Roddenberry’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation” we are left with an intriguing question: Can you imagine the USS Enterprise-D without Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard) in the center seat?

Believe it or not, according to producer Robert Justman, it almost didn’t happen. Gene was pretty adamant about not wanting Patrick for the role. While quite a distinguished actor and well known on the Shakespearean stage, Stewart was not the kind of man Gene had originally invisioned for the role. He was looking for a tall, strapping, middle-aged and hairy Frenchman to portray Julian Picard….that’s right, his name was to be Julian, not Jean Luc. Patrick was anything but tall, strapping, French or hairy. To the contrary, he was British, of average height, rugged looking, quite muscular and as bald as a new born babe. After his audition and interview at Gene’s house, he was quickly dismissed as not the man for the part by the franchise creator.

Several on Gene’s staff (including newcomer Rick Berman) were hot for Stewart and wanted to get him badly for the role, but Gene dug in, as Gene was wont to do from time to time, and remained steadfast in his search for the good looking French actor that would satisfy his vision of Picard.

It finally came down to the very last actor to audition for the role with the clock quickly clicking down to the shoot date and still no one could be found that met Gene’s ideal candidate for the role. One day, while in a meeting with his staff at the office, Gene looked over the table, let out a huge sigh and said, to the relief of much of his crew, “All right, I’ll go with Patrick.”

And, while Stewart’s accent was definitely British (he toned it down a bit to sound non-aligned Western European), they kept his character as a Frenchman named Picard, with a slight first name change to Jean Luc — and the rest is, as they say, is history.

Fans of the series and franchise are forever greatful to Gene’s staff for believing in Patrick and for Gene to be man enough to put the project first over his own tunneled view of the character, because Star Trek without Patrick Stewart would be like dry cereal without milk — bland, tasteless and boring.


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