Captain Picard is a character in the Star Trek franchise.
He has been portrayed by Patrick Stewart in:
- The TV-series Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG)
- The TV-series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (only in one episode)
- The 1994 movie Star Trek Generations
- The 1996 movie Star Trek: First Contact
- The 1998 movie Star Trek: Insurrection
- The 2002 movie Star Trek: Nemesis
- The web television series Star Trek: Picard (2020-present)
Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry named Picard after the Swiss 20th-century twin brothers Auguste and Jean Piccard, who are both notable figures in the fields of science and exploration, including record-breaking balloon flights.
Casting Patrick Stewart in Star Trek
Robert H. Justman, a member of the production crew for Star Trek: The Next Generation, saw Patrick Stewart do a literary readin at UCLA, and wanted to cast him as Jean-Luc Picard. The executive producer Gene Roddenberry opposed this, as he wanted a French actor in the role (the character Picard is from La Barre, France). He also wanted Picard to be played by an actor that was “masculine, viril, and had a lot of hair”.
Still, Justman arranged a meeting between Stewart and the production team. With Roddenberry still insisting on a French actor to portray Picard, Justman suggested Stewart in the role of the android Data.
After sitting through auditions with plenty of other actors, Roddenberry couldn´t find any one he preferred more than Stewart as Picard, so he changed the role Picard to suit Stewart better. Stewart offered to use a United States accent, but the producers told him to stick with his English accent. Stewart also had his toupee sent from London, but Roddenberry hated it, so Picard was turned into a bald character.
In later interviews, Stewart has stated that he was uncertain why the producers had decided to cast a middle-aged bald English Shakespearean actor as captain of the Enterprise. He was also not aware of Star Trek´s iconic status in United States culture. He was reluctant to sign the standard six-year-long contract, but after consulting with his agent and a few other people he did so anyway because they all agreed that the new show would fail soon, and he would be able to return to the stage in London after having made some good money in America.
Patrick Hewes Stewart
Patrick Stewart has no middle name, but there was already a member of the U.S Screen Actors Guild named Patrick Stewart, so he invented the middle name Hewes to create a unique name when registering with the guild.
The character Picard was based on the character Horatio Hornblower (a fictional Napoleonic Wars–era Royal Navy officer in a series of novels and stories by the English writer C. S. Forester), so Roddenberry sent these books to Stewart, but Stewart had already them as a teenager.