Star Trek producers revealed Saturday that Patrick Stewart will reprise the role of Star Trek: The Next Generation captain Jean-Luc Picard on the franchise’s new series.
The actor is also set to serve as executive producer on the series, which will air – like Star Trek Discovery – on CBS’ video-on-demand service All Access beginning in the fall of 2019.
Stewart portrayed the fan-beloved Picard during Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s original television run from 1987 to 1994; the series’ crew also starred in four feature films, with Picard last appearing in 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis.
“I will always be very proud to have been a part of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but when we wrapped that final movie in the spring of 2002, I truly felt my time with Star Trek had run its natural course,” Stewart said in a statement.
“It is, therefore, an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him. Seeking out new life for him, when I thought that life was over. During these past years, it has been humbling to hear many stories about how The Next Generation brought people comfort, saw them through difficult periods in their lives or how the example of Jean-Luc inspired so many to follow in his footsteps, pursuing science, exploration and leadership. I feel I’m ready to return to him for the same reason — to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times. I look forward to working with our brilliant creative team as we endeavor to bring a fresh, unexpected and pertinent story to life once more.”
The series’ producer Alex Kurtzman added in a statement (via The Hollywood Reporter), “With overwhelming joy, it’s a privilege to welcome Sir Patrick Stewart back to the Star Trek fold. For over 20 years, fans have hoped for the return of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and that day is finally here. We can’t wait to forge new ground, surprise people, and honor generations both new and old.”
Stewart was also on hand at a Star Trek fan convention in Las Vegas to surprise attendees with the announcement: