[Warning: This story contains spoilers for the season two finale of Star Trek: Picard.]
like sir patrick stewart i watched the season 2 finale Star Trek: Picardwas filled with emotion.
The distinguished and iconic actor who has played Jean-Luc Picard since 1987 Star Trek: The Next Generation pilot “Encounter at Farpoint”, made for him and actor Q John de Lancie, the adventure they began 30 years earlier was officially over. And the timing was perfect.
Of course, that wasn’t the only scene in “Farewell” that struck a major chord with the Picard star while watching the final episode of the second season of the Paramount+ series, but the final exchange between the two left an indelible impression, a different feeling than when he was filming the moment.
In an interview with the hollywood reporter On the eve of the season two finale, Stewart explores a number of themes that emerged from the series, while explaining that the experience of making the second and upcoming final season, while tremendously rewarding, was also extremely draining due to the pandemic. Stewart also addresses the mental health aspect of this season and why it was personal to him.
I must start by saying that this season was extraordinary. You all did a great job with an action packed and quite emotional roller coaster. star trek station.
Thank you. It was difficult. You know, we were ready to go with season two when the pandemic hit, so we got shut down and sidelined. After about eight months, they called me and said, “Look, here’s the plan: We’ve wasted a lot of time and we need to shoot seasons two and three back to back.” Normally, there is a long break between shots in a season. But we finished the second season around 7pm and started the third at 7am the next morning. We work for about 14 months continuously. It was exciting and exciting most of the time, but it was also hard on me, who I imagine is more than twice the age of anyone else on this series. (laughs.)
There were a number of profoundly beautiful and profound moments this season for Picard, especially in the finale. I loved that final conversation with Picard and Q. Was it overwhelming for you two to start this adventure in “Encounter”?
I watched the episode for the first time this morning, and those scenes with John de Lancie and the content of those scenes touched me deeply because he was making himself vulnerable as a character. John can bring complexity to the simplest line. He meant it as a compliment. I’m envious. The whole attitude of him and the things he said and the sweetness and sensitivity of him suffocated me.
And then when we get to the point where [Borg Queen] Alison Pill took off her mask. We had this funny angled shot, quite low down on her face, looking into her eyes. I’m afraid I started to cry, it was so moving. Because of course it meant that I was saying goodbye to John and Alison, who are wonderful actors.
Mental health has been at the forefront and has had a profound impact this season. I’m curious if Picard’s trauma over his mother’s death changed your perception of this character, whom you’ve known for 30 years. We, the viewers, have a better understanding now of this complicated man. How was this new information for you to digest and realize?
My only regret is that once Jean-Luc revealed those hidden facts about his childhood to us, I almost wished we could immediately put him back on the bridge of the Enterprise to listen and see what impact this revelation had on him. But we couldn’t do that.
There are so many emotional complexities in this whole series that we didn’t investigate much in Next Generation. I grew up in a violent home and over the years, thanks to a lot of very expensive American therapies, it’s something that I think I’ve come to accept. But the damage he could do while he compressed and kept out and hid and went unrecognized was very dark. I realized that this was the same with Jean-Luc.
Now, if you watched episodes nine and ten, you’ll hear that my voice sounds different. Every time smoke is used on stage, I have to make a protest because, I know it’s not poisonous, it’s not going to hurt, it gets into the vocal chords. I particularly suffer a lot from this. And it made me a little hoarse. So at first we were going to re-record a lot of what I said, but I urged [executive producer] Akiva [Goldsman] and my fellow producers not to do that because the weakness of my voice reflected the weakness of the character.
Jean-Luc put the key back behind the brick knowing his younger self would find it, therefore his trauma would remind me of the TNG episode “Tapestry”, where, after being stabbed through the heart, he laughs knowing his timeline is secured. Did you have glimpses of those moments during this series, those callbacks that Really experienced?
The fact is that during the seven years of filming TNGI really began to understand that I didn’t know where Patrick Stewart left off and Jean-Luc Picard began. During those early years they just merged, and I found that I, as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, was becoming more and more like Patrick Stewart. So when you get these moments of a character’s situation or his actions or his risks and dangers, that’s something you recognize as a person.
There is an acting exercise called “sensory memory” that I was taught in my drama school when I was 17 years old. The basic premise of sensory memory is that not experience is never wasted on an actor. For example, I recently had injections in my hands, in my knuckles because I have arthritis. Eight injections. And the first one was tolerable, I thought, “I can live with this.” And then the doctor put the second needle in me and I screamed! I think he had never screamed before as an adult. Of course, they had to do it six more times after that. And he would say to himself every time, “Patrick, feel the memory. Remember every part of it, how it felt, how you reacted to it.”
One of my all time favorites. TNG moments is the final shot, when Jean-Luc finally joins his command team for a game of poker.
Do you remember the finish line?
“Five card stud, nothing wild. And the sky is the limit.”
Yes! [Claps hands]
Yeah, I’m kind of a big fan. Anyway, I mention it because I would love to know how it feels, after 30 years, to still be playing in the cosmic sandbox with the amazing TNG actors, as we know several of whom will appear in Picard next season.
We have been united for years and years in different ways and for different reasons. I adore you, and I love you all deeply. What they brought into my life in 1987 was rich and complex. They are all as committed as any group of actors I have ever worked with. And yes, we had a lot of fun and joked around. However, we were a serious group of actors and I was very proud of the work we did.
This interview edited for length and clarity.