“I was advised not to talk about it.” But… I… I… I don’t care, I don’t care.”
“What are they going to fire?”
“It’s a little too late for that.”
Patrick Stewart and LeVar Burton burst out laughing. The kind of laughter that can only come from the dearest of old friends. And they’re old friends: They went on a 36-year journey together as Jean-Luc Picard and Geordi LaForge — in fact, the two, along with Jonathan Frakes, were the very first cast members announced for “Star Trek.” : The Next Generation” in May 1987. Now, they’ve reached the end of that journey with “Star Trek: Picard” Season 3, a reunion of the “Next Gen” cast that set up one last mission between the teams. stars.
“I think basically we all feel the same way,” Burton said. “If this is indeed the case, I don’t think we could have come out at a better time for the crew — and as a family.”
Or is it really the end?
During a conversation on IndieWire’s Awards Spotlight, Stewart and Burton talked about the unique opportunity that “Picard” Season 3 offers to develop their characters. This wasn’t just a nostalgia trip, repeating what we saw of the crew in 1994 or 2002. It showed that they are “now” 20 years later.
“When it was first brought up to me, I was very reluctant to join this plan to revive Star Trek,” Stewart said. – Some of the original cast at the beginning. I think if someone had said to me, “And we’re going to have a big reunion where everyone comes back,” I would have said, “Count me in, that’s not what I want.”
But then some combination of creators Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman, and Michael Chabon got to Stewart and said, in the actors’ words, “Look, guys, your lives have definitely changed in the last 20 years. They changed. There were excitements, there were disappointments. Tragedies could even happen. But we don’t know what those things are yet, so we have to explore and find them.”
That was the hook. And the discovery of changes due to the passage of time excited Stewart.
“One of the things I’ll never forget is the first time (LeVar was) on set and I looked at your face and I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s not Geordi. Something happened here. You had such a strong seriousness. What was always there, a twinkle in your eye that never went away. But you had this solid, unshakable feeling.
For Burton, the passage of time was an opportunity to show a different side of Geordi and to be part of the process of creating where his character would be now (there was a saying in the ’90s “Trek” shows that the writers and actors barely interacted step).
“I don’t think either one of us was better,” Burton said of “Picard” Season 3. “And I have to say it’s because we were invited into the process. When it really started for me was a phone call from[showrunner Terry Matalas]asking me, “What do you want to see?” And I had a request: I’d like to restore Geordi’s canon as far as relationships go. That little snooping episode with Dr. Brahms never sat well with me, and I never wanted that to be his legacy: “He was a great engineer, but he had a #MeToo moment and he never experienced the consequences.” So I said: I want him to be a family man, to have healthy relationships. And (Terry) left and came back with the LaForge sisters. My kids are 42 and 28, and then I was able to bring the depth, the weight, the anxiety that we feel as parents, the gravitas… that was true for Geordi. It was exactly where I felt it should be.”
Stewart recalled how Burton’s daughter Mica — who plays Geordi’s daughter Alandra on the show — has expressed the close bonds she’s built in her “Star Trek” life over the years.
“Every time I met her, I was amazed because she had grown into a woman and I remembered her as a baby, and that was one of the indicators that (‘Star Trek’) was such a big part of my life. In fact, no question, the most significant part of my life. There were moments – but ultimately nothing had the impact of ‘Next Generation’.”
Burton was delighted that Geordi was the one responsible for bringing the Enterprise-D back to life in Season 3 when it was revealed that he would spend 20 years restoring it after its destruction in “Star Trek: Generations.”
“In all of Season 3, I think the reveal moment is one of the most emotional,” Burton said. “There are a lot of emotional moments in Season 3, and I know there are for the fans, but this was one of the most satisfying. Come on, it’s like he’s been working on that ’57 Chevy in his garage all these years and restoring it. It was completely understandable to the audience that this was how this man spent his time.
For Stewart, this set of bridges represented everything about how collaboration defined Picard. “When I realized the set was almost done, not done but almost done… it might have been lunchtime and the stage was cleared, so I went down there and walked around the bridge by myself and let all the memories come flooding back . Stewart said. “And yes, there were difficulties from time to time, of course there were.” But the bridge meant creativity, work, and companionship—and addiction—to me most of all. As Jean-Luc Picard, I needed every single one of my co-stars. And I think it was the same for all of us. It was a combination of addiction and freedom.”
If Season 3 was Picard & Co., it was quite the finale. But it’s an undeniable fact that it was so good that fans want more. Which brings us back to the particular trajectory that Stewart was trying to achieve.
“I think we could do a movie, a ‘Picard’-based movie,” he said. “Now not necessarily about Picard, but about all of us. And to take a lot of these wonderful elements, especially from Season 3 of “Picard,” and make what I think could be an extraordinary movie. I keep telling and mentioning it to people and so far there hasn’t been an enthusiastic response, but it could happen. And I think that’s a very appropriate way of saying, “And goodbye, folks.”
Watch the full Awards Spotlight conversation between Stewart and Burton above.