Sir Patrick Stewart back as Jean-Luc Picard in new Star Trek series

Sir Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard.
Sir Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard. Photo credit: CBS

Sir Patrick Stewart will reprise his most iconic role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in a new Star Trek TV series.

The veteran actor last starred as the captain of the Enterprise in 2002's Nemesis, the last feature film starring the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

CBS says the new show will cover the next chapter of Capt Picard's life.

"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," Sir Patrick told fans at a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas on Saturday.

"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."

Sir Patrick, then a highly regarded theatre actor, was infamously reluctant to take on the role of Capt Picard in 1987, expecting The Next Generation to be a flop. It was a hit, running for seven seasons and paving the way for three more Star Trek TV shows: Voyager, Enterprise and Deep Space Nine.

"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," said Sir Patrick.

"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 endeavour to bring a fresh, unexpected and pertinent story to life once more."

Sir Patrick is 78. After The Next Generation's TV run ended in 1994, he went on to star in the X-Men films as Professor Charles Xavier and provide his voice or a number of animated movies, as well as returning to the stage.

The new series about Capt Picard will be helmed by the same team behind Discovery, the latest TV entry in the Star Trek universe.