Star Trek: The Next Generation/Jean-Luc Picard

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Jean-Luc Picard
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Actor Patrick Stewart
First Appearance
Series Billing
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Jean-Luc Picard (born July 13, 2305) was one of the main characters and captain of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) and later the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-E).

Contents

Basic Information

Jean-Luc Picard is a Star Trek character primarily portrayed by Patrick Stewart. He appears in Star Trek: The Next Generation as the captain of the Federation flagship Enterprise-D. Picard also appears in the TNG-era films Generations, First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis, and has a cameo appearance in the pilot episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Picard is depicted as a deeply moral, highly intelligent man who is a master of diplomacy and debate. He prefers to peacefully resolve disputes rather than fight, although as captain of the most powerful ship in the fleet, he is well equipped to do so, and when forced into combat, very few can match his tactical prowess. Picard's signature phrase from the captain's chair was "Make it so" - a quotation from the Hornblower novels of CS Forester. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry named Picard for one or both of the twin brothers Auguste Piccard and Jean Felix Piccard, 20th century Swiss scientists.

Patrick Stewart, a Shakespearean actor, was at first considered for the role of Data. Roddenberry's first choice for Picard was Stephen Macht, and it took "weeks of discussion" with Robert H. Justman to convince Roddenberry that "Stewart was the one they had been looking for to sit in the captain's chair." Stewart, who has a background of theatre at the Royal Shakespeare Company, has been appreciative of his role, but pointed out he is not nearly as serious or brooding as his alter ego. Stewart also stated, "One of the delights of having done this series and played this role is that people are so attracted to the whole idea of Star Trek... several years after the series has ended... I enjoy hearing how much people enjoyed the work we did... It's always gratifying to me that this bald, middle-aged Englishman seems to connect with them." Stewart has also commented that his role has helped opening up Shakespeare to science fiction fans. He has noted "regular presence of Trekkies in the audience" whenever he plays theatre, and added: "I meet these people afterwards, I get letters from them and see them at the stage door... And they say, 'I've never seen Shakespeare before, I didn't think I'd understand it, but it was wonderful and I can't wait to come back'."

Character History

Jean-Luc Picard was born to Maurice and Yvette Picard in La Barre, France, in 2305 and dreamed of joining Starfleet. He failed his first Starfleet Academy entrance exam, but was subsequently admitted and became the first freshman to win the Academy marathon. Picard's academic training in archaeology is mentioned in several TNG episodes. Shortly after graduation, he was stabbed in the heart by a Nausicaan, leaving the organ irreparable and requiring replacement with a parthenogenetic implant; this would prove near-fatal later. Picard eventually served as first officer aboard the USS Stargazer, and later commanded the ship. During that time, he invented a starship combat maneuver that would become known as the Picard Maneuver.

Star Trek: The Next Generation depicts Picard's command of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D). The pilot episode shows the crew's mission to investigate Farpoint Station being sidetracked when Q makes Picard humanity's "representative" in a trial charging the species with being a "dangerously savage child race". Picard persuades Q to test humanity, and Q chooses as the test's first stage the crew's performance at Farpoint. The trial "ends" seven years later (when Q reminds Picard that it never does), in the series finale, when humanity is absolved by Picard's demonstration that the species has the capacity to explore the "possibilities of existence".


The third season finale, "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I", depicts Picard being assimilated by the Borg to serve as a bridge between humanity and the Borg. Picard is renamed Locutus in the process. Picard's assimilation and recovery are a critical point in the character's development, and provided backstory for the film Star Trek: First Contact and the development of Benjamin Sisko, the protagonist of the Deep Space Nine spin-off. Stewart asked Roddenberry to keep Picard a Borg for a few more episodes beyond the third season finale, as he thought that would be more interesting than simply restoring Picard in Part II. It is later revealed that parts of Borg machinery are still inside him, and that he retains traumatic memories of assimilation.

Picard works with James T. Kirk in Star Trek: Generations to fight the film's villain, Dr. Tolian Soran. Commanding the new USS Enterprise-E, Picard again confronts the Borg in the film First Contact. Later, he fights a species' forced relocation in Insurrection, and in Nemesis, he encounters Shinzon, a Romulan-made clone of himself.

Memorable Moments

Trivia

Quotes