Patrick Stewart, star of TV's "Star Trek: The Next Generation," prepares to "engage" during filming at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California in 1987. Stewart portrayed the heroic Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

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Patrick Stewart to Reprise “Star Trek” Character on New Series

Will return to play Captain Jean-Luc Picard for first time since 2002.

Patrick Stewart set sci-fi fans on stunned Saturday night, announcing before a convention crowd that he will be reprising his beloved Star Trek character on a new series.

The British actor will once again play Jean-Luc Picard —a fan-favorite captain of the USS Enterprise who served on seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) and four feature films — this time on an upcoming series for the streaming service, CBS Access. The untitled show “will tell the next chapter of Picard’s life.” Behind the scenes, it will be piloted by Star Trek: Discovery co-creator/executive producer Alex Kurtzman, James Duff, Akiva Goldsman, Michael Chabon, and Discovery writer Kirsten Beyer.

“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 told the crowd at the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention during a surprise appearance.

“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.”

It seemed though that Earth-bound politics may have played a role in his decision to return to the bridge.

“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,” Stewart said. “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.”

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