Patrick Stewart made a name for himself as the dignified Captain Picard in the sci-fi series Star Trek. Picard was known for his austere but fair nature, unafraid to have difficult conversations with his crew. It seems this is something Stewart has in common with his on-screen persona.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter Ronald D. Moore – who’s written many Star Trek episodes and two of the science fiction movies – admitted Stewart had baulked at some of the creative decisions made while making First Contact. Specifically, he didn’t like the original plan that Picard be trapped on Earth while Jonathan Frakes’s Commander Riker would be on the ship fighting The Borg.
“We did at least a draft or two of that version, and I know Patrick wanted to be on the ship. Patrick had really liked doing the [The Next Generation episode] Starship Mine, where he was alone on the Enterprise-D and running around,” he explained. “I think he overtly referenced that in a way like, ‘I would really like to be the one on the ship fighting the Borg, instead of down on the surface.’ And Rick Berman relayed that to us, and I think Brannon [Baga] and I just immediately went: ‘That’s better. That makes more sense.’ So we flipped it.”
As with many movies, as the screenplay was developed, several drafts of First Contact were written. Eventually, Moore and his writing partner Baga were replaced. Moore claims this was because “[Stewart] wanted some rewrites of his scenes, and he pressed [producer] Rick [Berman], to bring on his own writer to do that. Rick did it, and Brannon and I were not happy. I wasn’t particularly aggrieved about it, but then, that didn’t work out.”
Things took a more awkward turn when Moore and Braga were brought back on to write a final draft of First Contact leading to a terse meeting with Stewart in his trailer.
“I remember Patrick at the outset just said something like: ‘It’s good to see you. I hope that we can all move on from the things that have happened, and now let’s just concentrate on the work.’ And I took that in the spirit it was given: [Stewart] wants to move on from this he’s not going to apologise outright, but he kind of is apologising. And it was never spoken of again. So we just move on.”
If you love boldly going where no one has gone before, check out our guide on the best alien movies. Or if you prefer your science fiction to take place in a galaxy far, far away then we have a guide on how to watch the Star Wars movies in order.