The Next Generation Than Anyone Knows


It’s important to remember that Patrick Stewart was not much of a Hollywood actor at the time. He’d been in a few movies, yes, including John Boorman’s “Excalibur” and David Lynch’s “Dune.” However, Stewart came up on stage in his native England (he was a staple of the Royal Shakespeare Company for many years). He must’ve felt like a fish out of water moving to Los Angeles to shoot “Star Trek.” He kept in touch with his relatives back home, but when they asked when they could visit him in L.A., he warned them he might not be in Tinseltown for much longer.

“TNG” was already popular; Stewart vividly remembers his first convention and in “Making It So,” he recalls meeting a US Navy Officer whose crew watched the show “religiously” while they were at sea. However, the production pause was sapping “TNG” of the energy it needed to warp into season 2. Stewart writes:

“We were still in limbo. And not just in my perpetually worried mind. Ours was an expensive show to produce, and the longer the strike went on, the more momentum we lost, and the more likely it became that Paramount would cut its losses and make ‘TNG’ a one-and-done show.”

Stewart continues that the show was “closer to being canceled than most people realize.” During the last days of the strike, Paramount invited Stewart and his then-wife Sheila out to Cannes, France (for a TV convention, not the famous film festival). While there, some Paramount executives whispered to Stewart that “TNG” being canceled was “all but certain.”

Stewart notes that he was not “unduly disappointed” with this seeming confirmation. “In the weeks since I had returned to England, I had resumed many of my old routines, and it had all been a bit of a dream, those days in Southern California,” he writes.

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