Are you enjoying seeing Jean-Luc Picard again in Picard? The show picks up 20 years after we last saw the former captain of the starship, USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), in Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), where we find a man haunted by the events of that movie.
Patrick Stewart is a magnetic actor who fully commands your attention whenever he’s on screen. His Picard is one of the most popular characters in the Star Trek franchise, with fans often arguing who’s best: Jean-Luc, or James T Kirk, aka the original Trek frontman, played by William Shatner. We’re staying on the fence over that particular debate because they’re both fantastic.
Nonetheless, if you’re loving Picard and are eager to see more of Stewart, we’ve rounded up some of his best performances.
1. Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation
Okay, this might be an obvious one, but if you like Picard, you should really learn more about the character by watching The Next Generation, which ran for seven seasons from 1987 to 1994. As a Trek fan, you might’ve already watched the programme, but as it’s such a strong instalment in the ongoing tales of Starfleet, we’re sure you’ll want to watch it again regardless.
Unsurprisingly, Stewart is Jean-Luc Picard here too, albeit earlier on in the timestream, so not having to deal with all the emotional trauma he’s shouldering in Picard. The Next Generation, then, is a smorgasbord of storytelling: it can be fun, it can be dark, it can be scary, it can be emotional. Most of all, it’s hugely enjoyable.
Plus, you see Picard surrounded by his friends: Data, Commander William T. Riker, Doctor Beverly Crusher, Worf, Lieutenant Geordi La Forge, and more. This is peak Star Trek.
2. Patrick Stewart as Professor X in X-Men
Chances are, if you don’t primarily recognise Patrick Stewart from Star Trek, then you recognise him as Professor Charles Xavier in X-Men.
Stewart’s long association with Marvel began with this 2000 film in which we’re introduced to a new world of superheroes and supervillains, namely the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants respectively, each led by old friends-turned-enemies, Professor Xavier and Magneto. Yes, it’s a tale of good versus evil, but it’s also the story of prejudice. Taking its cue from the comic books created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the people with powers are actually mutants, genetic aberrations (or perhaps the next step in evolution) resulting in teenagers developing incredible abilities.
Stewart obviously loves playing such an iconic character, but he especially shines when sparring with his friend, Ian McKellan, who plays Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto.
3. Patrick Stewart as Number One in The Simpsons
From Kelsey Grammer to Glenn Close, Dustin Hoffman to Albert Brooks: The Simpsons has always attracted the big stars. And Patrick Strewart, fresh from starring as Picard in The Next Generation, voiced a character in one of the most beloved episodes of the long-running animation: Number One in ‘Homer the Great.’
Homer Simpson joins the Stonecutters, who, since ancient times, have split the rocks of ignorance that obscure the light of knowledge and truth. At its head – at least for a time, before Homer is proclaimed their messiah – is Number One, voiced with reverence and gravity by Stewart… who is clearly enjoying every second.
Now, let’s all get drunk and play ping pong!
4. Patrick Stewart as Darcy Banker in Green Room
Here’s something completely different. We’re used to seeing Stewart in roles that show off his warmth and wit, such as Picard. (It was this fun attitude that made him voice Poop in The Emoji Movie, a critically-panned film that doesn’t feature in the list otherwise, but remains a light-hearted, easy-to-watch movie, perfect for family viewing on a Sunday afternoon.)
But in Green Room, Patrick plays against type, starring as Darcy – the dark and determined club owner who orders the death of any eyewitnesses to the murder of a young woman.
It’s a vicious and shocking horror movie that might not be everyone’s cup of tea; nevertheless, it’s one of the best-reviewed films of 2015. And fans can also see the late Anton Yelchin (Chekov in the 2009 Star Trek) in one of his last roles before his untimely passing in 2016.
5. Patrick Stewart as Xavier in Logan
Yes, it’s Professor X again, but here – purportedly his last turn as Charles – Stewart’s performance is such an amazing contrast to Xavier’s first big-screen appearance.
Loosely based on Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s ‘Old Man Logan’ comic story, Logan takes place in the near future, when the X-Men have disbanded and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) lives an isolated and sad life, looking after his friend and ex-mentor, Professor X. Charles, however, is a senile shadow of his former self, muttering to himself, yelling and swearing at Logan, and having seizures which, magnified by his mind-control powers, affect anyone in the vicinity.
And yet there’s a lightness and fervour about the movie and especially to Xavier, showing that, though the years have not been kind, this is still the same thoughtful, kind, and compassionate character we fell in love with in X-Men.
Soon after its release, Patrick said this felt like the last time he’d play the iconic leader of the X-Men. However, rumour has it that we’ll see him one more time, very soon…
6. Patrick Stewart as Claudius and Hamlet’s Father in Hamlet (2009)
Stewart has appeared in a number of Shakespearean productions, both on stage and on screen. Soon after finishing as Picard in The Next Generation, he was drawn back to the stage, treading the boards in numerous adaptations of Shakespeare plays. Among these were: the lead roles in Othello, Macbeth, and (the former part in) Antony and Cleopatra; Prospero in The Tempest; Malvolio in Twelfth Night; and Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.
In 1980, he played Claudius, the traitorous uncle who killed the titular character’s father in the TV movie of Hamlet. Then, in 2009, he appeared as Claudius again – as well as the ghost of Hamlet’s slain father – this time opposite Doctor Who star David Tennant.
Hamlet is perpetually popular: influential, ambitious, personal, disturbing, and endlessly fascinating, its heady formula makes it the Royal Shakespeare Company’s most performed play. So how do you decide which version to see? They’re all worth your time (okay, 90% of them anyway), but Tennant and Stewart make this adaptation a stand-out favourite.
Those are just a few of Sir Patrick Stewart’s top film and TV roles, but which ones are you itching to watch again? Let us know your favourite performances in the comments section or on social media!
Star Trek Next Gen scarf – order now from the Lovarzi shop!