'Star Trek: Picard' Actors Reminisce About Their First Trek Experiences

In a new video filmed at Comic-Con International: San Diego, Patrick Stewart and other "Star Trek" actors who will feature in the new series "Star Trek: Picard" discuss their first experiences with the iconic television and film franchise. 

In addition to Stewart (who plays Capt. Jean-Luc Picard), actors Brent Spiner (Data), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine) and Jonathan Del Arco (Hugh) sat down to discuss their first "Star Trek" memories. 

Spiner explains his introduction to the Trek enterprise first, recalling his respect for legendary Trek actor William Shatner and the times in his youth when he would stay up late and watch "Star Trek" long after he was supposed to be asleep. 

Related: The 10 Best 'Star Trek' Episodes Ever

"I just remember how colorful it was, that it was different. It looked different than anything else," Spiner says. "I remember being struck by seeing Bill Shatner actually ... I thought, oh, well he's a good actor. I really always liked him and I thought I'll watch it because of Shatner."

Spiner emphasizes that, at the time, "Star Trek" wasn't a terribly meaningful part of his life. When he was a young child, it was really just a fun television show, he says. "I loved television," he says. "I watched it long after I was supposed to be in bed when I was that age and 'Star Trek'  was part of that magic world."

Stewart follows, sharing that, before he was offered the opportunity to audition for "Star Trek: the Next Generation," he wasn't very familiar with "Star Trek." In fact, his children had to explain to him what the show was and why it was such a big deal.

When "the first 'Star Trek' aired," Stewart says, "I was working for the Royal Shakespeare Company. I would get out of makeup, get out costume and drive quickly home, where my two little children were getting ready for bed … often, I would come back and they would be sitting in front of the television and they would be watching these guys in colored T-shirts.

"I never really knew what it was," he continues, "but when the invitation to audition came to me in 1986, I had to turn to them and say, 'Guys, what is 'Star Trek'? What does it mean to you?' … I think they were far more excited than I was, initially."

Del Arco, on the other hand, says he grew up watching "Star Trek" reruns late at night and was drawn from a young age to Spock. "They were on really late at night," he says. "I would wake up to watch 'Star Trek,' but many nights, I fell asleep to that and I always identified with Spock … I wanted to be a Vulcan."

Related: Every Actor That's Every Played Spock on 'Star Trek'!

Ryan says she felt similarly to Spiner in that, while she watched the series growing up, to her, "Star Trek" wasn't anything more than a popular television show. "I was a kid," she says. "I didn't really realize what the message of the show was. I didn't really realize the impact of the show until I was involved in it as an actor, as an adult. You realize the legacy and you realize what the message behind the episodes really is. It's a pretty special thing to be a part of." 

"Star Trek: Picard" will feature more than just these veteran "Star Trek" actors. As of now, Jonathan Frakes (Cmdr. William T. Riker) and Marina Sirtis (counselor Deanna Troi) will also join the cast, and fans suspect that these won't be the only familiar Trek actors to appear in the new series. 

The highly anticipated show is scheduled to premiere in 2020 on CBS All Access in North America. 

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Chelsea Gohd
Senior Writer

Chelsea “Foxanne” Gohd joined Space.com in 2018 and is now a Senior Writer, writing about everything from climate change to planetary science and human spaceflight in both articles and on-camera in videos. With a degree in Public Health and biological sciences, Chelsea has written and worked for institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine and Live Science. When not writing, editing or filming something space-y, Chelsea "Foxanne" Gohd is writing music and performing as Foxanne, even launching a song to space in 2021 with Inspiration4. You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd and @foxannemusic.