The 'Star Trek: Picard' star talks to ET about the final season and reuniting with his 'Next Generation' co-stars.
The Star Trek: Picard star made a memorable appearance as Charles Xavier in the 2022 Marvel blockbuster, prompting speculation that this was opening the door for more appearances in future movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Stewart was first introduced as the character in the original X-Men trilogy, appearing in three films from 2000 to 2006. He later returned in four more movies before Professor X's death in 2017's Logan.
"Charles Xavier? Well, I am looking to borrow his wheelchair if we're to do much more Star Trek or standing up is becoming a bit of a problem," the 82-year-old actor quipped to ET's Will Marfuggi during a sit-down interview promoting Picard's third and final season on Paramount+, which launches Thursday.
"I can't say about what Charles' future might possibly hold," Stewart said, not quite closing the door on the possibility.
The legendary actor shared that his close friend and X-Men counterpart, Sir Ian McKellen, who played Magneto in the original franchise, had a favorable response to Stewart's Doctor Strange 2 cameo.
"Actually, it went very well. He did say something like ['Hey, I would've done this!'], yes that's true," Stewart said, before hinting that there may be more Professor X and Magneto to come. "But we're not done, Sir Ian and myself. We're... we got plans."
Perhaps a promising tease, considering Stewart shared in a recent interview that he's "been told to stand by" with regard to a potential appearance in the upcoming Deadpool 3. Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman are confirmed to reprise their roles as Wade Wilson/Deadpool and Logan/Wolverine, respectively. "I know nothing more than that, honest," Stewart admitted.
Stewart was joined in ET's interview by his Star Trek: The Next Generation co-stars, Gates McFadden and Michael Dorn, who return as Dr. Beverly Crusher and Dorf, respectively. McFadden and Dorn joked they'd like dibs on parts of Professor X's iconic wardrobe, with Dorn eyeing his helmet ("It's not comfortable, you can have it!" Stewart remarked) and McFadden claiming the jacket.
In the final season of Picard, a desperate message from a long-lost friend draws Starfleet legend Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Stewart) into the most daring mission of his life, forcing him to recruit allies spanning generations old and new. This final adventure sets him on a collision course with the legacy of his past and explosive, new revelations that will alter the fate of the Federation forever.
Stewart opened up about his initial hesitation about reuniting his Next Generation pals on Picard after more than three decades.
"That was a long process and it was not the original plan. I had made one condition of coming back to the show that it would not just be a Next Generation reunion. I wasn’t interested in that," Stewart told ET. "Little by little, as we were filming season 1, I began to see the opportunities for us slowly, gradually assembling the rest of our cast and that’s what did happen. Right to the end of the third season. And I was turned around totally about that feeling."
As McFadden detailed, because so much time and life has passed since the end of Next Generation, it seemed like an opportune time to revisit this group of characters and give them a proper send-off.
"We were older, wiser. We're all more beautiful, right?" the actress joked. "It was so wonderful. Actually, it was really great because we have grown, but we also have stayed together. We're very tight. We're like a family in that way."
They credited the Star Trek universe created by the late Gene Roddenberry for continuing to inspire and celebrate positivity and inclusivity in all forms.
"Everybody speaks of the optimism and it truly does talk about a more positive future, that there is a future," McFadden said. "I also think a lot of people follow science and technology, which our show does as well, and it's a familiar group of people. That we're human beings that have their problems and the things they do well together, and I think it's not dystopian. Even if we really argue about things, and our characters have always had a back and forth that way. But there's respect and so you ultimately think, 'What's for the greater good?'"
"I used to think, well, it's the stories, it's good television. It's been 35 years and people’s kids are fans and... there's so much Star Trek now, there are so many shows that I’m always surprised, always amazed," Dorn added. "We did [a] New York [convention] just recently. It's a full room. I think what you got to do is you got to ask each person and they'll give you a different answer, I really do."
Stewart said Star Trek living on for generations and generations only offers him "hope."
"I was born in 1940, so I was alive through most of the second World War and then the Korean War and then the Middle East, and yet we seem to be getting better and better and better about running the planet in our adult lives until recently. So I’m looking for those people to cheer on, who have the ability and the hope to turn it around," he shared.
The actor also promised season 3, which introduces several younger characters into Star Trek lore, will add an intriguing layer to Picard. "They're going to have an impact, certainly in season 3, and I think that's very important," Stewart teased.
The final season of Star Trek: Picard begins Thursday on Paramount+.