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Was Picard always intended to have an interest in Shakespeare, or did this come along with (classically trained Shakespearean actor) Patrick Stewart?

It's a huge part of his character, but was it always the plan?

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    Without evidence, I'd say "probably." Shakespeare had been in Star Trek since TOS, although moreso in the movies. It gives the characters some cultural background the audience can relate to, and it ages better than Woodstock references.
    – DavidW
    Apr 23, 2023 at 17:52
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    I vote yes -- I would imagine writers get all sorts of inspiration as they try to create new episodes. Maybe even Sir Patrick suggested it.
    – releseabe
    Apr 23, 2023 at 19:09
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    It’s also possible that they wanted Picard to be a Shakespeare fan and that’s one reason why Stewart got the part Apr 23, 2023 at 20:04

1 Answer 1

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Shakespeare, as well as other British influence, was initially not part of the role

Captain Julien Picard (later then renamed to Jean-Luc) was originally envisioned to be much more "french", with no hints to Shakespeare at all. The earliest characterisation I could find describes him as a "distinguished man in his 50s"

Excerpt from Starlog 118, describing Julien Picard as a distinguished man in his mid-50s

(Source: Starlog 118)

"The Bible", a document that summarises all the characters for the authors, shows no hint of Shakespeare, but instead emphasises his pride of his French heritage:

Characterization of Jean Luc Picard in "The Bible"

(Source: The Next Generation Writer's Guide)

Besides Stewart, four actors were cast for the role of Picard, none of which have a strong Shakespearian background:

  • Mitch Ryan
  • Roy Thinnes
  • Yaphet Kotto
  • Patrick Bauchau

The latter was a favourite of Roddenberry, which is unsurprising; his Belgian background would make a convincing Frenchman. Bauchau also has no Shakespeare training.

Memo around casting, mentioning Bauchau to be a favorite for the role of Picard.

(Source)

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  • Interesting casting "what ifs" -- Yaphet Kotto as Picard and Wesley Snipes as Geordi! No Marina Sirtis?
    – RobertF
    May 19, 2023 at 20:13
  • @RobertF Sirtis auditioned for Macha Hernandez (later reworked to Tasha Yar) before Roddenberry switched her and Crosby around. Also, did you notice Rosalind Chao (Keiko O‘Brien) auditioning as Yar?
    – Philipp
    May 20, 2023 at 5:46
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    I did see that, interesting. Also Tim Russ (who played one of the Enterprise thieves in a TNG episode & Tuvok in Voyager) and Eric Menyuk (the Traveler). And Kevin Peter Hall auditioned for Geordi! Hall was over 7 feet tall & played the alien in the Predator films.
    – RobertF
    May 20, 2023 at 20:51

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