I recently heard that Patrick Stewart wanted to leave TNG in the middle of his contract...something about his wanting more creative control of his character. I believe that this negotiation took place the summer of the horrible cliffhanger for Best of Both Worlds (at the end of Season 3) and they were going to kill off Locutus if Stewart didn't return. I also heard that Jonathan Frakes was instrumental in convincing him not to quit.

Is there truth to this rumour?


1 Answer 1


The source appears to be William Shatner's documentary Chaos on the Bridge and detailed here

Stewart was famously The Serious One among the cast in the show's early days, and wasn't pleased when the other actors took time to goof off on set, but his stern focus apparently hit a new level early in Season 2 when he refused to read a particular line in a script. In Shatner's film, showrunner Maurice Hurley claims that, when he got the call from the set that Stewart was refusing to go on, he responded with "Fire them all," and declared he would blow up the Enterprise and rebuild the second season with an entirely new crew.

The issue with Stewart eventually went up the ladder to John Pike, head of Paramount Television, who decided he'd settle the matter through a lunch meeting with Stewart. Pike, who knew how to play the Hollywood game, scheduled the lunch when he knew Stewart wouldn't have time to change out of his costume, and deliberately arrived 15 minutes late, so Stewart would have to sit alone in the executive dining room on the Paramount lot dressed as Captain Picard. When Pike finally arrived, he wasted no time.

“I say, ‘Patrick, let’s just cut through it. I do know that you’re creatively not being taxed. You’re going to have to bear with us for a couple more weeks, but we have already put the script in the works and we will write your character out,'" Pike said.

Stewart asked Pike, "What are you talking about?" and Pike responded, "The one thing I don't want is my lead actor unhappy." Instead of calling Pike's bluff, Stewart apparently relented, and according to Pike, he "never had another discussion" with Stewart about the issue.

  • If the “Fire them all” incident happened early in Season 2, would it have taken nearly 2 years to reach the studio head? If not, then this can't be related to the rumour in the question which is about the end of Season 3 (unless there's a mistake about the timing).
    – gidds
    Sep 18, 2023 at 13:08

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