Make it so! Sir Patrick Stewart to return to the role of Jean-Luc Picard

CBS is going where no man — er, network — has gone before.

According to a report from Variety, four new series set in the Star Trek universe are currently in development at CBS after prolific sci-fi screenwriter Alex Kurtzman signed a five-year deal. Kurtzman will oversee the expansion of CBS’s Trek portfolio, which currently consists solely of Star Trek: Discovery.

It’s unclear how extensive CBS’ plans are for the Trek universe — if Disney’s Star Wars activity is any indication, we’re in for a lot of spinoffs — but we do know of four projects currently in the pipes.

There’s a series set at Starfleet Academy from the team of Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz (Gossip GirlRunaways); a limited series based on the Wrath of Khan storyline, which was the subject of both Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek: Into Darkness; an animated series, with no further details available; and another limited series, also being kept under wraps.

We now have one major detail regarding one of the new series. Sir Patrick Stewart has announced that he will be returning to reprise his role as Jean-Luc Picard. We don’t know too much about the series, but it will reportedly be a sequel to Enterprise rather than a reboot.

In his statement, Stewart mentioned that he had thought his time as Picard had come to an end, but said that he found himself “excited and invigorated” to be returning to the iconic role. He said that he hopes that Picard will be able to shine a light during”these often very dark times.”

It is an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him. Read my full statement in the photo. #StarTrek @cbsallaccess Photo: @shervinfoto pic.twitter.com/8Ynuj3RBNm

— Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) August 4, 2018

Discovery debuted alongside CBS All Access, the network’s new streaming platform, in 2017. The show struggled at first as reports leaked out regarding behind-the-scenes issues of budgeting and morale, but recovered and earned critical acclaim over the final stretch of season 1. The second season is set to arrive in 2019.

With Discovery as one of its linchpins and several more Trek properties in gestation, it looks like CBS is doubling down on sci-fi in a big way. We’re also expecting more Star Trek movies, though those probably wouldn’t be related to CBS’s projects. We know Quentin Tarantino plans to put his spin on the franchise, though he’s currently working on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Kurtzman previously served as an executive producer on Discovery, and the deal sees him take over that show (in addition to all the new projects) following the exit of previous showrunners Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts. Kurtzman co-wrote both Into Darkness and the reboot that preceded it, and currently produces three CBS shows (including Hawaii Five-O) through his production company Secret Hideout.

Kurtzman and Secret Hideout will also develop other, non-Trek related series across broadcast, cable, and streaming for CBS.

Updated on 8-4-2018 with the news that Patrick Stewart will be reprising his role as Jean-Luc Picard

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