Nearly three decades have passed since Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) concluded, but its impact on the careers of its cast, particularly Patrick Stewart, cannot be overstated. The show, while introducing new Star Trek lore after a 20-year hiatus, propelled Stewart and his relatively unknown co-stars into the realm of stardom. However, behind the scenes, the journey was not always smooth sailing. In his new memoir, “Making It So: A Memoir,” Stewart reflects on an incident during the filming of Season 1 that led him to confront his own shortcomings as a leader on the set of TNG.
Stewart, renowned for his intense and serious acting background at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, found it challenging to adjust to the more light-hearted atmosphere during the early days of TNG. When his co-stars indulged in moments of lightheartedness during a particularly tense period on set, Stewart’s frustration boiled over. In an exclusive excerpt published by The Hollywood Reporter, he confesses how he lashed out at his fellow cast members during a meeting, berating them for their perceived lack of professionalism.
The incident proved to be a wake-up call for Stewart, who realized that he had mishandled the situation. Storming off the set and slamming the door of his trailer may have momentarily relieved his anger, but it did little to resolve the underlying issues. It was Jonathan Frakes, one of his co-stars, who extended an olive branch and provided necessary feedback. Frakes highlighted the importance of striking a balance between maintaining discipline and fostering a more relaxed environment on the show. Stewart acknowledges his mistake, admitting that he had failed to consider the unique dynamics of episodic television, where camaraderie and fun play a significant role behind the scenes.
For Stewart, TNG marked his first regular television role, bringing with it a substantial increase in pay and mounting expectations. Determined to prove the naysayers wrong, he shouldered immense pressure to deliver exceptional performances and lead the cast by example. However, his initial approach proved to be flawed. In retrospect, Stewart recognizes that his prior experiences in the demanding world of theater had colored his perspective, leading to a disconnect between his expectations and the reality of episodic television.
Stewart’s willingness to confront his own shortcomings and learn from his mistakes played a pivotal role in the success of TNG. By heeding Frakes’ advice and adapting his leadership style, he fostered a more harmonious work environment. Over time, the cast developed a deeper understanding and appreciation for one another, which undoubtedly contributed to the show’s enduring popularity. TNG solidified Stewart’s place as a beloved actor within the Star Trek franchise and beyond, setting the stage for his future accomplishments.
“Making It So: A Memoir,” Stewart’s introspective account of his time on TNG, serves as a testament to his growth and evolution as a leader. Set to be released this week by Gallery Books, the memoir promises to provide readers with a candid glimpse into the challenges and triumphs that shaped Stewart’s remarkable journey. From his humble beginnings to his rise to stardom, the memoir illustrates the transformative power of reflection and the importance of learning from past mistakes.
Patrick Stewart’s journey from an unknown actor to a beloved household name was not without its difficulties. The incident during the filming of TNG Season 1 served as a turning point for Stewart, prompting him to reevaluate his approach to leadership. By acknowledging his own flaws and embracing the advice of his co-stars, he was able to create a more inclusive and productive work environment. Stewart’s story serves as a reminder that growth and success often come through self-reflection and the willingness to learn from one’s mistakes.