Patrick Stewart's 'Star Trek' Walkout

Behind-the-scenes tensions flare in iconic sci-fi series

by Nouman Rasool
Patrick Stewart's 'Star Trek' Walkout
© Jesse Grant/GettyImages

Veteran British actor, Patrick Stewart, recently unveiled shocking behind-the-scenes incidents during the filming of his iconic 1987 TV series, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. A scene that he felt was highly disrespectful led him to "storm off the set", a revelation he makes in his fresh off the press memoir, "Making It So: A Memoir".

Hollywood Reporter's excerpt from Stewart’s book throws light on his conflict with co-stars, whom he believed were undermining the gravity of the series. “During rehearsals, they'd sometimes ad-lib, turning lines into jokes.

Witnessing such antics made me uncomfortable," the 83-year-old thespian shared. Diving deep into his early acting days, Stewart reminisced about the stark contrast of his experiences at esteemed institutions like the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre.

At these venues, the air was laden with gravity and utmost professionalism. Therefore, the transition from the serious atmosphere of theater to the lighter, more ad-libbed realm of TV was jarring for Stewart.

Stewart's On-Set Confrontation

Reminiscing about one particular "Star Trek" episode, Stewart revealed how he confronted his colleagues over their seemingly nonchalant behavior, notably lecturing them for their deviations from the script.

Denise Crosby, a fellow co-star, responded to his outburst, emphasizing the need to mix work with some fun. However, Stewart’s response, “We aren’t here to have fun, Denise,” led to a flurry of laughter, pushing him to retreat to his trailer, frustrated and humiliated.

Amidst this tension, co-stars Jonathan Frakes and Brent Spiner reached out in an effort to mend bridges. While they acknowledged the excessive frivolity during shoots, they also candidly expressed how Stewart’s reactions seemed overboard.

Stewart reflected on this episode in his memoir, confessing his oversight: "I mistakenly thrust Royal Shakespeare Company decorum onto individuals familiar with episodic TV filming." Despite this hiccup, Stewart remains grateful for the growth he underwent during his “Star Trek” journey.

He credits the series and his co-stars for his evolution, from a rigid British actor to one more adaptable to American filming culture. “The show transformed me," he expressed, "from an archetypal Englishman into a more laid-back actor, slowly but surely adjusting to the American way on set”.