These days, Sir Patrick Stewart is a household name. The masses know him as Professor X, but before his casting in X-Men, Mr. Stewart was primarily known as Captain Jean Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation. However, it was not a particularly easy transition.
Talking to The Frame, Sir Patrick opened up about his career after Star Trek: The Next Generation, returning to the theater, and how his success with the franchise inhibited his ability to branch out:
“That really hurt,” said Stewart. “And soon after that I left Hollywood. And then the Royal Shakespeare Company came to my rescue and offered me two roles, Prospero in The Tempest and Antony in Antony and Cleopatra, and that season turned the whole tide around. Almost overnight I suddenly found myself a leading actor in the company”.
He then goes on to describe how his experiences with Star Trek made him hesitant to accept the role of Professor X.
“I was reluctant because the Star Trek movies were over and I was already beginning to experience a negative aspect of them. Close identification, partly through the television series, with one character can discourage directors or producers from wanting to employ you in other means, because the identification’s so strong.”
Many actors who are part of long-running franchises fail to have a successful post-career. However, Sir Patrick is a talented, and trained actor; it isn’t hard to believe that he would have had the same success had he not decided to return to the stage. We have seen him branch out quite a bit over the past few years, even playing a villainous figure in the 2016 thriller Green Room. Either way, we are very lucky he decided to hop aboard the X Men franchise.