“Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety.” Only time will tell if Shakespeare was truly writing about Enobarbus recounting Mark Anthony’s first meeting with Cleopatra, or the countenance of Sir Patrick Stewart, one of humanity’s most enduring structures.
Whatever pact with a timeless god Stewart has made to seemingly be incapable of ageing, it’s long been a bit of a running joke for the actor — one that he’s actually leaning into while dropping tantalising updates about his return to Jean-Luc Picard for the upcoming post-The Next Generation miniseries.
Speaking to Yahoo about the series — which Stewart noted is currently shaping up like a “10-hour movie”, so make of that what you will — Stewart cheekily noted that the Picard we’ll meet in the show will be in a very different place from where we left him in TNG.
Another thing that’s changed is that he’ll actually be looking younger than the last time he played an “old” Picard.
And what we have coming up is exciting. It’s exciting for me because it excites me as an actor. Oh, the story is great. And – I could be so careful what I say or they’ll skin me alive if I say the wrong things. But it has – it references the present day at times, and that’s all I can say, really. I’m not saying we are in the present day. We’re not. But the world that we find Jean-Luc Picard in is not quite the world that we left him in….
[In “All Good Things”] I grew a beard, and they made me up old. I looked older then, eighteen years ago, than – I don’t think I am saying too much – than I will in the upcoming series… Jean-Luc Picard and Patrick Stewart are the same age.
It says something that 20 years later he does actually look younger than the beardy Picard of “All Good Things.” That “thing” is “Patrick Stewart is excellent and must be protected at all costs.”