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Patrick Stewart debuts new Picard clip, explains why Jean-Luc needed a dog

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Jan 22, 2020, 3:25 PM EST (Updated)

We're just days away from the premiere of Star Trek: Picard, the much-anticipated Star Trek: The Next Generation sequel series starring Patrick Stewart in the title role. Stewart's been making the promotional rounds lately to promote the new series, and Tuesday night he stopped by The Late Show to talk to Stephen Colbert and debut a compelling new clip from the series.

The clip, which debuted just before Stewart made his entrance on The Late Show stage, has already been glimpsed in very small pieces in trailers for the series, and features Jean-Luc Picard in the midst of an interview about why, exactly, he chose to resign from Starfleet years before. It wasn't something as simple as a retirement, and it's clear that there's a good deal of emotional stress bound up in whatever led Picard to make that decision, some of it having to do with his beloved comrade, Data. Check it out at the 0:15 mark in the video below. 

Stewart spent much of the interview portion talking up the tremendous writing talent assembled for Picard, and how the "invitation" assembled by the likes of Michael Chabon, Akiva Goldsman, Kirsten Beyer, and Alex Kurtzman was enough to lure him back to the Picard role for the first time in nearly two decades. He also talked a great deal about the important new member of Picard's crew: Jean-Luc's pit bull terrier, known on the series as "Number One."

According to Stewart, having Picard adopt a canine companion for his quiet retirement to a vineyard was his idea, and the writers agreed to it.

"First of all, I did suggest that when I was seen in the vineyard ... I'm alone, but it would be great if I had a dog with me, because a man alone with a dog, that sets up certain emotional dependencies, I think," he said. 

After the writers agreed that the dog was a good idea, Stewart added the stipulation that Number One must be a pit bull terrier, a breed very close to the actor's heart after he adopted one of his own several years ago. Pit bulls are banned in the United Kingdom because of their reputation as fighting dogs, and Stewart has been working for years to clear them of that stigma. One way to do that, in his eyes, was to find the "most impressive" pit bull in Hollywood and put him in a TV show.

"These are the sweetest, most empathic, most sensitive creatures that I've ever known," Stewart said. 

Star Trek: Picard premieres tomorrow on CBS All Access. Keep watching SYFY WIRE for our continuing coverage of this much-anticipated Trek event.

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