‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’: Why Patrick Stewart Insisted on Filming an Entire Scene Completely Nude

When Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered, die-hard Star Trek fans weren’t happy. After all, they hadn’t been lobbying to get their favorite series back for years only to have some other characters on the screen. 

But The Next Generation turned out to be worth a chance, even for devoted fans of the original. It was unlike other TV shows in many ways. One of the important differences was Patrick Stewart, who played Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

He took his work very seriously, and it showed in the quality of his performance. In one challenging scene, he took that devotion even farther than anyone would have expected. 

Patrick Stewart’s journey to Hollywood

Sir Patrick Stewart
Sir Patrick Stewart | Rich Fury/Getty Images

RELATED: ‘I’m Going to Marry Patrick’: The Ultimate Declaration of Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart’s Friendship

According to IMDb, Stewart was born in England, and he was involved in local drama groups by the age of 12. Despite growing up with very little money, Stewart worked hard to afford drama school. 

In 1959, he made his professional acting debut in repertory theater. Just seven years later, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. He stayed with them for the next 27 years, followed by a brief time with the Royal National Theatre. 

But then Hollywood came calling. In 1984, Stewart joined the cast of the movie Dune. His previous stage acting had kept him so isolated from popular culture that he didn’t even know who his fellow cast member Sting was. The movie was a flop, but just a few years later, he landed the role that would make him a star. 

The unlikely success of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’

RELATED: Patrick Stewart Says This is His Favorite ‘Star Trek: TNG’ Episode

In 1986, The Next Generation came to TV screens. According to Screen Rant, fans of the original Star Trek who had been waiting for a new installment of their favorite series were appalled. They wanted the original cast and the original storyline, and they didn’t like this change. 

The series didn’t seem to have much support from Paramount either. They didn’t seem very confident about the future of the show, and their budget reflected their lack of optimism. There were so few luxuries that the cast would sneak onto the sets of other shows to snitch food from their well-stocked craft tables. 

Despite this, Stewart brought his strong work ethic and dedication to the craft of acting to the series. And he insisted his fellow actors did as well. 

His determination paid off, because the series ran for seven seasons and won 20 Primetime Emmy Awards. Because of its success, three more Star Trek series were able to follow in its footsteps. 

Patrick Stewart chose to be naked in a scene for this important reason

RELATED: ‘Star Trek: Picard’: Patrick Stewart Was Shocked to Learn This About Jean-Luc Picard

Stewart’s devotion to his work could be seen in the lengths he was willing to go. According to Mental Floss, in one episode Picard was captured by Cardassians.

The script called for Stewart to be tortured. Stewart belonged to Amnesty International, which works to defend human rights, so he knew that torture is a serious and widespread human rights violation.

Out of respect for the victims of torture, Stewart watched videos of statements from people who had suffered. He felt it was important that he didn’t give an inaccurate performance. To reflect the reality of what people have gone through, he insisted on filming the first torture scene naked. 

Stewart is not only devoted to his work, but he is also keenly aware of humanity’s suffering. His talent and compassion came together in The Next Generation for one powerful scene.