Sunday, March 10, 2013

TWITrek Character Insight No. 42: Jean-Luc Picard

This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe.  An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight!  This week, our subject is Jean-Luc Picard from TNG.

Picard is the commanding officer of several vessels, including the Stargazer and the Enterprise-D and Enterprise-E. The captain is celebrated as an archaeologist and diplomat who loves peaceful exploration whenever he can find time outside the many conflicts present for the Federation during his tenure.

Picard serves as a cool customer who is a direct contrast to the brash and bold leadership style of Captain Kirk in TOS. Although this initially made Picard look soft in comparison to his predecessor, he proves his determination and grit in later battles with species like the Borg. Picard ends up with more depth as a character in the end thanks to all his various traits and interests.

Picard grew up in France and tended vineyards with his family. Although Picard eschews having family of his own as he climbs the ranks of Starfleet, family clearly is very important to him. Picard was a star athlete growing up and at the Academy, and he keeps in great health by finding time for many holodeck activities like fencing and racquetball. He was not fond of annual checkups though, which annoys Dr. Crusher to no end.

Picard loves Earl Grey Tea, served hot. Ironically, the first time he orders his signature drink on the series, he receives a plant instead from the replicator. His character is known for the "Picard maneuver," which is straightening his uniform when standing up, as well as commonly using the phrases "Engage" and "Make it so."

Picard makes first contact with at least 27 species, including important counterparts such as the Ferengi, the Borg, and the Q Continuum. His passion for exploration and willingness to take risks stems from an incident in his early Starfleet career where he was stabbed in the heart by a Nausicaan and needed a heart transplant.

Our notable quote this week comes from the episode The Masterpiece Society:
"They've given away their humanity with this... genetic manipulation. Many of the qualities that they breed out, the... the uncertainty, self-discovery, the unknown - these are many of the qualities that make life worth living. Well, at least to me. ."
Actor: Patrick Stewart played Picard, and he is just as accomplished in theater as he is in the movie industry. In the last decade, Stewart can be frequently found in X-Men movies as Professor X and as a voice actor in Family Guy and American Dad.

Until next time, live long and prosper...

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