‘Star Trek: Picard’: Patrick Stewart on Why He Returned to the Final Frontier By Daniel Holloway Next to an armchair in Patrick Stewart’s living room in Brooklyn sits a small table, and on it a black three-ring binder. The 79-year-old actor leans in and clasps his hands when recounting his upbringing in the North of England. He stands and paces when a subject such as Brexit or Donald Trump aggravates him. All the while, he touches the binder over and over again — tapping it, thumbing through it, waving it around. Inside is the script for Stewart’s one-man stage adaptation of “A Christmas Carol,” which he began performing three decades ago, around the same time he originated the role of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” It’s early December, and next week Stewart, for the first time in 16 years, will once again perform “A Christmas Carol” — in which he portrays more than 30 characters. The run: just two nights at a 99-seat theater on 54th Street. “This is just stupid, doing something like this,” Stewart says, sitting forward in a midcentury lounge chair, holding the binder up in one hand as if it were Exhibit A. “It’s so insane. I could have found other things to do that were not so enormous as this. But I chose it. Sixteen years have passed, and the world is a different place from when I last did it. F—, it’s different.” It sure is. And Stewart believes that makes the piece more timely than ever. He characterizes “A Christmas Carol” as a “profoundly angry attack” on a society that treats marginalized people as subhuman. “Forget about Tiny Tim and all that stuff,” he says. “It’s a political document.” So it’s no surprise that, after a long absence, Stewart has revisited the story at the end of the second decade of this thus-far miserable millennium. His motivations — to challenge himself, to speak to injustice, to give himself the sense of calm in anxious times that acting has provided since he was a grammar-school boy in England — are the same ones that prompted him to return to the role that made him one of the most beloved actors alive: Picard. On Jan. 23, CBS All Access will debut “Star Trek: Picard,” a series in which Stewart reprises the thoughtful, cultured, bald starship captain he played for seven seasons on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and in a string of four feature films that ended in 2002. The new show is different from its predecessor in nearly every respect — texture, tone, format, production value, even the likelihood of characters dropping an f-bomb. That’s all by design. Stewart’s design. “He is uninterested in repeating himself,” says Alex Kurtzman, the show’s creator and executive producer, and the mastermind behind CBS’ effort to not just revive “Star Trek” but also transform it into a vast narrative universe in the Marvel mold. “Everything he does is filled with innate integrity. He fights for the things he believes in. And he’s very willing to collaborate once you’re on the same wavelength.” Lo-fi and a little quaint by today’s standards, “The Next Generation” was the most successful of any “Star Trek” television series. (The original, starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, was poorly rated and canceled by NBC after three seasons.) The show raked in Emmy nominations, minted money for Paramount Television and grew a massive following attracted to the unlikely figure of Stewart’s Picard — a Frenchman (with a posh English accent) who sips tea, reads the classics and prizes duty and honor and friendship. “The Next Generation” presented a humanist future in which issues like poverty, race and class have long been sorted out, and conflicts are more often resolved through negotiation and problem-solving than at the point of a phaser pistol. Stewart had no desire to go there again. “I think what we’re trying to say is important,” he says. “The world of ‘Next Generation’ doesn’t exist anymore. It’s different. Nothing is really safe. Nothing is really secure.” (more on the link, its a long write up and has a video) .