That Time 'Star Trek' Almost Forced Patrick Stewart To Wear A Wig
The second season of Star Trek: Picard begins today, chronicling the entirely new adventures of everyone’s favorite elderly tea-drinking Starfleet officer. This season will feature not only time travel but returning characters like Whoopi Goldberg’s Guinan and the God-like trickster Q. But where will it all lead? If the previous season is any indication, probably to some misguided 9/11 allegories and a planet full of affordable stock footage. Also, as we’ve mentioned before, the first season finale ended with Picard dying and being resurrected in an artificial body that was still programmed to die – and also still deprived of hair. Why wouldn’t these meddling scientists give Admiral Picard some luscious synthetic locks to go with his new robot bod? Probably because it would have looked ridiculous, and we have proof …
Back when they were casting Star Trek: The Next Generation, creator Gene Roddenberry was against hiring Patrick Stewart to play Picard because he didn’t “want a bald man” Captaining the Enterprise. Roddenberry only let Stewart audition in front of studio representatives after insisting ”that the actor wear a wig” – which, to be fair, was something of a tradition among Star Trek captains.
Despite procuring a hairpiece from “one of the best theatrical wig makers in London,” Stewart’s space rug wasn’t much of a success. According to Stewart, “The studio wanted to see what I would look like if I looked like Bill Shatner.” In the end, the president of the network urged the producers: “Go with the English guy, but lose the wig.” And thus, television history was born.
Sadly, there’s no photographic evidence of this legendary toupeed audition; there is a snapshot of a hairy Captain Picard that’s made the rounds on the internet, but that was actually from a flashback scene in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation – that happens to be one of the show’s most disturbing episodes, for reasons that are entirely un-wig-related.
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Top Image: Paramount