By now, it’s common knowledge that Captain Jean-Luc Picard was French, and originally, the actor portraying him was supposed to have a French accent. So when Patrick Stewart was cast, the Star Trek: The Next Generation producers wanted the Englishman to utilize a French accent even though it wasn’t a guarantee he could pull it off. But if Stewart succeeded, the producers wanted him to be French throughout the entirety of the series. So the producers asked Stewart to give a French accent a shot by performing the opening monologue of the series. Stewart made the effort, which you can hear a sample of below, but, thankfully, his attempt wasn’t used.
After hearing his notable effort, unsurprisingly, the producers decided to forgo the accent altogether and allow Stewart to use his original, British accent. Stewart wasn’t surprised they decided not use his new accent and even admitted that he sounded like the inept police detective from The Pink Panther.
"“Space, ze final frontière. Can you imagine me doing 178 episodes talking like that? I would have sounded like Inspector Clouseau!”"
Though his name remained the same on the show as did his childhood of growing up in France, where his family still resided, France, Captain Jean-Luc Picard was more British than French, and it’s hard for us fans to even imagine him any other way. The British captain was stoic and resolute, never wavering from his mission or any task ahead of him. Changing Stewart into something that he wasn’t could have detrimentally affected the series, especially when he sounded like Lumiere from the 1991 edition of Beauty and the Beast.
And though we were never told why a Frenchman spoke with a British accent, most of us fans were never all that concerned about it. We liked Captain Jean-Luc Picard just the way he was, British accent and all.