Patrick Stewart was likely the main reason why Star Trek: Picard never got a 4th season

Patrick Stewart himself may have been the reason why Star Trek: Picard didn't go on past season three.
IMAX "Picard" Screening
IMAX "Picard" Screening / Jesse Grant/GettyImages

Star Trek: Picard likely wasn't going to get a fourth season. Let's be very clear about that. The show was dramatically expensive and had its budget slashed heading into seasons two and three. The final two seasons were filmed back to back to cut costs due to how expensive the franchise had become on Paramount+.

We're seeing it happen all across the board. As streaming entities continue to lose money, shows with huge budgets are being axed. Paramount+ is among the worst performers in this area, so it's not surprising that an under-achieving show with a big budget would get axed.

Yet, there are some who think a film or a fourth season of Picard could happen. It likely won't. More importantly, we're hoping it doesn't. Picard was a rough experience that really didn't do much for the franchise, other than to serve as a vanity project for Patrick Stewart.

Stewart himself mentioned that he didn't want to do a fourth season with Picard when he signed on to the series. He even wrote about this in Time's online publication. In that article, he listed his three conditions for the series.

"1. The series would not be based on a reunion of The Next Generation characters. I wanted it to have little or nothing to do with them. This was not at all a mark of disrespect for my beloved fellow actors. Rather, I simply felt it was essential to place Picard in entirely new settings with entirely new characters.

2. Picard would no longer be serving in Starfleet, and he was not to wear any kind of uniform or badges.

3. The series would run for no more than three seasons."

And somehow, he broke two of those three rules. The third season only served as a reunion for Next Generation characters. It became so obvious it was a glorified eighth season of The Next Generation, that they actually brought back that show's ship; the U.S.S. Enterprise-D.

By the end of season two, he was back wearing a uniform, and in season three, he had the badge firmly adorning everything he wore. He was also back to being an admiral. He'd end the series by retiring from Starfleet for the second time.

That means the only condition Stewart hasn't gone back on is not having more than three seasons of the series. By all accounts, Picard only ended because Stewart wanted it to. Executive Producer Akiva Goldsman has even gone on record saying that the show would go on as long as Stewart tried to do it.

Now, it should be noted that all those comments were made before private interest groups cut off the endless funding for streaming services and started asking to be reimbursed. So the facet of money is gone. There is no more budget to run five Star Trek series concurrently anymore. It's why there are not five shows anymore.

So perhaps it's unfair to say Stewart is the reason that Picard season four isn't happening. But maybe not. The first two seasons were duds, yet the third season actually saw the show crack into the Top 10 of streaming series during its last days. So clearly there was interest.

Had they shifted the focus some, stopped with the nostalgia of it all, and just made a fourth season of Picard that featured old and new, doing new things, then there's a solid possibility that the show would've kept a lot of its audience.

Then again, the nostalgia of it all was the driving force of season three, so who knows if a fourth season would've succeeded? Yet, I stand by the idea that Stewart was one of, if not the biggest factor (aside from financials) that Picard season four didn't happen.