Throughout his lengthy career, Star Trek favorite Robert Picardo hasn't been exclusively known for science fiction projects, and in fact has acted in far more non-genre projects. And yet, despite his numerous appearances across the vast spectrum of film and TV projects, there's always going to be a section of his fanbase that knows him specifically for his much-celebrated work in sci-fi. After all, he was a key part of both Star Trek: Voyager and Stargate Atlantis, and after working on both of those shows, it's been pretty hard for him to shake that association.
Robert Picardo spoke about that ever-present topic during the Stargate Atlantis reunion panel at this year's [email protected], and how his legacy as a well-rounded actor, despite his wide range of credits, can't thwart fans from viewing him as a sci-fi guy. Not one to complain about such things, Picardo addressed a similarity that he's noticed over the years between the Stargate and Star Trek fandoms, saying:
I think it’s good to have had a number of credits before you start in science fiction. I think it’s tougher on young actors, and I’m not speaking on anyone here in particular, but if it’s your first major credit I think it can be tough… I had other credits and I think that helps you. But let’s face it. After seven years on Star Trek in my 40s, I was pegged as a science fiction guy. There’s no turning it around after that. You have a dedicated audience that really only knows you from that. So, I had no illusions about that. To me, the interesting thing was to see how the science fiction fandom -- because most Star Trek fans watch Stargate and I think the other way around -- I’m always surprised when I meet a Star Trek fan that’s never seen Stargate and vice versa. Normally there’s a certain amount of crossover.
Not all Star Trek fans are familiar with Stargate, and not all SG fans are rabid about ST, since that would be a highly improbable statistic. But according to Robert Picardo, he's met his fair share of fans that adore both. Of course, it would also track that anyone who'd appeared in both franchises would be approached more fervently by fans of both projects, as opposed to those who only enjoy one or the other.
Robert Picardo also talked a bit about his experience playing the role of Stargate Atlantis' Richard Woolsey, and taking on a character that wasn't initially such a joy to be around. Picardo spoke specifically to how his character shared characteristics and motivations that many others across the U.S. did at the time, particularly those in Woosley's age range. On what he thought was truly fun about playing that character:
For me, the odd part was just playing a character who was introduced, who was so unpleasant. When they wanted to turn me into a leader I thought, 'Everyone hates me. I have no personality. I’m a coward. I have no leadership skills and I’m a douchebag.' I wasn’t necessarily describing my personal characteristics, it was the character I was thinking about, but the writers were very deft. Probably the moment when Rachel’s character handed me her baby and I didn’t know what to do with it was the moment the audience realized, ‘OK that character is not that bad…’ To play a character that was going to have to reinvent himself in the later stages of his career was what made it fun... to start that job in my middle fifties and to become a leader at that stage in life I thought was a good analogy for what was happening after the financial meltdown in 2007.
Robert Picardo teased some time ago that he was set to return to Star Trek via Picard, though fans haven't heard any updates on that front, which isn't great. We've since learned that some plans were put on the back-burner for Picard Season 2, so Picardo's Doctor may no longer be a part of the season at this time. Hopefully, though, we can see him back in Star Trek soon, even if that will just bring the sci-fi fans out the woodwork even more.
Catch episodes of Stargate Atlantis over on Hulu, and all of Robert Picardo's work on Star Trek: Voyager on Paramount+. For more on Picardo and his thoughts, be sure to read up on what he thought of former co-star Jeri Ryan's return in Picard as Seven of Nine.