Captain Picard Knighted by the Queen

Patrick Stewart, the British actor most famous for playing Captain Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation, has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.H He becomes one of the very few people knighted primarily because of his achievements in the science fiction genre (Arthur C. Clarke is the only other case that comes to mind, though I’m sure there must be others I’m forgetting). I know that Stewart was also a successful Shakespearean theater actor, but I highly doubt he would have gotten a knighthood were it not for his role in Star Trek.

While everyone remembers Stewart playing Captain Picard, it is much less widely known that he began his science fiction acting career by playing Gurney Halleck in the 1984 movie version of Dune. Unfortunately, Halleck was a less interesting character in the movie than in the original book by Frank Herbert, so Stewart had only limited scope for his talents in that performance. Moreover, the movie wasn’t especially successful, and probably failed to capture most of the strengths of the book. But perhaps the role did get Stewart started on the path to science fiction stardom. To borrow a term from the novel, maybe the Dune movie was Stewart’s gom jabbar.

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