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August 04, 2018 at 04:26 PM EDT

It’s really truly happening: Patrick Stewart has been cast in a new Star Trek series

Stewart will reprise his iconic character, Jean-Luc Picard, for a CBS All Access series that “will tell the story of the next chapter of Picard’s life.” 

Stewart himself just announced the news in a surprise appearance at the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention. 

“I will always be very proud to have been a part of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but when we wrapped that final movie in the spring of 2002, I truly felt my time with Star Trek had run its natural course,” Stewart said. “It is, therefore, an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him. Seeking out new life for him, when I thought that life was over.”

CBS via Getty Images

Stewart added that now, in particular, seems like a good time to bring back the character, who exemplified calm, moral, reasoned leadership. “During these past years, it has been humbling to hear many stories about how The Next Generation brought people comfort, saw them through difficult periods in their lives or how the example of Jean-Luc inspired so many to follow in his footsteps, pursuing science, exploration and leadership,” he said. “I feel I’m ready to return to him for the same reason – to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times. I look forward to working with our brilliant creative team as we endeavor to bring a fresh, unexpected and pertinent story to life once more.

RELATED VIDEO: Alex Kurtzman developing several new ‘Star Trek’ TV shows

Star Trek: Discovery showrunner Alex Kurtzman will be an executive producer on the new series, and stated, “With overwhelming joy, it’s a privilege to welcome Sir Patrick Stewart back to the Star Trek fold. For over 20 years, fans have hoped for the return of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and that day is finally here. We can’t wait to forge new ground, surprise people, and honor generations both new and old.”

CBS isn’t releasing any additional information at this time, such as the show’s title or release date. But Star Trek: Discovery returns in January.

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