James Callis Sees The Difference Between Star Trek And Battlestar Galactica As A Matter Of Morality

In the “Star Trek: Picard” episode “Monsters,” Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) has been hit by a car in the year 2024 (it’s complicated) and has fallen into a coma. Inside his comatose mind, a whole drama unfolds. He is, at first, being analyzed by shrink in a Starfleet uniform (James Callis), the actual identity of whom is not immediately revealed. Picard, over the course of the episode, witnesses his own child self (Dylan Von Halle) not only wrestling with literal monsters stalking through his subconscious, but he will recall dark memories of his mother’s mental illness and her eventual taking of her own life. Picard eventually realizes that the psychiatrist is, in fact, a younger version of his own father, Maurice. The two men will come to realize each other’s mutual struggles in living with a person with mental illness.

In a 2022 interview with Inverse, Callis talked about taking part in two of the more notable sci-fi TV franchises in recent memory, and the big differences between Dr. Balter and Maurice Picard. He decided to establish right away that he behaved professionally, and didn’t want to start comparing notes with his “Picard” co-star:

“It was such a gift to work with Sir Patrick Stewart. There is no one word or thing to describe it. […] But because it was — as it were — his brig, I didn’t start a conversation where I said, ‘So Patrick, there was this one time on “Battlestar…”‘ It was not what we were doing.”

In Callis’s mind, however, the key difference between his “Star Trek” and “Battlestar Galactica” roles was a difference of the respective shows’ core moral tenets.

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