Star Trek: Picard producer Akiva Goldsman is more than thrilled to have Whoopi Goldberg reprise her role as Guinan, the empathic bartender from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

“Well, you catch me out here, because I am starstruck. It’s hard to get me starstruck, but I am starstruck by Whoopi Goldberg,” he told Shadow and Act in a recent interview “I grew up in New York and I remember watching her stand-up on public television when I was a younger man, and she can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned. This is a human being who is so important for entertainment and for culture and she’s cool and kind and to get to write some words for her or to get to have a conversation about her character…that was an extraordinary gift.

Goldsman also talked about what it’s been like to see Patrick Stewart take the character of Jean-Luc Picard to a new place of growth, which includes coming to terms with his past and what makes him who he is.

It’s very interesting when you have a character about whom people know so much…Patrick is such a connecting actor that everybody feels correctly that they know Jean-Luc Picard. For me and my partners, it was very much…where have we not gotten up close and personal with him? Where are the places that we don’t know him and how do we dig into those. Ultimately, this season is about connection, about intimacy, about the freedom to love and be loved, which are not necessarily the things you think when you think about Jean-Luc Picard.

Watch the full interview with the entire cast below. Picard is currently streaming on Paramount+.