Frakes: JJ Abrams Could ‘Pepper’ TNG Stars Into New Star Trek

Jonathan Frakes inhabited the role of William T. Riker for seven seasons on Star Trek: The Next Generation and into four feature films (two of which he directed). And now Frakes says he thinks its possible that someone from TNG can get ‘peppered in’ to a new Star Trek movie from JJ Abrams. Details below.


Frakes: JJ could ‘pepper’ a TNG star into new Trek

Speaking to NBC Philadelphia, Jonathan Frakes was asked about the future of the TNG cast in the new universe…

Perhaps the J.J. Abrams “Star Trek” films have precluded the notion that the TNG crew might reunite on the screen, at least for a while. Have you guys thought about that, or talked about it?

I am very hopeful. I’m not sure where we would be – I happen to be a fan and a friend of J.J.’s and I think he’s rebooted the franchise in the most successful and wonderful way imaginable. And I’m really excited about the second movie. I think maybe some version of what they did with Leonard Nimoy in the first movie would be the way to go: they would pepper in one of us. I would imagine they’d start with Picard if they could. It would involve our usual time travel/quantum anomaly/black hole/some sci‑fi version of how we all get there.

Frakes as Riker in 2002’s "Star Trek Nemesis"

The Bearded One also talked about Season 2 of Next Gen on Blu-ray.

It must have been a real treat to be able to be able to get together with everybody and just really sit down without a giant audience to reminisce for this Blu‑Ray release?

It was wonderful. The add-on, I guess, is on this second season from our Calgary panel, where we were sitting around taking the piss out of each other. It’s wonderful. It’s candid and it’s funny. It’s emotional and it’s revealing. It was a great morning. We did it one Sunday morning when we were all in for a convention. It’s a pretty special group of people.

Get your copy of TNG S2 Blu-ray from Amazon discounted to $64.99.

Read the full interview for more from Frakes at NBCPhiladelphia.

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Tom Delgado
December 4, 2012 9:24 pm


Anywho…Would love to see JJ’s take on TNG as well though some people would still complain about it not being this or that.

Harry Ballz
December 4, 2012 9:37 pm

The cast from TNG “peppered” into JJ’s Trek?

Not a snowball’s chance in hell that will ever happen.

There are too many other great stories to tell without resorting to that kind of gimmick.

Buzz Cagney
December 4, 2012 9:40 pm

Why bother? TNG’s story has been well and truly told.

December 4, 2012 9:54 pm

Love ’em. But I don’t want to see them in movies again. Especially not the new Star Trek.

“It would involve our usual time travel/quantum anomaly/black hole/some sci‑fi version of how we all get there.”

Curious Cadet
December 4, 2012 9:56 pm

If they did that for the fans, and that would be the only reason to do it, then I would rather see one of them as an ancestor, in much the same way they had Michael Dorn play Worf’s ancestor in The Undiscovered Country. Please, NO MORE TIME TRAVEL!

Mark James Tucker A Man And His Dream
December 4, 2012 10:16 pm

I acutally wouldnt mind seeing Col. Worf again at some point in a future JJ Trek movie.

December 4, 2012 10:26 pm

I ,for one, don’t buy the “we’re sick of time travel” schtick that many Trekkers complain about. “Trek” does great time-travel stories:

City on the Edge of Forever
Tomorrow is Yesterday
Assignment: Earth

Yesterday’s Enterprise
First Contact

Little Green Men
Trials and Tribble-ations
Past Tense I/II

Future’s End I/II
Year of Hell I/II

Storm Front I/II (forget about most of the Future Guy stuff)

Star Trek 2009

I am sure I missed some, but, not a bad record. I say go for it.

Steve Johnson
December 4, 2012 10:39 pm

Storm Front a good time travel story? Hah, no. It makes absolutely no sense. At all. Terribly written. There’s a reason the cliff hangar had a huge viewership drop. It was terrible.

…And yes, most Trekkers are quite sick of time travel stories. They’ve been done, a lot. There are other things to explore. It’s Star Trek, not Time Trek.

I think the Curious Cadet had it absolutely right. Go the Col. Worf route and make the character an ancestor. In particular the way they did it with Worf was very good. It wasn’t a big bru-haha deal. It was like “Oh hey, it’s grand pa-pa of Worf, cool. …Moving on!”

Hell, let’s get Frakes really grey and have him play the grandfather for the Riker of TNG or something. Maybe he could be some Star Fleet Admiral who lecture’s nuKirk. That’d be an interesting bit without making it a big fuss. Admiral John J. Riker. – Commander Star Fleet

December 4, 2012 10:52 pm

Sorry but you had your time get Berman to make a TV movie for your crew.

December 4, 2012 10:58 pm

As long as time travel stories are done well they work out just fine.
As for TNG cast? I wish some people would stop bitching about them. insurrection and nemesis do not cancel out 7 great years of TNG trek. Berman and co were to blame for that. Nuff said!

December 4, 2012 11:03 pm

Please, no. It seems a bit distasteful considering this is supposed to be a reboot of TOS. Plus, bringing TNG into it would be too much. There’ll most likely be enough going on without cramming more into it. At least that would be my hope. I’d be sorely disappointed if a new Trek movie turned into something akin to the disaster that was Pirates 4.

December 4, 2012 11:09 pm

I’m sick of people saying “trekkers” instead of Trekkies. :-/

Buzz Cagney
December 4, 2012 11:35 pm

Besides, the only one of the TNG crew that could act was Patrick. Put any of the others in with the talented new crew then they are going to look painfully out of their depth. You only have to look at Frakes in the picture. He can’t even stand convincingly. I rate the guy as a Director and as a man but an actor, not so much.

December 4, 2012 11:37 pm


‘Pirates 4’ grossed over $1 billion crappy dollars worldwide. It falls into the same ‘disaster-zone’ as the 3 Transformers films, which all blew major chow,but also hit identically surreal earnings numbers.

Let’s hope ‘Star Trek’ never goes there.

December 4, 2012 11:44 pm

I hope they managed to sneak Bakula or Shatner in.

I know they didn’t, but it’s a fun little hope to hang onto.

December 5, 2012 12:26 am

I doubt that they will ever have one of the cast of the series in another movie again.

But I could imagine a reboot of TNG bei JJ Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Not as a new movie series but as a TV series. TNG in the new alternate universe where we see how this new universe is getting more and more different from the Prime timeline.
I could imagine a slightly different crew for the TNG-Enterprise. Maybe no Picard at all, Riker as engineer, Data as captain etc.

December 5, 2012 12:46 am

@7 Agreed. If you don’t like time travel then stop watching freaking sci fi!

December 5, 2012 1:39 am

If they were to do a next gen version of the alternate timeline, would he cast Tom Hardy as Picard d’you reckon?

December 5, 2012 2:11 am

At least they could use Patrick Stewart in the third movie, like they do in the next X-Men movie “Days of future past”.

He could play an alternative timeline Picard from a darker future within the JJ-Verse. But instead of someone from the future travelling back in time (we had that much to often), they could do it the other way around.

By accident the Enterprise travells into a dark 24th century future where they meet Picard as somekind of freedom fighter against a corrupted, more empire-like federation. What the hell went wrong? Well, without Kirk, Spock and the classic crew the federation had no chance of developing into 24th century utopia as we knew it. So they have to get back into the 23rd century to restore human history. You can imagine who has no interest in letting that happen: The dark powers of the corrupted empire.

December 5, 2012 2:34 am

btw. use your imagination! everything is possible.
they used the first one to connect to tos. with the second one they stand on their own. the third and maybe last one, has to have some reference to the future of the jj-verse and how things will evolve into the universe as we knew it.

btw. btw. a reboot of tng should never be made! they did it with tos, because Kirk and Spock are icons. but tng was outstanding because of its context, not of its characters. you can`t redo it without damaging the integrity of tng. tos was more about fun, and for that a reboot is ok, but it doesen`t work for tng.

Spock Jenkins
December 5, 2012 2:49 am

Why can’t we have more than ONE star Trek film at a time. At least maybe giver the TNG group a big budget standalone film send off ( and I say that even not being a huge fan of that crew ).

You can’t leave things with Nemesis being the last one, give them one more go…

Spock Jenkins
December 5, 2012 2:53 am

Didn’t JJ’s movie already start in an ALTERNATE REALITY ( despite what the makers say – I’m a huge fan of JJ’s movie btw ).

The crew of the Kelvin sported The Enterprise Starfleet Insignia, but Pre-Kirk Era/Kirk-Era Starfleet ships should have all had their own insignias, correct?

Geek Girl
December 5, 2012 2:58 am

Berman and Braga “peppered” TNG into Enterprise. Look how that turned out.

December 5, 2012 2:59 am

I hate to be a troll here,but PLEASE, Frakes. Just let it go.

Think of this as an intervention. We all saw the finale’ of ENTERPRISE. That way lies madness.

Just do the cons with grace, cash the checks, and call Lavar to see if he’s willing to call the guys at GSN to get you a pity gig on PYRAMID. Or maybe Tim Russ orJames Cawley will throw you a bone and let you play your own grandpa or a Kingon or something.

And by the way,,,take PRICELINE off your speed dial. They’re not going to be returnng your calls.

December 5, 2012 3:59 am

@2,3,4 Agreed!
The surest way to crash and burn this franchise is to resort to some unimaginative and exploitative trick of “peppering” TOS with TNG.
But why stop there? Why not “pepper” the Star Trek universe with “celebrities” like the Kardashians and Paris Hilton, just like they used to do on Batman in the 60’s?
Oh, and by the way, Leonard Nimoy’s presence was integral to the story. He wasn’t peppering anything!

Picard, Jean-Luc
December 5, 2012 4:02 am

I think what would be cool and interesting is doing TNG in the new timeline but rather than doing movies do it for television and really explore new ways to get more content out to fans using the internet.

Personally I want Star Trek to return to TV, to a channel perfect for Star Trek in both the US and the UK (ideally BBC 2 in the UK).

Star Trek: The Next Generation for a new generation.

As for characters from TNG appearing in the new movie I think it could work as long as JJ Abrams is going in that direction, surely Captain Data and Admiral Picard would have searched for Ambassador Spock and put together perhaps a science team to figure out if there was a way to bring him back through the black hole he dissapeared into?

It all depends if the writers want to return the story back to the prime timeline or whether or not they’d want to continue with the new time line. Either way I think a lot of fans (myself included) are wishing for that final great send off for the original cast of TNG.

With the exception of Data/Brent Spiner, if it were to be a plot where Admiral Picard and Co find a way into the alternate timeline to rescue spock prime then none of the cast would need to be made to look younger and as for making Data look younger, technology is here for that to happen digitally.

December 5, 2012 4:03 am

In sci-fi and especially Star Trek, anything is possible.

December 5, 2012 4:31 am

Not a fan of a TOS/TNG movie cross over either. In 10 or 15 years if there is demand for new TNG material or some creative team is energized in doing so, then go for it.

December 5, 2012 5:05 am

If they did have a crossover character or two from the next generation how would it be someone from the original next generation cast? They are old and in the 2009 Star Trek universe would be very young. Perhaps they are in their adolescent years so if they want to have some new young person play Will Riker or Jean Luc Picard that would be fine but surely it wouldn’t be Frakes or Stewart.

December 5, 2012 5:17 am

Bringing TOS characters into TNG made sense and the explanations were not too contrived: McCoy was very old, Scotty was stored in the transporter buffer, Spock is Vulcan and Vulcans get over 200 years old. Kirk’s stay in the Nexus was not such an outstanding idea, but well. But bringing TNG characters BACK in time AND into a parallel universe just for the fun of it? (Or just because some former TNG actors would like it.) I don’t see how to do this without, well, writing a silly and contrived story.
Re 27: I agree. But still, some things strike audiences/readers as downright silly and others not, even in SF.

December 5, 2012 5:22 am

i don’t see the point unless you are do i kind of countdown scene! which would be fun and cool!and this can show what is happening in the prime time or like Spock another cross over maybe they are looking for Spock (i know a bit like escape from the planet of the apes) again showing what is happening in the prime timeline

December 5, 2012 5:30 am

Not going to happen. Abrams and co. will likely do one more movie after this and they will probably be done (based on their own statements, not any opinion of mine). Abrams has stated in the past that he has little interest in the spin-offs. I wouldn’t necessarily have an issue with the actors playing other roles if the particular role fit their ability, or even the ancestor of a character idea some people float. But I don’t really see how they can fit a TNG character into the Abrams storyline without time-travel. And they have said they are done with time travel.

Just like having Shatner as prime-Kirk, having a TNG character in a movie in this timeline would require some backstory that would take away from whatever story they were trying to tell.

I love TNG (and all Star Trek as I’ve noted millions of time). But I don’t see how they would fit in the new universe in the original series time-frame. I was one of the 10 people that liked Nemesis and I’ve read all the relaunch novels, so for me TNG story continues.

December 5, 2012 6:00 am

I miss this man! Whenever I hear him talk about Trek, he is genuinely excited and sincerely reverent. I would love to see him and maybe LeVar Burton in charge of TNG on TV in some form: animated series, live action miniseries, live action series. Frakes knows the characters and the actors and he knows how to get the most out of them.

As far as TNG characters being in the JJverse, I suppose it work such as in a flashback with Spock and Capt. Riker of the Titan before the Vulcan ambassador went through the temporal rift that brought him and the Romulans back in time. I’m no writer so I won’t go beyond that little though nugget. Suffice it to say, it could be done and done well but I’d rather see TNG/DS9/VOY era back on TV.

December 5, 2012 6:01 am

Make that “thought nugget.”

NEM wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great by any means. And it was hardly a good send off.

December 5, 2012 6:02 am

I personally wouldn’t want to see and TNG characters in the new movies however I think it could be cool if there’s mention of an ancestor of one of the characters for example Admiral Crusher or shopkeeper Riker etc could even meet an ancestor of Yar’s on that colony she lived on or whatever or even chateau Picard could be used during a meal or party scene or something.

Spock Jenkins
December 5, 2012 6:17 am

Yeah, I actually enjoy watching Nemesis whenever it cones on Tv ( even though it is pretty much a remake of Wrath of Khan ).

I think the misstep was Insurrection, after a very enjoyable First Contact. They should have built upon the good response of FC and made the following film exceptional. Insurrection sucked, and felt like a tv movie at best.

December 5, 2012 6:30 am

Would I care if the actors turned up in a future Trek production, no. Would I care if specific characters turned up, yeah. That just reeks of gimmick writing, and won’t work. T4 is just the latest example of that.

December 5, 2012 6:43 am

TNG is done. Although Leonard Nimoy was a nice addition to ST09, his presence was ultimately unnecessary, given how spot on the new cast were. Any further cameos would be a distraction. Besides, if they feature a version of Picard from the JJ-verse future, it would be fun to see Tom Hardy in the role! ;)

The series is called Star Trek, though, not ‘Time Trek.’ Ultimately, I’m done with time travel-based Treks for now. There’s a big universe out there to explore so let’s see more of it, rather than hover around Earth in different time periods!

December 5, 2012 6:43 am

I liked INS because it felt like a TV episode. Other than FC, TNG films weren’t so great. TNG and the other 24th century series were at their best when they utilized the entire ensemble cast and not merely focused on three characters. TOS, on the other hand, used a triad of characters from the beginning – Kirk, Bones, and Spock. TNG, and even more so DS9 worked for me because of the deep character development as well as the unique relationships that each had with the others. A film, even a series of films doesn’t allow that to happen nearly as successfully.

Mike D
December 5, 2012 6:49 am

I think it be cool if JJ directed a TNG movie that continues from after Nemesis like when Romulas’ sun explodes that causes Spock & Nero go back in time. I would like to see Riker’s Titan and I wouldn’t mind seeing Deanna Troi again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Spock Jenkins
December 5, 2012 6:53 am

Agree wholeheartedly T’Cal.

I also recall when Bryan Singer was planning an multi-crew Federation movie, or am I confusing that with something else?

On a separate note, the movie industry is different from when the Original crew starred in the movies. Will the current cast even want to consider doing 6 + movies down the line? or will they recast/reboot when this trilogy is complete.

Ideally, I would like to see 2 trilogies featuring the JJ cast before they decide to change things again, but given Hollywood’s propensity to reboot as soon as something isn’t quite a big a hit as they planned, I don’t know if my wish will be possible…

Spock Jenkins
December 5, 2012 6:59 am

Mike D, maybe even a prologue featuring some of the TNGers – or In fact, the ENTERPRISE show crew.

Wouldn’t T’Pol still be alive ( if she escaped the destruction of Vulcan )?

Is T’Pau also dead follwing the explosion of Vulcan? Probably

Mike D
December 5, 2012 7:11 am

Ohhhh T’Pol the hottest woman alive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I always wanted a Enterprise movie. I thing the Voyager crew should get something because the had the lamest last episode.

December 5, 2012 7:15 am

I’m not against time travel stories, but they’ve been done to death. As far as TNG crew being in a JJ’s Trek…no!!! Leave that one alone. If they want to reboot TNG…give them their own film.

December 5, 2012 7:26 am

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December 5, 2012 7:31 am

45. That “prime universe” crap is just a half hearted attempt to pacify long time fans who aren’t big on remakes or whatever you want to call them.

Captain Hackett
December 5, 2012 7:38 am

No way. I prefer JJ and his crew focus on TOS characters only, not other characters from other Star Trek series because I want to see more stories about these characters.

December 5, 2012 7:48 am

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December 5, 2012 7:52 am

Hard to imagine that happening but down the road if Paramount thinks it’ll bring in some more boxoffice bucks anything’s possible. IF it did happen it would be post-JJ.

But as I’ve been saying and implying for years I don’t care what the exact trappings of a Star Trek itration, as long as it’s interesting, intriguing, well-written science fiction set in the/a Star Trek universe, I’ll be happy.

December 5, 2012 7:53 am

That’s *a Star Trek iteration*.