STLV18: Jonathan Frakes Reveals Ted Danson And More Stars Join Marina Sirtis In His ‘The Orville’ Episode

One of the more entertaining panels for Friday at Star Trek Las Vegas was the ever charming pair of Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis. The original Imzadis demonstrated their chemistry as they told stories of their time on Star Trek: The Next Generation stars and a bit about their recent work together on The Orville. We have highlights from the pair along with photo highlights from other celebrity panels from Friday.

Frakes reveals star-studded line-up for his new The Orville episode

Frakes started his time on stage telling the story of how he suggested Marina Sirits for a part on the recent episode of The Orville he just wrapped up. Frakes described her casting for a guest spot in The Orville as a “great get” for the show. Sirtis chimed in to say “I’m in a really good episode.”

Jonathan Frakes offers up The Orville details at STLV

However Frakes had more to reveal, saying creator Seth MacFarlane gave him permission to announced more guest stars for his latest The Orville episode. Joining Sirtis and playing admirals for the Planetary Union will be F. Murray Abraham (Ru’afo in Star Trek: Insurrection) and Ron Canada (who has guest starred three times for Star Trek, and guest starred in season one of The Orville as Admiral Tucker). Tony Todd (who played three different characters in Star Trek including Worf’s brother Kurn) will be playing a Moclan. And perhaps the biggest surprise Frakes had to announce is Cheers and The Good Place star Ted Danson also appears in this same episode.

Actors guest starring in Frakes’ season two episode of The Orville: F. Murray Abraham, Ron Canada, Tony Todd and Ted Danson

Sirtis on Frakes as a director

Sirtis said that in all her time acting, Jonathan Frakes was her favorite director to work with, explaining:

He is a force of nature and he gets it. There are two types of directors. Directors who like to do whizzy things with the camera and shots and all that. And then there the directors who are really good with actors. They usually fall into two separate groups. This one [pointing to Frakes] is both…The studio loves him, the actors loves him, the crew would walk on glass for him. It’s a happy set. The work gets done. There is no tension. There is no angst. You know you are going to get the work done. You are producing a good product. You got a great guy at the helm. It’s perfect, perfect.

Frakes also offered up his own compliment to Sirtis saying that in the editing room for episodes he directed on Star Trek: The Next Generation, if he ever got in trouble and needed to find the right shot, he would always pick a close-up of Marina because she was “an active listener,” especially in conference room scenes.

Jonathan Frakes thanks Marina Sritis for her kind words at STLV 2018

Sirtis says Denise Crosby leaving saved her job

When moderator Matt Mira commented that it seemed to take a long time for the Star Trek: The Next Generation to figure out how to use Marina’s character of Troi, she quipped back that there were scenes she felt “decorative.” She also recalled how she believed she was going to be fired during the first season:

If she can sense what what is going on, we have to write her out…I was very insecure in the first season because they were always writing me out of episodes and I went from being the favorite, because when I was cast I knew I was their favorite. Gene loved me, it was obvious I was their favorite. And it got to the point where if a producer saw me coming, they would turn around and walk away. So, I knew my job was on the line…I was on the bubble.

Sirtis said Majel Barrett, wife of TNG creator Gene Roddenberry, confirmed her suspicions years later. She recalled Barrett telling her that Roddenberry felt there was “one too many women” on the show and that “you don’t really need a psychologist.” Sirits believes that if it weren’t for Denise Crosby leaving the show during the first season, she would have been fired, saying “she saved my job.”

Marina Sirtis

More photos from STLV

Here are some more photo highlights from Friday’s STLV celebrity panels.

Shakespeare and Star Trek

Mary Chieffo

Walter Koenig

Walter Koenig

Walter Koenig

Deep Space Nine Tribute Part 2

James Darren, Andrew Robinson, Chase Masterson, Nicole de Boer, Ira Steven Behr

James Darren and Andrew Robinson

Chase Masterson and Nicole de Boer

TOS Guest Stars

Eddie Paskey (Leslie), Joanne Linville (Romulan Commander) and Sandy Gimpel (M-113 Creature)

Eddie Paskey, Joanne Linville and Sandy Gimpel

Eddie Paskey

Joanne Linville


JG Hertzler as Martok, Robert O’Reilly as Gowron and Gwynyth Walsh as B’Etor

JG Hertzler as Martok

Robert O’Reilly as Gowron

Gwynyth Walsh as B’Etor

More STLV 2018

Stay tuned for more daily coverage here at Also be sure to follow along with our social media reporting from STLV on Twitter and InstagramCLICK HERE to see all of our STLV coverage.

All photos by Andrew Britton/

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Nice to see Mary Chieffo reminding everyone what a real bat’leth looks like! Discovery props people take note…

That’s a great photo.

That design is my biggest problem with the Klingon prop weapons in Discovery. The Mek’leth and D’k tahg are fine updates. The Bat’leth? Looks like someone sharpened a twisted old branch rather than making a sword.

Jesus Frakes episode of the Orville is full of Trek vets!

This convention seemed bigger than most. They even got past actors to play Klingons again lol. I’m shocked they got so many people from all six shows (soon to be seven ;)). Its lovely to see the Trek family all under one roof. I love Star Trek!

Isn’t it Jonathan Frakes?

Marina saying that Gene felt that “there was too many women” is quite interesting. I’ve heard that when 30% of a group is female, *some* men will think that there are too many women. In season one we had 3 women and 6 men (counting Wesley).

Following on from this, on TOS we had 6 men, 2 women (with Chapel somewhat replacing Rand). On DS9 we had 6 men, 2 women season one (later Worf didn’t replace anyone but Ezri replaced Jadzia). On Voyager we had 6 men, 3 women (later Seven replaced Kes). On Enterprise we had 5 men, 2 women (40%). Discovery’s cast is in flux but seems to be more even.

@GQMF — and again, Uhura was not in every episode, and wore the skimpiest of outfits, only participating subserviently, while Chapel was in even fewer episodes, so I’m not really sure we can count her either, especially since like Troi, she had very little to do in most cases other than dote on Spock, or wait on McCoy — and even then I’d say she was more important than Troi likely ever was.

At least the women in DS9 were more vital, though recall the casting of DAX changed the way her species look had been established because the Trill makeup made her less attractive. VOY was on the right track until they added Seven and painted her costume on. But even then, she was a vital female character. ENT was a step backward I felt. While TPol held a vital role, they exploited her in tight uniforms, while returning Hoshi to the role of a glorified switchboard operator, who was often presented as a helpless fish out of water. The only character to fare worse was the “black one”.

Yes DISC has already raised the bar considerably.

@GQMF — Interesting. I’m not sure we can count Wesley based on importance, but then Worf and Yar were both somewhat redundant, and marginalized as a result. And look who left and not replaced out of that lineup? One also has to look at their roles as well — Troi wore a skin tight unitard completely different from the rest, and had absolutely no reason for being around most of the time, other than to look good.

I counted Wesley as he was in the cast photo I found for season one. I couldn’t find one for Discovery (or it didn’t show up in the top results anyway).

There is a YouTube video of Marina speaking about her costume and how it affected Troi’s IQ in comparison to her wearing the regular uniform in season seven.

Since I didn’t do it before, the Kelvin verse had only Uhura in 2009 but she was elevated to the main 3 and her character changed from switchboard (and some technical aspects everyone forgets) to translator. Both STID and Beyond had temporary female crew members. Since Anton is gone, it remains to be seen whether he will be replaced, and if so, by whom.

And Troi wasn’t even that much of a looker. If they wanted eye candy Yar was better in that regard. And yes, I know that is subjective. I have a good friend who basically had two and only two reasons why he liked having Troi on the bridge.

“And Troi wasn’t even that much of a looker. If they wanted eye candy Yar was better in that regard.”

No accounting for taste, that’s for sure. . .

There is indeed accounting for taste in my comment. Troi was not as attractive as Yar. You disagree. Fine.

Just getting into the first season of The Orville; six episodes in, and loving it.

Good for you! The shows only get better as the season progresses.

Great to see these Trek vets again!

Ted Danson!? Well, they’ve jumped the shark. ;-)

He’s incredible on The Good Place right now. Danson’s A-list.

Danson has been doing a lot of great characters last decade. His character on CSI is what brought me back to that show.

@Jack — not a fan. I’d no sooner want to see him in Star Trek, as I would Tom Selleck (and by extension ORVILLE), A-list or no. I guess better ORVILLE than DISC. YMMV.

Also, no one has mentioned that they’re promoting THE ORVILLE at a Star Trek convention. It’s one thing to report about Trek alum shows on a Trek site, but doing it at convention is a bit disconcerting. Beyond discussing his experience with Sirtis (a major Trek alum), I think it’s a little inappropriate for him to announce the upcoming casting. I can excuse some of them as Trek cast members which fans might be interested in (not so sure Abraham really falls into that category tho), but Ted Danson really doesn’t — that was admittedly pure PR authorized by MacFarlane likely to promote ORVILLE to Trek fans he’s actively courting — and driving a wedge between — not to mention get it picked up by mainstream media outlets.

@Curious Cadet,

“that was admittedly pure PR authorized by MacFarlane likely to promote ORVILLE to Trek fans he’s actively courting — and driving a wedge between —”

Wow, you’ve uncovered an unspeakable evil plot by the Seth Lord!

I don’t think it’s MacFarlane driving the wedge between fans; it’s those fans themselves who seem to think if they like one show, they can’t like the other. I love Discovery, and I like Orville. For some folks it’s the other way around, and some folks absolutely will not watch Discovery for their own reasons, and will watch Orville because “it’s true Trek,” whatever the hell that means.

Exactly Marja!

It’s a big universe, there is plenty to go around for everyone. Why is everything a contest? Sadly even within Trek shows themselves some fans want to choose sides. Why, its STAR TREK, just be happy we have so much of it and it’s only growing for more newer fans. Just BIZARRE to me as a fan I guess. Like what you like, stop acting like any of it matters.

@Marja — respectfully, while I understand your point, when MacFarlane says some of the things he says, a “dog whistle” if you will, implying that ORVILLE is the true successor to Star Trek; that is actively driving a wedge between the fans. ORVILLE is nothing of the kind, but MacFarlane is seemingly looking to promote his own show at the expense of the legitmate franchise. And he and the FOX lawyers are walking a very thin line in order to do it. That’s divisive.

I started watching The Good Place some time ago. Stopped watching about 4 episodes in. It just wasn’t funny. But he sure was good on Cheers. And have enjoyed his occasional appearances on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

That episode going to be stellar! Love to see Ted Danson, he was brilliant in Fargo.

He was, that was a great season of Fargo!

Oh yeah… I forgot he was in season 2 of Fargo. He was good, wasn’t he? It’s just that EVERYONE in Fargo has been good. So he kinda fell through the cracks I guess.

Klingons in cowboy hats, thats great!

Two things…

Majel Roddenberry was right. They didn’t need a psychologist. They didn’t need one even after Crosby left either. Troi was arguably one of the three weakest characters in ALL of Trek.

And at the risk of sounding sexist deBoer is still a cutie. And Mrs. ML31 know I think that too. :)


Just kidding, of course. Sounds like it could be a fun episode, and I hope Orville fans enjoy it. MacFarlane knows how to parlay his cred for some A-List guest appearances, that’s for sure.

Just read ORVILLE is only getting a DVD release, not a blu-ray. That is just appalling.


I’ll say.

“On final output, we go linear to log, winding up in LogC for our final archive master at full 2K, 2048×1152.” — Luke Mc/Donald, THE ORVILLE VFX Supervisor

I got the impression though that because of time constraints they outsource a lot of VFX rather than solely relying on the old school methods? Made me wonder if the DVD is some compromise because some of those VFX quickies don’t look up to snuff at full archive res? But I suspect it is more likely just standard FOX home video box set release marketing nonsense.

What media did FOX use for its Emmy screeners?

I doubt it will be DVD only. Amazon has had a pre-order link up for a DVD-only set for 10 months now, but it doesn’t mean that’s the only way it will be released.

The episodes from Season 1 are available in HD for digital purchase on iTunes and Amazon. So I don’t see why they wouldn’t release it on Blu-ray, assuming Fox even bothers releasing it on physical media. Fox hasn’t been releasing much TV on disc.

A lot of gimmicks for this season of The Orville. The show can’t hold on it’s own, so hence the theft of Trek production staff and actors, and bringing is as many big name guest stars as they can. And I guarantee you at some point, someone from Fox’s NFL broadcast team will guest star as a not-so-subtle tie in…LOL