Earlier this week we posted the first part of our extended exclusive interview with Star Trek: The Next Generation veteran Jonathan Frakes, focusing on directing last Thursday’s episode of The Orville. In the second (of three) parts of the interview, Frakes talks about his work on Star Trek: Discovery and the upcoming Picard show, featuring Sir Patrick Stewart.
Excited to work on ambitious Picard show
You said you were working on the Picard show, can you say what episode or episodes?
I’ve been booked for they call the “second block,” which is episodes 3 and 4.
Hanelle Culpepper is booked to direct the first two…
Yeah, they are doing it in blocks. There are going to be ten episodes, with five blocks … She is about to start shooting, and then I start prepping after she starts shooting for a couple of days. I am so looking forward to it, I can’t tell ya.
Are the blocks for logistic reasons or are there five mini-arcs?
No, I read the first two and it is not that. It is a ten-episode movie, as Patrick put it one time. I think it has to do with amortization. It is a very ambitious approach to television, in the first season.
Obviously, we can’t get into spoilers, but how do you feel fans will feel about the show and how it fit with TNG and carrying on the legacy however many years later?
Eighteen years later. I think the fans are going to be thrilled and excited and surprised. I have had the privilege of reading the first couple of episodes and I have spent some time with Patrick who is so engaged [laughs] Sorry. It’s wonderful. It’s smart. I’m excited about it. He is obviously more excited. His announcing of it at Las Vegas—which I believe was his idea—was very smart. You know he is 78, and he is going to be carrying the show on his shoulders, his considerable shoulders.
I’m excited for him and personally, I feel so blessed to back. It’s so ironic that I spent so many years trying to expand where I was working and I was lucky enough to get onto other types of shows. The directing has been a mitzvah for me—to learn another craft. And now I am deeply ensconced in the world I was in 31 years ago—and I’ve got to say—incredibly grateful for it, between The Orville, and Discovery and Picard. And hopefully the Empress Georgiou show.
Why Discovery has grown the beard
Have you already started talking about working on the third season of Discovery?
Yes. I’m booked for episode three and another one later in the season.
Do you feel in the second season, that Discovery has grown the beard?
Oh, excellent question. I do. And beautifully phrased I might add. There are few people who understand the importance in the Urban Dictionary of Riker’s Beard. I have had to explain it to some people and I am so proud of it. I think Discovery has done it and I think a lot of has to do—like on our show, we didn’t get there until the third season, even though I grew the beard—the settling in of both sides of the camera: the writing and the actors … The show feels to me like it is very much on the tracks now and running with real strength.
One of the things that has been incredibly successful is how complicated Burnham’s backstory and history is, and continues to reveal. A lot of it is Sonequa [Martin-Green]’s brilliance in seeing glimmers of it. That character is so complex and so complicated and so damaged and so intriguing and so intelligent, that has made that show for me. The casting of Sonequa to head the show was genius.
More to come
The third and final part of TrekMovie’s interview with Jonathan Frakes will include our discussion about his time on Star Trek: The Next Generation and what he thinks about the state of the movie franchise.