Star Trek: The Next Generation star Jonathan Frakes has become a major part of Star Trek again as a director for both of the current live-action Trek shows. Yesterday, Frakes was a guest on the GalaxyCon Live show, where he talked about his history with Star Trek and where he is headed with the franchise.
Frakes sees connections for Discovery and Picard fan acceptance with his TNG experience
The GalaxyCon Live show focuses on fan conventions and Frakes recalled a number of stories from his decades as a con regular. He began by telling the story of facing a tough crowd at his first con in 1987 after the premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation:
The audience were very hardcore Original Series fans. They were skeptical. They were suspicious. They were generally not terribly interested and completely unfamiliar with the new Star Trek which had a bald English captain with a French name, and an entirely new cast. They wanted their Kirk, Spock, and Bones Star Trek.
Later, the Riker actor discussed how long it took for fans to accept the new Trek show:
I don’t think it wasn’t until the second or third year when [Star Trek: The Next Generation] got really got good. And remember we did 26 [episodes] a year, so that is a lot It was 50 or 60 shows in. They realized there was room in their world for both shows.
Frakes then contrasted this past fan evolution to the recent fan reactions to Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard:
With Discovery, which I was privileged to be part of and still am, it was a similar vibe when that show came out. They didn’t want to find room in their hearts for another Star Trek, which there clearly is. One of the reasons that was not a factor in the launching of Picard was that the hardcore fans love Picard and were inclined to look forward to the show and look forward to having him and look forward to whatever story. Because they knew him and they knew who he was. I think the familiarity with all fandom is so important. It is like the canon of these shows… they want a touch point. And, it’s important, and it clearly worked, because Picard is wonderful.
When asked about the fans that remain critics of Star Trek: Picard, Frakes jumped in with an observation:
But they’re watching! … They’re watching to make sure they hate it!
Playing Riker again was nerve-wracking, but set for directing more (and new) Star Trek shows
The actor-turned-director discussed how Star Trek has become such a big part of his life again, with more to come:
It has been a blessing to have my career to be rekindled by the new Star Treks. It didn’t hurt that I learned how to do another craft. The directing has been fantastic for me. When Discovery worked out and then Picard worked out and now there will be a new one, and another one.
When talking about what he has been up to recently, Frakes confirmed just how much Star Trek he is doing these days (along with a new non-Star Trek show):
I’ve got three epiodes of Discovery [season three] that have yet to air. I just finished this new action/adventure called The Astronauts, which is kind of wonderful. And looking forward to going back to Picard.
While feeling confident about his work as a director, Frakes revealed he was nervous about returning to the role of Riker for Picard:
It was a thrill to be asked back as an actor, nerve-wracking, but a thrill. I thought Marina [Sirtis] was astounding when Patrick came to our home in “Nepenthe.” Spectacular!
Watch Frakes’ GalaxyCon chat
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Picard news and reviews at TrekMovie.com.