The second season of Star Trek: Picard kicked off production in southern California last Tuesday. It is expected to arrive on Paramount+ in 2022. There isn’t much confirmed about the show’s sophomore season, but a Star Trek luminary may have just given us a big clue.
Frakes’ cryptic tweet
What has us wondering if something is afoot is a tweet sent out Friday morning by Star Trek: The Next Generation star Jonathan Frakes. He posted a photo—without a caption—of himself smiling with his TNG co-stars LeVar Burton and John de Lancie. It’s a fantastic photo and in just a few hours, the tweet garnered hundreds of comments and thousands of likes.
— Jonathan Frakes (@jonathansfrakes) February 26, 2021
Could there be more to this image than just a fun post for his fans on social media? Let’s start with the image itself. The shot of Frakes, de Lancie, and Burton is one in of a collection taken by celebrated British photographer Andy Gotts in 2017. In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation members of the cast sat for Gotts in London for a series of individual and group prints. You can buy a photographic print of the shot at Gotts’ website.
Putting the clues together
So why did Jonathan Frakes choose today to share a four-year-old image, and why this specific one? Could it be a clue? If so, to what? Well, let’s put some pieces together.
In his most recent TrekMovie interview, Frakes confirmed he would be returning to direct Star Trek: Picard in season two, which is being broken up into two-episode blocks and divided among five directors. As of this week, production should still be in its first block of two shows, with the next director already prepping. Frakes told TrekMovie he hoped he’d get to reprise his role of William Riker (after appearing in two episodes of season one). But at a bare minimum, Frakes is involved as a director.
As for LeVar Burton and John de Lancie, both actors have hinted that they, too, could appear in season two of Picard. Last April, Burton said he has been in discussions with producers of the show and expected he and the rest of the cast would eventually turn up. And in 2019, Burton visited the set during the location shoot for “Nepenthe.” Burton’s Geordi La Forge has already been mentioned on the show, indicating that he’s still around and on good terms with Jean-Luc Picard. There are plenty of ways to fit the legendary engineer into the story, especially given that Picard was resurrected in an android body last season.
As for de Lancie, in December in a Cameo.com video the actor revealed he would be reprising his role as Q. While he didn’t specifically mention Star Trek: Picard, it makes the most sense of any of the Star Trek shows currently in production, especially as he had already appeared on Star Trek: Lower Decks by that time. One more intriguing piece of the puzzle: Whoopi Goldberg will be reprising her role of Guinan on Picard this season, and the two characters have a complicated history together, as established on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Is this all a convoluted web of connecting dots that may not really be there? Perhaps. But Frakes has been known to drop a spoiler or two, and with strict restrictions on sharing behind-the-scenes images while shows are in production, this simple posting of a photo from 2017 could be his way of letting us know some of the gang are getting back together.
UPDATE: Showrunner joins in
If you are looking for another data point, you can find one from new Picard executive producer and showrunner Terry Matalas. On Friday Matalas retweeted Frakes’ tweet with the image we have been discussing. Could he just be another fan sharing a great image, or was this his way of confirming the theory?
What about this one?
If you’re still down the rabbit hole with us, then we might as well keep going. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds also just went into production, and Frakes is likely to helm an episode or two of that show as well. So, what do you make of Frakes’ tweet from last week with the phrase “Strange New Worlds” (which features Spock as one of its main characters) and a Photoshopped image of Leonard Nimoy’s Spock playing 3D chess with Anya Taylor-Joy from the Netflix chess mini-series The Queen’s Gambit?
Strange New Worlds pic.twitter.com/5NYgPwrfVu
— Jonathan Frakes (@jonathansfrakes) February 15, 2021
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