Last week’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery, “Stormy Weather,” was helmed by Next Generation veteran Jonathan Frakes, who did a series of post-episode interviews about Discovery and his growing involvement in the Star Trek franchise.
Sees TNG Data parallel with Zora on Discovery
Speaking to Screenrant, Jonathan Frakes talked about the parallels between Star Trek: The Next Generation and the fourth season of Discovery, including moral and ethical questions. Frakes pointed to the emergence of Zora the ship’s AI becoming sentient as a particular example:
It has a lot of Data, doesn’t it? Aspiring to have sentience and aspiring to have human emotions… as Zora’s sentience and character has been revealed as the season goes on, I think it’s intriguing that the other characters on the show treat Zora with respect and a certain level of politeness and civility that one doesn’t associate with talking to Siri or a computer or Alexa. I think it’s very clever what’s happening with Zora, frankly.
Frakes also revealed to Inverse that because of the importance of Zora (who is voiced by Anabelle Wallis) for the episode, he brought in Canadian actress Robinne Fanfair to perform as Zora on set:
She became a member of our cast for that time. She acted a bit like Annabelle, and probably could have played the part outright if the role hadn’t already been cast.
Expects to return for Discovery season five
Last week’s episode was Jonathan Frakes’ seventh time behind the camera for Star Trek: Discovery. Even though he has been part of other new shows, he talked to io9 about how he still feels a special connection to Discovery:
Well, Discovery had become my, for lack of a better word, my home show. Because when I started with them in season one, I had… I felt this camaraderie. Unfortunately, I finally embraced that I’m the old guy. So, I was sort of a big brother figure or plucky uncle. Father. Whatever. I had come from another Star Trek and am thrilled to be directing this next version of Star Trek as well as Strange New Worlds and Picard, and to be part of Lower Decks, so, I feel very blessed to carry on the tradition of Star Trek. But I always look forward to coming on Discovery, because Sonequa is number one. You couldn’t ask for a better number one on a call sheet
He elaborated on how he saw a parallel between TNG and Discovery with Cinemablend:
When I started on Discovery, the actors were very, very curious…They reminded me a lot of our Star Trek family on the Enterprise on Next Gen in their camaraderie. But they were very curious about what they had gotten themselves into. And because I had, for better or worse, been doing it for, you know, thirty-five years and whatever it’s been, I was able to share some of the great privileges that come with what we all hoped was going to be a hit. And clearly, you know we’re in our fourth season now, and I’m assuming we’ll go on from there on Discovery.
A fifth season of Discovery has yet to be announced, but in his appearance on The Ready Room where he talked about the AR Wall (which was not required for “Stormy Weather”), Frakes indicated he expected to return to direct more Discovery:
I never got to shoot on [the AR Wall]… I will look forward to it next season, but it looks fabulous. I watched the cue take, which is what they feed into the producer’s office, it’s breathtaking… It beats what we used to do, which is talk to an “X” on a greenscreen.
Strange New Worlds season two, more Picard and Lower Decks too
Frakes also specified which upcoming seasons of other Star Trek shows he is working on as a director (via Screenrant):
I did a number of them in [Picard season] 2 and I’m just finishing editing a couple of [episodes I directed] in [season] 3. I love being on that show as well. And I’m booked to [direct] Strange New Worlds [season 2], which I missed out on [season 1] because of the pandemic.
The second season of Strange New Worlds has yet to be officially announced, but it is reported to be going into production in February of 2022, even before season one premieres, which is expected to happen in the spring. While he hasn’t yet directed Strange New Worlds, he did talk about how it will be different than the other shows, saying, “That show has yet another new flavor for Trek.”
In the case of Picard, Frakes had particularly high praise for new showrunner Terry Matalas, telling Inverse:
Terry [Matalas] is like [Lower Decks showrunner Mike] McMahan in that he has such incredible experience, and love — specific love — for the Next Gen. He’s got a wicked sense of humor and wonderful sense of storytelling. I think with Picard Season 2, Terry has nailed it.
Speaking of McMahan, Frakes indicated that he will return as Captain Riker in Lower Decks season three, telling Screenrant:
I’ve got more on Lower Decks. I just did a watch-along on Lower Decks with Mike McMahan and Jack Quaid [Boimler].
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