Jonathan Frakes Talks “Blueprint” For Potential ‘Star Trek: Legacy’ Series And His Vision Of Riker’s Role

Even before Star Trek: Picard wrapped up its third and final season in April, the buzz had been growing about the possibility of a spinoff series which showrunner Terry Matalas envisioned as “Star Trek: Legacy.” The fan buzz has been amplified by the people who worked on the third season, including the Next Generation actors—led by Jonathan Frakes, who has spoken openly about his optimism for Legacy. In the latest official Star Trek Explorer magazine, Frakes lays out how he sees the setup for the show (if it moves forward) and his role in it.

Frakes’ Legacy

In the interview, Jonathan Frakes was asked about how Picard ended with respect to Will Riker’s marriage with Deanna Troi. The actor and director used that as a jumping-off point to talk about where he would like to see Riker go next:

“The Rikers’ marriage is back on track. In my mind, for the show to be able to move forward, Riker would be a captain and have his ship, or he would be promoted to admiral and be a liaison. I’m only half-kidding when I say it would be great for me if the show carries on and I’m like Charlie from Charlie’s Angels. They’d have to come to my office one day a week for a meeting with Riker. That’d be perfect. Then I could direct a bunch of the episodes and be around the show.”

Frakes has directed for all the new live-action Star Trek shows, including two episodes of season 3 of Picard. In a late 2022 interview with TrekMovie, he talked about his hope to work even more closely with executive producer Terry Matalas if a Picard spinoff ever moved forward, saying “I would love to be involved with him as an executive producer, certainly. And I really like working with Terry. I would love to have the producing director role like [Olatunde Osunsanmi] has for Discovery.”

Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi and Jonathan Frakes as Will Riker in “The Last Generation” (Paramount+)

In the new Star Trek Explorer, Frakes also revealed how he sees the setup for the Picard spin-off:

“I suspect if it does go forward, it would be Jeri Ryan, Michelle Hurd, and Ed Speelers, who’s now in Starfleet, and Mica Burton and Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut, who played Geordi’s daughters. I would also imagine Lulu Wilson, who played the Rikers’ daughter in season 1 and was so fabulous, could be a part of it. She should come back and maybe be in Starfleet. It feels to me like there’s a real opportunity for three of the legacy characters’ children to carry on and sort of be the next Star Trek: The Next Generation. It just feels like it’s laid out there. It’s the blueprint for the next phase.”

The season 1 episode “Nepenthe” featured Lulu Wilson as Kestra Troi-Riker.

Lulu Wilson (right) with Sir Patrick Stewart and Marina Sirtis in “Nepenthe” (Paramount+)

Terry Matalas has made his interest in doing a Picard follow-up clear; however, he has also been clear that there is no active Star Trek: Legacy project in the works, nor have there even been any discussions. As of now the only development projects that have been given a greenlight by Paramount+ are the Section 31 streaming movie starring Michelle Yeoh and the Star Trek: Starfleet Academy series. During the five-month WGA strike, any discussions for the development of any projects were not allowed; in a TrekMovie interview last week, Picard production designer Dave Blass noted how the end of the strike gave CBS and Paramount an opportunity to move forward with Terry Matalas and the Legacy project, saying: “Hopefully they do that because he deserves the opportunity to do another series. But if he doesn’t get that offer soon, he’s going to be gone because everyone in the world saw what he did. ”

Michelle Hurd as Raffi Musiker, Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut as Ensign Sidney La Forge, Mica Burton as Alandra La Forge and Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine in “The Last Generation” (Paramount+)

More in Star Trek Explorer #8

Star Trek Explorer #8 is on newsstands now in the USA and will arrive on October 12 in the UK and Ireland. In addition to the interview with Jonathan Frakes, there are interviews with Picard star Ed Speleers, Picard production designer David Blass, Strange New Worlds star Celia Rose Gooding, and Strange New Worlds and Prodigy composer Nami Melamud. There are also exclusive short stories from David Mack and Keith R.A. Candido and much more. You can find the issue on newsstands and comic book stores. You can also subscribe and buy issues directly from Titan.

Newsstand cover

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I would SO much rather the offspring of the TNG characters be in careers other than Starfleet. Likewise, I’d rather Riker have a different role, other than captain. It would be far more interesting to see people forge paths not taken, rather than just be a retread of a retread of a retread. And that’s if this series has to happen at all, rather than so many much more original ideas. If I just wanted to see another starship show, I have TOS, TAS, TNG, VOY, ENT, DSC, PIC, LDS, PRO, and SNW. If I wanted to see characters I’ve already seen in a new series, I already have SNW, as well as LDS and PRO.

There needs to be something new, groundbreaking, and challenging to the audience, rather than comfort food, in order for it to be Trek at all.

Trouble is when Trek *does* try to break new ground, people slam it and demand a return to the status quo they are used to. They studios literally cannot win.

I disagree. It’s poor writing and poor storytelling. Don’t misconstrue different with poor quality.

Nope. M1701 had it right.

I feel that DS9 def broke new ground when it veered from the first 2 shows but it was also not the best in its first 2 seasons either. Once it started picking up speed it got to the point now where it is beloved. Conversely shows like DISCO are headed into their 5th season and they still have not gotten out of the rut.

I totally agree that Trekkies do not like change but more than that, trekkies don’t like bad change and that to me includes bad writing.

Fans use to hate DS9 because it wasn’t TNG. Now they love it.

What kills new Trek is that TNG was supposed to be a perfected humanity, something expressly forbidden in the TOS writers guide where humanity was supposed to be above racism and pro learning, but relatable with a lot more to learn. This applies to the tech too, a primitive starship (but still able to warp) is just way more exciting than a flying hotel.
If you are already perfect and can beat everyone and are so superior where you are preaching even to the Q Vs learning, dealing with hardships, dealing with conflict, well… it’s a Snoozefest like Voyager and most of TNG where ironically the ultimate bad guy that saves it is a collective unimind (until detoothed). Worse is time travel, why not just go back in time and save everyone?
ENT was the biggest missed opportunity for new Trek, should have been humanity trying to find its place in the universe not being the smartest but able to bring the logical Vulcans to work with the passionate Andorrans, building colonies on the frontier, dealing with nuclear weapon strikes from the Romulans, Klingon raids, no phasers on stun to deal with that hostage situation, no transporters to beam you away from a difficult situation, no reset buttons, learning as they go. But instead they had to go TNG in one hour with transporters, phasers on stun, time travel, subspace comms and peace with the Klingons in less than 60 minutes. You couldn’t have screwed that up even more had one purposely tried.
I suppose a rebuild series in the 32nd can try to emulate a frontier setting… but I bet they screw it up and TNGize. If they want use the ships from the museum but let’s explore and learn in an exciting final frontier

I am completely uninterested in a “kids of Star Trek” series. We don’t need more Ed Speelers. We don’t need Mica Burton, who was not that wonderful and was there for stunt casting. I liked Kestra, but we don’t need an entire series about her.

I dont see anywhere where they said there would be an entire series about her. Sounds like she could be a cast member in an ensemble cast.

young minds, fresh ideas, be tolerant

I’d like to know his thoughts on how Rikers and Shaw’s (and Saaviks) legacy on the Titan was erased for the ENT-G despite Picard being compromised for so many years resulting in all the young Starfleet officers being forced to kill their superiors (and this after having androids built as slaves under his watch leading to the destruction of utopia planta).
Isn’t this trauma inflicted on all new Starfleet officers the real legacy to be explored as well? Just think most officers now will have helped destroy the Excelsior and Earth space dock. Hard to life with, how does that impact these crews?
And to double down on Starfleet gone mad they then put “Seven of Nine” rushed up the ranks and not liking Anika attachment to when she herself was forced to engage in xenocide with her Doctor someone who rushed off for the Borg to assimilate the young fleet? Seems like they are setting up the burn

I just want a canon explanation in Legacy that Admiral B****face from Picard Season 1 was a Changeling all along :D

Deep down, Picard knew. So did Terry Matalas.

IF they do a Legacy show, we have no guarantee that Malala’s going to be involved and Stewarts too expensive to have on a weekly basis.

Why because a Woman hurt your feelings? Grow up.

Frakes is just looking for a paycheck.

He’s 71. I doubt he needs to work if he doesn’t want to.

Trust me he needs the money. You really think TV actors from a 30 year old show have huge piles of money thrown at them? He even sold his house a few years ago. After TNG ended most of the cast was typedcast right out of Hollywood.

You must have TOS on the brain. The TNG cast has kept busy post Trek, either in front of or behind the camera. None of them are living in 25 room mansions anywhere, but none of them are standing on the corner of Hollywood and Vine holding up ‘will work for food’ signs, either.

..there were also FOUR major motion pictures that I’m quite certain added hella bank to ALL of the TNG actors’ accounts…and lest we forget that in addition to starring in all four TNG films, Mr. Frakes in particular also freaking directed TWO of them…banking him a WAY heftier sum than the others.

Anyway…you can rest assured, oh jaded cynical ones of little faith…ain’t none of ’em shuffling barefoot into their local 7/11 and counting out loose change from their couch cushions to pay for a pack of smokes…at least not in this space-time continuum.

I’m pretty sure Patrick Stewart got the lions share in those movies. What do you think the whole Hollywood strike is about? They don’t get paid as much as you think.

Well I have seen them in a lot of low budget direct to dvd movies. I doubt they pay well. I’ve seen Worf in a lot of sci-fi stinkers. They take the jobs to pay the bills.

Frakes made a good living post TNG as a director and show runner on ‘leverage’.

And he not the only actor/director who got work after ST

You seriously think he’s done nothing since TNG? Check his IMDb entry, both under Actor and especially Director where he is credited on 46 TV shows or movies since TNG ended, with 13 episodes of Leverage and 10 of The Librarians. He’s never been out of work.

And a lot of older couples sell their houses once the kids have grown up and moved out. Note that his wife Genie Francis has been starring in General Hospital since 10 years before TNG was on the air. No, unless they invested very badly, they’re not hurting for money.

And which TNG actor was type-casted out of Hollywood? I’ve seen them all, except maybe Gates McFadden who went back to her evidently first love dance/choreography.

Frakes has been directing a lot of shows….I think he’s done every one except DS9?

He’s not making millions as a tv director. They’re a dime a dozen.

So to you the only choices are “needs the money” and “making millions”?

Yeah, better more than less. If Frakes was a big Hollywood movie director like Christopher Nolan, you think he would still do trek? I doubt it.

Yes I’ve seen the cast work in post TNG. But mostly in B movies.

Why should I trust you, exactly? Are you the guy Frakes calls when he needs to borrow two hundred bucks or something?

Maybe 🤣

Taking that as a “no.” :lol

That entire cast probably makes well into 6 figures yearly on residuals alone for TNG reruns.

I doubt that after seeing them work on bad sci-fi B movies.

Nothing but respect for the work Mr. Frakes has done behind the camera, but this just seems self serving. Those who actually paid attention to the story (such as is was) in season three understand that for any TNG spinoff to work, season three has to be ignored.

I know S3 had its issues but why does it have to be ignored?

Ignoring Terry’s “one year later” reset button for the moment, what was shown the last couple of episodes should gut the Federation. If you’re any other member of the Federation, you’ve just seen the entirety of (human centric) Starfleet compromised, earths planetary defenses obliterated on short order, and (presumably) the planet’s major population centers targeted for destruction. The Founders are covertly everywhere. If you’re some other Federation planet, you have to be asking yourself, is the risk worth the reward?
Oh, and then Q pops up post-credits. Hey hey, non-cap-ee-tan, I’m here to terrorize you now. Who wants to play?

If a spin off gets greenlit, just make Season 3 a Q induced hallucination and move on.

I mean I’d be fine with that but personally I think PIC S1 did way more damage to the Federation than S3. S1 basically took the Federation and turned it into the Terran Empire. We won’t save the Romulans. Sentient life, even artificial, not only have no rights but are banned. Picard turned into a StarFleet laughing stock.

As to the damage done to the Federation in S3, I don’t know we can quantify the extent of the damage done. We Sam a massive fleet headed towards Earth and attack but we don’t know the extent of the damage. The Changelings were always on Earth since DS9 S4 IIRC. There’s no real reason to believe they ever left in the first place.

Q, I hear ya. He doesn’t work without Picard. Heck he didn’t even work with Janeway IMHO. Voyager turned him into a punchline long before PIC did IMHO.

No thanks. I adore Frakes as a director, but every time one of the TNG crew speak up about what they’d like to see post-Picard, my eyes glaze over.

LOL Me too.

Bring back Stephanie Czajkowski as T’Veen’s twin sister. She was awesome and should not have been killed.

She was awesome and shouldn’t have been killed off — but she was. I don’t want magically identical twins or other gimmicks.

If it worked on the Sopranos, it can work on Star Trek.

Let the past die. Kill it if you have to.

Probably the best line from the sequel trilogy. So often I think that the real Next Generation needs to be as removed from TNG as TNG was from TOS.

I’d like to watch Legacy. But I long for something truly new.

Prediction: Section 31 will a duds. Academy might be good with the right cast. Episodic please. Legacy could be the best yet with an episodic format and really good writing. As you were.

I hope to see it. It would be the thing that convinces me to keep P+. LDS is the only Star Trek left for me to watch.

skip this academy-stuff and bring “legacy” on the road. try roads not taken. why not try to evolve frake’s idea of the “next next generation”? the young actor’s work was committed and fun, there is so much more. this feels much more like the future of trek than this academy-concept that has been kicking around since the late 80s without really generating any enthusiasm… and: as good as yeoh is, the character of emperor gheorgiou was never really convincing and only conditionally entertaining.

Ugh, No. Please

Can we not do a “Children of” series and just have a new crew on and new ship with little or no ties to the previous shows? We need a new show, post Picard, maybe 100 years after.

Star Trek Picard was a mess. Season 3 was a mess. Its entire story could’ve been told in 3 episodes. The Borg again? Not having the Enterprise D in use from the 3-4th episode was a massive mistake. All the non assimilated should’ve used the old ships from the museum! Now that would’ve been a finale

I was hoping for a finale where all the ships at the museum were used as well. If they were going to go with nostalgia, they should have gone full-throttle with it. As much as I did enjoy the 3rd season, I do agree that a ‘children of’ series doesn’t hold much interest for me, either.

The only Trek “kids” I really want to see back are Elnor and Soji. (OK, and the Prodigy crew, but different show there.) Aside from that, I’m good with Seven as the connection between 90s Trek and the current era.

Note to writer: Frakes did NOT direct season 1’s 7th episode “Nepenthe”. He only guest-starred in it. Frakes directed episode 4 and 5.

Informal poll: Is there ANYONE out there excited for a Starfleet Academy show? I mean for reasons beyond just spending more time in the Trek universe. This seems like the concept only Paramount executives think is *awesome*.

But hey, I’m willing to be proven wrong.

You should be used to being proven wrong by now.

I would watch Legacy many times over, probably in the 20s to 30s. This is so what I want Star Trek to be.

Here’s hoping…

I don’t like how the new series like discovery, & even the movies have changed some of the different species, like the Klingons…. how will they explain the difference between Worf & other klingons in the franchise? If they want some species to look so metallic, or whatever, make a new species, don’t change the ones that are already so popular & well known!