Today veteran Star Trek actor and director Jonathan Frakes joined former Star Trek writer Ken LaZebnik and witer/science consultant Andre Bormanis for a Reddit AMA (“Ask Me Anything”). During the online text chat with fans Frakes got honest about his time on Star Trek, his famous “maneuver” and more.
Frakes talks Riker in Reddit AMA
Jonathan Frakes fielded several questions but one of his answers stood out when asked about the famous way he would get in and out of chairs on Star Trek: The Next Generation. From the AMA…
KingRabbit_: Who came up with the Riker maneuver on TNG (by which I mean, extending your left leg over the top of a chair anytime you sat down because you’re just that damn tall and virile)? Be honest, it was you, right? What a power move.
Jonathan Frakes: It happened by chance when we first used 10 Forward…the chairs where low enough to step in ….frankly it’s kind of an asshole move …but I’m glad it found life as a Meme
Of course, the “Riker Maneuver” has become legendary and it has even been parodied on both Star Trek: Lower Decks and most recently on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. In the episode “Those Old Scientists” (directed by Frakes) actor Jack Quaid improvised a moment jumping on Captain Pike’s saddle, yelling out “Riker!” In the same AMA Frakes was asked about that moment and said he thought “It was BRILLIANT!!!”
This video has a compilation of some of Frakes’ maneuvers on TNG…
While Jonathan Frakes may think Riker’s chair sitting was an “a-hole move,” in the same AMA he shared his deep respect for the legacy of the character…
AlpineSummit: Commander Riker! You always seemed to have so much fun playing your trombone on set. How much did you enjoy those moments? Also – TNG truly shaped me as a person, what are some little ways your journey in Trek has shaped you?
Frakes: Thanks and I aspire to be as Honorable a man as Riker is
Kataclysm: From what I’ve seen, you’ve been probably one of the most positive advocates for fans of the show meaning you as ‘Riker’ and not yourself. How long did it take for you to really ‘own’ the Star Trek actor mantle?
Frakes: I’m still adjusting to the varying weight of the Mantle…It is a privilege
He also offered up his thanks that as Riker he didn’t have to deal with some of the dialog challenges faced by his co-stars Brent Spiner and LeVar Burton:
Level-3B: Do you have any tips you give to Trek actors to help with the technobabble? Any phrases in particular you had a hard time with?
Frakes: I was lucky that DATA and GEORDI got stuck with most of the technobabble
Frakes shared some of his favorite moments from TNG…
HopeInSpace: What is your most favourite Star Trek quote?
Frakes: Some days you get the bear some days the bear gets you [Riker, TNG: “Data’s Day”]
EverybodyKnowsYouCry: What is your favourite memory from the sets of TNG?
Frakes: Watching Patrick Stewart wrestle with Michael Dorn
The actor and director also offered praise and insight for the newest era of Paramount+ Star Trek shows…
Nassive: What series have you been most proud of as a director, as an actor, and as someone working behind the scenes?
Frakes: The latest…This franchise gets better and better
dancegirl712: What is your personal favorite story arc of Star Trek as a fan?
Frakes: I do love that Worf is now a pacifist
AlsoIHaveAGroupon: From your perspectives, why does a season of a tv show take so long to make now, even as they consist of fewer episodes?
Frakes: The quality of the other work on TV …the expectations of a tech savvy sophisticated multitasking audience …the level of magic that VFX and the AR wall add to the process
The Reddit AMA was organized by Long Island University’s TV Writer’s Studio in Brooklyn, NY where LaZebnik runs the MFA program. Jonathan Frakes and Andre Bormanis have also worked with students as part of the program.
Check out the full AMA for more from Jonathan Frakes, Ken LaZebnik, and Andre Bormanis.