TrekMovie had the chance to speak with Jonathan Frakes this week as he raises awareness for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Earlier in the week we released the first part of our interview where he talked about his personal connection to the cause as well as directing the next Strange new worlds/Lower decks crossover episode. In the second half of the interview, we talk about his return as William Riker for the third (and final) season of Star Trek: Picard as well as his desire to continue trekking in the future.
You are all aware picard trailer, how much Riker are we going to get?
Ten Rikers! There’s an episode where I only have a brief scene, but I’m in the top ten. Sponge [Matalas] came to me in season two and he was like, ‘How do you feel about playing a lot of Riker? I had already done that in the first season and I was like, “Yeah, I’m excited. I can not wait to be there. I had no idea he meant like Complete Riker [laughs]. But I have to say it was awesome. It was a pleasure to work with Patrick [Stewart] again, as an actor. It was a kind of emotion. And I had great things with Marina [Sirtis] again, which I love. It was everything I could have hoped for and I think the fans are going to say hello. I think season three is going to crush. I’ve had plenty of good Riker stuff for seven years and definitely on First contactbut Riker’s stuff [Terry Matalas] written for the character is denser and more interesting. He has a greater sense of irony. There is a lot of levity. I mean, he just gets the characters in such a positive way.
But still, he doesn’t have to write them exactly as they were in the 90s?
Exactly. They are not. I have a very strong conflict. Riker has a big conflict with Picard as part of this season’s arc. A kind of “damn you, you’re wrong!” kind of conflict.
Yeah, Terry said there’s some kind of Crimson Tide moment, so I’m guessing you’re Denzel and Patrick is Hackman.
Exactly! That’s what his reference. I had the best gig [laughs]. They’re both so sunk in Crimson Tideand just at the height of their acting career.
Have you had the chance to see several of the final versions of the episodes?
I’m about to see a few episodes before I do The loan room with Will Wheaton. I directed episodes 3 and 4, so I saw those, or at least the versions I shot.
Terry described this as a “good send off” for you guys, sort of a revamp for Nemesis. Does it feel like that wraps things up for next generation and Ricker?
It’s much more exciting for us collectively than Nemesis has been. But that doesn’t feel like an end so much as an opportunity to move forward. I think there is a future.
At New York Comic Con, you seemed to want more, including Patrick.
I was really impressed with Patrick’s appearance at New York Comic Con on the panel. He was speaking directly into the lens at Paramount, “I’m ready to do another movie.” It was passionate. Remember when picard was conceived, the public concept was that it was Jean-Luc Picard. It wasn’t going to be a The next generation to restart. It was not the next next generation. This was going to be the story of Picard leaving Starfleet. And that’s what Patrick set out to do and that’s what the first two seasons were. We had a little snippet where Riker and Troi were in the first season and then the wonderful heroic moment with Riker in episode 10 of season 1. So there was a taste of the next generation people involved in his life. But somewhere along the line Season 3 has become – as you’ll see – all the essential parts of the The next generation were somehow reassembled.
At Comic-Con, you made a joke about Paramount having room in its schedule, right after it was announced that JJ Abrams’ latest film was being removed from the 2023 schedule.
I actually wrote JJ to say “If you need an experienced guy to take over star trek 4I’m available. [laughs] He said, “You certainly have experience.
So how serious is it? Are you ready to put on again for a feature film behind and/or in front of the camera?
Why wouldn’t I? It changed my life, this job. My two so-called careers have been blessed by being part of this Star Trek family for 35 years.
So, real discussions with JJ?
Well no, it won’t happen, but I was fascinated when Tarantino wanted to make a Star Trek movie. And Noah Hawley too, I’m a huge Fargo fan. His brain with our characters in our world, and what would Tarantino do? Just the idea is crazy.
With Tarantino it definitely would have been different, although it certainly wouldn’t have been compatible with the JJ movies or the TOS and TNG movies, but it could have been a wild standalone thing.
What has changed a lot is the dead Pool world and the tongue deep in the cheek of a lot of Marvel movies now.
Okay, and with all the multiverse stuff, there’s a lot more understanding of how things don’t always have to adapt.
No, and I think studios aren’t afraid of self-deprecation, irony, and a very good dose of levity within these franchises.
Back on the Paramount + TV side, Terry talked about wanting to do a picard spin-off series and how he kind of set up the next one The next generation, which could also include inherited people. Is this something that interests you?
He and I discuss it every time we talk. As you’ll see, where we are at the end of episode 10 of season three makes me feel like it could continue in the next story.
If something like this happened, how involved would you want to be? A recurring character, executive producer, producer-director?
All the foregoing. 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 role of production manager as [Olatunde Osunsanmi] has for Discovery, especially if he was filming in Los Angeles. My wife is here on general hospital so it’s a long time away if you’re doing production-directing work in another city, like Toronto, where studios are built and waiting for more Star Treks to arrive.
The last season of Star Trek: Picard premieres Thursday, February 16, 2023, exclusively on Paramount+ in the US, with new episodes of the 10-episode season available to stream weekly on Thursdays. picard streams exclusively on Paramount+ in the United States and is simulcast by Paramount Global Content Distribution on Amazon Prime Video in over 200 countries and territories, and in Canada it streams on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and airs on crave.
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