On Tuesday, EW reported the popular Star Trek: The Next Generation actor (and director) will direct at least one episode of the new show. Producer Aaron Harberts said, “Jonathan Frakes will rejoin the Trek world with Discovery.”
Best known for his role as Commander William T. Riker on The Next Generation, Frakes also became one of the show’s most prominent directors. In fact, in 1996, his directorial skills were so lauded that Frakes was give the director’s chair on the most successful Next Generation feature film, Star Trek: First Contact. Prior to the J.J. Abrams Star Trek films, First Contact was the second-highest grossing Star Trek film of all time, adjusted for inflation. This put it just behind Leonard Nimoy’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
Other than Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Frake’s First Contact is also probably the most critically acclaimed of the Trek movies. So now, with Nicholas Meyer in the writers’ room, and the addition of Frakes as a director, Discovery has the directors of the two most popular — and arguably best — Star Trek films involved. Hardcore Trekkies and fans of Frakes should be pumped.
Notably, Frakes also made appearances across the entire franchise. In fact, if we count his one-off appearance as his transporter clone Thomas Riker on Deep Space Nine, Frakes played Riker in every single Star Trek incarnation, including a cameo on Voyager, and even the contentious series finale of Enterprise.
Frakes’s involvement carries with it another irony: his character on The Next Generation was often referred to by Captain Picard as “Number One.” Early casting discussions about Discovery initially indicated Sonequa Martin-Green’s Michael Burnham would be known by the same moniker.
Star Trek: Discovery will debut on September 24 on CBS. It’s unknown at this time which episode Frakes will direct.