When it comes to directing Star Trek, Jonathan Frakes knows a thing or two. The charming actor is famous for playing William T. Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation, but his influence behind the camera is arguably just as significant. Frakes directed fourteen episodes of Star Trek across three series — The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager — plus two Trek feature films, First Contact and Insurrection. And now, as he returns to direct an insanely pivotal episode of Star Trek: Discovery, Frakes reveals the advice he’d give Quentin Tarantino about directing that rumored R-Rated new film project.
On December 8, news broke that Tarantino was in talks with Paramount Pictures to direct a new, potentially hardcore Star Trek project. Since then, the in-development film has purportedly hired Revenant scribe Mark L. Smith to write the script. And Frakes has one big reminder for the Tarantino project, should it actually materialize.
“Don’t forget the heart,” Frakes told Inverse in a phone interview. “Before you eat it, don’t forget the heart!” Though Frakes’s Star Trek: First Contact was considered a pretty brutal Trek movie when it was released in 1996, it still contains perhaps some of the most heartwarming scenes of hope and friendship in any Star Trek story ever. The Vulcans made contact with the human race, Picard learned to let go of his Captain Ahab rage, and Data admitted he only thought about betraying the Enterprise for like half a second.
Unlike in Frakes’s TNG heyday, Star Trek movies and Star Trek TV aren’t controlled by the same studio today. In the ‘90s Paramount was in control of all aspects of Star Trek, whereas now, Paramount only handles the films, will the TV incarnations of the franchise are controlled by CBS. While this doesn’t necessarily prevent crossovers and references between the newer Trek films and TV series, it still seems unlikely Tarantino and Smith would directly connect the new film to the events of Discovery.
While Frakes was always slated to direct one episode of Star Trek: Discovery, he revealed that he didn’t actually get to select which episode would be his. “It’s the luck of the draw!” he said. “And I got very lucky.”
The next episode of Star Trek: Discovery — “Despite Yourself” — is written by Sean Cochran a directed by Jonathan Frakes. It airs on Sunday, January 7 at 8:30 pm eastern time on CBS All Access. Come back to Inverse after watching for our spoiler-filled coverage, including our full interview with Jonathan Frakes.