While doing press for Star Trek: Discovery, Jonathan Frakes admitted that he does have regrets about deciding not to direct Star Trek: Nemesis.
To many of the millions of people who watch television and movies, Jonathan Frakes is probably not the most recognizable of names they could come across. They likely know him as “that guy from that Star Trek show, right?”
But for those of us who are proud members of Trek Nation, Jonathan Frakes is a name we know very, very well. We should, after watching him portray William T. Riker for seven seasons on Star Trek: The Next Generation and then in four feature films.
However, where Frakes may have made his biggest contribution to Star Trek may be behind the camera. The actor turned director helmed no less than 14 episodes of the various Star Trek series over the years as well as both Star Trek: First Contact and the underrated Star Trek: Insurrection.
In addition, Frakes directed an episode from the first year of Star Trek: Discovery and has returned to direct two more during the show’s sophomore season. He directed the most recent episode titled “New Eden” and it was while doing press for that episode that the former Enterprise first officer revealed he does have one regret when it comes to Star Trek.
Namely, that he passed on sitting in the director’s chair for Star Trek: Nemesis.
While speaking to Vulture about Discovery they asked Frakes about Nemesis and why he passed on directing a third Next Generation adventure. According to him, he felt it may have been time to move on so as to not get pigeonholed as “the Star Trek guy.”
"I would have loved to have done Nemesis, but it seemed like, “Really? That’s all you’re going to do, is Star Trek movies?” It’s glib to say now. I wish I had done Nemesis."
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Given the issue Star Trek actors have had finding different roles over the years and dealing with typecasting, you really can’t blame Frakes for feeling this way. Could he have saved Nemesis from becoming the steaming pile of crap it eventually became? It’s entirely possible. Many of the issues with the finished film had to do with the direction of Stuart Baird and his lack of familiarity with Star Trek and the cast, which had been working together for 15 years at that point.
Sure, the plot would still has massive holes in it, but Frakes probably could have at least made Nemesis feel more like a Star Trek film than Baird ever could. Unfortunately, we’ll never know.
That being said, if Star Trek ever does return to the big screen, whether with the Discovery cast or something new, Frakes should be the first person they call to direct. For my money First Contact is still one of the top 5 best of the Trek feature films and much of that is due to Frakes and the work he did on it.
Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 is currently streaming on CBS All Access.