Star Trek: Nemesis is often viewed as a disappointing film by fans, but had Jonathan Frakes been asked, it’s very possible it would’ve been much better.
Jonathan Frakes got a bad rep for Star Trek: Insurrection, the third Star Trek: Next Generation film. Without Ronald D. Moore, the movie wasn’t going to be the epic that First Contact was. Frakes and Moore teamed up to make First Contact the best Star Trek film since Wrath of Khan and is undoubtedly one of the best in the entire franchises run.
Frakes just got hosed with a whacky plot for Insurrection.
Yet the fourth TNG film, Nemesis, on the other hand, was a Star Trek film with a great idea but poor execution. The idea of a Romulan cloned Picard, and the introduction of the Remans were all great ideas. Yet, the studio opted to go with Stuart Baired, a man most famous for directing The Fugitive’s sequel (yup it had a sequel), called U.S. Marshalls. He also directed Executive Decision, a film built around Steven Seagal’s’ drawing power in the ’90s which saw Seagal get killed off 20 minutes into the film.
Nemesis never had a chance.
Frakes has gone on record that he thinks he would’ve done Nemesis had he been asked, despite his management advising against it. “I wish I had been (asked),” Frakes said during IGN’s First Contact watch-a-long. “I probably would have [done the film]. I know that my representation, they thought that it would not be a great idea just doing Star Trek after Star Trek.”
Honestly, Frakes would’ve been a better fit for the film. The way he handled the subtle horror with the Borg in First Contact was brilliant. Capturing the eerie tension as the Borg just walked around the crew of the Enterprise at first was truly haunting. Like a shark ignoring you. You know they haven’t attacked, but that doesn’t mean they won’t.
The movie’s brief but awesome lines of humor landed with everyone. Especially Worf’s “….I guess today is a good day to die,” line as the Borg were firing on the Defiant. Unlike say a Marvel film, the levity was never tension breaking and only was used with specific characters and delivered in a specific way. Frakes knew his characters and it showed.
Frakes maybe more than anyone else really embodies what Star Trek is. He has a good sense of what fans want and how to give it to them. After all, Frakes’ idea for the third TNG film would’ve to follow up the fan-favorite Borg with the fan-favorite Q.
How’s that for a film idea?