Jonathan Frakes has become the heart and soul of Star Trek.
Credit where credit is due, William Shatner and Patrick Stewart are icons of entertainment and of course, Star Trek. They’re both men to championed the series during uncertain times. When people doubted if Star Trek could actually work as a property, they were the ones who navigated it through tough times. Like any good steward, they made sure the franchise was secure and healthier than ever when they finally stepped down.
Then they left. Which is ok, life moves on and everyone is entitled to evolve and explore new avenues. New captains and characters came in like Kate Mulgrew, Avery Brooks, Scott “G-Dang” Bakula, and Sonequa Martin-Green. New shows, new networks, new look. At a certain point, we even got a new James T. Kirk and a new show for Stewart.
Yet, through it all, there’s one man that has never truly left the franchise since he joined in 1987. That man is Jonathan Frakes.
Frakes started early with Trek, debuting in the pilot episode of the Next Generation and reprising the role of William T. Riker ever since across multiple series and films. He’s the only actor to play the same character on Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. He’s also starred in four feature films, directing two of them, including what may be the franchise standard; First Contact.
He also has directed an episode from every Star Trek series that he possibly could of, not counting the Original Series. He’s directed multiple episodes of Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, Discovery, and Picard. He even tackled a few episodes for the Star Trek-inspired Orville. A show he’s given much praise towards.
Now, he wants a trip in the director’s chair for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Frankly, he absolutely deserves it. No other person has done more for Star Trek’s overall legacy since the passing of Gene Roddenberry than Frakes.
A regular on the convention circuit, and always open to talking about Trek, Frakes has always stayed loyal to the franchise, even when others felt they outgrew it. This isn’t due to a lack of options either, as Frakes is an in-demand director these days, directing shows like Burn Notice, Falling Skies, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and The Librarians before coming back to Star Trek in 2018.
A tip of the cap and a salute to you, Mr. Frakes, for always staying true to Trek. We’re eternally grateful.