Jonathan Frakes wants to do more acting in the second season of Star Trek: Picard.
It must be hard to muster up the courage to get back in front of a camera after a decade, but that’s the burden Jonathan Frakes had to deal with when preparing for his return as William Riker in Star Trek: Picard. Frakes admitted on the TrekGeeks podcast that he was “woefully” unprepared for his return to the series at first.
"I was comfortable about halfway through the first day. I had just [directed] two episodes [of Picard] and so I knew where Patrick [Stewart] was. He was as great as he has ever been. And Marina was just closing having starred in a play on the West End, so I knew that her acting chops were in great shape. I hadn’t acted in a decade! And I really didn’t want to get buried by my friends. [laughs] That was not going to sit well with me.Michael Chabon snuck me the script and I was in Maine [where he lives] and I was working on it every morning. And one morning [wife] Genie [Francis] said, “Do you want me to run those with you?” And I said yeah so we started to run the lines and it was clear to me that I was woefully unprepared. Genie gave me the script back and said, “You better keep working on this.” [laughs] And I did, and it worked out fine."
While it may have been a struggle at first, by the time he returned in the season finale, Frakes had found his old Riker swagger. That of course included his signature Riker-lean.
"I did find myself getting into the lean as soon as I sat down. I liked that scene actually. I thought the writing was clever. I was wary of when they had gone to the well to have Riker show up again because he had said he had left Starfleet. But I think between Akiva [Goldsman], and [Michael] Chabon, and Alex [Kurtzman], they cleverly wove it into the story. And I hope that we see him again. I certainly hope to see… to have the spacesuit on again."
Frakes is obviously Mr. Trek these days and now that he’s gotten the proverbial monkey off of his back, it looks like he wants to do more in the universe. Which should be a good thing. While many want to push new stories and new characters, if Star Trek is going to remain on the nostalgia train, you might as well properly load it up with all the right pieces possible.
Frakes is not only popular but integral to Star Trek lore and canon. He understands Star Trek, unlike many others. It’s something he’s built up and explored through the most creative lenses possible. Finding a way to make Riker a major character next season should be a huge priority for the series.
It attaches Picard and the crew of his new ship to Starfleet in a completely organic way. Narratively it makes sense but it also just allows the fans to be able to embrace the old feeling of Star Trek: The Next Generation again, if only for one more time.