Star Trek actor, director, and overall face of the franchise both in front and behind, Jonathan Frakes, has cemented himself as a must-have for the Trek brand. Since he started acting as William Riker in the 1980s with Star Trek: The Next Generation, he has been a bastion of the franchise, acting in, or directing for just about every series since his debut.
He is Star Trek. So it's a bit shocking that with the television side of things about to kick off, Frakes is taking on a different gig. He'll be directing the entire 10-episode miniseries "Deathland", alongside Star Trek stalworth Mark A. Altman, who is serving as the series' showrunner. Frakes is a great director and Altman knows a good story when he hears it. The series, based on the novel and audio version of the Deathland series by Christopher Lowder and Laurence James, is in good hands with who they're bringing in for the series.
Yet, with Frakes so tied up with the future of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and future series' beyond that, it does seem a bit of an odd timing that Frakes would be picking up a new project right when Strange New Worlds was on the verge of beginning production. It also all coincides with the rumors of Trek's parent company, Paramount Global, being put on the market.
The timing is suspicious, but for right now, there's no reason to read into it. It's likely that the actor and writer's strike may have made Frakes take on extra work to make up for lost income, but while Paramount+ is a disaster and the overall company is laying off workers to save money, this doesn't seem like Frakes is hopping on the first lifeboat off the ship.
This is likely just a unique opportunity that Frakes wanted to tackle and nothing more.