Jonathan Frakes is a bit more than just another Star Trek actor. True, he’s known for seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, appearances on Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise, and directing several episodes across the various shows and two of the Next Gen movies, but that doesn’t mean he’s not still willing to work in the universe. Obviously, with a new Trek series on the horizon, we couldn’t help but ask Frakes at Toronto ComiCon today if had any ideas for the new Star Trek. His response? “How do I get on that show?”
For the most part, the man known as “Number One” is optimistic about the new series, which is being executive produced by Alex Kurtzman, and developed by Bryan Fuller. He’s especially impressed at the behind the scenes talent they’ve hired so far like hiring Star Trek: The Wrth of Khan director Nicholas Meyer.
“I think that’s a really incredible get. A very smart move,” Frakes said. “I’m very optimistic because Kutzman’s good, Meyer’s awesome, so I don’t think it’s going to suck. […] Meyer will bring a level of gravitas, [and] that’s good.”
“They just attached Rod Roddenberry in some capacity, which is again smart for the franchise,” he continued. “My understanding is that Kurtzman is going to do it as part of the world that J.J.’s movies are set it, so I don’t think there’s a place for us in the Next Gen. But I’d like to be involved as a director actually.”
Frakes’ real concern is oversaturation. “I was always afraid that Paramount was so greedy,” he said of all the various spin-offs to come from Next Gen’s success in the 90s. “There was too much Star Trek and that worries me a little bit now.”
“I was surprised when I saw that press release,” Frakes added. He was told by the studio that the focus was on the new movie series launched by J.J. Abrams in 2009. “I had this Star Trek pilot I wanted to sell and they said no because they just turned Shatner down, and they had just turned Bryan Singer down. And this was just a couple of years ago,” he said.
Of course, Next Gen still has its fans, and thanks in no small part of the internet, the show continues to thrive. In meme form. What does Frakes think of “Riker Sits Down”? “One of my personal favourites,” he said with a laugh. “I didn’t know I had Rikered that many [chairs]. I think there’s some repeats in the video itself. But it’s a great honour and I’ll take all the credit.”
Like all memes though, it had a humble beginning. “It happened once in Ten Forward,” Frakes recalled. “The backs of the chairs were barely there, so it was easy stepping ins, it was an easy Riker. Even if you weren’t 6’4” you could still get into those chairs. It was easy, and it was fun, and nobody told me not to do it.”
With a career spanning 40 years and work as an actor, a director, and a voiceover artist, Frakes preference offered the most quotable line of the presser. “Oh I like directing. There’s no control like total control,” he said.