Jonathan Frakes is preparing to make his return to the Star Trek franchise.
No, Frakes won’t be reprising his role as Commander William T. Riker from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Instead, Frakes will direct a first-season episode of Star Trek: Discovery.
“Jonathan Frakes will rejoin the Trek world with Discovery,” co-showrunner Gretchen J. Berg tells EW. “He’s a fantastic guy and great director.”
“Our cast is dying to work with him,” added Aaron Harberts, the other half of the showrunner team.
While Frakes is best known for playing Riker in The Next Generation and the four films that followed, he is also an accomplished director. Frakes directed several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager. He also directed two of the Star Trek films to feature the cast of The Next Generation: Star Trek: First Contact (generally regarded as the best of the Next Generation movies) and Star Trek: Insurrection.
Frakes non-Star Trek work includes directing episodes of Leverage, Burn Notice, and NCIS: Los Angeles. He also previously worked with Berg and Harberts directing five episodes of the CBS series Roswell.
Star Trek: Discovery was originally slated for a January 2017 premiere but a production delay pushed the release window back first to May and then even further. While fans have been waiting impatiently for the first Star Trek television series in over a decade, executive producer Alex Kurtzman has assured fans that the final product will be worth the wait.
CBS wants Star Trek: Discovery to be a prestige series on par with the likes of Game of Thrones, something that can really sell the CBS All Access streaming service. To that effect, CBS has added all of the past Star Trek television series to the CBS All Access streaming service, as well as a handful of the Star Trek feature films.
Star Trek: Discovery was created by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman. Fuller was originally intended to be Discovery's showrunner but was forced step down due to commitments to Starz' adaptation of Neil Gaiman's American Gods. Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts have taken over as showrunners.
Star Trek: Discovery takes place roughly a decade prior to the five-year mission of Star Trek: The Original Series. In breaking with franchise tradition, the show’s main protagonist will not be a captain. Instead, it will be First Officer Michael Burnham, played by The Walking Dead alum Sonequa Martin-Green.
Star Trek: Discovery’s cast also includes Jason Isaacs as the starship Discovery's Captain Lorca, Rainn Wilson as Star Trek: The Original Series character Harry Mudd, James Frain as Sarek, Spock’s father, and Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou, the captain of another Starfleet ship, the Shenzhou, which will be important to the plot of Star Trek: Discovery. Doug Jones and Anthony Rapp both play science officers. Mary Wiseman will play a final year Starfleet Academy cadet.
Star Trek: Discovery premieres Sept. 24, 2017.