Jonathan Frakes Thinks 'Star Trek: Discovery' Has "Grown the Beard," Confirms Season 3 Return

Veteran Star Trek director and star Jonathan Frakes believes Star Trek: Discovery has “grown the beard.” For those who aren’t familiar with the term, “growing the beard” is the opposite of “jumping the shark.” The moment a show “grows the beard” is the moment it experiences a significant increase in quality. The phrase is derived from the beard Frakes grew as Cmdr. Will Riker in the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation after going cleanshaven in the show’s first season.

“Oh, excellent question. I do. And beautifully phrased I might add,” Frakes tells Trek Movie. “There are few people who understand the importance in the Urban Dictionary of Riker’s Beard. I have had to explain it to some people and I am so proud of it. I think Discovery has done it and I think a lot of has to do—like on our show, we didn’t get there until the third season, even though I grew the beard—the settling in of both sides of the camera: the writing and the actors…The show feels to me like it is very much on the tracks now and running with real strength.

“One of the things that has been incredibly successful is how complicated Burnham’s backstory and history is, and continues to reveal. A lot of it is Sonequa [Martin-Green]’s brilliance in seeing glimmers of it. That character is so complex and so complicated and so damaged and so intriguing and so intelligent, that has made that show for me. The casting of Sonequa to head the show was genius."

Frakes has directed three episodes of Star Trek: Discovery so far, one in the first season and two more in the second. In the interview, he confirms that he’ll be back for two more episodes in the show’s third season, “episode three and another one later in the season.”

In addition to returning to Discovery, Frakes directed the most recent episode of The Orville and is set to direct two episodes of the new Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek series starring Patrick Stewart. Frakes is also hoping to be involved with the Discovery’s Section 31 spinoff series.

“I feel so blessed to back,” Frakes said. “It’s so ironic that I spent so many years trying to expand where I was working and I was lucky enough to get onto other types of shows. The directing has been a mitzvah for me—to learn another craft. And now I am deeply ensconced in the world I was in 31 years ago—and I’ve got to say—incredibly grateful for it, between The Orville, and Discovery and Picard. And hopefully the Empress Georgiou show.”

Dod you think Star Trek: Discovery has “grown the beard?” Let us know in the comments. New Star Trek: Discovery episodes become available to stream Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS All Access.

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