Jonathan Frakes will return as “Number One,” Will Riker, in Star Trek: Picard, the upcoming CBS All Access series. The show stars Patrick Stewart, who reprises his role as Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The show reunites Frakes with Stewart almost two decades after they last played their roles together.
While Stewart has remained in top acting form, Frakes has spent most of his career since The Next Generation behind the camera as a director. Speaking at Fan Expo Canada, Frakes admitted to being nervous about acting opposite Stewart again.
“I hadn’t acted in a long, long, long time,” Frakes said. “I hadn’t played Riker in 18 years, and I’ve been very fortunate to be busy directing. I acted briefly in a movie in Winnipeg about 10 years ago. And I had a major anxiety attack because, for whatever reason, I’d forgotten to act. I forgot how to act. I was not a pretty picture for a few hours. I got my s--t together and ended up doing fine.
“I had just directed two episodes of Picard with Sir Patrick and, as I said, his acting muscle was well-toned. And Marina (Sirtis) had just closed having starred in a play in the West End in London. So, I knew she was going to be in good form. So, I was a nervous wreck. It ended up going very well. But don’t let anybody tell you it’s like getting back on a bike. That’s bulls--t. That’s acting bulls--t.”
Frakes has expressed excitement about Star Trek: Picard ever since announcing he would direct the third and fourth episodes of the series. "Eighteen years later. I think the fans are going to be thrilled and excited and surprised,” Frakes said. “I have had the privilege of reading the first couple of episodes and I have spent some time with Patrick who is so engaged [laughs] Sorry. It’s wonderful. It’s smart. I’m excited about it. He is obviously more excited. His announcing of it at Las Vegas — which I believe was his idea —was very smart. You know he is 78, and he is going to be carrying the show on his shoulders, his considerable shoulders.
“I’m excited for him and personally, I feel so blessed to back,” he continued. “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.”
Are you excited to see Frakes as Riker on Star Trek: Picard? Let us know in the comments. Star Trek: Picard has wrapped production on its first season. The series debuts on CBS All Access in 2020.