Jonathan Frakes will return to his role as Will Riker from Star Trek: The Next Generation in the upcoming series Star Trek: Picard. He filmed his first new scenes as Riker in almost two decades on Monday, after which he spoke to IGN about returning to the role. “I was nervous!” he said. “I hadn't done it for…[Star Trek:] Nemesis was what? 17 years, 18 years [ago]. Luckily it was with my old pal, and I had just directed two episodes of the show. So I did [it] with Patrick who is just... He's crushing it on this series. He's just on fire. The trailer's awesome.”
Marina Sirtis is also returning to the series as her The Next Generation character, Deanna Troi. Riker and Troi married Star Trek: Nemesis and left Enterprise to command the USS Titan. Frakes confirms the couple is still together but hints that they may have left Starfleet, same as Jean-Luc Picard.
“Yeah, the stuff is great,” he said. “I can't obviously tell you, but Marina and I... Well, you'll see where we are. We're together, and it's quite… it's non-military. I'll say that.”
Did Riker and Troi resign from Starfleet? Could it have been to have a family? And if they’re not in Starfleet, what brings them and Picard together again? Fans will have to wait until Star Trek: Picard debuts in early 2020 to know for certain.
In addition to playing Riker, Frakes directed 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 previously said of the series. “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."
Frakes and Sirtis aren't the only stars returning for Star Trek: Picard. Brent Spiner returns as Data and, in a less expected move, Jeri Ryan of Star Trek: Voyager returns as Seven of Nine.