For Jonathan Frakes, returning to his character of Will Riker was nerve-wracking for the actor, who is more likely to be behind the camera than in front of it. Plus: Season Three of Discovery to be more upbeat.
“I hadn’t acted in a long, long, long time,” Frakes told fans at the recent Fan Expo Canada. “I hadn’t played Riker in eighteen years, and I’ve been very fortunate to be busy directing. I acted briefly in a movie in Winnipeg about ten 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 shit 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 bullshit. That’s acting bullshit.
Frakes also promised Star Trek: Discovery fans a brighter future in the third season of the show. “I can tell you this much about season three of Discovery: It is in fact much more optimistic,” he said. “They’ve gotten themselves out of the Mirror Universe… After Gene died, some of the writers decided that Deep Space Nine should maybe take a different tone, which, I think, it did to certain degrees of success. The optimism that Gene infused in all of his shows and in all of us may not be as obvious as it once was, but it’s certainly the driving force of his vision and the franchise and [Alex] Kurtzman and all the people who run our shows are very conscious that that canon is important to all of you and all of us. J.J. [Abram]’s movies, I thought, were very uplifting and wonderfully told stories. There needs to be conflict to make drama. So I’m here to share that Discovery certainly is taking a more optimistic, traditional Star Trek approach in next season.”