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Jonathan Frakes, Captain Picard’s “Number One,” joins the upcoming “Star Trek: Discovery” as a director

Stefan Andrews

Star Trek fans must be euphoric over the upcoming new series Star Trek: Discovery, and thousands of questions are bouncing around the Internet on what will happen in these new episodes. Discovery is set to be the first Star Trek series produced since Star Trek: Enterprise concluded back in 2005.

The new series is set roughly a decade before the storyline of the original Star Trek series and in the same “prime” universe, distinct from the timeline of the recently produced Star Trek reboot films that have been released ever since 2009. Not too many details are shared about the plot; series creator Brian Fuller has teased fans that it will be based on “an incident in the history of Starfleet that had been talked about but never fully explored,” suggesting that Discovery evolves from an incident referred to but not seen in the original 1960s Star Trek series.

Jonathan Frakes returns to the Star Trek universe as a director for the upcoming “Star Trek: Discovery,” Photo by Bagl8, CC BY-SA 3.0

Jonathan Frakes returns to the Star Trek universe as a director for the upcoming “Star Trek: Discovery,” Photo by Bagl8, CC BY-SA 3.0

What has also made big news is that Jonathan Frakes returns once again to the Star Trek universe. Frakes was undoubtedly one of the major stars of the franchise and it is reported that he will direct at least one episode of the  show’s first season.

In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Frakes played the character of William Riker, or “Number One,” as he was famously called by Captain Jean-Luc Picard due to his post as a first officer aboard the USS Enterprise. In the initial seasons, Frakes depicted an officer who was perhaps too confident and sometimes even arrogant, but over time, as the crew collected invaluable experiences from the numerous otherworldly encounters in the unknown frontiers, William Riker grew wiser and a bit more reserved.

Photo of Jonathan Frakes with Brent Spiner who played the character of Lieutenant Commander Data in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Author: Marina, CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

Photo of Jonathan Frakes with Brent Spiner who played the character of Lieutenant Commander Data in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Author: Marina, CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

Aside from acting, Frakes has great talent behind the camera too. Writer-producer Gretchen J. Berg of the new Star Trek series has confirmed that Frakes rejoins the show, appraising him as a “fantastic guy and great director” to Entertainment Weekly.

In the past, Frakes has worked on a couple of episodes of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager, as well as two more Star Trek movies, First Contact and Insurrection. His experience behind the camera is not limited to the franchise, as Frakes has also worked on a couple of episodes of CBS’ Roswell and few other non-Trek titles, too.

The upcoming Star Trek: Discovery is set to star Sonequa Martin-Green as a distinguished Starfleet First Officer, who also happens to be the first human to have obtained an education on Vulcan. From what is known of the plot, she is also to make a tremendously difficult decision that will affect the entire Federation. The new series is also set to feature Michelle Yeoh, Jason Isaacs, Doug Jones, and Anthony Rapp. The show’s leading executive producers are Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts, further supported by Akiva Goldsman.

The new series will certainly relate to the franchise’s trademark theme of discovering new worlds and new civilizations, hopefully in a way faithful to previous series. However, further insights promise that prominent features of the show will be upgraded.

Lead character and the series “Number One” Michael Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Green, and Captain Philippa Georgiou, played by Michelle Yeoh, are noted in the trailer, released in May 2017, for wearing brand new tactical uniforms as they prepare to beam down.

A glimpse of the transporter room has further signaled that it will be different than any other typical Trek technology, too. Large dishes are seen behind each platform, perhaps there because the ship used in the show, USS Shenzhou, should be less advanced than what we have become accustomed to seeing in the Next Generation or Voyager.

Read another story from us: Before creating the famous ‘Star Trek’ television series, Gene Roddenberry flew 89 combat missions during the World War II

The new series was announced in November 2015, and the hype is getting bigger and bigger as the debut is set for September 24, 2017, with a traditional two-part premiere. In total, 15 episodes of the first season are scheduled to air, while the season itself is to split in two parts, September through November 2017, and the second part as of January 2018.

Now, Energize!