Ever since Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered, cast members from every series have gone on to direct episodes and films for the franchise. Actors like Gates McFadden and Tim Russ have directed only a single episode, while LeVar Burton has directed more episodes than any other cast member, with 28 Star Trek episodes across four different series under his belt.
While Jonathan Frakes comes in a distant second with just 14 episodes, he did get a chance to direct two TNG feature films. He was the man in charge of what many fans think of as the only good Next Generation film, 1996’s Star Trek: First Contact, so he has that going for him.
Star Trek: Discovery was a chance for the franchise to start fresh on the small screen the same way J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot did on the big screen. Even so, it seems that the series will continue the tradition of hiring past actors with directing chops to helm episodes.
Recently, showrunner Gretchen J. Berg told Entertainment Weekly that Frakes will be directing a single episode of the upcoming series. Here’s what she told the outlet:
“Jonathan Frakes will rejoin the Trek world with Discovery. He’s a fantastic guy and great director.”
Co-showrunner Aaron Harberts added:
“Our cast is dying to work with him.”
Both Harberts and Berg have previously worked with Frakes on the CBS television series Roswell, where he directed five episodes. He’s also directed other genre shows like V, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Dollhouse, and The Librarians. Funny enough, he’s also directing an episode of Seth MacFarlane’s Star Trek spoof, The Orville.
Along with Frakes, Academy Award winning writer Akiva Goldsman is also directing an episode of Discovery. Those two choices, along with what we’ve seen from the trailer, makes me wonder what the tone of the series will be.
J.J. Abrams’ reboot basically changed the tone of the entire franchise to something closer to Star Wars. Discovery seems to be trying to set its own tone and aesthetic, but seems to be very aware of its roots. The series has not only brought Frakes back, but also Nicholas Meyer, who was known for directing the best Star Trek movie, The Wrath of Khan.
Star Trek: Discovery will premiere on CBS on September 24, 2017 at 8:30 pm. The first and second episodes will then be available on-demand on CBS All Access immediately after the premiere. The series will then move to its regular timeslot of Sundays on the streaming platform.