Star Trek's Jonathan Frakes On His Intense Discovery Episode, And How Directing Has Impacted His View Of The Franchise
The iconic actor and director talked Trek.
Warning! The following contains spoilers from the Star Trek: Discovery episode “Stormy Weather.” Read at your own risk!
Michael Burnham and the Star Trek: Discovery crew decided to try and get to the bottom of the Dark Matter Anomaly through an excursion into a void and found nothing. Unfortunately for the crew, that “nothing” was actually destroying all matter around them, and the entire ship nearly disintegrated until Michael’s quick thinking saved them from an assured death. It’s a tense episode, despite the fact that the main enemy of the episode is unseen and, to the viewer, literally a black void.
As Star Trek: Discovery’s most heart-pounding installment of Season 4 so far, “Stormy Weather” is directed by none other than Star Trek veteran Jonathan Frakes, who was kind enough to speak to me ahead of Burnham’s biggest challenge as Captain yet. I asked Frakes how the episode was able to maintain a tense atmosphere despite it literally being staged around a black void, and he broke it down:
Jonathan Frakes pointed out that the episode relies on very few visual effects in terms of the void, which was a good thing. The burden of selling the threat was on the actors, and Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, and others did a great job of showing just how terrifying the situation was with little to no visual aid.
The episode is the seventh that Jonathan Frakes directed for Star Trek: Discovery and his twenty-third director’s credit for a show in the Star Trek universe. I asked him about past directing experiences and how those compared to Discovery, and the actor likened the Discovery actors' experiences when he first joined to his own on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Star Trek: Discovery does seem to have a bright future ahead of it, despite the way it polarized viewers at first with some of its creative decisions. It also seems like there’s some interest in the series continuing to flesh out Season 4’s current timeline of the 32nd century, as Tilly’s recent departure from the crew has some potential ties to a spinoff Star Trek has in development.
Jonathan Frakes has appeared in far more episodes in the Star Trek franchise than he has directed, but 23 is still a sizable number. I asked the Riker actor how his experience directing impacted him and his view of the franchise:
Jonathan Frakes is grateful for Star Trek and confirmed that his closeness to it acts somewhat as a measure of how he lives his own life. It’s good to see folks like Frakes still embracing the core concept of the franchise to this day and continuing to incorporate it in the projects we see coming out.
Star Trek: Discovery streams new episodes on Paramount+ (opens in new tab) on Thursdays. The DMA mystery is still rolling strong in Season 4, so be sure to get caught up if you aren’t and follow one of the series’ most exciting arcs to date.
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