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Star Trek’s Jonathan Frakes Talks Latest Picard Episode’s Callbacks To First Contact

Jean-Luc Picard, Agnes Jurati, Chris Rios and Rafii Musiker in Star Trek: Picard
(Image credit: Paramount+)

Although Jonathan Frakes is best known within the Star Trek community for playing the unconventionally-sitting William Riker, he’s also done a lot of directing for the sci-fi franchise. This includes the Star Trek: The Next Generation follow-up movies First Contact and Insurrection, as well as three episodes of Star Trek: Picard. Frakes sat in the director’s chair for the third time on this Paramount+ series for this week’s “Fly Me to the Moon,” and he’s now opened up about how this chapter of Picard Season 2 included some big callbacks to First Contact.

While the Borg have been of Star Trek’s mythology since the Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 2 episode “Q Who,” 1996’s First Contact introduced the Borg Queen, who serves as the chief representative of the Collective and was played by Chariots of Fire’s Alice Krige. 24’s Annie Wersching is playing the Borg Queen this time around, and Jonathan Frakes was jazzed about getting to work with the character again in Star Trek: Picard. As he told THR:

I was thrilled. I was a huge fan of the Borg Queen with Alice. I always liked the Borg story. Alice, because she was our first queen, established the nastiness and the sexiness of the character. Alice established the groundwork, which Annie expanded on brilliantly. Annie works with a fearlessness that I really admire. It is not easy to work through all that rubber-head stuff. She really embraced it.

Annie Wersching is the third actress to play the Borg Queen, as Arrow’s Susanna Thompson played her in a handful of Star Trek: Voyager episodes until Alice Krige returned to the role for Voyager’s two-part series finale. While Wersching considers this Borg Queen to be a different incarnation than her predecessors, Jonathan Frakes thought the actress did a great job channeling the same kind of energy that Krige brought to the role in Star Trek: First Contact, which saw the crew of the Enterprise-E traveling back to 2063 to prevent the Borg from interfering with Zefram Cochrane’s first warp drive flight.

Warning: SPOILERS for the Star Trek: Picard episode “Fly Me to the Moon” are ahead!

If you pay close attention in Star Trek: Picard’s “Fly Me to the Moon,” you’ll notice that Renée Picard’s birthdate is listed on her passport as November 22, 1996, the day that Star Trek: First Contact opened in theaters. So there’s a smaller First Contact Easter egg for fans to enjoy, but Jonathan Frakes also acknowledged that Picard’s makeup and visual effects teams also took some cues from the movie, saying:

This Borg Queen design is so out there. They embellished it, but did not change it to the point where it was unrecognizable. And the visual effects team used a lot of the same references [from First Contact] but then expanded, given the new tools they have to work with.

Although it seemed as though Annie Wersching’s Borg Queen died when Alison Pill’s Agnes Jurati shot her in order to save a captured policeman, it was revealed at the end of “Fly Me to the Moon” that the Borg Queen downloaded her consciousness into Agnes. This strengthens the fan theory that Agnes becomes the Borg Queen we saw in the Star Trek: Picard Season 2 premiere. Along with this episode revealing that the changes John de Lancie’s Q made to the timeline involve Jean-Luc Picard’s ancestor, astronaut Renée Picard, we also reunited with Brent Spiner and Isa Briones, who are now playing Adam Soong and his daughter Kore, respectively. Jonathan Frakes commended Pill, de Lancie and Spiner for their performances, specifically saying about the latter two that they’ve gotten “better with age.”

New episodes of Star Trek: Picard can be watched with a Paramount+ subscription every Thursday, and you can learn what else is currently airing with our handy 2022 TV schedule. In addition to his Star Trek directing work, Jonathan Frakes reprised William Riker over the last few years in two episodes of Picard Season 1 and three episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks, the latter of which he especially enjoys. If it’s announced Frakes will return as Riker again, we’ll let you know.

Adam Holmes
Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.