Star Trek Vet Jonathan Frakes Had A 'Major Anxiety Attack' Because Of Star Trek: Picard

Ryker Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek: Picard is set to re-open the book on one of the franchise's most-acclaimed characters, and fans couldn't be more excited. As they should be, because all signs so far show that Patrick Stewart is fully committed to helping make this adventure as great and as true to the character as it possibly can be. This means callbacks to the past, which of course mean that characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation's past will appear.

This includes Jonathan Frakes, who admitted that appearing on Star Trek: Picard gave him an anxiety attack. The actor turned director realized something quite alarming when he went from being behind the camera to in front of one again.

I hadn’t acted in a long, long, long time. I hadn’t played Riker in 18 years, and I’ve been very fortunate to be busy directing. I acted briefly in a movie in Winnipeg about 10 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.

It's easy to imagine how scary of a moment that had to be for Jonathan Frakes. In addition to forgetting how to act, he's on set with Patrick Stewart, who has acted in several projects almost non-stop since Star Trek: The Next Generation's ending. It would be pretty intimidating to get back in the saddle in the midst of that company, especially when it's been nearly two decades since last playing the character you're there to portray.

Frakes may have been in his own head about appearing as Ryker again for a while, as he noted he had just directed two episodes of Star Trek: Picard prior to his own performance. That meant watching Patrick Stewart do what he does best, and potentially realizing that the veteran is so in-tune with Picard to the point that it may have felt that he stopped playing the role and simply became the Starfleet legend. Frakes added that Deanna Troi actress Marina Sirtis had just come back from an acting stint of her own, so he was really the odd man out.

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.

Jonathan Frakes told attendees to his panel at Fan Expo Canada that getting back into the swing of acting was hard, and certainly not just something he fell back into. Fortunately, he managed to overcome his anxiety and make his appearance in Star Trek: Picard, which means that the next time he's asked to appear may not be so difficult. That's assuming, of course, there is a next time and we're not in for some gut-wrenching Ryker scene in Season 1!

Star Trek's Alex Kurtzman Talks Picard Being First Trek Series Named After A Character

Star Trek: Picard is set to arrive on CBS All Access in 2020. CinemaBlend is the place to be in the meantime for updates on its development, and for the latest news happening in the world of television and movies.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.