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Jonathan Frakes has been around for the new era of Star Trek television since taking on directorial duties in Star Trek: Discovery, but it wasn't until Star Trek: Picard that the actor stepped back in front of the camera. Frakes talked about what it first felt like to step back into the shoes of Will Ryker beside his seasoned co-star Patrick Stewart for the first time in decades, and now he's shared some thoughts on what it was like to shoot his second appearance
After his first appearance on Star Trek: Picard Season 1, Ryker made a triumphant return in the season finale as a temporarily reinstated Starfleet captain of the USS Zheng He. While Jonathan Frakes admitted he had massive anxiety when he first returned to play his Star Trek: The Next Generation character, his appearance in the finale wasn't nearly as stressful. The director shared the difference in the two experiences and why his return in the season was so thrilling to him personally:
That was a really different experience because I was alone. I was 'self-directing.' I was in a captain's chair. I had a spacesuit on. I had my beard trimmed, my Riker hair put back on, my bald spots covered up. It felt very familiar, and it was like a flashback. Because of how well 'Nepenthe' went, I was less nervous and, I got to say, thrilled to have been asked back, to be perfectly frank.
Jonathan Frakes told Comicbook.com that portraying Ryker was more comfortable the second go-around, and not just because he had done it only a short time prior. As Frakes said, it was the familiarity of what he was doing, which is to say he was all dressed up and playing a traditional member of Starfleet rather than a husband and father.
When considered in that light, it's easy to see why Jonathan Frakes was initially so intimidated about his first return as Ryker. Frakes wasn't just asked to return to acting after a long absence from the character; he had to reintroduce the Star Trek fanbase to a character who was in many ways an entirely different person. Getting back onto a ship's bridge was a return to the Ryker Frakes played on Star Trek: The Next Generation, or at least, closer than what he did in "Nepenthe."
Jonathan Frakes' excitement about being asked back to Star Trek: Picard could mean more Ryker in Season 2 alongside other familiar faces. While there have been hints about which former Star Trek characters will return, we still have some time before Alex Kurtzman and crew will pull back the curtain on who or what to expect going forward.
Star Trek: Picard Season 1 is currently available to stream on CBS All Access. Stick with CinemaBlend for all the latest happening in the world of Star Trek and with television throughout the rest of 2020 and beyond.