In a GalaxyCon Live event, Jonathan Frakes spoke about his experiences at conventions, including his most memorable interaction with a fan.
Frake’s first convention experience was not with a group of adoring fans. “The audience were very hardcore original series fans,” he said. “They were skeptical. They were suspicious. They were generally not terribly interested and completely unfamiliar with the new Star Trek which had a bald English captain with a French name, and an entirely new cast. They wanted their Kirk, Spock, and Bones Star Trek.”
So when did fans finally come on board with The Next Generation? “I don’t think it wasn’t until the second or third year when [the show] got really good. And remember we did twenty-six [episodes] a year, so that is a lot. It was fifty or sixty shows in. They realized there was room in their world for both shows.”
When Star Trek: Discovery aired, there “was a similar vibe when that show came out,” said Frakes. “They didn’t want to find room in their hearts for another Star Trek, which there clearly is. One of the reasons that was not a factor in the launching of Picard was that the hardcore fans love Picard and were inclined to look forward to the show and look forward to having him and look forward to whatever story. Because they knew him and they knew who he was. I think the familiarity with all fandom is so important. It is like the canon of these shows… they want a touch point. And, it’s important, and it clearly worked, because Picard is wonderful.”
Frakes does not mind the fact that he is once again working on Star Trek thirty years later. “I have to be honest,” he said; “it has been a blessing to have my career to be rekindled by the new Star Treks. It didn’t hurt that I learned how to do another craft. The directing has been fantastic for me. And when Discovery worked out and then Picard worked out and now there will be a new one, and another one.”
So what is Frakes up to these days? “I’ve got three episodes of Discovery that have yet to air,” he said. “I just finished this new action/adventure called The Astronauts, which is kind of wonderful. And looking forward to going back to Picard.”
Watch the interview below to see Frakes talk about his action figure, Captain America, Riker’s beard, Star Trek: Picard, The Orville, Ken Burns‘ Jazz series, sports, and the fan that touched his heart.