Jonathan Frakes Directing Star Trek 4?

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Jonathan Frakes has offered to direct Star Trek 4, in an effort to get the long-delayed film into production.

By Vic Medina
| Published

In the midst of delays surrounding the fourth Star Trek movie, The Next Generation actor Jonathan Frakes has offered to direct the film, in an effort to get Chris Pine and company back on the deck of the Enterprise. In a new interview with TrekMovie (via ScreenRant), Frakes revealed that he offered his services to J.J. Abrams, although it appears other factors will keep Star Trek 4 from going into production anytime soon.

“I actually wrote to J.J. to say ‘If you need an experienced guy to take over Star Trek 4, I’m available.’ He said, ‘You are certainly experienced,’” The William Riker actor told TrekMovie, but admitted the possibility was unlikely. “Well, no, that’s not going to happen,” he said.

Still, Frakes admits to feeling a certain duty to offer his services. “Why wouldn’t I? It changed my life, this job,” he said. “Both of my alleged careers have been blessed by having been part of this Star Trek family starting 35 years ago.”

Jonathan Frakes certainly has the pedigree to take the helm, and his success can’t be argued with. He directed Star Trek: First Contact, the best of the Next Generation feature films, and his follow-up, Star Trek: Insurrection was a solid, character-driven adventure, although it was not as well received by critics or fans. He’s directed episodes in multiple Trek series, most recently seven episodes of Star Trek: Discovery and six episodes of Star Trek: Picard.

The Enterprise crew in Star Trek: Beyond (2016)

Frakes has also directed dozens of television episodes outside of the Trek universe, including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., NCIS, and The Orville. Sadly, even someone of Frakes’ caliber can’t overcome what appears to be multiple issues with the fourth film’s development. This past summer, Paramount pulled the film from its planned release date, without a firm reason why.

Paramount would like nothing more than to get the Star Trek movie franchise back on track. Although the TV universe is thriving on Paramount+, the film franchise can’t seem to find its step after 2016’s Star Trek: Beyond. The fourth film in the Kelvin alternate timeline has reportedly seen multiple script ideas discarded, and even lost a director, when Matt Shakman departed to helm Marvel’s Fantastic Four.

Even the film’s actors seem to be in the dark about the movie’s development, and seem skeptical it will even be made. Several weeks ago, Zoe Saldana noted that not only was scheduling an issue, she claimed “something else” was holding up production, although she didn’t specify the exact reason. Zachary Quinto isn’t dusting off those Spock ears either, stating “There’s nothing about a fourth Star Trek movie that feels real right now.”

While it appears J.J. Abrams and Paramount don’t want to commit to anything too far in advance, having Jonathan Frakes in the director’s chair could be the stabilizing presence the franchise needs right now. He’s the rare individual who has both the experience and reverence of the franchise, and can direct a great film as well. Paramount’s attempts to bring in other established directors, like Stuart Baird for Nemesis, didn’t exactly pan out.

In addition to his appearances in The Next Generation and its feature films, Jonathan Frakes has appeared in Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Lower Decks, and Star Trek: Picard.