Star Trek Lower Decks: Jonathan Frakes on How Series Handled Riker

As a trusted voice on Star Trek, Jonathan Frakes has been a regular voice across all the current active shows on Paramount+ in Discovery, Picard, Strange New Worlds, and Lower Decks. While he's largely remained behind the camera as a director, Frakes occasionally acts reprising his role as William Riker he originally made famous on Next Generation for Enterprise, Picard, and Lower Decks. While it was revealed the former first officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise D & E is going to captain his own ship, Lower Decks was able to continue his adventures on the U.S.S. Titan albeit in a much less serious manner with the animated comedy. He spoke with Cinemablend to compare and contrast how the series treats Riker.

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STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS. Photo: PARAMOUNT+ ©2021 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved **Best Possible Screen Grab**

"I love it. I just did a commentary with [creator] Mike McMahon and Jack Quaid, whose Boimler serves on Riker's Titan on 'Lower Decks,'" Frakes said. "I think 'Lower Decks' is spectacular. I know that some Trekkers have had trouble adjusting to an animated, kind of an adult new [show]. I think it's smart, it's funny as hell, and filled with these Easter eggs of love for all things Star Trek." He also acknowledged being able to bridge between older and new Treks. "I'm very fortunate to have been part of a couple of generations of Star Treks. I also like to say yes [about my continued involvement in the franchise]."

"Nepenthe" -- Episode #107 -- Pictured: Jonathan Frakes as William Riker of the the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: PICARD. Photo Cr: Aaron Epstein/CBS ©2019 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
"Nepenthe" — Episode #107 — Pictured: Jonathan Frakes as William Riker of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: PICARD. Photo Cr: Aaron Epstein/CBS ©2019 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

On Lower Decks, Boimler was initially transferred from the U.S.S Cerritos much to his fellow ensign Beckett Mariner's (Tawny Newsome) dismay. A transporter accident on the Titan, which ironically also once affected its captain on an episode of TNG, created a Boimler clone that allows the original to transfer back to his old ship with the more impulsive counterpart remaining. In Picard, a more age-appropriate Riker, along with his wife Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), provides a safe haven for his former captain in Jean Luc (Patrick Stewart) and his guest Soji (Isa Briones) as they were fleeing Romulans.

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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