Jonathan Frakes Says He Wants To Make A Star Trek Musical


Jonathan Frakes is beloved by the Star Trek fandom for playing William T. Riker across multiple shows and films, as well as frequently taking the director’s chair. And with the Trek universe rapidly heating up again on CBS All Access, he’s already gotten to return to both roles.

Frakes helmed numerous episodes of Discovery and appeared again as Riker for Picard. While he’s still optimistic that he’ll get to come back for the second season of that show, he recently sat down to talk about some of his other hopes for Star Trek‘s future. In particular, it seems Frakes would like to take on an episode of Short Treks, one of the seemingly few Trek properties he hasn’t gotten around to directing yet.

The anthology series showcases short stories set in every corner of the Federation and producer Alex Kurtzman’s used it to experiment with new directions for the franchise, like outright comedy and returns to animation. He’s already brought up the idea of a musical as well, and Frakes quickly jumped on it, saying:

“I was just about to say musical. I’m dying to do something in that world anyway, ever since Maurice Hurley, who was our showrunner briefly on Next Gen, took me to lunch and said, “What do you like?” I said, ‘I like jazz. and I like baseball and I play the trombone.’ The next thing you know there I was in the holodeck with Minuet. I think that a musical, especially in a Short Treks, would be spectacular. I think it’d be wonderful. The dancing in ‘Calypso’ was magical.”

That’s exciting news, though it comes with one caveat. It looks like Frakes is more interested in directing than making Riker actually be the one to sing. Asked about the possibility of the character returning for it, he laughed and said:

“No. Well… maybe Riker’s in the band.”

That doesn’t make Riker’s return for a musical sound too likely, but the idea itself seems like a perfect fit for Kurtzman’s vision for the show. As he put it when he first suggested it:

“As a writer and as a storyteller, it’s a real challenge to figure out how to have a beginning, a middle, and an end in a much more compressed period of time and there’s so many different forms that these could take. I’d love to do a musical, for example. I’d love to do one in black and white, figure out what that means. I can probably think of 50 different ways that we can tell stories and 50 different crevices of the Star Trek universe to explore. That may not be the right kinds of crevices for the larger shows, but I think we always think of the Short Treks as, these are the scenes that are just as important as what’s going on in the main shows but that you wouldn’t actually have time for. These are the moments that you can drill down on. So I’d love to. I’d love nothing more.”

Even if a musical doesn’t happen, it sounds like Frakes will have plenty of options to choose from if and when he decides to direct an episode of Short Treks. In the meantime, hopefully he’ll keep tormenting us with new Star Trek information that we didn’t need to know. For instance, that Data had sex with the Borg Queen in First Contact.