Sir Patrick Stewart returned to the Trek universe for Star Trek: Picard and, though it took him a few weeks to show up, his old Number One wasn’t far behind. Yes, Jonathan Frakes appeared in the episode titled “Nepenthe,” reprising William Riker alongside his on-screen wife Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi. Along with Brent Spiner’s Data, who turned up sporadically throughout the run, this means four of the main Next Generation cast came back for the series.
And Frakes is confident that more will follow in season 2. While speaking to ComicBook.com, the Star Trek legend confirmed that he’ll be involved with Picard‘s sophomore run as a director, just as he was this season. He didn’t reveal if he’ll jump back in front of the camera again, but he believes it’s “a good bet” that some of his classic co-stars will.
“I do expect to be back to direct the show, and I also think it’d be a good bet that we’ll some other members of Next Gen because I think the ‘Nepenthe’ test went very well.”
When he was asked about what the “Nepenthe” episode was a test for, Frakes explained that it was done to gauge the interest in bringing back old characters, as well as playing around with how best to reintroduce them into Picard’s life.
“I think to see if there was an appetite. I think they suspected there was, but I think to see if it would resonate to have Picard reunite with some of the people in a creative way. I’m glad we didn’t come back on the Titan, for instance, that we were found on another part [of the universe]. It’s 33 years or something. As Picard as changed, so has Riker and Troi and so has Seven.”
As the actor reminds us, Riker was last seen, chronologically, being promoted to captain of the U.S.S. Titan in Star Trek: Nemesis. However, by the time he and Troi returned in “Nepenthe,” they had retired to the planet of the title with their young daughter, Kestra. Their eldest, son Thaddeus, had tragically died from a terminal illness some time previously.
Frakes’ comments certainty add up with LeVar Burton’s recent revelation that he’s in talks to reprise Geordi La Forge in season 2. Likewise, Whoopi Goldberg is confirmed to feature in some capacity as Guinan. And with Star Trek: Picard aiming for three seasons, we should hopefully have every major TNG star turn up eventually.