With the departure of Roberto Orci from the director’s chair for the forthcoming yet-untitled Star Trek 3, the field is wide open as to who can step in and take over. J.J. Abrams is sure to have his eye on someone to do it, but fans from across the fandom are rallying behind one person in particular…Jonathan Frakes.
The actor that played Commander William T. Riker, in all seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the subsequent four motion pictures, (Two of which he directed: Star Trek First Contact and Star Trek Insurrection.) has made an impressive post-Trek career as a director in his own right and has aggressively been campaigning for the job of director in this next installment of the nearly five decade old sci-fi franchise. Backing him up has been a massive online campaign of support, even trending the hashtag #BringInRiker.
Speaking on the subject to Komo News, Frakes had this to say:
“I would love that job. I say, unabashedly, I’d be great at it and would love to do it….I’m trying to keep the lid on how excited I am about the possibility, knowing it’s such a long shot. But there’s nothing I would like better.”
Long shot may be right. While his gigs directing Trek are beloved by the fan base, and he would no doubt do right by Trekkies if given a crack at the new film, Abrams, may be hesitant to give him the reins, due to the fact that the film needs to have a broader appeal to more than just Star Trek fans.
Frakes was a sort of protégé to Star Trek Creator Gene Roddenberry, with which he shares a birthday. Frakes would no doubt be able to bring something to this film, that no one else on the director’s shortlist can…Gene’s spirit and vision of a better future. Recalling what Roddenberry told him about Trek’s vision:
“Jonathan, in the 24th century there will be no hunger and no greed and all of the children will know how to read.’ And I thought, ‘Oh my god this is so beautiful.’ He was so passionate about it that it made you believe that there would be no sexism, there would be no racism, and we follow the Prime Directive. If only we could lead our lives like that. I mean, we’re in a shitstorm here, this world — particularly in this country. It’s embarrassing.”
“There’s a lot to be said for Roddenberry’s vision of the future, I think,” said Frakes.
Ultimately that might be what the newest Trek movies lack, that little thing that all good science fiction does, allows us to examine the human condition from an outside perspective. It’s not all phasers and photon torpedoes and massive explosions. Sure, that is fun and makes for exciting visual spectacle, but we as sci-fi fans are better served looking inward at the human condition. Gene Roddenberry’s good friend, noted scientist and author, Isaac Asimov had this to say on the topic years ago:
“Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today – but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all.”
What do you think? Would Jonathan Frakes be the best choice for the Director’s chair? He thinks so:
“Bring in Riker! I’m all over it! I already contacted J.J. [Abrams]; I’ve got my agent trying to stir the pot at Paramount. I would love that job!”
Star Trek 3 is slated for a 2016 release to coincide with the 50th anniversary of its premiere on September 8th, 1966.