Star Trek: Picard showrunner Terry Matalas is anticipating Riker’s involvement in the third season of the series. Jonathan Frakes, who played Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation and the four sequel films, has been added to Picard’s cast. His fellow TNG cast members will also join the show.
Ever since Paramount + began producing new Star Trek programs in recent years, Frakes has been involved on several levels with a number of them. In Star Trek: Discovery he directed multiple episodes in numerous seasons of that series. He also directed episodes of Picard along with returning as a retired Will Riker in the first season for two episodes. Riker briefly left retirement to command Starfleet’s most powerful ship, the USS Zheng He. Star Trek: Lower Decks also featured an over-the-top animated version of Riker, who was in command of the USS Titan. Riker will board a new ship, the USS Titan-A, which was seen in the trailers for Picard’s third season.
With the old TNG cast returning and being added to an existing cast, there is a question of how these legacy characters will be used. Since Riker has been appearing a lot in next season’s trailers, marketing is leaning on his return. In an interview with TrekMovie.com Matalas left some hints about Riker’s involvement. Check out the quote from him below:
“Picard is very much at the fore and at the center of everything in this. But Riker I’d say, Riker and Beverly I’d say, they’re very close to number two. But there’s a lot of Riker, so if you’re a Will Riker fan, you’ll have a good dose of Riker. And some Rikers you’ve never seen before. A few Rikers you’ve always wanted to see first. You will have many things you have always wanted for Christmas ”.
On TNG, Riker has been one of the most important characters in the series since its inception. Together with Commander Data, Riker has devoted a significant number of episodes to his story. The show also had a full story arc for the character, going from a rude first officer to a captain and family man. With Matalas confirming how important Riker’s role will be, his story has a chance to continue. This is an opportunity to see Riker potentially in a leadership role, as he has only been seen and mentioned briefly in previous stories.
Not only will Frakes’ role be in front of the camera, but it has been confirmed that he will direct episodes 3 and 4 of Star Trek: Picard season 3. With Frakes involved in most of the Star Trek shows that have aired on Paramount +, he has he clearly has a fondness for this universe and a desire to elevate it. Getting along with the rest of the cast is an opportunity to end Picard’s story, but also for the rest of the crew. Along with Dr. Crusher, Riker will get the screen time that a legacy character like the one he deserves.