'The Next Generation' Veteran Jonathan Frakes To Direct Picard Series Episodes; Alison Pill And More To Cast

20 years later, one first officer of Star Trek: The Next Generation is getting promoted to captain for CBS All Access' upcoming Jean-Luc Picard series. Jonathan Frakes, who played William Riker in the beloved sci-fi series, has been tapped as a Picard series director, reuniting him with his USS Enterprise captain played by Patrick Stewart.

However, Frakes, who has directed plenty of TV and Star Trek projects since he left the role of Riker, won't be stepping in front of the camera for the still-untitled Picard series. That will be left to Stewart and his newest cast members, including Alison Pill, Harry Treadaway, and Isa Briones.

In an interview with TrekMovie.com, Frakes confirmed that is will be directing several episodes of the Picard series starring Patrick Stewart as the beloved USS Enterprise captain. Set 20 years after the events of the Next Generation film Star Trek: Nemesis, not much is known about the plot of the Picard series, which Stewart has said will "explore new dimensions within [the character]."

Frakes expressed his excitement to return to the franchise as a director once again, following stints behind the camera for for The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and most recently Discovery (as well as feature films Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection). He told TrekMovie.com:

I think the fans are going to be thrilled and excited and surprised. I have had the privilege of reading the first couple of episodes and I have spent some time with Patrick who is so engaged [laughs] Sorry. It's wonderful. It's smart. I'm excited about it. He is obviously more excited. His announcing of it at Las Vegas—which I believe was his idea—was very smart. You know he is 78, and he is going to be carrying the show on his shoulders, his considerable shoulders.

"I feel so blessed to be back," Frakes added, saying "It's so ironic that I spent so many years trying to expand where I was working and I was lucky enough to get onto other types of shows." Frakes has carved out quite a niche for himself as a TV director, not just for Star Trek shows, but for series like The Orville, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Burn Notice, and more. Frakes will be directing episodes three and four of the Picard series, following up Hanelle Culpepper, who makes history as the first female filmmaker to direct a Star Trek pilot.

But while Frakes won't be reuniting onscreen with his USS Enterprise captain. Three new actors will be meeting with the beloved Picard. Alison Pill (The Newsroom), Harry Treadaway (Mr. Mercedes) and Isa Briones (American Crime Story: Versace) have all boarded the series as regulars, according to TV Line. There are no details yet on what roles they will be playing. But we'll find out once the the Picard series debuts on CBS All Access at the end of 2019.