“It was a lot to learn”: Jonathan Frakes is Thankful He Didn’t Meet LeVar Burton, Brent Spiner’s Fate in Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Jonathan Frakes admitted to having a hard time learning the sci-fi show's technological jargon.

jonathan frakes, levar burton, brent spiner


  • Jonathan Frakes rose to prominence with his role as Star Trek: The Next Generation, which he later reprised in Star Trek: Picard.
  • During an interview, Frakes revealed he was grateful that he did not have to deal with the technobabble-heavy dialog like his co-stars LeVar Burton and Brent Spiner.
  • At the same time, Frakes admitted that it took him some time getting used to playing Riker as he was physically uncomfortable in some of the earlier episodes.
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Actor Jonathan Frakes is best known for playing the role of Commander William T. Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Frakes’ character served as the first officer of the USS Enterprise-D, reporting to Patrick Stewart’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and was a fan-favorite throughout the show’s run.

Jonathan Frakes is known for playing William T. Riker in Star Trek (Credit: Paramount Television).

During an interview, Frakes reflected on his time on the hit sci-fi series. However, he was thankful for not having to deal with one aspect of the series that became troublesome for some of his co-stars. At the same time, Frakes also spoke about the challenges of being a part of the show’s ensemble cast, and here is what he had to say.

Jonathan Frakes Recalled Learning the Sci-fi Jargon For Star Trek: The Next Generation

Jonathan Frakes became a household name for his performance as Commander William T. Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation. The actor went on the reprise the role for the spin-off/sequel series Star Trek: Picard, reuniting with some of his cast mates from TNG.

Jonathan Frakes admitted to struggling with the show’s sci-fi jargon (Credit: Star Trek: TNG | Paramount Television).

Ahead of Star Trek: Picard season 3, Frakes sat down for an interview with Deadline. During the interview, he was asked about the challenges of appearing in the Star Trek franchise.

Frakes stated aside from wearing the spandex costume, he struggled with the sci-fi jargon that is a trademark of the series. He said:

It was a lot to learn. And the technobabble. God bless Brent and LeVar [Burton], who were given the bulk of it.

Frakes’ words suggest that although he was given very little of the technobabble, he still struggled to learn the dialog.


Frakes added that he had a great deal of respect for co-stars Brent Spiner and LeVar Burton, who got most of the technological jargon-heavy dialog along with actress Gates McFadden who played Doctor Beverly Crusher. However, Frakes himself was grateful that he did not face the same fate as his co-stars.

Jonathan Frakes Talked the Challenges of Creating a Star Trek Crew’s Chemistry

Jonathan Frakes struggled with his Star Trek role in the early days (Credit: Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum | YouTube).

During the same interview, Frakes also spoke about the challenges of creating the ensemble cast’s chemistry. He admitted that the show did not find its stride until its third season, especially when it came to the interpersonal dynamics between the crew of USS Enterprise-D. He said:

The writers didn’t know yet who they were writing for.

Frakes went on to explain some of his personal struggles when it came to playing the character of Riker, primarily because of the show’s sci-fi setting and ensemble nature. He added:


I felt physically uncomfortable — and I look it. I was clearly nervous.

As a result, from Frakes’ words, it is evident that he struggled with the role during his early days.

Moreover, the actor stated that watching his performance in some of the earlier episodes was difficult because he looked uncomfortable. However, he eventually found his rhythm, leading to Riker becoming a fan-favorite character.

Star Trek: The Next Generation is streaming on Paramount+.

Pratik Handore

Written by Pratik Handore

Articles Published: 621

Pratik is a writer at FandomWire, with a content writing experience of five years. Although he has a Bachelors in Hospitality, his fascination with all things pop culture led him to writing articles on a variety of topics ranging from latest streaming releases to unheard movie trivia. When not writing, you can find him reading manga, or watching classic TV shows.