It’s unattainable to think about anybody aside from Jonathan Frakes as Star Trek‘s Commander William T. Riker. Frakes introduced confidence and charisma to his position within the Star Trek The Subsequent Technology solid beginning with the very first season, imbuing Riker with a Kirk-ian willingness to gamble, and a daring model of management.
That’s all a part of what makes Riker probably the greatest Star Trek characters within the franchise’s lengthy historical past. In addition to reprising his position within the 4 TNG motion pictures (two of which he directed) Frakes did it another time earlier in 2023 with Picard season 3 because the ex-captain of the USS Titan helped his personal former captain Jean-Luc Picard to unravel an unlimited changeling/Borg conspiracy inside Starfleet. All in a day’s work.
However Frakes’ Star Trek profession was practically over earlier than it had even began as a result of the actor wasn’t the unique alternative for the position of Riker: Billy Campbell was. “For the position of Riker, we solid an actor named Billy Campbell, who later did a bunch of different good issues,” recalled producer Rick Berman within the guide The Fifty-12 months Mission, which gives an oral historical past of the franchise.
Nonetheless, John Pike, who was at one level the president of Paramount Community Tv and who had a level of management over the TV aspect of the Star Trek franchise, simply didn’t purchase the casting. Berman continued, “Pike didn’t like him. He didn’t really feel he had a way of command. He wouldn’t observe this man into battle. I feel it was actually extra that he didn’t audition that nicely for the half, and that’s after we went to our second alternative, who was Jonathan Frakes, who turned out to be a terrific alternative.”
Billy Campbell himself later commented on the state of affairs, explaining to StarTrek.com that he received, “fairly shut,” to securing the position, however in the end, “the very best man received the job.” A magnanimous man even in defeat, Campbell concluded, “It was really very pleasant within the run-up to auditioning for the half. I used to be as thrilled for him as I used to be upset for myself. There was by no means a second of something however goodwill.”
Whereas Campbell misplaced probably the greatest roles in tv historical past, he did finally be part of TNG – arguably the very best TV collection of all time – in a visitor position in season 2. Within the episode The Outrageous Okona he joined the journey because the memorable Captain Thadiun Okona, placing in an ideal efficiency. Campbell’s Okona is likely one of the most well-known one-off characters in TNG historical past, along with his suave attraction, prompt magnetism, and penchant for seducing anybody he got here throughout.
Remind you of anybody? The similarity between Riker and Okona is straight away hanging, and Campbell took the possibility to show that he most likely would have carried out a reasonably good job as Riker. Fairly good, that’s; although not as nice as Frakes. After shedding the position of Riker, Campbell starred in motion pictures resembling The Rocketeer and Bram Stoker’s Dracula and lately returned to present his voice as Okona on the animated collection Star Trek Prodigy.
Star Trek TNG is now streaming on Paramount Plus. For extra on Frakes, take a look at why he thinks one TNG episode should be banned, and the way he was Captain America lengthy earlier than Chris Evans. Or, see our information to one of the simplest ways to observe the Star Trek motion pictures so as, and take a look at our full breakdown of the Star Trek timeline.
If that’s not sufficient, see what’s happening with the standing of the Unusual New Worlds season 3 launch date, and a possible Star Trek Legacy launch date. Or, hold updated with what’s new on Paramount Plus.