Star Trek's Jonathan Frakes may have a new TV gig lined up, but that doesn't mean he's all out on the franchise that brought him to prominence. The director and actor recently took part in a Reddit AMA and, naturally, there were plenty of fans of The Next Generation wanting to hear about his time on the show. I'm thankful I was aware of it, because I just now learned about Frakes' favorite memory from working on the beloved show. And it involves one of the most WTF behind-the-scenes activities that Patrick Stewart and the cast used to get up to.
On the whole, Jonathan Frakes and other Star Trek notables received a wide variety of questions on Reddit, some of which involved the constant calls for the Legacy spinoff of Picard. The notion of someone asking about his favorite memory from his time working on the show was probably a given, but the answer is a bit unexpected. I've seen plenty of WTF moments on TNG, but never in a million years would I have guessed what Jonathan Frakes would say happened behind the scenes:
Watching Patrick Stewart wrestle with Michael Dorn.
At first, I thought the often humorous actor was just being funny. I mean, Patrick Stewart -- the man who engages with fans by reading Shakespearean sonnets for fun -- grappling in between takes with Michael Dorn? Surely, this was some kind of a joke, as I couldn't in my wildest dreams imagine the man who played Picard suplexing the Worf actor on the Bridge of the Enterprise. It's a moment that one won't find when watching Star Trek: The Next Generation with a Paramount+ subscription.
However, after doing a deep dive on the web, I uncovered more information confirming that Jonathan Frakes wasn't pulling our legs. In an interview conducted on the Inside Of You podcast, which was published in 2023, the actor talked about the two wrestling between takes and what a distraction it was when he directed episodes:
And Patrick [Stewart] and [Michael] Dorn used to wrestle! And Brent would do a [routine] like we were on Vegas… and we were so bad, especially in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th season. The only time we would shut up [was when the director yelled] 'Action!'… It drove directors crazy. And then, when I was directing, I thought, 'I get it!'
Imagine watching Michael Dorn in full Klingon makeup grappling with Patrick Stewart while Brent Spiner does a Vegas crooner bit at the same time. I'd feel like I was losing my mind, especially if I was a director. Leonard Nimoy didn't have this marked as a reason why he didn't want to be an executive producer on Star Trek: The Next Generation, but I'd wager if he saw it, he would've added it to the list of reasons why he wouldn't sign up.
I would also add that while I'm sure there are some shenanigans that will occur on the sets of upcoming Trek shows, it's hard to imagine anything quite as wild as a wrestling match might occur. I guess times really have changed though, if you're a director on Star Trek, I'd say it's likely for the best that stars aren't engaging in the same level of horseplay. Nevertheless, I would've loved to have been a fly on the wall on the set of TNG during these moments, if only to see that all go down with my own eyes. Because I still have trouble believing it actually happened.
Watch Star Trek: The Next Generation anytime over on Paramount+. There's never a bad time to start a watch-through of one of the franchise's most beloved entries, and with the current lull in new content, one could breeze through the series before the arrival of the final season of Discovery. And, seriously, don't hold your breath for wrestling matches.