Star Trek’s Jonathan Frakes Praises Sonequa Martin-Green, And Explains Why He's Thankful He Didn’t Know About Discovery’s Cancellation While Directing Penultimate Episode

Star Trek’s Jonathan Frakes Praises Sonequa Martin-Green, And Explains Why He's Thankful He Didn’t Know About Discovery’s Cancellation While Directing Penultimate Episode

Star Trek: Discovery is ending with the fifth season's swan song, and few were as vocally upset about the initial cancellation news as frequent episode director, Jonathan Frakes. The Riker portrayer went on the record with CinemaBlend at the time to say Disco's cancellation sucked (preach), and part of his take was possibly tied to realizing his time with star Sonequa Martin-Green was ending, at least here. Frakes sang the actress' praises to us, and so revealed why he was grateful he didn't know he was directing one of Discovery's final episodes when it filmed.

Though "Lagrange Point," available to stream now with a Paramount+ subscription, wasn't originally intended to be the penultimate episode of the series, things played out that way in time. During my latest talk with the Star Trek icon about his experience on the episode, I first asked Frake what it was like working with star Sonequa Martin-Green over the years:

She comes prepared. Not only does she have her talent and her humor, but she has a spiritual presence that permeates the set. Her kindness is authentic, and it is shared with both sides of the camera up and down the line. And I think if you talk to anybody in the company, you'll find the same thing is true about her. She is authentic in a way that many actors, as you probably know, aren't.

Jonathan Frakes' response is not surprising, as I've heard nothing but positive stories about working with Sonequa Martin-Green from the cast and crew of Star Trek: Discovery over the years. Whether it's her warmth and positivity with everyone behind the scenes, or goofing around with co-star Mary Wiseman between takes, it always seems like Martin-Green did what she could to make working on the series a blast for all involved.

With Discovery ending, it's unknown at this point whether or not we can expect to see Sonequa Martin-Green on any upcoming Trek shows, presumably reprising the role of Michael Burnham. Of course, that kind of question wasn't even in consideration when "Lagrange Point" was being filmed, since all involved weren't treating it as a set-up for a finale.

Jonathan Frakes confirmed to CInemaBlend that, in retrospect, he's glad to have been in the dark on its unfortunate fate during the creative process, specifically when it came to working with the show's captain. In his words:

She's very, very special, and I'm a big fan. I'm, in a way, glad I didn't know when I was shooting the first half of the finale that it was, in fact, the finale because I would have been just, I would’ve have been much tearier than I was. You say goodbye when you're doing a show like this assuming that, ‘I'll see you next year. I'll see you next season, I'll see you in a few months.’ But we didn't know when we shot this finale that it was actually the finale. So I'll see Sonequa down the road, but I will miss working with her as Michael Burnham.

For now, we know there will be at least one Star Trek series where Michael Burnham can possibly appear. The upcoming Starfleet Academy series is also set in the 32nd century, and I could see Burnham showing up despite the series already securing A+ thesp Holly Hunter as its first star. I've also speculated Mary Wiseman will continue to teach at the academy like she has in Discovery, though Wiseman deflected when CinemaBlend asked her about it. 

Whatever the future holds for Michael Burnham, I do hope Sonequa Martin-Green (and Jonathan Frakes) remains attached to the franchise in some way. She's played a key part in setting the tone for this new era of storytelling with her attitude in Discovery, and I'd love to hear her aura positively impacts future Trek sets going forward, whether she's in front of the camera or not. 

Star Trek: Discovery's finale streams on Paramount+ beginning on Thursday, May 30th. Get ready for the final scenes of the series and for the future of what's to come after this beloved series finally bows, and our 2024 TV schedule will clue you in on what else will be starting soon.