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Jonathan Frakes was “uncomfortable” as Riker when Star Trek TNG began

Despite Riker's easy confidence in Star Trek The Next Generation, his actor, Jonathan Frakes, admitted it took him time to get used to playing the character.

Riker in Picard season 3

As far as Star Trek captains go, Riker is known for being confident, easygoing, and suave. So, you’d think the actor portraying him would be the same. But Jonathan Frakes, who originated the Star Trek character, revealed that this was far from the truth.

“[In the earlier seasons] I felt physically uncomfortable — and I look it,” the Star Trek The Next Generation cast member recalled in an interview with Deadline. “I was clearly nervous. I wasn’t centered and wasn’t relaxed, despite appearances.” As well as TNG, Frakes went on to star as Riker in four Star Trek movies and various other TV series.

“I don’t think we got rolling until about the third season of Next Generation in terms of chemistry,” the sci-fi series actor added.

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“The writers didn’t know yet who they were writing for. For us, I’d never worn a silly spandex spacesuit with no pockets. I didn’t know how to act without my f*cking hands in my pockets. It was a lot to learn. And the technobabble. God bless Brent and LeVar [Burton], who were given the bulk of it.”

Years on, Frakes reprised his role in Star Trek series Picard.