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7 February 2011
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Interviews | Jonathan Frakes
In command

What Gene Roddenberry wanted in the relationship between Picard and Riker

Picture I think what he was originally interested in was the three generations of leadership that were represented by Picard, Riker and Wesley Crusher. Those three characters were three men in different stages of their lives. I remember him emphasising how duty was important to all of them. Loyalty and all the classic Star Trek characteristics were embodied in those three characters at different stages in their lives.

[The relationship] developed inevitably as the relationship between Stewart and Frakes developed. When it became clear that we were going to be lifelong friends, I think that influenced the relationship between Picard and Riker as well, to the benefit of the show. It really served us both very well I think.

We were both envious of Data�s character. Data stuck out immediately as the most popular character on the show for obvious reasons. One was Brent�s talent and the other was that the character was written as if all things human were new to him. It was a wonderful canvas that Brent painted very carefully. Patrick and I were playing very involved human beings. Both of us have said how we wish we could be articulate as our characters were in situations of anger and frustration. It was fun to play these guys, but it was also a little unrealistic. As is the nature of the biz, I guess.

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