CASTLE: Director Jonathan Frakes on his 'The Final Frontier' Cameo, a 'Priceless' Castle/Beckett Moment, and More - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

CASTLE: Director Jonathan Frakes on his ‘The Final Frontier’ Cameo, a ‘Priceless’ Castle/Beckett Moment, and More

November 4, 2012 by  

CASTLE has never been shy about embracing its nerdy roots, and this Monday’s episode, “The Final Frontier,” boldly goes where the show hasn’t gone before — to a science-fiction convention.

To helm the hour, CASTLE enlisted a director with a good amount of sci-fi cred: Jonathan Frakes, whom many know as STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION’s Riker. (Frakes also directed the season 2 episode “Kill the Messenger.”)

I spoke with Frakes about directing “The Final Frontier,” making a cameo in the hour, the challenges they faced, and more…

What can you tease about Monday’s episode, “The Final Frontier”?
Jonathan Frakes: I can tease the fact that Beckett reveals herself as a real fangirl. I can say there’s a cast with a multitude with sci-fi actors from different series, and there’s also a genius impersonation of William Shatner by Nathan Fillion (Castle) that’s not to be missed.

There’s been a lot of talk about the FIREFLY winks in the episode thanks to Fillion’s work on the cult series, but you also have a STAR TREK past. Is the show mainly focusing on the FIREFLY stuff, or should fans expect a couple of other genre show nods?
JF: Oh, believe me, my show was well represented.

Anything you can tease?
JF: I make an appearance as Castle’s number one fan, if you get my drift.

Oh, that’s going to be fabulous. I know you’ve done a couple other uncredited cameos in other shows you’ve directed, but you didn’t pop up in the first CASTLE episode you directed, did you?
JF: No, I didn’t. This was something that [CASTLE creator] Andrew [Marlowe] and [director] Rob Bowman — the executive producers — had asked me to do when they asked me to direct the show, to make some sort of cameo. And I was glad to do it.

What were the difficulties of directing this one versus your last episode? Did you find the scope of this one more difficult to tackle?
JF: Well, it wasn’t harder; it was much more fun, because the tone of the show was much lighter. And it was an arena in which I had worked in a lot over the last 25 years because of the number of conventions I had done. And Rob Bowman, who was one of the original directors on STAR TREK is now the executive producer on CASTLE, called and said we’re juggling the order of episodes, so when you’re episode comes up, you can have this Comic-Con murder mystery to play with because of the obvious opportunities for us to play with — not only with FIREFLY, but STAR TREK.

And our guest cast is Armin Shimerman who was on [STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION], a guy from EUREKA playing the leader of the NEBULA-9, which is the fictional STAR TREK ship that [CASTLE] spoofs. So it’s peppered with easter eggs, including Stana [Katic (Beckett)] as the voice of the oracle on the spaceship. If people are watching closely, they will hear lines and phrases and images from a lot of their favorite sci-fi shows.

Did either you or any of the cast give any input into the homages in the episode?
JF: We’ve snuck in a brown coat for Nathan and we have STAR TREK references from me.

That’s awesome. Are there any particular scenes you’re really excited for fans to see?
JF: The opening is quite entertaining. It is a fan experience on a spaceship. It was brilliant designed by our production designer and costumes by Luke [Reichle], who is their costume designer. It was very ambitious for an episode of television, I must say. And then there’s a wonderful scene with Armin and Stana and Nathan in his mad scientist lair where he builds phasers…among other things. [Laughs]

Did you film the convention stuff on location somewhere, or did they do all of this in the studio?
JF: They built the convention [set] in the studios. They built the spaceship on the stage where Castle’s apartment [normally] is. The spaceship is a spectacular set, as you’ll see. It was very impressive they could pull this together for an episode of television. It was a major accomplishment.

So basically you had just hundreds of people wandering around the lot where they film the show looking like they walked out of Comic-Con?
JF: Exactly. Literally hundreds of extras, fabulous costumes, tons of references. Some generic, some specific.

Were there any clearance problems with the costumes? I know that some shows have to go more generic because of licensing issues…
JF: It was a huge part of our prep, was to make sure we didn’t have clearance problems. What we got were generic costumes that are not violating any codes. But what we do have because of ABC and CASTLE’s connection with Marvel — who helped us with Richard Castle’s [graphic novel] books — was we used images from AVENGERS. So at Richard Castle’s signing booth where he’s signing his new graphic novel, we are decorated with licensed AVENGERS artwork, which is spectacular. I think it’s going to be very helpful to have that [authenticity] at the root of it, the root of the convention.

That’s great. Are there any cute Castle/Beckett moments you can tease?
JF: The end of the show with Castle and Beckett is priceless. I won’t tell you what happens, but it takes their relationship to a new level, let’s just say.

And what are Ryan and Esposito up to in the episode?
JF: Ryan and Esposito have to do the investigation at the convention. Esposito has a wonderful scene in which a woman exposes herself to him, and Ryan is appalled at the costumed witnesses they need to investigate. So they contribute to the comedy quite significantly.

Will it be hard to top this experience if you return to direct another episode?
JF: It’ll just have a different color.

Maybe a little less true to your own life next time.
JF: Yep! Back to the standard murder mystery. I think the fans are going to enjoy this show. And I love that they’re doing this amount of publicity around it because the tone of the show…it so captures the tone of the fans. One of whom is Andrew Marlowe, who is the creator of [CASTLE]. He describes himself as a closet nerdist, I think is the phrase I read. And we deal with the fandom with the respect that is due, because they’re having a ball. They’re having a ball at these conventions and hopefully the audience will have a ball watching this [episode] unfold.

And if you want a sneak peek at the episode, take a look at Castle and Beckett on the convention floor…
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Frakes’ CASTLE episode, “The Final Frontier” airs Monday, November 5th at 10 PM. (Full episodes are available to view on


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2 Responses to “CASTLE: Director Jonathan Frakes on his ‘The Final Frontier’ Cameo, a ‘Priceless’ Castle/Beckett Moment, and More”

  1. Nick on November 5th, 2012 9:41 am

    I am so excited for this episode of Castle! Mostly, it is because of the setting involved, a sci-fi convention, but also it just looks like such a great episode from an amazing director! I have been looking forward to this episode since my coworker at DISH first told me what it was going to be about, and it looks better than I could’ve ever imagined! With so much on TV on Monday nights, though, it makes it hard to watch everything, so I’m glad my Hopper from DISH records all four major networks with the PrimeTime Anytime feature, and I don’t have to miss any of my primetime shows. I am so excited to see what can happen at a place like this, because it can be a great place to get away with murder!

  2. graybeard on November 7th, 2012 9:53 pm

    I was in Baltimore at a good hotel that had excellent HD TVs in the rooms. (Better than my home TV). On a large HD screen, it was awesome!

    Loved the finale where Beckett scared the dickens out of Castle with her old costume. Worth the price of admission.

    And, of course Alexis managed to put her Dad between the proverbial rock and a hard place.