Jonathan Frakes Was Going To Direct Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Most Anticipated Sequel

Jonathan Frakes was supposed to direct Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall 2.

By TeeJay Small | Published

To some, Jonathan Frakes is the esteemed thespian best known for his portrayal of Commander William Riker in the series Star Trek: The Next Generation. To others, Frakes is best known as the creative mind helming hundreds of episodes of television from the director’s chair, including credits for The Orville, NCIS: Los Angeles, and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., among many others. According to a series of posts from @OnlyFilmMedia on Twitter, Frakes was also originally set to direct a sequel to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s iconic 1990 sci-fi film Total Recall.

Though the film never got off the ground, Jonathan Frakes had been attached to direct Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall 2 at some point in the late 1990s, according to the Twitter account. The account touts an impressive following of nearly 60,000 users, frequently exploring behind-the-scenes trivia, casting rumors, and all forms of film discussion. This revelation was delivered as part of a larger thread discussing five facts about the unmade Total Recall sequel to honor the development process which occurred around this time of year 25 years ago.

arnold schwarzenegger

While Jonathan Frakes was hard at work directing and starring in a number of Star Trek projects, Arnold Schwarzenegger spent most of the ’80s and ’90s churning out chart-topping blockbusters, including Conan the Barbarian, The Terminator, and Predator, making the pairing a match made in heaven for fans of sci-fi and action alike. The original Total Recall follows Schwarzenegger’s Douglas Quaid in the distant future of 2084, as he toils away at a menial labor job while wealthy oligarchs depart Earth to colonize Mars. After visiting a service that implants chips in the brain, allowing customers to experience the memory of an experience without actually experiencing it, something goes horribly awry, marking Quaid as a target for the wealthy elite.

The intensely trippy film examines the reality of the self and the subjectivity of human memory while also providing heaps of high-octane action and plenty of corny 80’s scenery for Schwarzenegger to chew on. Though the sequel never panned out, Jonathan Frakes could have been the perfect filmmaker to bring the film to reality, as his roots in the Star Trek universe have certainly provided him with his 10,000 hours of training in both deep-thinking sci-fi as well as intense action set pieces. Frakes is even quoted as saying that he was ready to begin filming as soon as Arnold Schwarzenegger was available, as late as 1999.

So what prevented the Total Recall sequel from ever being made? Apparently, the production was put on hold for Jonathan Frakes to wrap production on Star Trek: Insurrection, prompting Arnold Schwarzenegger to take the leading role in the 2000 film The 6th Day. Despite touting an interesting sci-fi premise and a talented cast, including Michael Rapaport, The Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Michael Rooker, and Terry Crews in his first credited film role, according to IMDb, The 6th Day failed to make its money back, serving as one in a series of losses for Miramax studios.