While we bite our nails waiting for Star Trek: Discovery season 3 (due out any days now…), and while Picard preps to shoot season 2, more information on Star Trek: Lower Decks, the new animated series has been revealed.
According to Inverse: Lower Decks is an upcoming animated series set in the Star Trek universe. The tone of the series is light and comedic. It will follow the adventures of junior Starfleet officers on the starship USS Cerritos. Though billed as a comedy, showrunner Mike McMahan insists it will nonetheless tackle real science fiction stories. McMahan elaborated on this point in a recent interview with Inverse:
“We have all the problems that a regular Star Trek show would have, which is don’t do any episodes that they’ve already done across the series in the movies. And on top of that, you don’t want to do a separate episode that happens to accidentally be similar to a Stargate Atlantis episode or to a Farscape episode. So we’ve got all of that, trying to make sure that what we’re doing is new and interesting and fits in the canon. But then also, you know, the comedic emotional stories. There’s [no character] who’s dumb on Lower Decks, and there’s nobody who’s mean.”
Because of McMahan’s involvement with Rick and Morty, there’s certainly reason to believe that some of that tone will carry over into Lower Decks. McMahan served as a writer and producer on Rick and Morty. He was one of the first writers hired for the series, as he had met co-creator Justin Roiland while working at 20th Century Fox Animation. McMahan described himself as “kind of the sci-fi guy” of the staff, and was promoted to showrunner for the show’s fourth season, though he left during production to work on other projects.In 2018, he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program for his work as a supervising producer on the episode “Pickle Rick”.
The title of the show is taken from an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation
called “Lower Decks.” (TNG Season 7, Episode 15.
) It focused specifically on the lives of four junior officers on board the USS Enterprise
, and how they perceived the “main” characters of the series differently. The episode was not one of the “funny ones,” but it did have a few light moments. Star Trek: Lower Decks
is inspired by the basic premise, but instead of one episode about the junior officers of a starship, this will be an entire series told from that point-of-view.
Inverse says: Star Trek: Lower Decks
takes place in the year 2380. This is one year after Star Trek: Nemesis
, and roughly five years before the “flashbacks” in Star Trek: Picard
. Basically, the Synth Attack on Mars ins in the future of Lower Decks
. As showrunner Mike McMahan has made clear: this is a version of the Federation in which Voyager
has returned from the Delta Quadrant. This makes Lower Decks
a sequel to The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager,
and the film Star Trek: Nemesis
. It also makes it a prequel to Picard
“Within Lower Decks
, there is a proper in-canon Star Trek
show,” McMahan explained. “It takes place during the TNG
era. It’s on a ship that feels like it’s always existed there and the bridge crew is dealing with big, never-before-seen Starfleet Star Trek
-type stories. So every episode has a thing like that happening in it. And then, on top of that, we’ve got A stories and B stories that are emotionally driven from the point of view of the lower deckers on the ships. So it was an area of storytelling that people had covered every once in a while on Star Trek
, but never built a show around.”
But probably what makes Lower Decks so crucial to the Star Trek franchise is the opportunity that it offers to bring in young and new viewers,