Two episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks have aired, and Creator Mike McMahan tells fans what to expect this season and next season. Note: Spoilers below.
For the first few episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks, it’s all about getting to know the characters and their duties on the ship. “You’ll see a lot in the first couple of episodes, getting to know the U.S.S. Cerritos and getting to know the different duties on the ship,” said McMahan. “In this second episode, getting to meet live aliens. We also wanted to build in these key moments that were standalone, sort of sketched in the act, especially in the first three. There are so many times, on Next Generation and on other Star Treks, where an episode would start and the audience would get to see some mysterious energy floating into the ship and then you have to wait for the crew to catch up. We were after that. What happens when they know these things all too well.”
Envoys introduced a Klingon to the series but they will not be prominent in Season One. “Yes. I don’t think there’s a ton of Klingons in Season One,” said McMahan. “They have a little bit more of a presence in Season Two. Every Trek has its own major villain, and the Klingons were really that for the original series. But the Klingons are not the villains in our show. We do have a villain that will appear this season, but because Klingons have been — especially in Deep Space Nine and TNG, we’ve learned so much about them — they’re really just texture in our world.”
So expect more new aliens on Lower Decks, in addition to familiar ones. “Methodically, we like to introduce new aliens so our guys can sort of do some contact, which is helpful for the aliens that they’re meeting to have some newness to them, so that we can explore these thoughts,” said McMahan. “But that being said, it is fun to investigate issues that have not been delved into more than in an episodic fashion. So when we’re talking about what aliens we want to meet, we have every alien that’s been in Trek before, and then we have the aliens from The Original Series.
“We really get excited breathing new life into them, because they don’t that often get to be involved in separate shows. And just in the environment of second contact, getting to see what exists in the Trek canon and then being like, ‘Oh, can we move forward with them a little bit and get a little bit more?’ But obviously, wanting to address these issues in order to expand and get an understanding of the quadrant. So we have fun as well. We try to do a balance of it, with the classic and the new initiative.”
Fans can expect holodeck problems making things difficult for those on the U.S.S. Cerritos. “We’ve got a real game changer. That holodeck, when it malfunctions, it’s bad news. The Cerritos isn’t immune to it. So you can look forward to that in the first season. There’s a bit of a holodeck issue that’s sort of our epic time to do it.”
Fans want to know if they’ll see legacy characters showing up on the U.S.S. Cerritos. “These characters from previous series, a lot of them are still out there doing stuff,” said McMahan. “There are stories that are still happening with them. Picard, the new show, takes things far enough away that you’re getting his flare, and some of these previous characters are in their lives, and you can extrapolate from the movies where these separate crews are.
“To us, the important thing was: the Cerritos is not an important ship. It is to the people who are working on it and even though it’s the focus of our show, it would feel unnatural to just have a revolving door cavalcade of guest faces showing up. It’s also very distracting.
“So we actually were not needing to figure out how to add any of them, but we broke a couple of episodes where naturally we would encounter some familiar faces.”
It sounds like there is much to look forward to this season and next.