CBS is in the midst of expanding the Star Trek franchise on the small screen in multiple ways. One of those is creating new animated Trek content, the first since 1973’s Star Trek: The Animated Series. While one kid-friendly CG-animated show is coming to Nickelodeon, the adult-oriented Star Trek: Lower Decks is on its way to CBS All Access.
Our first look at the characters and animation style of the series was revealed last summer at SDCC, but news has been quiet on the show for a while. However, it’s now been confirmed that Lower Decks is still moving forward with production even under lockdown.
Former Rick and Morty writer Mike McMahan is serving as showrunner and, while speaking with ComicBook.com, he revealed where we can expect LD to fit within Trek canon. The answer is that it takes place around the time of The Next Generation.
“Within Lower Decks, there is a proper in-canon Star Trek show. 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.”
McMahan’s keen to stress that there will be a lot going on in the series, then, and it won’t just be animated comedy hijinks set in the Trek universe – though obviously that’s part of the appeal. The EP went on to say that he really hopes Lower Decks is accessible to both hardcore fans and newbies. Though it will be rooted in Trek canon, it also won’t be impenetrable enough to put fresh viewers off watching.
“It was important to me that if you know everything about Star Trek and you watch this show then it fits into Canon and doesn’t break Star Trek. In fact, it grows it. And if you know nothing about Star Trek, then all of the canon in Lower Decks feels like mythological, broad understandable sci-fi stuff. So you can still enjoy Lower Decks even if it’s your first Star Trek show… It’s sort of like a love letter to people that love Star Trek, but it’s also a funny show for people who have never seen it.”
Star Trek: Lower Decks is set on the lower levels of the U.S.S. Cerritos, a not-so-important ship in Starfleet’s armada. The quirky cast of Ensign protagonists includes the irreverent Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome), stickler for the rules Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid) and Starfleet fangirl Tendi (Noel Wells). Look out for it on CBS All Access sometime later this year.