Star Trek: Lower Decks is being pitched as the first animated comedy series in the franchise, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to skimp on the connections to the wider Trek universe. Given that it’s focused on the lower-level officers on a not-very-important ship in Starfleet’s armada, you might not think any familiar characters would turn up on the show. However, that may actually be something we can expect from the series.
Showrunner Mike McMahan has previously revealed that Lower Decks will be set during the same part of the timeline as The Next Generation, which is his particular favorite Trek series. In a new chat with Entertainment Weekly, McMahan went even further in his hints, as this time he teased that the animated show could even see some TNG characters drop by.
“There are a lot of recognizable characters in the galaxy at that point,” McMahan says abut the 24th century setting. “Next Gen is my favorite era. And as a huge Trek fan, I would definitely want to try to use some of them so that I could not only build out the world, but also work with some of my heroes. But I can’t get more specific than that. You’ll have to wait and see.”
Though he stops short of confirming anything, it certainly sounds like McMahan has got a few surprises up his sleeve. In many ways, it makes a lot of sense to get some TNG crossovers going in Lower Decks, as a bunch of the stars of the show have already come back to Trek in Picard season 1 – namely, Sir Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis and Brent Spiner. Stewart would obviously be the natural choice for a cameo, given his stature and his comedy voice acting chops, but we’ll have to see what awaits us.
McMahan went on to elaborate on Lower Decks’ approach to Trek lore, promising that just because it’s a comedy that doesn’t mean it won’t treat the mythology of it all with a sense of seriousness.
“Lower Decks treats mythological sci-fi things just as important as a regular Trek show, while finding new stories to tell — just from a different angle. It’s not disassembling mythological sci-fi things. It’s treating them as important for everybody on the starship as it would be in a regular Star Trek show.”
Star Trek: Lower Decks has been able to keep going through the lockdown, so isn’t being hit by a delay like its live-action counterparts. It’s yet to be given a release date, but it’s definitely coming to CBS All Access sometime later this year.