After months of speculation about Star Trek’s return to animated form, news has emerged that a show is in development from Rick and Morty‘s Mike McMahan.
Star Trek getting an animated comedy
For the first time since the 1970s, Star Trek is getting animated. This morning CBS announced they have given a two-season order for Star Trek: Lower Decks, which is being developed by Mike McMahan, who recently won an Emmy for his work on the popular animated series Rick and Morty.
Star Trek: Lower Decks will be the first animated series for CBS All Access, and will be a half-hour comedy focused on the support crew serving on one of Starfleet’s least important ships. There are no details yet on what Star Trek era the show will be set in.
Mike McMahan also wrote the upcoming Harry Mudd-centric Star Trek: Short Treks. A longtime fan, back in 2015 he published the officially licensed Warped: An Engaging Guide to the Never-Aired 8th Season, which arose from @tng_s8 his popular parody Twitter account about an imagined eighth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
“As a life-long Trekkie, it’s a surreal and wonderful dream come true to be a part of this new era of ‘Star Trek,’” said executive producer Mike McMahan. “While Star Trek: Lower Decks is a half-hour, animated show at its core, it’s undeniably ‘Trek’ – and I promise not to add an episode at the very end that reveals the whole thing took place in a training program.”
“Mike won our hearts with his first sentence: ‘I want to do a show about the people who put the yellow cartridge in the food replicator so a banana can come out the other end.’ His cat’s name is Riker. His son’s name is Sagan. The man is committed,” said executive producer Alex Kurtzman. “He’s brilliantly funny and knows every inch of every ‘Trek’ episode, and that’s his secret sauce: he writes with the pure, joyful heart of a true fan. As we broaden the world of ‘Trek’ to fans of all ages, we’re so excited to include Mike’s extraordinary voice.”
The new series will be produced by CBS Eye Animation Productions (CBS Television Studios’ new animation arm), Secret Hideout, and Roddenberry Entertainment. Secret Hideout’s Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin and Roddenberry Entertainment’s Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth and Katie Krentz will serve as executive producers alongside McMahan. Aaron Baiers, who brought McMahan to the project, will serve as a co-executive producer.
“We couldn’t have imagined a better creative team to work with on CBS All Access’ first original animated series than Mike McMahan, Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment,” said Julie McNamara, Executive Vice President, Original Content, CBS All Access. “Star Trek: Lower Decks is a fantastic complement to our growing lineup of original series and our ongoing expansion of the ‘Star Trek’ universe on CBS All Access.”
No launch date for the series has been announced.
Expanding Star Trek Television Universe
CBS is making good on its plans to expand Star Trek on television. Star Trek: Lower Decks is the third new Star Trek TV project announced this year, following the Discovery spin-off Star Trek: Short Treks which debuted earlier this month and the untitled Jean-Luc Picard series, which is currently in development and starts shooting in April 2019.
Other shows reportedly have been in development or discussion, including one set at Starfleet Academy from creators Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz, as well as a limited series focusing on Khan Noonien Singh from Star Trek II writer/director Nicholas Meyer. The status of those potential projects is currently unknown.
Star Trek: Lower Decks will be the first animated show since Star Trek: The Animated Series, which ran for two seasons in 1973 and 1974, generating 22 episodes. While that show did include serious sci-fi elements and included some writers from Star Trek: The Original Series, it was primarily targeted for a children’s audience and was broadcast with other Saturday morning cartoons. The Star Trek franchise has always included humor in its various TV series and films, however, Lower Decks will be the first Star Trek TV show specifically defined as a comedy.
At New York Comic Con earlier this month, executive producer Heather Kadin spoke to TrekMovie about how the plans for the expanded universe of Star Trek will incorporate different formats and tones, saying “it’s been a real conscious effort that every project we do have its own voice and occupy its own space. I don’t mean its own space in canon, I mean its own tonal vision. Because you shouldn’t tune in to Discovery and wonder if you flipped the channel, that it was Picard. They should feel different, they should have different messages coming from different people.”
Keep up with all the upcoming Star Trek TV projects here at TrekMovie.com.