‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Comic-Con Panel Promises More Fun, Cameos, And A Surprising New Character

In addition to releasing a new trailer for the second season of StarTrek: Lower Decks, Paramount+ also brought the cast and executive producer to Comic-Con@Home for a fun panel. We have all the news and reveals.

After the Star Trek: Prodigy team was done, Lower Decks star Jerry O’Connell (Ransom) continued his moderating duties. He was joined by Lower Decks creator Mike McMahan along with voice cast members Tawny Newsome (Mariner), Jack Quaid (Boimler), and Eugene Cordero (Rutherford).

Bigger and funnier

Mike McMahan gave a status update on the second season (which arrives on August 12), and explained how it is different from the first:

Season two is funnier, bigger, but the same length… It’s a blast. We’re putting the final audio polishes, final special effects polishes, fixing the animation… It’s just a blast. We kind of crescendoed at the end of season one in a really cool way and we left a lot of bills to pay with characters and what was going on in the world. And we just keep at it. There is a great mix of serious Trek and silly Trek…

You’ll see some familiar faces. You’ll see a lot of new stuff. The Cerritos goes through some real rigamarole. I am so excited for August. We have been living with this for so long and I just can’t wait to share it with everyone. If you love Star Trek, you are going to have ten new Star Trek episodes that you don’t see coming, no matter how hard you extrapolate what we did, and I think you are going to love it.

A surprising new security officer

After Shaxs sacrificed himself in the season one finale, the USS Cerritos was left without a security officer. In a TrekMovie interview earlier this year, Mike McMahan revealed the new security officer was “a species we’ve seen before, but not one who we’ve seen in Starfleet before.” With the trailer and images released today, we learned that character is a Tamarian named Kayshon, voiced by Carl Tart. He presumably will be introduced in the season two episode “Kayshon, His Eyes Open.”

Also known as The Children of Tama, Tamarians first appeared in the classic Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Darmok” which showed the difficult first contact with this race that communicates through metaphors. During Friday’s panel, Mike talked about the introduction of the character:

The challenge of having a Tamarian security officer where he kind of can speak English but mostly is speaking in memes and metaphor is truly fun to write…

Carl Tart as Lieutenant Kayshon in “Kayshon, His Eyes Open”

More Pakleds… and more Titan

The season one finale also featured a confrontation with the Pakleds, an underestimated species from The Next Generation that had come back in a big and dangerous way. McMahan revealed the Pakleds—seen in the trailer—are now an important part of the series:

Season two… the Pakleds we sort of treated them like the Klingons were in TOS and the Romulans were in TNG. Kind of a “Big Bad,” a force that is out there and needs to be dealt with. But remember, the Cerritos isn’t necessarily in charge of the big missions. Every once in a while – because they did encounter the Pakleds first – they do get involved with some. But you will see the Titan having to deal with more Pakled stuff. Because the Titan is a little bit more equipped and Riker kicks a little bit more butt.

Paris, evil Combs, and more cameos to come

Lower Decks is already known for fun cameos from Star Trek vets and season two will continue that tradition. Mike pointed out a couple you may have spotted in the new trailer, but also promised more:

Did you hear Jeffery Combs as the evil computer? We got evil Combs! Robert Duncan McNeill showing up. We got Tom Paris in this year. We got some other folks that didn’t slip in there [to the trailer].

It’s all about those character moments

While Lower Decks is full of nods and cameos that get all the attention, Mike McMahan used a musical metaphor to reveal what he sees as the heart of the show:

Yeah, everybody loves when the Titan shows up, it’s an amazing moment. But the stuff I really like is in the bar afterward, where Mariner just hanging out with Riker and Troi. And Ransom is asking Troi if she has any girlfriends he can meet. It’s that down beat stuff. It’s that down beat stuff where our show really lives.

Troi and Ransom in the season one finale

Things with Captain Mom get complicated

Tawny Newsome talked about how a new dynamic between her character of Beckett Mariner and Mariner’s mother (and USS Cerritos captain) Carol Freeman first introduced in the season one finale continues to evolve in season two:

Yeah mom/captain, that is a tough one. They do end up working together and in season two you are going to see some more of them attempting to work together. It is strange because Mariner defines herself through rebellion. So, when that rebellion is taken away, how do you function?… How do you do that when your mom is the captain and you are on the ship and you start working together? It’s going to get sticky. But yes, they will try to work together but it’s weird and difficult for both of them.

New Starfleet outfits

Newsome also teased that there is at least one new Starfleet uniform in store in season two:

You may see glimpses of slightly different uniforms. It’s so cool to me to see in animated form to see different Starfleet [outfits]. When we did some ADR the other day I was like, “That’s what we look like!” It’s very cool.

A message from Noel

The fourth “Lower Decker,” Noël Wells (Tendi), was not able to make it to the group panel, but she did beam in a video message, saying:

I am so excited for season two. The show keeps getting better. The cast is incredible. The characters – you are going to fall more in love with them, and because of all that we are going to have more chances to see each other in the future.

Noel Wells sent a video message to the panel

Watch the full panel

More coverage and analysis from Comic-Con@Home

There is more to come including our analysis of the two trailers.

You can follow all the coverage via TrekMovie’s SDCC sub-category.


Keep up with all the news and reviews from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at TrekMovie.com.

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That Tamarian surprise is FANTASTIC!

Agreed. An idea out of left field and really interesting.

Yes!

Goody, NEW Starfleet uniforms?? Can’t wait to see them. Another reason why going forward again is great, you can add new uniforms and no one blinks. This show looks like its going to be crazy fun next season!!

I want very much for that Cerritos model to be a reality

Hope in few years, we have their movie, in the spirit of Galaxy Quest. :P

This series is divisive. The fact that it deconstructs and makes fun of almost every Star Trek trope from WITHIN the franchise is bewildering. There is nothing wrong with spoofs and comedic “love letters” as long as they do what they do from OUTSIDE a franchise but the moment when self referatiality, breaking the fourth wall etc happens within a franchise, its narrative fabric is damaged. This is why I can’t stand Deadpool for example…

One may say that Trekkies like me shouldn’t take Star Trek too seriously in order to enjoy LDS. But that’s the problem: Star Trek maybe one of the few things left to be taken seriously at all.

LDS comes with an extreme layer of adult animated comedy tropes and those stylistic aspects CAN BE reverse-engineered in order to accept that show as canon. Use Riker and Troi as a reference point and you can compensate for most stylistic specialties of that show and particular subgenre. But that only works for the excessively frantic, frenetic style, the high-pitched voice work and maybe most of the overdone self-referentiality.

However, that concept of mentally reimagining this show as a “real” Star Trek show only works for its style, not its substance… The general behavior of the characters, their borderline immoral decisions, motivations and actions, the actual plots that countermand pivotal core Star Trek values, the way classic Trek elements are handled and continued in this show… none of this can be reduced to mere stylistic choices. Those are substantial shortcomings that I cannot compensate for by goodwill.

To me, Star Trek as a whole is a sacred, holy entity… even God has been reduced to a minor character in TFF, so much more important Trek is to me. Yes, Trek has always contradicted itself when it comes to directives and values let alone bare canonicity. But it has never DELIBERATELY abandoned those values for the sake of mere jokes.

It’s not the fact that there are silly jokes (as was the case in TVH, TFF, GEN, INS etc), it’s not the fact that there are controversial plot elements, overboarding violence even among crew members, self-referential metajokes etc… It’s the dosage that matters. And LDS ODs on those elements time and again… If Trek used to be a morality play, then LDS is an immorality play as it cynically reverses the Trek formula…

It doesn’t just challenge values against the backdrop of war, alien cultures or historical allegories etc as it was the case on TOS, DS9 or S3 of ENT, it turns those challenges into flat jokes, making fun of an entire belief system along the way. It’s having a good time stamping on those values, ridiculing the formula and the franchise. It’s not testing boundaries, it’s pushing them ..

If LDS is a love letter to Star Trek then this love relationship must be a BDSM one. It turns love into pain, fun into disrespectfulness, spitting in the faces of those who chose Star Trek as a moral, spiritual, semi-religious guiding system.

But then, something like this must be accepted as part of an all-inclusice IDIC approach, I take it.

Seems we both share a conclusion but our reasons for getting there are quite different. For me it’s none of what you are saying. In fact, I think a comedic Trek show has fantastic potential. It can poke fun at Trek without MAKING fun of Trek. And that’s the real trick. The real problem here is the show comes across as being super afraid to make real jokes. Jokes that MIGHT come off as insulting to Trek or its fans. Which is ridiculous from my perspective. The first season of The Orville showed that they can do good jokes that work without making fun of the genre. Perfect example is the Captain asking the guy on the viewscreen to step to his right because he was off center. That’s a really good gag and the sort of thing that could have been used in LDX. But they choose to do unfunny mundane things instead. They think that Mariner bouncing franticly off the walls is funny. It’s not. It’s just silly. They think that Boimler being dumber than Homer Simpson is funny. It’s not. It’s just sad.

I get that not all jokes work. Rick & Morty can be amazingly funny but not every gag on that show works either. But they have enough that do to make the show good.

Lower Decks still has amazing potential. But it needs people who are not afraid to piss off fans at the helm. Fearless comedy writers who will write what is funny. Without the handcuffs.

It won’t be hard at all to clear the first bar Mike set. He said season 2 is “funnier”. God I really hope so. That was the real problem with season one. The lack of laughs. Since I wasn’t distracted with laughs I realized how weak and bad the characters are. So if you could please… Throw in the laughs. The show will be much better with them.