Star Trek: Lower Decks just passed the halfway point of season two, with episode seven arriving on Thursday. On Star Trek Day, TrekMovie had an exclusive (but brief) chat with McMahan about what to expect between now and the season finale next month. The executive producer and showrunner also talked about testing the limits on Lower Decks, including a controversial episode from earlier in the season.
Can you give the highlights for the second half of season two?
You don’t know what you have coming. We’ve got our biggest episodes. We’ve got our Star Trek-iest episodes. We’ve got a little romance coming your way. It’s just awesome. If you liked the first half of the season, you’re going to lose your mind for the second half.
The fourth episode [“Mugato, Gumato”] had a little controversy about some racy content. Do you see a limit on what you can do on Lower Decks that say you couldn’t do on Solar Opposites or Rick and Morty?
Oh my god, watch five minutes of Solar Opposites, and you’ll see there are limits in Lower Decks. You know, I’ve never seen Star Trek as celebrating puritanism. I think that Star Trek has always embraced sexuality, humanism, and all sorts of great stuff. When you’re making shows like this, you’re trying to find those limits. Even in TNG, you’ve got people tugging on Ferengi ears. There’s always been that kind of stuff.
I think the moment that everybody has been all whipped up about has a Mugato yanking on its horn, which, comedically, is funny. It was one of those moments where the artists kind of pushed for it and they made me laugh. And at the end of the day, we’re trying to make a show that’s Star Trek, but also makes you laugh. And I’ve got to be honest, for people that are pearl-clutching and freaking out because we had a suggestive moment in an adult animated show, it’s just falling on deaf ears. It still felt like Star Trek to me. And if you’re putting your six-year-old in front of Lower Decks, like, there’s been other stuff. There’s been other violence, there’s been other complex stories that you’re trusting them with. I think a Mugato yanking on its horn is not the most adult thing we’ve done.
[Jerry’ O’Connell steps in to interject] You know what, I got to applaud my boss here. I just wanted to applaud him and how he worded that.
[McMahan continues] I think none of us make TV looking to make something that people expect. We look to make something that people are surprised by. I think sometimes you’re not going to like stuff. Sometimes you’re going to love stuff. There’s a lot of different people watching these shows, and we’re just doing our best to bring something into the world that makes us all really happy.
[Eugene Cordero interjects] Mugato, Gumato, whatever it is, I thought it was hilarious.
Lower Decks has had some great guest stars, like Richard Kind as the Dooplers. Do you just do regular casting, or are you making these roles to suit the actors you already have lined up?
No, the Dooplers were created, and then we were all like, ‘You know who would be perfect for this is Richard Kind.’ And then Richard voiced the role and had so much fun with it that then we changed a lot of the lines to the funnier stuff he said sometimes. So it’s kind of both.
ICYMI – Midseason trailer
More to come
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