Mike McMahan Hopes ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Season 3 Will Surprise Fans

In a new interview with Rebecca Kaplan at Geek Girl Authority, Lower Decks creator Mike McMahan talked about a number of fun topics, plus he gave a few little hints about season 3 and the status of production of the new episodes.

Season 3 “rules”

McMahan gave an update on where the team is in the production process and how they tried to make season three surprising:

We’re shipping animatics for season three right now, so you should be seeing it around the same time next year as last year… Although now that there’s been a pandemic, nothing is for certain.

I think season three just rules. I would say, don’t try to predict what you’re gonna see, because we really try and surprise you!

Season two of Lower Decks premiered in August this year, so based on his comments it seems we can expect the next season around the same time in 2022.

Mariner and Jennifer are dating, but don’t expect it to steal focus

Mariner has had a sort of love-hate relationship with Andorian Jennifer since early in season 1, but by the end of the second season, Beckett had warmed up to Jennifer and even admitted some of her behavior was because she liked her. We’ve already heard that in season three they’ll be a couple, and McMahan expanded on how their coupledom will play out on the show:

I don’t want to give away too much of season three. But what I’ll say about season three is, we start the season with Mariner dating Jennifer. They’re an item. But, the stories aren’t really about them dating— that’s not what the show’s about. So you’ll be seeing it, but don’t expect this to turn into The Jennifer and Mariner Show.

These frenemies have become more than frenemies in season 3.

T’Lyn will be back

T’Lyn was the “outrageous” Vulcan officer we got to know in the excellent episode “wej Duj.” She became an instant fan favorite, so of course the question came up about her return:

I’m so excited to write more stuff for T’Lyn. She only gets a little bit in season three, but it’s partially because we were writing season three when you were watching season two, so that episode hadn’t fully come in yet, and I wanted to make sure it was as good as I thought it would be before I started tipping the scales a little bit and seeing a lot more of T’Lyn.

T’Lyn is the Mariner of her ship.

Lots of Mexican food and working in Cetacean Ops

Rebecca Kaplan: We frequently see Mariner eating a burrito over the course of the Star Trek: Lower Decks second season. What type of burrito is it?

Mike McMahan: Oh, it’s definitely a Carnitas burrito. I think she’s a woman who would have a Carnitas burrito with pico and guacamole inside.

McMahan followed up by pointing out how much California-influenced food is in Lower Decks:

Eagle-eyed viewers might notice, but there’s a lot of California cuisine on the California Class ships. Part of that is because when I moved to California, there were a bunch of amazing foods I’d never had in Chicago. There was not a great burrito in Chicago.

There’s plenty of Mexican-American food to be found on the Cerritos.

Another fun question was about Matt and Kimolu, the two Beluga whales who staff the Cetacean Ops center on the USS Cerritos.

RK: How did Matt and Kimolu get promoted to Lt. Junior Grade?

MM: They put in a lot of star cartography time, and they pretty much are workaholics. They work hard, and they play hard. They love swim parties, but they love charting four-dimensional navigational paths through the stars. When you’re that committed to Starfleet, you just zoom up the ranks.

Also, there’s not a lot of competition in their department.

Too much pruning for other species means there’s lots of room for advancement for Matt and Kimolu.


Star Trek: Lower Decks is available on Paramount+ in the U.S. and in Latin America. It is on CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada, and streams on Crave. It is available on Amazon Prime Video for the rest of the world.

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

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What will surprise this fan would be if the show became funny. Or at least have more than one funny episode the next season.

What will surprise this fan is you letting go.

At this point you’ve made your opinons on LDS very clear. You’re not even commenting on the article content. Running to comment on an article just to proclaim how much you don’t like a thing is a form of trolling. Add to the conversation in a productive manner or move on.

Managed to watch 5 minutes of the first episode, that was more than enough for me. But if there are people who enjoy it, then good for them.

Since you’ve decided to follow suit. Same warning to you as I issued to ML31 above you, You’re not even commenting on the article content. Commenting on an article just to proclaim how much you don’t like a thing is a form of trolling. Add to the conversation in a productive manner or move on.

Here to actually comment on the interview.

I was somewhat disappointed that we’ll have wait until season four to see T’Lyn in a more regular role. It’s interesting though that this is the first time we’ve seen an all-Vulcan perspective.

Same here. T’Lyn was one of the best aspects of last season. The Lower Decks has become a fantastic series, one of Star Trek’s best, and it’s characters like her that make it more than just a comedy. So I’ll be glad to see her return. I get why they tread lightly for season three, though. If fans hadn’t reacted well to T’Lyn, season three might have bombed if she’d been in it a lot. Now that they know fans embrace the character, I’ll bet she’ll be a regular in four.

It really is a side effect of the long time it takes to produce this show (and all the new Trek shows in a way). They don’t know how audiences are going to react to the current season when they are already developing the next.
Taking that time lag into account, it’s actually kind of surprising how much the producers seem to adjust the shows based on fan feedback.

It would be cool to see LDS time travel into the original TOS animated series. Maybe we could find out what animated Chekov was up to when he was on his assignment away from the Enterprise and replaced by Arex.

Also I would like to see more of the belugas and what Cetacean Ops actually does.

Also I would like to see more of the belugas 

For that you would need to go to the north of the Caspian.

I saw what you did there, George. ;)

I still hope for a post-Nemesis Enterprise-E in season three of Lower Decks, whether under Picard’s captaincy or Worf’s.

It’s probably still a little bit early in the timeline for anybody other than Picard at this stage but I do hope we get to see Worf in command at some point.

I would be happy to get the Enterprise E or a new Enterprise F!

Eagle-eyed viewers might notice, but there’s a lot of California cuisine on the California Class ships.

Hell, we might as well have holodeck Alice Waters make a guest appearance.

I really want a burrito right now after reading this!!!

I had Mexican food for dinner, part of the reason was this article, lol

Him not being able to find a good burrito in chicago is his own fault. I live here and there are so many amazing mexican places haha

Ha. Yeah when I read that part I thought “on man I’m sure that’s going to draw ire from other Chicagoans”

Tamales for Xmas!!

LDS has improved a lot in S2. Most of the episodes depicted some genuine Trek plots. That and the fact that I’m slowly getting into the format of animated comedy. It’s still a little superficial but enjoyable at the same time but given the shorter length of the episodes, we cannot expect them to deep-dive into the psyche of the characters as on live-action shows. I’m definitely more open-minded about LDS than I used to be.

That being said, I really don’t understand why the staff is being so defensive and protective about this particular show. Your site, your rules, but shouldn’t freedom of speech be general order one on any Trek site unless people directly offend one another?

I just don’t get it. It doesn’t seem to be a problem criticizing PRO or DSC but as soon as someone speaks ill of LDS that person receives are warning about gatekeeping, spamming, being off topic, being repetitive etc…

Why protecting LDS like the Holy Grail? It’s good, it’s a fresh approach and it’s closer to 90s Trek than any other NuTrek, but why the overprotectiveness? I don’t get it!

And it’s not just here but also on YouTube. On TrekCulture, DSC and PRO receive lots of criticism for tiny little details whereas LDS regularly ended up with a 10-1 up-and-down score. I get it. It’s good, but it isn’t THAT much better than any of the other new Treks. It’s a different sort of Trek but it shouldn’t be worshipped as the Second Coming… at least not at the expense of freedom of speech…

I don’t get it either. I mean I like LDS as a comedy (and as a parody of TOS in my mind), but as it is a comedy I’m not surprised there is negative feedback.
I mean they literally confirm the TNG era is a joke. I get why I like it, I don’t get why TNG fans do honestly.
I think part of it is with Prodigy now you can get a real Star Trek final frontier adventure, I feel it just leaves LDS in the dust. Situational comedy >> funnier than parody/forced humor. Example ST II way funnier than V.
Dr McCoy: It never rains but it pours.
Kirk: As a doctor, you of all people should be aware of the dangers of reopening old wounds.
Dr McCoy: Sorry.
(Turbolift doors shut)

They are having fun with all of Star Trek, not just TNG lol. Jesus its always the same thing with you. And its not making fun OF the universe, its not a parody. Galaxy Quest is a parody of Star Trek. This is just making fun of the Star Trek tropes and having lighter characters, but the stories themselves are still very much like the Star Trek most of us love and why people have really embraced it. But if people think its too jokey, understandable. Most of us have a sense of humor though and why its not a big deal. And its very clever.

And Prodigy is only 5 episodes in. Its good now, but it can change on a dime real soon. Look how fast people turned on Discovery and Picard in their first seasons. You originally loved Discovery I think,

they literally confirm the TNG era is a joke

Huh? The writers of this show LOVE The Next Generation. Lower Decks is their love letter to it. They’re not calling it a joke. That’s a bizarre take.

Because he has an irrational hatred for TNG era. He can have that opinion but it is pretty ridiculous to think cr@p like Spock’s Brain could compare to something like Inner Light or The Best of Both Worlds.

“as soon as someone speaks ill of LDS that person receives a warning”

That is not an accurate description of the situation at all.

Garth, can’t you understand that many of us are finding it tiresome and trolling when certain regulars here find it necessary to say that they don’t like the show and on every single thread and in response to every singe sub-comment thread?

We know that some here don’t like or get the humour. But such repetition isn’t adding anything to the conversation and comes across as brigading.

I mean…yeah.

I won’t harp on it too much and I think everyone should be able to say what they want here for good or bad. But same time, when you literally just say the same thing in every article to the point you just want to remind people you think a show sucks and NOTHING beyond that then it becomes tiresome to read. It’s basically cut and paste at this point. We ALL get it and no one is getting on anyone’s case for not liking the show but this has been said in every article at this point. Literally every article about the show.

Trolling is trolling. Trolls will be banned. Thread locked

Ah, I love Lower Decks. If TrekMovie could just embed with the production and have new articles all the time, I would be a happy camper. Or many just interview Mike M every week and post about whatever fun stuff he is working on.

Lower Decks! (7 seasons and some movies!?)

Yes I been saying it for months too! Seven seasons and a movie!!!! I love this show.

Yes! Yes! Yes!!

I’m already super excited about next season. I’m happy T’Lyn will be back, one of my new favorite characters in Star Trek. And Matt and Kimolu deserve their rank! If you can make Tilly an XO and Kelvin Kirk a Captain after being in space for a whopping 6 and a half days, these guys probably more than deserve their promotions!

Even if all the other shows ends up sucking next year, I feel confident as ever LDS will be the opposite and keep the laughs and good times rolling!

And as someone born and raised in California, we do have amazing food! ;D

You do but I’m still shocked to learn that you can’t get a decent burrito in Chicago!

LOL, yeah what is up with Chicago?? I can’t judge it, I never been there to know either way.

I’ve never been either, I’d like to but maybe I’ll stick to the deep dish pizza if I do ;)

Actually when I went to Chicago the first thing I tried is their famed deep dish Pizza… and I was surprised it was actually a thing. Nothing to write home about… Sorry to the Windy City denizens… Great city otherwise!

Deep dish is a love it or hate it thing. But there’s plenty of decent Mexican and Latin food in Chicago, you just need to go to different neighborhoods (like Humboldt Park for Puerto Rican).

I’m more more of NYC style pizza guy if I’m honest but I’d have to sample an authentic Chicago deep dish pizza if I get to go there.

I’m here for whatever they want to do; they’ve earned my total trust at this point.

I am so ready for McMahan to head a live action ST series in a few years (I hope his career will mirror Dave Felonis of Star Wars fame). BUT not before he brought us some more seasons of ST LD after 3 – and probably 4. I fear, if the keep on going with another showrunner, there will be a dip in quality. We`ll see.

He can run two shows simultaneously, especially when one is animated.

His Short Trek Mudd episode showed just how good of a writer he is and gets Star Trek. It’s still my favorite Short Trek out of all of them. I too would love to see him tackle a live action show one day. Dave Feloni has basically become the Alex Kurtzman of all the Star Wars shows; that guy has been involved in every project since TCW and Mandalorian proves just how good his live action shows can be. Very excited about Book of Boba Fett too.

I think with McMahan, he sees himself as a comedy writer first but I do think he can do serious Star Trek fare and probably less melodramatic stuff like we are getting on Discovery. I would love to see more post-Nemesis shows from him, animated or live action. And I do have a feeling he’ll be given the chance to make more like Feloni got once TCW became a big success.

I would love to see more live action Short Treks from McMahan.

Or, if the powers that be would let them take advantage of the accumulation of sets in the
Greater Toronto Area studios once COVID isn’t a heavy constraint and make some one hour anthology episodes, I’d be curious to see what McMahan could do with that.

Yeah definitely! Unfortunately it seems like Short Treks are done but if they made more he should be one of the writers to make more of them. His was the most clever and also pretty funny. He and his writers on LDS really understands Star Trek and probably better than a lot of the people making the live action shows. That or just better writers IMO.

Hear, hear! The LDS creatives have shown that they know Trek up and down, and can pull off comedy, action/adventure, and drama in half the screentime the live-action shows have been granted. Give them more space and a bigger budget to show what they can really do!

Maybe McMahon SHOULD do a “serious” Trek show. For obvious reasons.

Can’t wait! I was skeptical but open to LDS and thus far I’ve loved it. Great show, very funny. Loved the finale and can’t wait to see more of T’lyn.

As long as the former frenemies have a few spicy moments together I’m happy

I used to dislike the idea of a trek comedy, but I was wrong. LD has added a new flavor to trek and kept the core of what Trek is. And it has introduced new starships, sonic shower (I don’t think I ever saw how it works on trek), canonized the Titan, cetacean ops, and made me appreciate the lower deckers. I’ve been surprised a lot since S1 so please Mike keep the scripts going. This series has potential for 7 seasons.

Warp Me!

Out of all the new shows, LDS was probably the one that had the best chance to be a total disaster. The first openly comedic Trek show AND an animated one at that could’ve really been bad. And I think a lot of people thought it was going to make Star Trek look bad in the way Family Guy make nuclear families look bad. Just a complete riff on the universe.

But it was the complete opposite. It really hones in on what makes Star Trek special for a lot of us and does it with a lot of great laughs and heart. And it just has the look and feel of the Trek universe completely right. Even if you hate everything about the show, you can’t complain about it rewriting visual canon the same way people complained about Discovery doing it. It really captures the look so well and another reason why so many like it. I’m so happy it’s canon because as you say we now have things like Titan as canon. And I think how they treated all the legacy characters like Riker and Paris have been great. It’s nice to see them all coming back and very positively. Someone else said it in this thread but it really is a love letter to Star Trek.

As for your point about the sonic shower, they have actually shown it in use once on Voyager. We saw B’Elanna use one (although much more discreetly than on LDS). And yes, it was basically done the way Lower Decks portrayed it. Again, they always go the extra light year to get the look and feel of everything correct.

The opposite for me. I LOVED the idea of a Trek comedy. I felt it was rife for it. Could have poked fun at the tropes and even fandom if done cleverly. I felt that was the Secret Hideout show that had the most potential for success. But then, we that ended up not being the show we got. And yes, I’ve told this story before but then a lot of regulars repeat the same stories in the threads and repeat the same opinions over and over again in the threads. I’ve never complained about it myself….

Why should I care about Mariner eating a burrito (referencing the interview here)? More evidence on how shallow and gimmicky this series is. Please, more Star Trek and less Wizards of Waverly Place-like, teenagerish BS.

Wizards of Waverly Place-like, teenagerish BS

…a description that bears no similarity to Lower Decks… or to Wizards of Waverly Place, I might add.

With all due respect that is on par with most of TNG playing holodeck (not including the episodes where Picard destroys the Starfleet at Wolf 359 as part of the Borg) and yes, lest one think I am not objective, Spock’s Brain in TOS (which sucked so bad, it might as well have been TNG).
In LDS’s defence, all they’ve done is made the comedy official to the point they are milking it (and end up with better TNG episodes than TNG!). Fair enough (except DS9 fans, yikes.).

You are correct. And I think I would be personally consistent here in that I never liked the holodeck-centric eps. They struck me as a gimmick for the writers to get out of the hard work of doing Star Trek stories.

This is just my opinion though. IDIC

You aren’t alone. Among me and my friends there were a handful of plots that when TNG used them we all knew the episode was going to suck. One of them was “holodeck malfunctions” trope.

What is the point of this comment? First, no one is forcing you to care about Mariner eating a burrito. It, like most of the rest of the “behind the scenes” info about the production of a tv show, is simply interesting (YMMV) information about the Easter eggs, inspirations, in-jokes, and other tidbits about the production. So, the show creators want to infuse some “California-ness” into their show because they apparently appreciate moving to/living in California. Secondly, how does this say anything about the relative depth or shallowness of the show? Every show on tv includes background bits like this in the production, some via set design or costuming, and on animated shows it is done often through unscripted elements the animators decide to add, or more purposeful elements the writers, producers, or showrunners select. It is no different than the food-related puns sprinkled throughout “The Good Place” or the background jokes about laziness of Scully and Hitchcock on “Brooklyn 99”. None of these jokes prove anything about the “shallowness” of any show.

Your comment is just more pointless trolling of the fans of Lower Decks.

What’s up with this angry response? I stated my personal opinion about something I read in the interview and I have no issue whatsoever with you disagreeing. But you make some good points about the “California-ness,” even if that doesn’t work so well for me, given it’s just the ship’s name, and the crew is from all over the Federation. From the interview, it sounds like another “McMahan gimmick,” like sometimes when the canon tie-ins are forced in — I don’t like those gimmicks, but I get that many fans do. And it’s OK that we disagree on this, right? And we shouldn’t take it so personally when people disagree with our opinions, right?

And saying I am trolling? Come on, that is out of bounds. I watch every ep of Lower Decks, and like the eps that are more “Star Trek-ish” and less “Saved by the Bell-ish” (again, my personal opinion only, and I respect differing opinions).

Some folks don’t seem to know the difference between trolling and dishing out a legitimate opinion. So some, just stating an opinion contrary to his/her own is considered “trolling”.

As far as I’m concerned, and I know that and $5 gets you a Starbucks coffee, I value all the diversity of opinions I read here. No matter I agree with them or not. That is true of other things in my life as well.

Exactly! I think part of the problem on this site is that the mods, by overdoing it on fans who have negative comments on Lower Decks, are unintentionally enabling a few fans to label legitimate negative comments as “he’s just trolling here”, knowing the that the mods are going to let that near-personal attack pass. That’s not IDIC. Rules of behavior should work both ways, and anyone labeling someone else a troll should be held accountable for it by the mods.

Just my opinion. Anyone can disagree, no worries.

I do like the show but I also hope, they manage to get a little bit more into their own this this season. They rely way to heavily on references, often as a replacement for jokes and it really pulls the show down. They should rely on their own characters and stories a little more and not be afraid, to tell something new. The two finales were great, but both seasons had apretty weak start with a slow buildup to the best episode at the end. A little more consitancy would be nice here.

But then again … looking at the other Trek Shows on P+, this level of critizism is pretty much praise. Even the worst Lower Decks episode desintegrates the “best” episodes of ST: D, P and the other P (though I gave up on that after Ep. 3)

“They rely way to heavily on references, often as a replacement for jokes and it really pulls the show down.”

Exactly — that’s the primary issue that is keeping this show from really nailing it (my personal opinion). The force-fitting of some of the canon references, and the frequent focus on inconsequential minutiae (again, my personal opinion), just highlight how the show is rather shallow at times.

They rely way to heavily on references, often as a replacement for jokes and it really pulls the show down.”

This is a take I cannot agree with more. Something else that has evolved over the two seasons… Both Mariner and her mom have really degenerated into terrible people. I don’t expect much depth from animation whose intent is to be a comedy. But when it’s not, that sort of thing sorta stands out more.

Yeah, I mean, if one ask’s himself/herself, “are Mariner and her mom people you’d like to be stuck in a snowed in resort with for a 3-day weekend?” well, my answer to that question would be, “Scotty, beam me the hell out of here”…lol

I love this show. Its the best Trek series in 20 years. That is all.

+1

What does this post have to do with the article?

I am very concerned that if fans express concerns or a dislike of something, they get accused of trolling and shut down.

I recant for the sin of independent thought, I love this show. Truly. It’s just what Gene Roddenberry would have wanted, it’s what all loyal fans wanted without question. I hope season three will bring more “Yo!” and “whassup!” and other cerebral insights into the human condition.

The moderation and comment guidelines say:

Do do these things:

  • Post comments about the article itself
  • Express opinions on Star Trek
  • Say nice things
  1. People ARE commenting on the article, ie. the Lower Decks show.
  2. People ARE expressing opinions, whether the admins like those or not.
  3. People ARE being nice, nobody is attacking anyone or breaking Will Wheaton’s law.

But I do think I will stop expressing my opinion here, because opinion is not welcome – only consensus.

I have said MANY negative things about various different shows and movies here, I have never been censored over anything, ever, I said here in the ten years I been here and definitely the last 5 years since I became a more active poster. And read the entire thread, many people here are STILL saying negative things about the show. No one has censored them either. Right?

What you’re missing is one poster who basically says the exact same thing in every thread about the show. As Matt said, he didn’t even comment on the actual article, he just said he didn’t think the show is funny. Again, nothing inherently wrong with what he said, it’s the point he repeats this everywhere to the point of ad naseum. It’s always the same point over and over again. No one cares he doesn’t think it’s funny. It doesn’t need to be stated in every article either. If he was being censored, he would’ve been every time he said this, right? People are simply tired of reading it and it add absolutely nothing to the conversation.

And for the record, I have exchanged discussions with this poster many times AND has even defended him a few times when other people have gotten on his case because they claim he is too negative on these shows. So I believe he has the right to say what he wants here and defended him personally in the past for it. But even for me, it gets tedious when he just post the exact same thing just to tell people for the 100th time he thinks a show sucks and nothing more. We all got it.

OK, I see now I missed the post where you posted something and it was automatically locked. You were commenting on that and not ML31. Alright, that’s a bit different. I understand why you feel this way and didn’t have an issue with anything you said in that post either. I think it just came down to timing where the first two posts just wanted to give their feelings about the show itself but not discuss the actual article which was the main issue. If you made that point later, I don’t think it would’ve been blocked but only my opinion. So apologies for coming down on you for something else lol.

But people are negative about every show here, they are not censored for that. If that was true, then they wouldn’t even bother having a message board since people seem to be more negative than positive about most of the new shows. ;)

What does this post have to do with the article or the show?

You know, it would be lovely if this site had an ignore poster feature. You should look into it.

Yes!!! This is the ONE thing I wish this site had and an ignore button. Most of us just want to discuss these shows and movies with rational and sane people no matter how much we agree or disagree. I get tired of dealing with trolls and even worse, BANNED trolls who switched out their names and email addresses to come back here and still want to troll or talk to you when you made it clear you don’t want to talk to them. There are less of them these days but a few of them are still here unfortunately.

Yep. I get very weary of the trolls/banned trolls too. It zaps my energy at times.

+1 again!

I’ve been wanting an “ignore” button for quite some time. It got to the point where I just started to ignore the obvious agitators. There is still one who posts here from time to time where I see the name and just move past the post.

I personally do not endorse banning anyone. Even the agitators, however. But I don’t run the zoo so there you go.

This is off topic. If you have a request for the site staff that’s what the Feedback page is for.

I can’t get into this show. Not for me. Nevertheless, I wish it all the success!