Interview: ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ Producer Aaron Waltke Talks Timelines, Janeways, Combadges And Much More

Today Star Trek: Prodigy wrapped up its first ten-episode arc with the mid-season finale “A Moral Star, Part 2,” which paid off some mysteries while adding a few more. As we did after the show came back from hiatus, TrekMovie had a detailed (and one might say nerdy) discussion via email with co-executive producer Aaron J. Waltke to help sort it all out. The Emmy-winning writer goes deep on Star Trek lore and also gives us a glimpse into what is to come when the series returns later in 2022, and beyond.



Many elements of “A Moral Star” built on elements from season one. How much of the mid-season finale did the writers’ room have set up before scripting the previous eight episodes?

From the beginning, we’ve structured each season using a method we devised on Tales of Arcadia with Guillermo del Toro, which in some ways broke new ground in serialized long-form animated storytelling. Because that series had 52 episodes ordered sight unseen, we were able to be very meticulous with plot and character arcs, finding their endings and midpoints very early on and planning the episodes accordingly. It’s been a very similar process for Star Trek: Prodigy, given that we now have 40 episodes to play with.

For the midseason finale, we’d always planned to return to Tars Lamora. We knew that many truths with the Diviner would be revealed including the disastrous first contact with the Vau N’Akat, that the miners (and the Caitian child!) would be saved, and our crew would don the uniforms and would try their best to be Starfleet when no one else could be… but in their own clever “out-of-the-box” way, and that they would bring language to the miners as the very thing that set them free. We also knew we’d be setting up the back half of season one, including that big reveal in our end tag with a certain Vice Admiral on the hunt for Chakotay. So we were planning quite a bit of it from the start, and continued to build towards that throughout the season.

Aaron J. Waltke

We learned a lot in episode ten, but just to be clear in case we missed anything, is sorting out the Diviner’s timeline and how he interacted with Chakotay supposed to still be a mystery?

The short answer is yes—you aren’t meant to know the whole story yet. There are some key pieces of information we have revealed, but also some we haven’t—and quite frankly it would’ve been too much to drop all of the exposition for the entire season in one episode, and wouldn’t have been nearly as impactful or satisfying as watching our heroes gradually discovering it themselves along with our audience.  Of course, that doesn’t mean the brilliant Star Trek fandom won’t eventually deduce what exactly happened to Chakotay and the Protostar—but I would be genuinely impressed if they did, since we’re only halfway through our first season.

The analogy I like to think of is Deep Space Nine. There are mysteries planted in the first season critical to character growth and plotOdo’s origins and Sisko’s full role as Emissary to the Prophets, for instancethat aren’t fully revealed until many episodes or even seasons down the line, and then those stories are expanded and explored in even later seasons that drive the rest of the series. Personally, I love DS9, and would love to recapture even a spark of that magic.

Our first week in the writers’ room, we spent a considerable amount of time developing the Diviner’s backstory with the Vau N’Akat, how the Protostar arrived where it did, the source of his hatred for the Federation and the role the Protostar played in that. As such, we wanted to parcel out that information in a way that was organic, rather than just overloading the viewer with all our lore at once and having nowhere to go afterwards.

We also wanted to be very cognizant that this is the story of our young crew first and foremostthe appearance of any legacy character has to become both meaningful for them and for our new and young audiences at home, rather than classic characters showing up and taking over the story completely. Luckily, we have two 20-episode seasons to plan out our story and explore, a luxury that few if any other Star Trek show has ever had.

Are you allowed to clarify a few things, like for example was it Chakotay and the USS Protostar that made first contact with Solum, and thusly why The Diviner is particularly obsessed with that ship?

We will definitely be answering some of those questions this season, so I won’t spoil anything coming. However, there are a few things we’ve revealed so far in this season that offer clues. Here’s what we know so far from the first ten episodes:

Chakotay was the captain of the Protostar, and they were sent to explore the Delta Quadrant with a hologram of Janeway. They flew through an anomaly. They were then was boarded by Drednok and The Diviner, who are from approximately fifty years in the future. They acquired the Protostar and made modifications to it with their own Solum coding, even going so far as to classify Holo-Janeway’s memories. The Diviner traveled back in time with a plan to use the Protostar, fly it to Starfleet “where it will be welcomed with open arms,” and then utilize a weapon that’s hidden aboard the ship to disrupt the Federation before they can make first contact with Solum so they “tear themselves apart.” However, this plan went awrythe Protostar was lost in the past, and The Diviner spent over seventeen years searching for it, until it was found on Tars Lamora. Now, The Diviner is growing desperate, and he feels they are running out of time.

Given all of that, I think it is safe to conclude that the Federation’s exploration efforts in the Delta Quadrant are nearing Solum and will attempt to make first contact soon, but the Protostar came to them later. The Protostar is viewed by The Diviner as the Vau N’Akat’s “salvation”part of a plan to use the ship to prevent the Federation from ever reaching Solum, thus sparing his civilization from the promises of other worlds that tore them apart. Ideas can be viewed as dangerous things to a society that may or may not be ready for them. Hence, why he was reticent to go back to Solum before his mission was finished.

The introduction of the Starfleet uniforms in episode nine was a big deal, can you clarify what they are, and are they unique to the Protostar?  And also why they weren’t wearing them at the end of episode ten?

They were provisional uniforms, similar to what we’ve seen some young crew or cadets wear in TNG and Lower Decks. That’s why they don’t have the division colorsthey aren’t in Starfleet yet, and haven’t chosen their divisions. The uniforms Chakotay and (eventually) Holo-Janeway wear are specialized Protostar uniforms, as the Protostar is an experimental “test bed” ship, a specialized division in Starfleet. You can see they have command red stripes running down their shoulders and around their wrists. We’ve seen similar specialized “test pilot” uniforms in Voyager and elsewhere. As for why they weren’t wearing them at the end of the episode, I suppose you can consider their old clothes their “casual duty” attire, similar to Kirk’s green tunic or Picard’s cool jacket. They’ll still put on the “cadet” uniforms when appropriate. (We also have to give the cosplayers something to grasp onto!)

The Prodigy crew in episode 109

Speaking of timelines, Holo Janeway’s log established this episode takes place in early 2384, which puts the show pretty close to all of the flashback scenes to 2385 in Picard season one. With more elements of Starfleet being introduced on Prodigy, how are you coordinating to make sure the two shows mesh in tandem with Lower Decks that came before it?

The Prodigy team is definitely talking with the other series, especially Lower Decks and Picard, to ensure things align and we’re all telling a cohesive storyas we also carve out our own identities within that universe. Thankfully, Star Trek has already provided a lot of precedent for how different shows in the same era can do just that.

For instance, different uniforms and combadges have always co-existed in Starfleet – although it’s a common misconception to remember otherwise. In The Original Series, we saw different uniforms and insignias for different stations and ranks. In Discovery, there were specialized uniforms and variant combadges for Section 31. In The Next Generation, there were variant uniforms for different tasks, purposes, and divisions; on the Enterprise-D, they had black-rimmed combadges, white and gold combadges, and all-silver provisional badges that were worn side by side. Deep Space Nine took this a step further in its pilot “Emissary”, with new recruits like Jadzia Dax stepping onto DS9 wearing TNG uniforms, then changing into their DS9 duds when they begin serving on the space station; Sisko even encounters the old TNG uniform again when visiting Starfleet Command in the Season 4 episode “Homefront.” We see those TNG uniforms still in use alongside the grey First Contact uniforms as late as DS9 Season 6, “Tears of the Prophets.” Not to mention the different outfits occupying the same bridge in Star Trek Generations. Elsewhere, Voyager retained their original uniforms and didn’t replicate new oneseven after seeing everyone wearing grey First Contact-style outfits in the Alpha Quadrant.

In the year 2374, we have at least three “standard duty” uniforms from different shows being used at the same time in different parts of the galaxyalong with all kinds of specialized variations including “test pilot” suits, casual duty attire, Bajoran variant combadges used with standard Starfleet designs, etc. and Starfleet was fine with all of it. It was only during a few periodsmost notably the TOS movies and the Dominion Warwhen much of this variation was scaled back and simplified. Before and after that, however, Starfleet uniforms were bursting with unique styles.

As for the 2380s, we are in a bold new era for Starfleet. In the relative peace that followed the events of Nemesis, the Federation has once again relaxed its policy about uniforms and combadges. We’ve already seen this in Lower Deckson various away missions, visits from Tom Paris, and the USS Titan, the Cerritos has its own distinct look and combadge alongside the older 2370s model, which remains in continued use among sections of Starfleet at least until 2386, but that doesn’t preclude new prototypes. In Prodigy’s time of 2384, Starfleet is undergoing a transitional phasea time of optimism, outward expansion, and exploration, venturing faster and further than they’ve gone before. They’re testing new technology, seeking new horizons. This aligns with the backstory seen in Picard; the Federation was spreading far and wide, and their resources were thinhence the need for the A500s and why that loss of manpower was so devastating, even after Picard came up with an alternative plan for the evacuation.

In Picard, we only see a few brief minutes of flashback in 2385 interiors on Utopia Planitia, a courtyard on Earth, and planetside on Vashti. When Star Trek: Prodigy catches up to mid-2385, rest assured, we will begin to see the Picard uniform from “The End is the Beginning” start to appear in our show alongside other variant uniforms. In 2384, the Picard-style uniform absolutely exists, used by Admiral Picard and Starfleet divisions assigned to the Beta Quadrant where he and Raffi are involved in the Romulan evacuation negotiation efforts. Over time, we’ll see it roll out more widely elsewhere in Starfleet.

The Federation is a very big place, and in Prodigy we’re just beginning to catch glimpses of what the rest of Starfleet is doing during the mid-2380s. We’ve already seen a few examples: namely, experimenting with new tech and trying out new combadges and uniforms aboard The Protostar and with Vice Admiral Janeway’s crew.

Admiral Janeway and Dauntless crew in episode 110

Seeing Admiral Janeway at the end was a big surprise, but perhaps an even bigger surprise was her ship, which appeared to be a close match for the fake USS Dauntless from Voyager’s “Hope and Fear.” Can you tell us anything about this ship? And just to be sure, the Andorian and Tellarite seen on the bridge were Commander Tysess (Daveed Diggs) and Doctor Noum (Jason Alexander)?

That’s correct – that was Commander Tysess and Dr. Noum, who were announced last year!

As for the ship Janeway was captaining (or admiraling?), that was indeed a Starfleet recreation of the fake (but fully functional) USS Dauntless. You’ll notice it is not the original Dauntless, as the exterior hull has more of a tritanium finish, the nacelles are a tad different, and the registry suggests it was made after Voyager’s return. If you recall, the crew of Voyager had ample time to study the alien ship version of the Dauntless that was created by Arturisthey took detailed scans of its entire ship schematics. So detailed, in fact, that Voyager was able to later construct a (mostly) functioning quantum slipstream drive from their logs using the limited resources they had in the Delta Quadrantshaving 10,000 lightyears off their journey.

It’s now been several years since Voyager returned to Earth from the Delta Quadrant, loaded stem to stern with data they’ve collected on game-changing faster-than-light technology — quantum slipstream, Borg transwarp, coaxial warp drive, the list goes on. Starfleet has had years to study it and begin to perfect and implement these designs. This new Dauntless is among the fruits of that labor. It only makes sense that if Janeway were to mount a rescue mission back into the Delta Quadrant, she’d take something fast. This Dauntless is also equipped with standard warp technology, as Janeway mentions in the closing scene. We know from Voyager and Discovery Season 3 that quantum slipstream isn’t easily scalable to be used fleet-wide due to the rarity of benamitesynthesizing it takes yearsbut the tech still exists in the 31st century, even after the Burn. For a single ship, though, having a version of limited slipstream as an option doesn’t hurt.

As for Janeway’s combadgeas many Trek fans know, there was a standard “future” uniform shown in TNG, DS9, and Voyager being used by Starfleet by at least 2390 through 2400s whenever they flashed forward to a possible future. The last time the combadge was seen, it was on an older future version of Janeway from 2404, who time traveled back into our “present” prime timeline 2378 in the Voyager series finale, “Endgame.” However, the combadge isn’t seen anywhere in Picard in 2399instead, they have a combadge that looks suspiciously similar to it, like it evolved from the former. Clearly, the timeline changed when Voyager returned to Earth 14 years early with all of that FTL tech… not to mention the anachronistic “future tech” left behind from 2404 in 2378 that included a certain “advanced” future combadge. That wasn’t forgotten aboutand it seems Starfleet’s development was sped up somewhat as a result, and took some inspiration from it.

Will this ship be playing a big part in the second half of season one?

As has been hinted elsewhere in Trek lore, the original Voyager was taken apart and studied upon its return to earth and it’s destined to be turned into a floating museum. In the meantime, Admiral Janeway has a new fast little ship to command.

The USS Dauntless in episode 110

The first ten episodes revealed a good amount of Gwyn’s family backstory and even some for Dal. Will you be exploring the same for the other kids in season one, or beyond?

Without giving any spoilers, we will be delving a little more into the rest of the crew’s backgrounds. As we’ve seen already with Dal, Zero and others, the Unwanted weren’t born on Tars Lamora, but brought there by bounties issued from The Diviner. Sometimes when forging a found family, you can’t help but look to the past.

Will we be getting more clues as the series progresses on why there are Alpha Quadrant species trickling into in the Delta Quadrant?

As I suggested in our previous interview, Tars Lamora is in the Delta Quadrant near the Beta Quadrant border. That answers much of it. But believe it or not, the biggest clues exist in other shows!

Voyager has at least a dozen episodes featuring Alpha Quadrant species that have arrived in the Delta Quadrant. Aside from wormholes, sleeper ships and Caretakers, we also have the many breakthroughs in FTL tech that Voyager shared with the Federation and the Alpha Quadrant upon returning to Earthespecially regarding Borg transwarp, which seem to be more accessible for outsiders after the neurolytic pathogen incapacitated the Borg Unicomplex in “Endgame”. This is reflected in Picard, when La Sirena uses a transwarp as a shortcut in “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1”and by the time of Discovery S3, transwarp is regularly used by civilian couriers like Booker as a shortcut across the quadrants. It seems there has been something of a “space race” into the Delta Quadrant after Janeway and her crew came back.

Specifically in Tars Lamora, it’s safe to say that the Diviner had a bounty and predilection for using Alpha Quadrant species in his mining effortsgiven his vendetta against the Federation, it’s not hard to understand why. That single Kazon we saw doing some bounty hunting in the pilot obviously strayed far from his origins—vbut it’s established canon in Voyager that Borg transwarp conduits extend from Kazon territory down into the Beta and Alpha Quadrants, among the many other possibilities like graviton catapults and Vaadwaur underspace.

Was leaving the Caitian Kitty with a badge a hint we haven’t seen the last of her and the Rev-12? And does the kitty have a name?

The Caitian child was a room favorite. She now has her own ship and crew!  As for future adventures, you’ll have to wait and see.

The Caitian child in episode 110

In addition to nods to Star Trek like “Year of Hell,” Episode 10 has some moments that evoke other franchises, like crazy Diviner and Gollum from Lord of the Rings, or the window shot of Gwyn, Dal and Zero and the end of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Drednok’s fading eye and The Terminator. Are these touches born in the writers’ room, or more with Ben Hibon and other directors and artists?

It’s a combined effort of sorts, between the writers and the artists. First and foremost, we try to stay true to Star Trek. But when you are telling any story, inevitably other touchstones of science fiction and fantasy and classic tales will trickle into your brain and provide a little bit of inspiration. There are a number of other Trek series that do the same thingVoyager’s Hirogen were a nod to Predator, Rura Penthe was taken directly from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Harry Mudd’s Annabelle androids were named after the lead Bond lady from Dr. No. Quite frankly, it can be fun to drop homages here or there if it enhances the story you’re telling without distracting from it. We did the same thing in Tales of Arcadia, and audiences seemed to enjoy seeing those little references as much as we did.

Paramount+ recently announced that the second half of season one will debut later in 2022. With the show already taking a hiatus, is it possible we could get all remaining ten episodes in 2022?

I don’t know if we have an official release date yet, but we are definitely getting more episodes later this year. Stay tuned for more updates!

Zero, Gwyn and Dal in episode 110

New episodes of Prodigy premiere on Thursdays on Paramount+ in the U.S. and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada, where it’s also available to stream on Crave. It is available on  Paramount+ in Latin American, the Nordic Countries, and Australia. Amazon Prime Video internationally on Fridays. It will debut in 2022 in parts of Europe with the launch of the Paramouint+ Sky partnership.

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

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I thought there was a clear homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark near the climax.

Yup. I thought so, too. Except Gwyn wasn’t quite as lucky as Marion.

For people who just look at this show as something mostly just for kids or pre-teens needs to read this interview…twice!

Reading that just made me really appreciate the tremendous amount of effort, research and obvious passion they have for this franchise and don’t take for granted the tremendous scale of it either. And these are people who has never worked on Star Trek until they got this show. On all the other shows from Discovery to Lower Decks, you had some people involved in the previous shows and films before. AFAIK everyone working on Prodigy is their first big foray into Star Trek minus David Mack who is a consultant and yet the show feels like it’s being ran by people working on it for years.

Not to get too off topic, but when they were flirting with Tarantino to make a Star Trek movie and you can see the way he disregarded things just really #@$% me off. And then to have other Trek fans say things like, ‘he just doesn’t care about canon and want to do his own thing, who cares?’ I care…very much! Along with millions of others. If you’re not interested in playing in the sandbox without destroying the toys already there, then take your toys somewhere else; they don’t belong there.

And before people start shouting at me, yes, he could’ve made a Star Trek movie. What bothered people was when he basically wanted to collide the Kelvin and Prime universe together because he was too lazy or apathetic to grasp the fundamentals of the universe as a whole he wanted to put his story in. Now, if he created his own universe, ok, great. Have at it! Do whatever. But the prime universe is 50+ years old. Do your homework or stay away from it.

But it’s people like THIS you want to keep in it who respects and takes the time to understand it as much as they could before drawing up a single script. It’s paying off in numerous ways for them and us fans.

A show also aimed at 8 year olds no less. But as they get older and eventually start to watch Voyager, DS9, TOS, thanks to this show, THEN they will appreciate this show so much more because of just how well it connects to everything, especially the other 24th century shows. And why so many of us older fans already appreciate it now.

This was the nerdiest interview I have ever heard a Trek producer give. He really cares about uniforms and badges… who can follow all that? But he does, and that’s amazing.

This time, I cried. I was sad that the Federation destroyed this guy’s planet, makes sense, that’s any Empire. When Gwen got it in the eye, I was like, No Way. I’m 53 years old!

So is this the first Star Trek where we cheer when someone/someCylon is beheaded? When evil Dad is bleeding on the bridge – everywhere? I’m sure every adult is wondering: is this a show for kids? Plus all the timey-wimey continuity? Can kids follow that? Maybe in the long run?

But for me, this show is clearly, and amazingly for all of us hardcore Trek fans. And… it’s emotional! And it’s a slave-workers’ rebellion!

Trek in a Cafe, I had the same thought: Geekiest producer interview ever.

Whatever they did or didn’t know before they mapped this out, it’s clear they did their research (or got help from those who knew and could point them to the sources) BEFORE they let themselves get so invested in ideas that wouldn’t fit.

So, now they know what they’ve done and why and how it all fits together.

Could the live action EPs and those who release the money to get the preproduction work done please take the lesson as Sarek would say?

I’m hoping Matalas may be of a similar mindset. After all, he brought the Okudas back, right?

Not necessarily. Bringing back a graphic designer from the past will not make the characters compelling or the story intriguing.

but it will improve how each episode looks and maybe even in small ways continue the established visual continuity, which we know the Okudas care about.

I never thought the problem with Picard was the “look” of it. That was Star Trek Discovery’s problem. So they are fixing a problem that didn’t exist.

I don’t think the look was the problem either, but if someone cares about those types of details I think there’s a fair chance they get Trek stories too. It’s like Van Halen and the brown M&Ms. Those who are faithful in what is least may be faithful in much. Not a guarantee for sure, but gives me some optimism.

Doug Drexler has said the first episode of Season 2 brought him to tears in a good way. He’s said Season 2 and even more Season 3 is more “Trek”.

He’s disliked Season 1.

Wow, this episode really hit you. I think the last time I cried over an episode was These Are the Voyages, but for a very different reason lol.

Seriously though, I agree you can really tell how much passion is made in these stories. The Kobiyashi Maru episode served the perfect example of that. To see Spock, Odo, Uhura, Scotty and Crusher like that got me a little emotional too, especially Spock, Scotty and Udo knowing those actors are no longer with us. Yes, it’s blatant fan service but it’s well done and very thoughtful fan service. And we knew this show was going to do things like that from the beginning because the point is for kids to get immersed into what Star Trek is both as a property and within the universe. And that’s where they are doing an amazing job!

But yeah same time, I have to admit, I don’t know how much the average 8 year old is taking with this show with so much going on and all the large technobabble, name drops everywhere and the large timey wimey story unfolding that even we are trying to get our heads around and we are pros when it comes to this stuff by now. But same time, these guys have done a lot of cartoons before and clearly produced a lot of intricate serial arcs in their other shows, so they understand their audience and what they can handle better than I do, that’s for sure.

And clearly he knew his audience when he gave that interview. I really don’t think he would be that detailed and elaborate if this was an interview for Nickelodeon. The average college kid would probably have trouble getting through this interview if they are not that familiar with Star Trek.

But reading it is just a reminder of how expansive Star Trek has gotten over the last 50 years and as an original TOS fan, it’s beautiful to see where it’s all gone. And at the rate all the new shows are coming, it will keep expanding for a long long time hopefully.

“Upvote” to all this!

Star Trek Prodigy is a case study in how to make good television and still adhere to canon. Anyone who says it’s not possible is just frankly full of it or lazy. Sure it’s harder with prequels but if it’s too hard for you, then don’t do it.

Prequels shouldn’t be harder. The universe is large and our heros are small. I hope we will see that in SNW. TV is generally afraid to show lonliness, but TOS had a lot of that.

Absolutely. Prequels are a box with limitations to be worked in for sure, but so is Star Trek in general. The best writers not only work with those constraints, but find ways to thrive while doing so (even if the walls of their office end up with a lot of head-shaped dents in the process).

Which I hope people remember because now that Discovery is in the 32nd century, every other show becomes a prequel of sorts.

I agree but I thought I would throw them a bone lol

I can see why one might think that but prequels are somewhat more limiting if you lead directly into what came before. Now if you do an independent story set before the original with no direct tie in then that loosens the reigns a little. But if you are doing a “how did they get there” story then you are beholden to the events of the future. Period. My thinking is that if that limits what you want to do in your prequel then you shouldn’t be doing a prequel.

Totally agreed! Even for me, I started to think yeah maybe it’s just too hard to adjust with so much canon. That’s a big reason why most of us wanted to go forward, not just to do it, but to give them a wide berth to tell whatever stories they want. And yes both LDS and PRO are post-Nemesis shows, so it’s not the same as Discovery, but I would totally trust them to do a TOS era show because I know they would execute it as faithfully as possible, which is what people been begging for since the first Kelvin movie really.

And you know I don’t love prequels, I already said enough about Discovery in that other thread, so I won’t drag it out here too. If I had it my way, I would never see a TOS prequel or TOS show again frankly (yes SNW is the one exception). But I can say that about TNG, DS9, etc as well. I don’t mind them, but I don’t NEED more of them either. I love reviving all these characters as much as everyone obviously but I actually would prefer a clean slate. To me, that’s what TNG and DS9 was at the time, a clean slate and why I love them so much today. If we loved new characters before, even over previous ones. we can do it again.

But sure I definitely understand the power of nostalgia, we are all affected by it. And since it’s clear we are going to get every character again at some point from Captain Archer to even maybe Sisko some day, just do it right! Fans want to see these characters again. Star Trek is having a phenomenal resurgence right now. And if you can do it in a way that honors canon and not conflict with it, they will keep millions of them happy who grew up with all these characters.

If it’s another Star Trek Into Darkness though….yeah!

One of the biggest things I enjoyed about the TNG era shows was that while they were expanding the universe of Trek and making it bigger with new characters, ships, stations, technology (expanding the canon at the same time) they also used to respect what came before immensely by either sending some of the characters to other shows or keeping same or similar designs with some changes. I think this was the ideal way to deal with canon. Respect what came before by including small bits and pieces of it in the new thing and still go and do your new thing. This is why the first season of Discovery left a bad taste in many Trekkies mouths, because for some reason they weren’t really respecting what came before and just wanted to create their own canon by not adhering to almost anything that came before. Luckily they managed to turn that around after sending the ship to the 32nd century.

Luckily they managed to turn that around after sending the ship to the 32nd century.

Did they, though?

Not in my eyes. Discovery is weird. In the 23rd century there is a vast Federation with an FTL drive that can take you anywhere in the universe and a space suit that can travel through time.

In the 32nd century you have a crippled Federation that barely exists because in 1000 years they couldn’t get past dilithium and it all blew up and no one seems to be able to go anywhere or do anything except somehow book.

That’s why the 24th century is easily my favorite era, because it’s the one where both canon and mythology really got to thrive and expand. DS9, TNG and VOY are my top 3 favorite shows in that order in fact (but yes love all the classic shows) because as you said, they broadened the galaxy in so many ways and so many characters there today. They really respected TOS canon as well the few times we got a peek back in that era but it was nice to just do whatever they wanted. And now thanks to PIC, LDS and PRO we get to see it broaden more.

But that said, I think that’s enough 24th century shows for awhile. It would be great for a post-Picard show to head into the 25th century (that show basically is now anyway). I hope if the Academy or even the S 31 show really happens, they put those in other eras. But I suspect S31 will either go back to the 23rd or 24th century. If it does land in the 24th century, it would be a great opportunity to bring Bashir back for it as a lot of fans want.

But I do love every era. It took awhile to like the 22nd century but I honestly want more of that era too and like to see it broaden in the future.

And yes I am really enjoying the 32nd century. Even if Discovery as a show is still kind on the meh side, they finally get a chance to create an entire new century and I want that to expand as much as possible. Whenever Discovery ends I hope they stay in that era with another show. Everyone is now assuming that’s where the new Academy show will take place. If so, great.

The need to send Voyager J on an intergalactic mission :-) The 32nd century is the right time to go beyond our own galaxy. I’m not entirely happy with the details but the Jay is a nice upgrade to the classic VOY design. And Archer’s Spacedock really teased that inevitable spin-off…

All I can say is no Star Trek is better than bad Star Trek. I agree about clean slates which of course, as you said, TNG, DS9, VOY all were. But hollywood in general is just in this nostalgia mode where they want to reboot and bring back everything. Which is fine as long as you don’t REHASH everything. Make it new, make it your own, just don’t break canon while you are doing it.

As for Prequels, When Enterprise came out, yeah it was a prequel and yeah it had MORE than it’s fair share of issues. But the best compliment I can give it is that it tried to adhere to canon. The Romulan ships looked like TOS era ships and they never communicated over view screens for example, even though the Enterprise could. The technology of the time was appropriately less advanced than TOS. Grappling hooks instead of tractor beams for example. Sure, the Klingons looked like Worf era Klingons, but that’s because blackface is not ok. And frankly I didn’t even like the Augment story line to try and line up to canon. Canon is important but some things you just have to chalk up to the technology and budget of the time.

Nope, sorry. “Enterprise” had the 22nd century crew encounter a Romulan ship equipped with cloaking technology. Uh-oh. That offended even me, and I’m not a canonista.

(Plus the ship design, while faithful to the original, looked considerably more advanced, so that too was an issue.)

Yeah… Reading this interview along with watching the show… I don’t believe for one second it was aimed at 8 year olds. I think it very obvious they were shooting much higher. Teenagers at the lowest.

The Hagemans did an interview elsewhere that’s really helpful. I hope. TrekMovie will bring some of it here.

It’s really clear that they know what they are doing in the target age and niche.

For example? Trollhunters was made as a Nickelodeon show. It was a Guillermo del Toro concept though, so it inherently involves monsters and some dark themes. Our kids loved it as pre teens. It was knowing that it was led by the same team as Trollhunters that actually got one of ours to try Prodigy after what they saw as an offensive episode of Picard where Icheb was killed horribly.

In the other interview, the Hagemans said they used the same approach to map out a 40 episode arc for Prodigy as they did for the 50 episodes that Trollhunters was originally conceived for.

Wow, Aaron really knows his stuff.

Yeah! Mike MacMahan is also pretty impressive when you listen to him in interviews!

These are the type of guys the franchise needs for future shows and films. His passion and knowledge of all these shows are incredible.

I used to say they should’ve just made another universe and rebooted Discovery in that one since it acted and felt nothing like TOS. And just put all future shows in that one too if the prime universe canon is too cumbersome these days (which honestly I can’t blame them lol).

But seeing just how great they have managed LDS and PRO, especially how well they have incorporated TNG, DS9 and certainly Voyager canon for Prodigy; I realize it really just takes people who love these shows like us fans do and has a deep knowledge of the universe to go the extra mile and get it right.

I can see why Kate Mulgrew agreed to come back as Janeway now. That pitch must have been phenomenal.

I was surprised how much detailed Trek knowledge he seemed to put into many of his answers. Then again, it says in the beginning that Trekmovie had this discussion via email which would give him some opportunity to look things up or consult with others. If he knows all of this from memory then special kudos to him ;-)
Still, it does show that they did a lot of research in developing this show.

“As has been hinted elsewhere in Trek lore, the original Voyager was taken apart and studied”

Poor little Ship !

Well at least it didn’t explode or violently crash landed on a planet like so many other hero ships.

Oh wait!

And we do know for a fact there will be a Voyager A to continue the legacy! :)

They always say the writers and producers are “huge trekkies” when they promote these shows. I believed it about Mike MacMahan on Lower Decks and now I believe it with Aaron – this is good stuff. Before this I wanted to say it was all David Mack as the canon consultant

Yes but Mike McMahon proves that just being an uberfan doesn’t mean you are going to make good Trek. Perhaps if he abandoned the attempt at comedy and went for something a little more dramatic? Maybe if he made a Trek in the spirit of “The Orville”, which has maybe one joke per episode, he might be in a more compatible element? I still think a Trek comedy is a good idea and would really like to see it tried again.

Lower Decks is good though

That’s debatable.

Every show is debatable since its all subjective. I love LDS personally.

Lower Decks is good when viewed in the context of what it is – An Adult Animated Comedy, its in the same vein of MacMahan’s other work like Rick and Morty, Solar Opposites. It is definitely the odd one out with regards to the other shows. But it respects canon, has creative episodic stories and continuing character threads. It tells great star trek stories, and ticks a lot of boxes for most existing fans, while appealing to new ones. The comedy respects the source material, which always the fear that comedy star trek would devolve into parody.

If you can’t respect the format its in, you’re of course not going to like it. But its definitely got its target audience.

That’s the thing. The format, supposedly, first and foremost is comedy. If it’s not funny then it’s a fail. Even if it has other things going for it, the goal was laughter. Sadly, the show really doesn’t have other things going for it. The characters are, yes I know it’s animated but still, 1 dimensional and range from boring at best to just terrible people at worst. The situations are ridiculous (sadly not funny ridiculous just dumb ridiculous) and much of it makes little sense. Now if the comedy worked none of that would be an issue because I’d be too busy laughing at the gags. I haven’t seen Solar Opposites but I can say that the season of Rick & Morty that McMahon was most heavily involved in was easily the least funny season they made. The following season, after McMahon left to do LDX, was an improvement. Coincidence? Maybe. I haven’t seen any of his other work so it might be a bit unfair to judge.

And by the way, the shows target audience, after watching it, seems to be 8 year olds who have been Trek fans for 40 years. Not sure how many of them are out there but yeah… I’m pretty sure they got them.

then we’re lucky that discussing the quality of star trek is subjective

Yet another commentary in an article totally unrelated to LDS (though the discussion was tangentially related) that covers: a) that the comedy in LDS doesn’t work for you, and b) that little else in LDS works for you. Got it. I think the whole planet has got it. Half the beings from here to Rigel got it. You can stop now.

Why get on my case? Why not get on the case of the original poster for bringing LDX up to begin with? For that matter, why not get on other posters for repeating themselves, too? Why, it’s almost as if it’s OK when some do it but if someone does the exact same thing but spouts an opinion I don’t like… Suddenly that’s bad for some reason.

Sadly there is a lot of that going around these days.

I’m going to have to respectfully but vehemently disagree on the show having or not having other things going for it. While I do enjoy the humor more than you do, I’m not sure it’s the primary draw of the show for me. I really do love these characters, and find them neither one-dimensional nor boring nor terrible. I find the Lower Deckers endearing, and I like the senior officers as well.

Wow! Aaron has truly drank the Star Trek koolaid or Romulan ale.

Easy to get excited when Trek is written by a true craftsperson who takes seriously the art of architecting a story and its characters and the myriads of layers and details into a rich and cohesive narrative. So awesome!

– USA (Georgia)
– Black male, 50
– 1st taste of Trek: TAS reruns on Saturday mornings (maybe 1977 or 1978 ish). Then TOS reruns. As a 5 or 6 year-old, I was utterly captivated by critical thinking and logic.
– Fav Trek: TOS philosophically but realistically I like certain key narratives from each series (I like parts more than the whole).
– Trek I want most: The West Wing version of Star Trek showing the politics and intrigue of The Fed, Star Fleet, and Trek’s Galactic Senate.

Ooh, I do love your idea of The West Wing for Trek.

i agree. I think that would be a good, alternative approach to a Trek show that would differentiate it from the rest (as Kurtzman has indicated is a key element of Trek’s development right now).

Really happy to see how much trek lore this guy has in his pocket

Wow! I agree with others on here. I’ve seen interviews from people like Ron Moore that were less trek savvy than this lol

One question tho, I thought Voyager got home 16 years yearly?

Wow. This is quite a bit to take in. They have certainly given this a lot of thought. I had no clue what the Dauntless was and honestly still don’t. So the ship name meant nothing to me. I did just to my first re-watch of Voyager perhaps 5 or 6 years ago. I did like it better the 2nd time around but I just don’t recall details like that without constant rewatches like I do with TOS. And the story Mr Waltke related… Again wow. Much of that I never ever picked up on. And here he is spilling it all. As good as the product is that he is a part of I think he may have over estimated on what was made clear. I mean the Protostar went back in time? I don’t recall anyone saying that or such a thing even being shown.

I am impressed that he is going into details about the uniforms and the stardates and the insignia pins and such. But honestly I have next to no interest in any of that. It’s good that they do it and I’m sure there are fans that are totally invested in such things. But I just want a good Star Trek story with good characters that does what it’s supposed to. Prodigy was supposed to be light children’s fare but turned out it was well above and beyond.

The Dauntless appeared in the episode Hope and Fear at the end of season 4 IIRC.
Voyager has picked up a garbled message from Starfleet and after getting help descrambling it by a local alien with a knack for computers and language, they learn that Starfleet has sent a ship with an experimental “Quantum Slipstream Drive” to the crew to use for a ride back to the Federation.
The crew would have to abandon and scuttle Voyager (killing the Doctor in the process) if they want to use this opportunity.
However, turns out the ship actually belonged to the alien Arcturis, who’s species has recently been assimilated by the Borg. He seeks revenge against the crew of Voyager for helping the Borg against Species 8472.
The ship had been made to look like a Federation vessel using holographic technology, but the Quantum Slipstream technology does actually work and the crew gains a lot of know-how about it but has to shelve it after realising it’s too risky to adapt for use on a vessel not designed around it.

Which brings us to the Dauntless seen in Prodigy. Taking a note from the post Voyager novels, where the Federation built the USS Aventine to test out the technology, seems in the Prime Timeline, they built a new Dauntless instead.

A very likeable Show.
But everything feels so rushed.

Compared to.. lets say Legend of Korra… Prodigy has a high Speed pacing and thats Not a positive aspect.

I appreciate Aaron taking the time to get into the geeky nitty-gritty and fully answering these questions (especially the timeline/canon aesthetic ones). I love that like Mike McMahan, he is a fan of the franchise. I would love to see him and Mike take more of the reins of the franchise, like Favreau and Filoni with Star Wars (over Kennedy and Kurtzman). These franchises are better with people who appreciate and actually understand the properties.

Yeah… Favreu. I find what He is Delivering With Boba Fett right now very, very weak… Not a good show.

I agree. I say fire Alex Kurtzman and Akiva Goldsman and put Aaron J. Walktke and Mike McMahan in their place. This interview with Aaron was EXTREMELY impressive! I would love to battle him in Trek Trivia. He knows his Trek! AND he writes compelling stories that make sense about characters we care about, all with being very careful with Star Trek canon.

I’ll say it again: let Walktke run the Star Trek franchise!

I will never stop laughing at how Trek fans feelings on showrunners shift like a soft breeze. I don’t think Kurtzman is the best choice either, but you want to put Walktke in charge of the whole franchise because of half a season of a kids cartoon that turned out pretty good?

Oh brother.

But no matter your feelings, Kurtzman is here to stay, like it or loathe it.

Yeah, you’re right. It was a knee-jerk reaction on my part. I suppose it’s due to the fact I am so frustrated by the live-action Trek right now and am very impressed by the animated shows that I wish those creators ran the franchise.

many still want ira and ron to come back.

Ira or Ron or Manny or Mike or Aaron! [IRMMA!?]

I am really enjoying this show but its biggest problem is that the lead cast is a bunch of children who, despite being better than most, are still written like run-of-the-mill, cookie-cutter modern cartoon kids. Frankly, it’s holding the show back from real greatness.

Why studios think that kids won’t watch a show unless the characters are kids is beyond me. Imagine how good this show would be if the cast was even a crew of young officers.

Times have changed.

When audience niches fractured out of mass market television in the 90s, kids got used to having shows that sold first to their development level and those shows have them representations of kids a bit older than themselves.

Our kids (now teens) and loved Star Trek starting from TAS, but I have to admit that it was the TV Ontario / PBS educational coproduction “Odd Squad” that is most directly responsible for their love of the franchise.

Judging by Admiral Janeway warping to the Protostar in this episode, I have a feeling by season 2 there will be some adults on that ship and the kids may be indoctrinated as cadets. But unless there is a big left turn coming (and there very well could be with this show lol) I think Admiral Janeway and the Dauntless crew will be a big part of the show going forward.

it is a surprise that ST has been late to creating teen cartoon spin offs like most of the big movie franchises.
its about time it did.

Calling it now, there’s a connection between dreadnok, the tentacle robots to the evil extra galactic ai from Picard

The Janeway Starfleet time travel stuff thrown in for the adults I think is easily the worst part of the show, impossible for the kids to follow. And quite frankly kind of hard to follow for most who found Voyager to, well, not be the best writing (quite frankly horrid scripts).
Why doesn’t time traveller just go back in time and fix his mistake or go back further?

I continue to be extremely impressed by Prodigy, and the team behind it. Prodigy has a strong case for being the best of the new shows so far, and there are two big reasons for that — this show has avoided the team infighting that hurt Discovery, and really understands the existing canon and how the show impacts it. Additionally, I feel less stressed watching Prodigy, knowing that it will avoid the gore or darkness that Discovery and Picard delved a little too deeply in. I’m a fan of both shows, FYI.
One other thing I really like about Prodigy is that of the new shows it hews most closely to the Trek Litverse (i.e.; the decade plus of books) in style and approach. It doesn’t talk down to the kids either.
In short, I’m really loving Prodigy so far, and I have high hopes for its future!