The final Star Trek: Mission Chicago panel from the new batch of Star Trek Universe shows was for Star Trek: Prodigy. On hand was star Kate Mulgrew along with co-creator Dan Hageman and director/executive producer Ben Hibon, speaking to an audience featuring a lot of younger and newer fans of the animated series. Paramount also brought out an actor dressed as Dal to (silently) join in on the panel. TrekMovie was there to capture the highlights.
Chakotay and the Janeways
The first ten episodes of season one wrapped up in January, with the second half of the season due later this year. Episode ten introduced Admiral Janeway, who is searching for the Protostar and Captain Chakotay. The panel began with a clip from an upcoming episode of Admiral Janeway watching a recording of a meeting between herself and Captain Chakotay. In it, Chakotay talks about his mission to the Delta Quadrant, telling Janeway: “This time the Protostar will get me home in a fraction of the time. And I won’t be alone. I’ll have your hologram there to advise me.” He also promised, “If I run into any trouble, you’ll be the first one I call.” The clip also shows Commander Tysess (Daveed Diggs) telling Admiral Janeway the Protostar has been tracked to the Carinae Nebula.
Talking about the clip and previewing what is to come, Kate Mulgrew said:
They’re going to get all kinds of Janeways… and all kinds of secrets are going to emerge as a result of her presence. So please tune in. It’s terrific.
Dan Hageman talked about how the introduction of Admiral Janeway set up what’s coming in the next ten episodes:
We’ve introduced Admiral Janeway and her crew. And I just we just love this idea that Admiral Janeway is coming after the kids. She wants that [the Protostar], because she knows that ship leads to Chakotay. And these kids, they thought they were ready, but they don’t know what they’re in for because Admiral Janeway is not going to quit. And with the help of Hologram Janeway, they’re going to do the best they can to keep out of her sight.
More canon characters and a “love letter to TOS”
When asked about what familiar characters from Star Trek might show up in addition to Janeway and Chakotay, Dan only hinted that more are on their way:
We honor where we are in the timeline. And we understand where we are. So there’s gonna be other characters you’re going to run into. But I can’t reveal anything.
At another point during the panel, he did talk about how the animation style allows them to work with characters throughout the franchise, as they did by bringing back characters like Spock and Odo in the episode “Kobayashi,” and how there is an upcoming episode in the second half of season one that will tie into The Original Series:
We were only limited by our imagination with animation. And that’s what led us to do the episode “Kobayashi.” We felt like that was an amazing time to give homage to some of our favorite Trek characters. I think we can spoil an upcoming episode in the next ten episodes, written by Aaron Waltke, who is who is our resident Trek fan. He wrote “Kobayashi” as well. He wrote a love letter to TOS in the next ten. So for all you Ensign Garrovick fans, this is an Ensign Garrovick episode.
A “Metamurfosis” and explaining Jankom’s whiskers
Dan Hageman also talked about how the next ten episodes will show more growth for the characters, and in particular Murf:
I can tell you that in the first ten we had a great episode that really featured Rok, that was a fantastic episode. And she’s not going to be the only one that grows. I believe very early on we’re going to find out a little bit more about Murf…. I will say he goes through a sort of “metamurfosis.”
As for Dal, Hageman said he still has a lot of room to grow and to learn from his mistakes:
I think everyone knows down that Dal needs to grow probably the most. But Dal’s going to teach them something too. There is strength in failing. It’s okay to fail. And Dal’s going to do it quite a bit.
When pressed by an astute young fan who questioned if Jankom Pog counts as a kid because “he literally has facial hair,” Hageman explained, “I believe Tellarites grow by facial hair by the age of two.” And when pressed about exactly how old the character is, Dan revealed, “If we count the Tellarite sleeper ship, he is probably around 200 years [old].”
Finished writing 40… but much more work to be done
We also got an update on where they are behind the scenes. Paramount+ has ordered a total of forty episodes so far, split into two 20-episode seasons. Hageman and Hibon explained more about the process of putting the show together:
Hageman: It’s a long process. We just finished up writing episode 40. It takes a while. We finished writing the first 20 episodes before Covid hit. And then we wrote the next 20 episodes all through Covid. So that gives you an idea of when episodes are airing and when we finished writing.
Hibon: It’s a very long fabrication process. We probably have about 15 episodes in flight right now in terms of production at different stages; writing, storyboarding, animatics, recording the voices, music. So it’s so it’s a very long process. With the storytelling, we have all these different plates going on at the same time. It’s not like one episode at a time… which actually is really good because we have a great sense of where the show goes and what to do early, how the arcs and the storylines are already meeting and making sense. It allows also for us to preemptively decide where we’re going to focus heavier episodes visually, in terms of the fabrication of new ships, actions and new planets.
Mulgrew finding nuances to Janeway
Kate Mulgrew talked about the advantages of recreating Janeway in a sound booth:
It’s not a hardship. It’s a delight. It’s much easier to do than live-action. You need nothing except a headset and the text. These guys are on Zoom. And the engineer is in the other room. I find it absolutely liberating. I can find nuance in my voice that I never felt really comfortable doing in live-action because there’s no time in live-action. But you are given the time here, and you’re given the breadth and you’re given the scope of it. I can really pretty much do what I like. And I know that I’m working with such clever guys, that that also makes me feel more confident. These guys are top-notch. So we have fun.
More to come from Chicago
There is still a bit more coverage from the convention on the way. Stay tuned to TrekMovie in the coming days for more Star Trek: Mission Chicago. Click here for all our Mission Chicago coverage so far.