In addition to unveiling the full trailer for season 3, the SDCC Star Trek Universe panel revealed much about what is coming in the third season of Star Trek: Lower Decks, which premieres on August 25.
Executive producer Alex Kurtzman was joined by showrunner/creator Mike McMahan and cast members Dawnn Lewis (Captain Freeman), Noël Wells (Ensign Tendi), Jack Quaid (Ensign Boimler), Tawny Newsome (Ensign Mariner), and a cardboard cutout of Eugene Cordero as Ensign Rutherford, brought on stage by Newsome because Cordero couldn’t be there in person. The group revealed a few details for the upcoming season as well as what it means to them to be involved in the world of Star Trek.
Lower Decks will be visiting space station Deep Space Nine
Asked by panel moderator Lea Thompson if Lower Decks “is really going to go to Deep Space Nine” (after seeing it in the trailer), McMahan responded with a resounding yes.
Oh, we we circle Deep Space Nine. We check out the pylons. And then we go IN to Deep Space Nine, where we will walk the promenade, we will enjoy the Cardassian architecture—(Newsome: Will someone lick a jumja stick?)—there’s jumja sticks, and you might see some friendly faces in there. It feels to me like one last walk around Deep Space Nine. Like it’s a really great episode, I can’t wait for you guys to see it.
Where season 3 picks up…
Quaid said they had a “classic Trek cliffhanger” at the end of season 2, with Lewis chiming in that the “po-po got me.” Newsome described how they kick things off in the new season:
We start season 3 like full tilt, looking for her, trying to fix it, trying to set it right, and I love the scrappiness. I love episode 1 of season 3 because our lower deckers are just like, “We gotta save the captain!” It just feels like this epic adventure, it feels like a movie.
…and what they’ll be wearing
Quaid chimed in to talk about how much he loves the “Earth outfits,” and Newsom was just as enthusiastic:
Newsom: Earth outfits are bangin’, y’all. I got a cropped Wilsons leather jacket like Picard in Insurrection.
Quiad: I got a vest, y’all!
Newsom: A vest, a real Jake Sisko-looking vest. Tendi’s in a sensible, like Linda Hamilton T2-type tucked-in T-shirt situation. What’s Rutherford wearing?
McMahan: It’s an asymmetrical purple outfit. It’s so good.
McMahan teases “epic” season 3
McMahan summed up what viewers can look forward to when the show premieres next month:
There’s epic episodes, there’s heartfelt episodes, the Deep Space Nine episode is out of control. We’ve got the nefarious exocomp Peanut Hamper returning. It’s just so much fun. And it’s, I’ve said this a million times. There was a little while where we didn’t have any Star Trek. That was very bad time. And now, we have lots and lots of Star Trek all the time. And on August 25. When Lower Decks returns, you’re gonna have 10 new times to be in that world again, to be in the Alpha Quadrant with Starfleet officers. And it’s just, it’s just such a joy to share with you guys.
They have to keep all five shows in sync
Thompson asked Alex Kurtzman how they maintain continuity between all five shows as well as the past series, and he brought up the showrunner meetings we’ve been hearing about for a while:
It’s crazy because now with five shows, you really have to make sure you’re not stepping on each other’s toes, and there’s a lot of crossover because everybody wants to play with the same damn toys. So, what we do now, is every two months, I would say, all the showrunners get together and we all talk and each person downloads what they’re doing over the season, what they’re thinking about doing over the season, the characters that they want to want to use. Sometimes there are characters that actually can cross-pollinate between different shows, we just have to make sure we’re synchronizing how that works.
McMahan lamented that because of those meetings, he knows everything that’s going to happen and now he doesn’t get to watch Star Trek anymore.
About that Gorn wedding…
A fan asked about the Gorn wedding seen in season 1, and said that meeting the Gorn “raises a lot of questions. Are these the same Gorn that we see in Strange New Worlds… and if so, what was that reception like?”
McMahan fielded that one:
Alright, let me tell you something about Gorn weddings, everybody. Now Strange New Worlds, there’s a couple of centuries difference, and you know, you go to where Gorn live; not every planet has to be this mono culture, all right? Just like D’Vana Tendi is Orion, not all Orions are controlling people with their pheromones, you’ve also got Orions joining Starfleet. You know, maybe not all Gorn are going to be treated like this extremely scary thing that bursts out of you, and sometimes they fall in love and get married.
“And it’s beautiful,” Quaid chimed in, with Newsome adding, “Please don’t stereotype the Gorn… just because they’re terrifying.”
Dawnn Lewis got emotional talking about her love for Star Trek
Thompson asked Lewis about her love of Star Trek and asked what it felt like to get the call that she was going to be a Starfleet captain. Lewis talked about how she used to watch The Original Series with her brothers and teared up when she started explaining why it means so much to her:
When I got the call to audition for the show, we were not told that it was Star Trek, we were all given the names of animals like I was Captain McDuck or Captain Whatever. And so you go in and you audition and you give your best. You know, I did my best imitation of Captain Sisko and Captain Kirk, that’s what I do. And so when they called me and said, “You booked the job” I was like ‘oh great, I booked another gig.’ And then they said what it was I said, “I’m sorry—say what?’ I am a part of the Star Trek franchise, you know how you scream and nothing comes out of your mouth? So I call my brothers, and they were like, “Get out of town, you are lying.” And I was like, “No, this is what I’m doing.”
She also talked about her deep connection to one of Star Trek‘s original stars:
And then over the years, you are sometimes fortunate to meet those who inspire you, who change your life, and when I was watching that first incarnation of Star Trek, the person who inspired me and changed my life was Nichelle Nichols. To see this amazingly beautiful, gifted, smart … woman of color in outer space, doing her best to be excellent and everybody respecting her for it? When I grew up and got to actually meet her, I literally cried and couldn’t speak. We have since become friends. And Nichelle has a lot of friends who are Leos. She herself is not a Leo, so she would have Leo parties every year at her house. So we would go and we would party and George Takei would be there and Walter Koenig would be there and I had crushes on both of them when I was little. So the first thing I thought of after calling my brothers was to call Nichelle. I said, “You will not believe”—I’m getting emotional now—”you will not believe what just happened to me. And thank you for shining that light in my life.”
At that point she got so tearful she had to wipe her face on Mike McMahan’s shirt.
Other random bits
Noël Wells brought up how the whole show is a great collaboration between actors and animators:
… there are all these other layers to what Mike and the animators do that weren’t in the script that I had no idea would ever be included in the animation. And so it’s like doing it all over again or watching it for the first time, literally watching it for the first time, but getting this whole other experience. And so it’s just, it’s really fun to be a part of something that it takes that has so much artistry. I’m just a voice on a level. And then to get to see what gets created around it, it’s just an honor.
Newsome talked about how they haven’t been able to record together anymore (since the beginning of the Covid pandemic) and McMahan said he hopes to get them back into group recording sessions at some point. It turns out that Jack Quaid has yet to meet Eugene Cordero in person!
Quaid raved about the raisin vineyard sign that says Boimler Valley Raisins, declaring it as his favorite thing he’s ever seen in his life, “and now I demand that Star Trek needs to make a Boimler Valley raisins in the style of Sun-Maid. I need that to happen, with Boimler in that exact pose. I need it.” He also said he’s proud of Boimler for being more confident and bolder than he used to be, and that he’s enjoying the evolution of the character.
Lower Decks Lower Decks!
The panel wrapped up with a “lower decks” chant from the panelists and attendees. Watch the moment below.
Lower Decks! pic.twitter.com/PPWw90E2zD
— TrekMovie.com (@TrekMovie) July 23, 2022
Still more to come from SDCC 2022
There is still more to come from our Comic-Con coverage, including more details from Saturday’s Star Trek Universe panel. Stay tuned to TrekMovie.com for more news from San Diego, and check out the rest of our San Diego Comic-Con 2022 coverage.
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