The team from Star Trek: Lower Decks followed up their panel at San Diego Comic-Con with a few video interviews. And as we did for Strange New Worlds and Picard, we have curated the highlights from what they had to say about the upcoming third season of the animated series.
Season 3 shows new sides to characters… and there’s another movie parody
Speaking to TV Insider, series creator and showrunner Mike McMahan ran down some of the highlights of the upcoming season, revealing they will be doing another episode like season one’s “Crisis Point“:
Mike McMahan: For season 3 of Lower Decks, there’s a lot of amazing callbacks to previous Star Trek, a lot of new aliens that you’re going to meet. We’re going to go to Deep Space 9 for a little bit of an adventure. And I don’t think we’ve told anybody this but in the first season, we did a big movie parody episode, and in the third season we do a big Star Trek sequel movie parody episode. Because everybody knows Star Trek sequels hit differently.
Voice actors Noël Wells (Tendi) and Dawnn Lewis (Captain Freeman) also hyped up the season with some insights:
Noël Wells: Also, the show looks even better than it ever has before. Our performances are just so locked in and incredible. The show just gets better and better and better.
Dawnn Lewis: And you get to know a little bit more about each of us as individuals, like where we come from, our families, all those kinds of dynamics. And [Mariner and Freeman’s] dynamic has a little bit of a twist as well as mother and daughter.
In an interview with Review Nation, Lewis added to that, with Jack Quaid (Brad Boimler) and McMahan joining in:
Dawnn Lewis: Everybody has a lot of sides and that is what we are going to see this season. We are going to see more sides of everybody and how they handle adversity.
Jack Quaid: I do feel like we all grew this season. I think the writers just made me every season so cool. I love how these characters are constantly changing, and they’re evolving. And it’s an honor to be on the show. It’s awesome.
Mike McMahan: There’s a lot of growth, a lot of comedy, and a lot of Star Trek. We try to have it all in there.
Mariner goes rogue for mom in season opener
There was a lot of talk about the season premiere (which we now know is titled “Grounded“). Mike revealed some time has passed since the season 2 finale:
Mike McMahan: There is a little bit of a time jump. There is just enough of one for Mariner to think nobody’s doing the thing she needs them to do. So she takes it into her own hands and she gets a little help from her lower decks pals.
Dawnn Lewis laid out the stakes for the season opener with Entertainment Weekly:
Dawnn Lewis: Our captain is standing trial, so falsely accused. But her innocence shall be proven by her trusting crew who loved her so much. They are going to the ends of the galaxy to make sure that Mama Captain is free!
Tawny Newsome told EW that “Grounded” is her favorite episode this season and it reminds her of a “specific movie.” She gave TV Insider some more detail on what Mariner does for her mom:
Tawny Newsome: I’m going to put on a cropped leather jacket and I’m going to steal a starship, like you do. Whenever your mom gets thrown in jail, you got to steal a starship and go to a historical site…
Newsome explained to Review Nation how the season opener shows a different side to Mariner:
Tawny Newsome: We’re going to see Mariner do everything within and without of her power to try and help her mom. I think it’s really sweet and cute and shows a lot of heart. Mike and the writers did such a good job making Mariner totally tough and like, ‘I’m going to go after it and I’m going to do what I think is right,’ even though it’s bad and dumb. But it comes from such a place of heart whereas a lot of her like headstrong sometimes comes from a place of ego, but this time we really see it comes from an emotional place, which is a cool thing to do in a 22-minute cartoon…
Second episode reveals “bold Boimler”
The second episode (“The Least Dangerous Game“) introduces the alien K’ranch, whose name Mike McMahan says is a combination of ketchup and ranch. He also explained the inspiration for K’ranch to EW:
Mike McMahan: We have a lot of new aliens in Lower Decks… and K’ranch tries to kill Boimler for an entire episode. We are big fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and there’s a character called Tosk in this episode “The Hunted” who shows up and says, “Somebody hunt me!”… And we were like, let’s get Boimler hunted.
Quaid followed up, with detail on how this is part of a new Boimler:
Jack Quaid: So Boimler has a new attitude on life this season. He’s bold! He’s bold Boimler. This is his bold season. He basically gets the idea from the wonderful Tendi. She helps him kind of find more confidence. But his head’s in the right place but it is a little bit misplaced, because he’s like, “Yeah, I’m gonna say yes to every opportunity that comes my way.”
McMahan and Quaid agree that this storyline for Boimler is “totally Costanza,” referring to the classic Seinfeld episode “The Opposite” when George Costanza decides to change his life by doing the opposite of his usual instincts.
Newsome got episode rewritten for Mariner’s return to DS9
The Comic-Con trailer, and panel, revealed an episode (306) will feature station Deep Space 9. Noël Wells called it a favorite, telling EW: “You get to see some stuff with Tendi and her backstory as an Orion…”
McMahan confirmed to ComicBook.com that they are not just flying by DS9:
Mike McMahan: We are not messing with you guys. If you like Cardassian architecture and you like being inside of a Cardassian space station, we are going to Deep Space 9, we are going inside Deep Space 9. We have a whole episode that almost feels like it could have been in a later season of Deep Space Nine. So it’s like getting one little more ride of Deep Space Nine.
But not everyone was excited at first, as Tawny Newsome explained to EW:
Tawny Newsome: When we go to Deep Space 9, I was jealous because Mariner isn’t part of the adventure that happens that is the reason they go to Deep Space 9. And Deep Space Nine is my favorite Trek and I’m obsessed with it. And he put all these other characters on the station and not Mariner. And I, Tawny the actress, got legit jealous of my cartoon self.
McMahan tried to explain the omission and what he did about it:
Mike McMahan: Because Mariner used to serve on Deep Space 9, so they get there and she didn’t want to go running back in there, but Tawny did and I didn’t remember that Tawny had to be on Deep Space 9. So we fixed it.
Tawny Newsome: He literally rewrote part of the episode.
Mike McMahan: I am glad I did.
More season 3 tidbits
EW got the cast to talk a bit more about other favorite episodes of the season:
Jack Quaid: Episode 7 is my favorite of the season and you’ll find out why. It’s a great episode.
Dawnn Lewis: There’s an episode where Captain Freeman actually does her best to try to chill out. She tries to encourage the crew to chill out… and isn’t as easy as you would think in outer space, but we make it happen.
Mike McMahan: I am excited for the Peanut Hamper episode. She comes back. She causes a ruckus. It’s very exciting… she’s a bit of a pill.
Each season has a poster that pays homage to the corresponding Star Trek feature film with the third season poster evoking the one for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. McMahan told ComicBook.com there is even more to that choice:
Mike McMahan: We love to use posters from previous Star Trek movies as nods in our posters because we are giant geeks and we love Star Trek. But there’s a reason that Rutherford… there’s a storyline with Rutherford this season that does have to do with loss and memories and Search for Spock themes, which is why we chose to do the poster like that.
Newsome did some damage during the Strange New Worlds crossover
We learned a bit more about the Lower Decks crossover episode coming in season 2 of Strange New Worlds, including that Tawny Newsome and Jack Quaid shot their scenes about five weeks before Comic-Con, which indicates their episode is likely in the later part of the season which wrapped production at the beginning of July. Here is how McMahan described the crossover to ComicBook.com:
Mike McMahan: We don’t want to say too much, but a couple lower deckers from Star Trek: Lower Decks do get pulled into an episode of Strange New Worlds.
And Newsome discussed what it was like:
Tawny Newsome: I’m a lifelong Trekkie. The Enterprise is a real place to me and my brain. So being on that set was magical… I want to apologize to the cast and crew and showrunners of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds because I broke so many things. Because in my mind, every slider, every button… they’re real. It’s a real place. So everything I saw I would touch, I would press, I would slide… [I broke] something on the captain’s chair… I pulled a panel off the wall in the transporter bay.
Newsome and Quaid had more to say to TV Insider:
Tawny Newsome: Jack and I get to be in live action. We get to be Mariner and Boimler in our human bodies… I also broke a lot of things on the set of the Enterprise. How many things that I break?
Jack Quaid: You broke… I’m going to say seven things.
Tawny Newsome: So I apologize. But it was really fun and yes, Jack will have purple hair.
Jack Quaid: Yes, it’ll be purple. Tawny broke so many things. It was so fun. My favorite thing was she would do it and only I would see it so she would like lean on something or be like, “Oh, where’s this hatch?” or something, and then it would snap and I would go “What are you doing?” And she would go, “Oh, no, no, no, don’t look over here.” But it was so much fun. The cast was so incredible to work with. That crew is so cool. I am purposefully shipping Boimler with Spock. We call it Spoimler. It’s my favorite thing. We have such a good time and I can’t wait for everybody to see it. It’s going be great.
Here is the moment they announced the crossover at San Diego Comic-Con.
The third season of Lower Decks arrives on Thursday, August 25 and streams exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. and Latin America and is distributed concurrently by Paramount Global Content Distribution on Amazon Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Japan, India, and more. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.
While you wait, watch the trailer again and let us know your favorite part in the comments below.
Find more news and analysis for Lower Decks at TrekMovie.