Interview: Tawny Newsome Previews “Bananas” ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Episode & ‘Strange New Worlds’ Crossover

We are about halfway through the third season of Star Trek: Lower Decks and on Star Trek Day, TrekMovie chatted with voice actress Tawny Newsome to get a preview of what is to come, along with some insight into her upcoming live-action appearance in the Strange New Worlds crossover.

What do you see as the biggest change for Mariner in season 3?

I think the best thing about having a season 3 for any show is that you get room now. You get room to explore and to deepen and to give people more shades of them, especially for a 22-minute cartoon. It is incredible what Mike McMahan and the writers have been able to pull out of all of our characters, to really show you about them, about the world, and about Starfleet. In season 3 you are going to get a lot more emotional depth. The jokes hit harder, because we know these characters so much better. All around it feels like a warm cozy jacket that you’ve had for years.

They are mixing things up with the character pair-ups. Are there any character combinations you are excited about coming up?

Yeah, the pair-ups. Yeah, we heard the fan feedback. We heard you all. It was always Mariner and Boimler, and Tendi and Rutherford paired off together. So I feel like in season 2 we had a cheeky little episode where we address that—the Mariner and Tendi girls trip episode. Season 3 there is even more. You know, what I love is that there’s more…. there is more of the four of them tackling a problem. 301 is a great example of that. I just love seeing the four of them on a little First Contact-y adventure together.

From “Grounded” (episode 301)

Is that your favorite of the season or is there one coming up?

It’s hard to say favorite. I love 301. I feel like it’s an incredible way to start a season. It’s my favorite season opener that we’ve had yet. I will say that 307 is so bananas. But it is an episode to do with a fringe character, and I’ll say it is so wild. And I love it so much. It’s so strange. So just strap in! Strap in.

So, how hard was it talking Mike into rewriting you into the upcoming DS9 episode?

Look, I’m not proud of a lot of things in my career, but I am proud of that. Because I was right. Yeah. So he wrote the DS9 episode and he wrote it with Mariner on like a side mission or like on a different storyline. And I read it and I got really sad for myself, Tawny, because I’m a huge Deep Space Nine fan and I really wanted to play in that world. So he logged on to the Zoom and I gave him some serious shit for it. I was like, “How are you denying me this as a fan?” And he was like, “Tawny, we’re making a TV show. This isn’t about your wants and dreams.” But I think he ultimately heard the wisdom and what I was saying. And then he did rewrite the ending for me.

Have there been any other pitches you have made?

Yeah, there’s a lot of me trying to throw my weight around successfully and unsuccessfully sometimes. I spent so long doing improv and so long doing comedy that I’m pretty easy when someone’s like, “No.” I’m just like, “Alright.” But I also won’t stop pitching. So there’s a lot of stuff I pitched, especially in the Strange New Worlds crossover. There were a lot of… they really invited us to play and collaborate in a way that was so refreshing. And then having Jonathan Frakes at the helm for that was perfect.

More to come

TrekMovie spoke to a number of Trek celebrities and creatives on the purple carpet at Star Trek Day 2022. Check back for more exclusive interviews.

Tawny Newsome being interviewed by at Star Trek Day 2022

Rewatch the clip

Here is the clip of episode 8 of season 3 “Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus” revealed on Star Trek Day.

The third season of Star Trek: Lower Decks returned on Thursday, August 25, with new episodes dropping weekly on Thursdays, 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 and in Canada, airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.

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Well she has her heart in the right place. I’ll give her that.

Wow very curious what episode 307 will be now! Can’t wait.

When I first heard the voice actors for LD, I was put off by how “on” they all sounded. It made me not want to watch the show. I’m glad I got over that, because it’s been a fun ride. Newsome is a great force on the show, and her voice mixed with her character’s zany visual energy just cracks me up, even when Mariner is just reacting to another character’s antics. Comedy is really difficult, especially with TREK, so good on them all for putting together such a great show.

This is my favorite new show man! I crack up every week! Tremendous love for it! Tremendous!

All love for Mariner. Chick is a kick ass Captain Kirk Starfleet style officer. But Tendi has my ♥️ bro. Khan, Gul Dukat and the Borg can all learn something from that sweet innocent bundle of green joy! The Federation is lucky to have her ..and Admiral Janeway (always have to include Janeway. I know you understand).

Glad you seen the light Adam… glad you seen the light! Another convert to the religion of Lower Decks! 🖖👍

LOL you really love this show! But I agree, I love Tendi too. She is one of the best new characters to come out of NuTrek.

Tendi is life man! 😎

Another uniform style, bah. Why.

Imagine how fantastic Discovery could have been with THIS cast instead of the one it has.

I’m just trying to imagine how fantastic Discovery could have been if it was actually good! 🤣🤣🤣

Did I miss it? Is this crossover going to be live action or animated? Or Roger Rabbit-style??

Not Roger Rabbit style. The Lower Decks characters will be live-action on Strange New Worlds.
At least, that’s what they have suggested in interviews.

What, like with the voice actors? I mean, they could probably make them up to pass as the characters, but acting and voice acting are slightly different skill sets.

Those voice actors are also veteran stage actors. Both Jack Quaid and Tawny Newsome who plays Boimler and Mariner are both comedic and dramatic actors and been in multiple shows and films. Jack Quaid is currently starring on The Boys (with our very own Dr. McCoy’s Keith Urban) and was recently in Scream and will be in the new Christopher Nolan movie next year. Newsome is also acting in another show too called Space Force, although I don’t know if it got another season or not.

Look up their resumes on IMDB. The voice acting is mostly a side gig for them. In fact most of the actors on Lower Decks are mostly long time stage actors. I just learned a week ago Noel Wells who plays Tendi was on Saturday Night Live.

Ah, thank you for the elucidation! I am now looking forward to seeing it. I was vaguely aware of what Newsome/Quaid/Wells looked like, but somehow it escaped my attention that Rutherford was voiced by Pillboi from The Good Place (Eugene Cordero)! Wait ’til my wife hears this.

No worries! And my girlfriend has been begging for me to watch The Good Place which I heard great things about but there is just so much stuff today lol. But now that I know Cordero shows up in it too, it motivates me more to check it out faster! He was also in another great show I used to watch called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend which I didn’t even realize until a few months ago since I originally watched that show when it aired. He was really good in that too.

And I like to think they hired so many stage actors for Lower Decks and made the characters close to the actor’s likeness because there was a chance they would appear in live action some day. Well that idea is turning out to be true, so pretty cool!

I’m betting one reason they cast close to their likenesses is because Star Trek has always been about diverse casting, so they were slightly ahead of the curve when compared to The Simpsons and Family Guy recasting their characters of color with actors that matched their identities. The fact that the Lower Decks actors can appear in live-action is an added bonus.

Yep, also a good possibility. It only makes sense to cast actual actors of the same race of their characters even if they are just voice actors. Not necessary but certainly progressive.

Three of the main four actors, I recognized from live-action shows I saw before Lower Decks:

Tawny Newsome: Space Force
Noel Wells: Master of None
Eugene Cordeiro: Other Space

and Jack Quaid is probably most famous for The Boys.