Mike McMahan Clarifies His Views On Chances For Another ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Season Pickup

Star Trek: Lower Decks is getting close to wrapping up its fourth season on Paramount+. Earlier this month, executive producer Mike McMahan unintentionally caused a bit of a stir about the future of his animated comedy beyond season 5, which is currently being written. The CinemaBlend interview titled “Amidst Franchise Changes, Star Trek: Lower Decks‘ Mike McMahan Gave Us His Worried Perspective On The Show’s Future” got a lot of attention and spawned reports on many other sites, including this one. At New York Comic Con, TrekMovie had a chance to talk to Mike directly about the article and follow up on his thoughts about the future of the series.

McMahan: “I always worry”

During a roundtable interview session with Mike McMahan after he spoke at the Star Trek Universe Panel at NYCC, TrekMovie asked McMahan if his views on the future of the show had changed from the more optimistic view he’d had in the past, but he rejected the premise—and added context to his comments on CinemaBlend:

“I was never positive [after the previous season] we would get more. You never know, especially in streaming you get three seasons, and then you hope for the algorithm… And I am not feeling less positive [now]. There was an article that I thought took—it didn’t have the tone. Like they asked me, ‘Are you worried?’ and I was like, ‘I’m always worried, everyone watch the show.’ That’s every show.”

Poster for the current 4th season of Lower Decks

CBS Studios had initially given Lower Decks a two-season order and McMahan said he thought it was a “miracle” when it was picked up for a third season. Two more season pickups and multiple interviews later, the showrunner was concerned he’d given the wrong impression of his perspective on the series and didn’t want fans to be overly concerned, telling TrekMovie:

“Amazingly, I’m writing season 5 right now. You know how crazy it is I have a five-season Star Trek show? I’m so pumped. And my thing is, don’t worry that Lower Decks is going away. Celebrate it, because you’re watching it now. You know what you’re never going to be able to do again? Watch it when it airs and be surprised by it. It only happens once. Then the more people that watch it, the easier it is for me, and has always been.”

That said, he remains realistic. He again reminded fans that they have a role to play when it comes to convincing Paramount+ to approve a 6th season, explaining:

“This stuff is never a guarantee. And the only thing that helps me, because I go in [to the network] and am like, ‘This show is great’ and they’re like, ‘Yeah, you make it.’ But if you guys are all saying it’s great and people are watching it and you guys are bringing in new—like if everybody who watched Lower Decks got one friend to sign up for Paramount+ to watch the season, even in one hit, it would double our numbers. I have no control over this stuff. But it’s not that it’s like that now, it’s just always been like that. So if you love a thing, watch it.”

Embed from Getty Images

More from NYCC

We will have more from our Mike McMahan NYCC interview coming up this week. Also, check out our coverage of the Star Trek Universe panel and McMahan talking Lower Decks season 4 finale and season 5. We also reported on Alex Kurtzman’s Star Trek Universe update and the Kid Cudi x Star Trek reveal at NYCC. Check back for even more updates on Star Trek from NYCC.

Keep up with news about the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.

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I’d love to see several more seasons, it’s a good show. But you got to be a realist, if TPTB don’t agree, it’s likely done.

Thanks Laurie! Hope you had fun at NYCC.

I certainly can’t blame McMahan for being paranoid about getting cancelled, especially after how badly they treated DIS and certainly PRO. And Paramount isn’t exactly flowing with money or subs.

Hopefully everything will work out and get another season. If not the fans will probably push for it to be saved or just go to another service like Prodigy. But I’m OK if it ends after season 5. I think most people were shocked when it got a season 2. 😂

But LDS deserves it. It’s such a fun, sweet and entertaining show and oddly has me appreciate and love Trek again.

How did they treat Discovery badly? Despite how much flak it has taken from reviewers, they gave it five years, and they had everyone back to film a final scene to give it closure. They treated it well–better than could really be expected, given how much the writing quality dropped.

Just how they waited to cancel it a year after season 5 wrapped. Those actors and crew could’ve been looking for other jobs that whole time.

But I’ll be fair and say maybe this is common for streaming shows IDK. And I don’t care about the show being cancelled at all, I think it’s mostly awful and would’ve been fine they cancelled it sooner. But if you’re going to cancel a show don’t wait a year later to do it but there are probably weird circumstances I guess. It’s still crazy to me they cancelled both DIS and PRO before they even ran their finished seasons first.

I can definitely see why McMahan is paranoid though.

I do think DIS was a special circumstance. It probably took that long because they were probably considering a sixth season but most likely had to work out contract issues or weigh if the viewing numbers were strong enough to justify another season. Obviously whatever he reason there were other hurdles so it was cancelled. But I don’t think they knew one way or the other until a few days before announcing it themselves.

But as Lorna said, they still gave them time and money to shoot extra scenes to give it real closure at least and most shows wouldn’t get that. And while they screwed Prodigy it was nice that they still let them finish season 2 although the cynic in me think only because they knew it would be easier to sell off with a completed season but that’s showbiz I guess.

If Lower Decks is cancelled I imagined they would do it before any work started on season 6, but then again who knows lol.

Yeah all great points! Agreed. 👍

And five seasons (which felt longer than that because the show became so bad) is a long run on streaming.

Glad Discovery got a season 5. I hope if Prodigy doesn’t get a season 3 that they find a way to provide Closure for the fans.

I hear you and agree my friend! 👍

I’m really glad he cleared it up. It sounds like he doesn’t know either way, just keeping track what happens to most streaming shows after they get to a certain season. Again, I wasn’t shocked DIS got the boot and wouldn’t be surprised if LDS sadly went after season 5. But LDS is getting so much goodwill these days there will probably be a fight by the fans for it to go someplace else. Doesn’t mean it will happen but I can obviously see fans and even McMahan trying that route to keep it going.

But I’m staying positive and still pushing for my seven seasons and a movie!!! If any show deserves to go a full seven seasons like the old days, it’s this one.

Season 5 will be the last I hope. Nothing is stopping them from making a new cartoon after LD is over.

It’s pretty easy to be paranoid these days after the great Star Trek purge this year as they wind down the franchise to a much smaller footprint.

Just balled my eyes out watching the latest Bob’s Burgers episode, now in its 14th season. The beauty of animation is its inherent ability to keep going, if there’s an audience for it.

Lower Decks’ premise suggests a finite lifespan, though there’s no rule saying that each season needs to span an entire year in their lives. Part of its appeal is watching these characters grow, mature and become more confident, so realistically it could easily feel like it’s reaching a natural conclusion in the next few years.

I wouldnt expect them to be promoted again until something like season 7. They dont want to make them fast track their time in Starfleet and the first year into the series only came in season 3.

I got to start watching Bob again. I use to love watching it on Sunday nights but now I can’t be bothered to log in to Hulu to watch.

They are really trusting their audience to let them play with the format a little more, and while it’s still very zany and funny, there are more heartfelt episodes. There were quite a few last season, and they worked really well. Last week’s was all about Regular-sized Rudy and his POV as a child of divorce. Exquisitely done.

Yeah I got to start watching it.

I want Mike to finish the series his way. I believe he will make it to S7.

It’s really an injustice that we don’t have action figures of the Lower Decks crew and a Cerritos to go with our other stuff that Playmates has done. Why is their so little support for this line coming from Paramount Licensing and Playmate’s Creative development team? Could @trekmovie find us some answers?

You just know a Moopsy plush would sell like mad.

I’m not certain how well the Trek line sold last year to be honest. I know that, at least in brick and mortar stores, the figures and the Enterprise all ended up on clearance racks locally for me.

It’s because they just made the same old shit that everyone always makes. Oh yay another shitty looking Kirk and Spock and Picard action figure. I’ll just get it and put it in my room full of other shitty looking Kirk and Spock and Picard action figures! And the occasional one that actually looks good.

The PRO ones actually sold. idk about the Disco ones but man I still say if they had made like, idk, Sisko and Kira Nerys with them, that would have sold. But no, we just got TOS and TNG! Again! Because we always get TOS and TNG! And it wasn’t even a full wave of TOS or TNG either! You want Scotty? No! You just get Kirk and Spock! Bleep you!

He won’t…..

I’ll be satisfied with six seasons, but could watch it until the end of days. I really want to see promo posters styled after Star Trek V and VI. That seems like a natural endpoint to their promotional practice at least.

I don’t mind First Contact’s, but Generations had the last great Trek poster IMO. Go for 7!

Animated series have longer life spans…and Viacom/Paramount has a history of long orders – Beavis and Butthead in the MTV Days, and now on |+ and of course South Park that seems like it’ll never end! Plus it is cheaper than doing live action STAR TREK

Tell that to Prodigy…

I mean, technically Prodigy has produced the same number of episodes as Lower Decks to date. So Paramount blindly ordered what would amount to 4 seasons of LDS without any idea how the show would perform. Unfortunately, it seems like the show didn’t get the numbers it needed.
I have no idea if LDS gets more views or if it is cheaper to produce than Prodigy. Might be a combination of both.

My argument still stands. It was cancelled after one season. But obviously I agree LDS is more successful but there is a reason McMahan is throwing out warnings now. Sure I would love to be wrong and the show ends up going 10+ seasons or something like those other shows. It’s nuts South Park is still running.

I mean if they feel like they did everything they could with these specific characters they could always start with another lower decker group in another ship. The concept of Lower Decks itself lends to this. It could be like a gigantic anthology about lower deck characters from different eras. This show could technically continue for an eternity like that. First we can have the stories of the guys from Cerritos, then some other ship, maybe even from Kirk’s era or earlier.

It’s not my cup of tea, but I watch every freaking ep anyway, so I am doing my part to keep it going.

I like this showrunner. He’s not full of himself, just grateful for the opportunity to tell his story. And he’s realistic about the challenges of the streaming market without being pessimistic. Love the show, and hope for many more seasons.