Mike McMahan Teases ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Season 5 Storylines For Tendi, T’Lyn, Mariner, Ma’ah, And More

The fourth season of Star Trek: Lower Decks wrapped last week with a cinema-grade finale titled “Old Friends, New Planets,” which TrekMovie  (and many fans) are calling the show’s best season ending yet. Not wanting to let the excitement cool, showrunner Mike McMahan is eager to drop hints on his plan for season 5 and beyond.

Season 5 takes the lower deckers in new directions

One of the more challenging aspects of writing Lower Decks has been allowing the characters to grow, evolve, and move up in the ranks while still maintaining their inherent “lower decks” chemistry. This topic has come up in some of a series of post-finale interviews Mike McMahan gave, who confirmed that next season the animated comedy (which has already been written) will continue to be less about the big missions and glamorous assignments and more about the crew figuring out who they are as people. Mariner, for example, will show signs of having worked through her grief over the loss of Sito Jaxa. Speaking to Collider, McMahan described Mariner’s new outlook on life:

“Season 5, Mariner is much more joyful. She’s still Mariner; she’s still chaotic. She’s still hilarious, but she isn’t weighed down by the weight of not having spoken about Sito.”

The final scene of the season finale featured Tendi being recalled to her home planet and boarding an Orion ship. McMahan is quick to assure fans that this is not an attempt to drop the character. Speaking with Inverse, he confirmed:

“Tendi will return. Tendi is not being written out of the show… this isn’t a bad thing for Tendi. She is going to go and kick some ass.”

He assures us this is an attempt to develop her character in a way that doesn’t depend on her getting a promotion, and may not depend on her being in Starfleet at all. Speaking with The Mary Sue, McMahan hinted:

“Tendi’s been trying to figure out is she Starfleet or is she the Mistress of the Winter Constellations? And, at the end of this episode, she’s like, ‘No, I’m D’ Vana Tendi. I’m something new that that exists in both. And my sister wants me to come back to Orion. Well, she might’ve bit off a little more than she can chew.'”

T’Lyn, a more recent addition to the crew, grew in popularity among fans in season 4 and will be a major player in season 5. While guarded about details, McMahan told Collider:

“There’s some really, really fun, funny stuff for her in season 5. I don’t want to give away too—how can I say this? T’Lyn’s story in season 5 involves her and another character in an interesting way, and you see T’Lyn embrace science and Starfleet more than I think people anticipate.”

Tendi and T'Lyn in the Star Trek: Lower Decks season 3 finale

Giving the audience more T’Lyn is the only logical thing to do.

Mike promises that in addition to T’Lyn,  we’ll see more of Ma’ah, the Klingon lower decker who rose to captain in the season 2 episode “wej Duj” and returned in season 4, helping Mariner out in episode 9. Calling Ma’ah “the Klingon Boimler,” McMahan says in a ScreenRant interview that he sees potential there too:

“Ma’ah is not on the same path as T’Lyn, but I love Klingons, and I love Ma’ah, and you get more. This is not the end of Ma’ah.”

Fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine will recognize the pattern of gradually expanding the show’s supporting character list. Having a deep bench of interesting recurring characters was one of DS9’s greatest strengths, and Lower Decks has already seen the same kind of benefit from it.

Ma’ah will be back.

Season 5 will return episodic focus

With the stories getting bigger in scope each season and the characters growing in new and exciting ways, McMahan is also careful to point out what areas the show shouldn’t change and needs to stay close to its original concept. Lower Decks originally focused on more self-contained stories, contrasting sharply with the highly serialized Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard. But with season 4, the writing team experimented with a full-season story arc. McMahan, in The Mary Sue discussion, insisted that won’t be a permanent trend:

“We know season 4 took some serialized elements we had done before and kind of ramped them up across the whole season more… But there is a little bit of serialization in season 5, but not to the extent that you saw this season. This one’s was a special take on it.”

The season finale tied up the ongoing mystery ship arc.

Is it fan service if he is serving himself?

Going forward, the writing will still maintain the same deep love for Trek lore, the same Easter eggs, and the same deep cut reference jokes that have made Lower Decks work so far. Mike McMahan insists that these touches aren’t “fan service” and are the reason the show works so well. He’s a fan himself, making the show he wants, and other fans get it. He summarizes his view in a recent episode of The 7th Rule podcast:

“If you love Lower Decks, it’s kind of a proof of like, a super-fan can kind of make a show for themselves, and… the things that could read as fan service to other people, yeah, it’s sort of fan service to me. Like, I’m a fan of the thing I wanted, the stories I wanted to tell, and the way I wanted to tell it. My initial theory was, ‘Well, if I’m happy, you’ll all be happy’ and most of the time that works.”

L-R Noël Wells as D’Vana Tendi and Jerry O’Connell as Jack Ransom in episode 5, season 4 of Lower Decks

Being able to spot visual references is a part of enjoying Star Trek: Lower Decks.

A release date for Star Trek: Lower Decks season 5 has not been announced but is expected to be in 2024. Seasons 1-4 are currently streaming on Paramount+.

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

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Yes to more Ma’ah!

Amen brother! Ma’ah is great!


Also happy he’s returning next season! He’s quickly becoming a fan favorite.

Totally excited for season 5. This show is amazing and only gets better and better. Keep it up McMahan, you’re making Star. Trek great again! 😎👍

Please dude. 🙄

You’re entitled to hate it bro and I’m entitled to love it! That’s cool with you right? So you can keep on scrolling dude. 😎🖖

Never understand message boards and how people get triggered over the weirdest and smallest things lol.

Anyway season 5 sounds awesome so far!

I think it was the Trump like slogan at the end of the comment that made him 🙄. Though not to speak for him.

Ok I can understand that then. That would definitely trigger someone lol. Definitely don’t support that charlatan criminal and can’t wait to see him in prison. Just want to clarify I’m nowhere close to a Trump supporter.

Not so much triggered, but a dog whistle. Kinda like pointing out that the Klan/American Nazi/Christian Nationalist rally has “good people” there…..

I hear you that’s fair! It’s become such a common term now. But sadly due to that A-hole.

But I was just talking about my love for all things Lower Decks. I’ll be more careful in the future though.

His later statement below belies that, but yeah Trump overused the phrase on making things great again. It’s a perfectly good phrase, everybody knows it. C’mon man, I’m not joking! A perfect phrase! 😜

Who said I hated the show? It’s just that reading your last post made me vomit.

Yeah I understand it now although you could’ve slightly elaborated more lol.

But it wasn’t my intent obviously.

Don’t worry about it. I just have a strange sense of humor.

Lol , I know the feeling trust me!

Season 5 should be the last season. Never out stay your welcome.

Hmmm. If it stays good, I’d be happy for it to stick around.

Season 4 is my favorite so far. Every season has only gotten better IMO.

The Simpsons would like to have a word with you….

Simpsons hasn’t been funny in 20 years.

I stopped watching that show years ago.

And also Family Guy, Futurama, American Dad, South Park, Archer, Bob’s Burgers, Rick and Morty, Spongebob SquarePants, Beavis and Butthead and on and on and on.

That’s the thing about American animated shows, they can go on for a long long time. Half of these are still making new episodes literally 20 years after they debuted. Some of them have even been cancelled several times only to return again as both Futurama and Beavis and Butthead recently did.

I think while a show like Lower Decks probably can’t go 20 years since it does display a passage of time unlike most of these shows, it can certainly go for probably longer than any previous Star Trek show for sure. And I suspect even when it does end, there will still be specials made and even possibly a movie at some point. I mean if Beavis and Butthead can get a freaking movie (which I still remember watching the trailer for in front of First Contact’s opening weekend), anything is possible lol.

Or bring in a new cast of new Lower Deckers as Our Heroes ™ move on in their careers.

That’s a great idea. I’ve been having the same thoughts when I watch the show now.

This is a great idea as well! 😃

They could even do a time jump to the 25th century and have characters like Tendi or Boimler now Captain and in charge of new lower deckers to keep some of them around.

That’s what is great about Star Trek you can always find ways to keep legacy characters while introducing new ones. That’s literally the idea of Legacy.

I can respect that, but FWIW, the combined entirety of the four seasons released of the show so far amount to a bit less than just a single typical 26-episode season of TNG, DS9 or Voyager, in terms of screen running time.

I believe in quality over quantity. So many of those episodes in the old 26 episodes per season were stinkers and I would never waste my time rewatching them.

I probably only rewatch bad episodes of TOS-ENT because I was a kid when they came out. I revisit “Lower Deck” as it’s short and endearing, but generally I’m of the same “less is more” mentality these days.

There are exceptions though. “Ghosts” (UK) could surely go on another couple seasons even though I admire the restraint and integrity of capping it at 5. “Bob’s Burgers” isn’t delivering at the same consistent it peaked at a decade ago yet still manages to hit some shocking creative highs, something “The Simpsons” wasn’t doing in its 14th season. “Lower Decks” is even more character-based than Bob’s, and its layered appeal revolves around some degree of evolution and development. That gives it more potential than a show that mostly depends on a plot of the week or jokes being fresh. I don’t think it can run forever, but out of all the NuTrek shows, it has the best chance of doing so and not outstaying its welcome.

You were a kid throughout the whole duration of time between TOS and ENT! Impressive! I must know your secrets! ;p

I look like Ru’afo now.

Ten, and out. How it ends: with our LDx cast being promoted to a command position, or assigned to a desired assignment, but definitely leaving the Cerritos behind for good (maybe with Mariner taking over the USS Cerritos, as both an act of love from her parents AND a bit of revenge for putting her parents through heck?).

Lower Decks was a major surprise for me. I watch season 1 and it didn’t really do anything for me. I enjoyed it but I wasn’t excited each week to see the next episode. But when I re-watched it on DVD I enjoyed it so much and loved it a lot more.
Now Lower Decks has become a favourite of mine and I look forward to the next episode. It is fan service but done in the right way. The character represent us, the audience and fans of the franchise.
Can’t wait for season 5 – hopefully it won’t be the las season. There is so much more Star Trek for them to pull from and really delve into.

This is great. Really enjoy Lower Decks. This show needs to continue. More animated seasons. Movies. Live-action Lower Decks!

I want an animated prequel movie about Mariner teaming up with Quimp the Ferengi and Klingon General K’orin (and maybe even Riker) on a secret off-the-books mission during the Dominion War.

Going back to a somewhat more episodic approach again sounds good to me. I enjoyed the fourth season’s overarching storyline, don’t get me wrong, but I like how flexible Lower Decks can be, and this is just furthering that flexibility.

I thought Season 4 was a significant improvement over Season 3. I still have to stop and think awhile to remember anything about Season 3.

While I liked season 3 more than you did, admittedly it is probably my least favorite so far.

With the exception of the Peanut Hamper episode, I totally loved season 3 too. It gave us the DS9 episode, probably still my favorite from the show so far.

For the Lower Decks movie, McMahan should remake Galaxy Quest with actual Star Trek IP and the lower deckers as live action characters!

So would the actors just be playing themselves then?

Fictional versions of themselves!

I thoroughly enjoyed Season 4. The technique of mostly stand-alone episodes but with a recurring element that was resolved in the final two was well-done. For me, that worked better than Season 3. Looking forward to a Big Rewatch of everything when Season 5 comes out.

Really enjoyed season 4, from the premiere to the finale, it was a lot of fun and per usual honed in on what makes Star Trek so special. I don’t think I disliked a single episode this season. As much as I liked both Picard season 3 and SNW season 2 I can’t say the same about those (but enjoyed most ;)).

Season 4 wasn’t perfect but close enough for me. It really continues to add to canon in a very fun and unique way and has really become the glue of the franchise; especially in the post-Nemesis setting. I never thought I would be saying that about an animated comedy but here I am.

Very much looking forward to season 5…and hopefully beyond! This show deserves it.

Preach brother! 👍

All the problems with the final ep have me concerned that McMahan is running out of ideas. Dude kinda jumped the shark with that ep.