‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’/’Lower Decks’ Crossover Cast And Crew Talk Cut Scenes And Hope For Follow-up

One of the highlights of the second season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was the live-action crossover with the animated series Lower Decks. During a Trek Talks 3 panel today, the team that worked on “Those Old Scientists” talked about what it took to make the historic episode and what could come next.

More Hot Spock talk and a sehlat didn’t make final cut

Trek Talks is a marathon of Star Trek panels being streamed live today on YouTube to benefit the Hollywood Food Coalition. This morning, TrekMovie’s Laurie Ulster moderated a panel on “Those Old Scientists” with Lower Decks actor Tawny Newsome (Beckett Mariner), episode director Jonathan Frakes, and episode co-writers Bill Wolkoff and Kathryn Lyn.

Jonathan Frakes highlighted that one of the reasons the episode worked is that the team was given unheard-of flexibility when it came to ad-libbing and experimenting on set. He explained:

Frakes: “Kathryn and Bill allowed us to ad-lib, which was absolutely forbidden on all other Star Treks that I have been involved with for 38 years. So the idea that we now had brilliant ad-libbers like Tawny… It also freed up Anson [Mount] and Ethan [Peck] and Rebecca [Romijn], who I’ve all worked with a lot and they are very funny people. Once the permission was sort of given to us by by the writers and then we didn’t have any adult supervision really. [Bill Wolkoff interjects “We got the call for more”]… I got that same call, ‘Feel free to do whatever it is you are doing because these dailies are a blast.’ And usually you don’t get that call…. We were also encouraged during prep to embrace the fact that this is a comedy and let’s not pretend it’s not. It’s written funny. The actors are funny and lean into it.”

From the Trek Talks 3 Lower Decks / Strange New Worlds panel

On the subject of what didn’t make the final cut, Frakes said he “kept everything in” when he turned in the episode but admitted there are probably some fun outtakes of scenes, like when he told actor Jack Quaid [Brad Boimler] to just have fun with exploring Pike’s office, which resulted in him yelling out “Riker” as he jumped on Pike’s saddle.

But Tawny Newsome revealed some of the stuff that was cut could have been to keep the show from getting too risqué:

Tawny Newsome: “Yeah, it was a high-minded affair. There’s also a lot of extra filthy stuff of me objectifying Spock that I think is on the cutting room floor. There’s a good reel of me just saying despicable things about my friend… to my friend.”

The writers also revealed something they wish had made the final cut:

Kathryn Lyn: “Bill and I had an animated sehlat at the end… We’ve spent the last year trying to get a sehlat back into Strange New Worlds.”

Adding a sehlat to Strange New Worlds would make sense, as young Spock had a pet sehlat, I-Chaya, who appeared in the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode “Yesteryear.”

Jess Bush as Chapel, Anson Mount as Pike, Babs Olusanmokun as M’Benga, Rebecca Romijn as Una, Celia Rose Gooding as Uhura, Christina Chong as La’an, Ethan Peck as Spock and Melissa Navia as Ortegas in “Those Old Scientists” (Paramount+)

At NYCC last October, Mike McMahan talked about how he felt left out because he wasn’t able to be on set for the shooting of the crossover episode, telling Alex Kurtzman on stage he wanted to do another one. At the time, Kurtzman replied “Absolutely.” Laurie Ulster asked the panel if there has been any discussion about doing another, to which Frakes replied “Ever since we wrapped.” He also clarified “yes” he was referring to another crossover with Lower Decks and Strange New Worlds.

Watch Trek Talks 3

The event is ongoing. Here is the live stream for the full event (you can scroll back to see the “Those Old Scientists” panel.

The mission of the Hollywood Food Coalition is to feed and serve the immediate needs of the hungry every day of the year so they can build better lives. You can see some of the great work Hollywood Food Coalition is doing on their YouTube channel in videos like this one:

If you want to donate now, you can do so here:

Donate to the Hollywood Food Coalition

Get updates and learn more at trektalks.net.

Discovery seasons one through four are currently streaming exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., the U.K., Switzerland, South Korea, Latin America, Germany, France, Italy, Australia and Austria. Seasons two and three are also available on the Pluto TV “Star Trek” channel in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel.

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

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I get the bling point to do this fan service gimmick once to delight the fans of the cartoon sitcom, but it’s time to move on now – SNW doesn’t need more LDS… Been there done that! Check off the one-time musical gimmick as well. No more big swings — Time to hit lots of great singles and doubles this next season for SNW

Also, I am really hoping that Tawny Newsome, who I know really loves Star Trek, can bring a more grown up and less sophomoric approach to Star Trek in her work on the upcoming academy series

I really liked her appearance in SPACE FORCE, but to be honest, the Lower Decks gimmickry has really turned me off the actress. Who knows, maybe she’ll jettison the sophomoric approach, but I’m not holding my breath; they’re more likely to double down on it, for all we know.

Good point. I think she will have a hard time dropping the sort of middle-school-level situational comedy stuff that’s obviously in her comfort zone. But she’s obviously a smart person and does love Trek, so I’m hoping that my concerns aren’t realized.

Very much agree with this.

The only reason I’d be against it is because there’s such a limited number of episodes per year.

But if they wanted to make a LDS/SNW live action streaming movie event, that also teams them up with Captain Seven and the Enterprise-G? Let’s do it!

Love the episode. Loved Quaid. One of the best episodes of the show, and right behind Unification for best Trek crossover episode.

You’re just too much of a negative Nelly. You don’t like anything. Why bother watching! I say bring it on. I actually like Star Trek, especially when it does fun stuff like this (and does it well!)

Sorry but you don’t call the shots and they have already said they’re not interested in making “more of the same” they are taking big swings and taking big chances and they’re doing it their way! Expect many more unusual , creative and unexpected stories and most of us fans of the shoe like it that way!

Lower Decks might’ve started as just a cartoon sitcom, but I’m happy it’s evolved throughout its run. As it exists now, it really looks & feels like a genuine continuation from TNG/DS9/VOY. And seeing the those characters exist in live action proves the Lower Deckers are as legit Starfleet as anything else. Would love to see more. “Cerritos strong!”

If they have to do it again, then pick another Trek series for this next time. Maybe Prodigy or the Academy Series or the Picard movie for the next crossover. It should not be SNW’s continued responsibility to help make LDS come across as more legit.

The burden to make LDS seem more legit should be spread across multiple series, and not be the sole responsibility of SNW

Not a bad idea. Would be great to see the Lower Decks cast show up in a Picard follow-up, time travel or not. I’d love that. To be clear, Lower Decks doesn’t need the other series to legitimize them. As the show has continued to build on Trek history along with its own internal lore, I feel that Lower Decks is the most consistently “classic” Star Trek of all the new series. And the characters have grown beyond their two-dimensional beginnings. That’s why they can exist alongside the crew of SNW, demonstrate their competency as Starfleet officers, yet still be themselves. If you aren’t enjoying Lower Decks, well I’m sorry you don’t see what I do. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, right? Maybe one day it’ll click for you. 🖖

You make some good points (I totally agree with IDIC on what we like in Trek), but it was you yourself who said:

And seeing the those characters exist in live action proves the Lower Deckers are as legit Starfleet as anything else. 

I am simply agreeing with what you stated here and carrying that point forward –I am following your correct observation by saying that the burden to continue to prove that LDS is starfleet legit should be spread across multiple live action Trek series, and should not be the sole responsibility of SNW

100% agree!

The show gets better and better! 😎

Please no more LDS/SNW. I have tried to like LDS but it’s too cringe for me. I approached the crossover with great trepidation, but I really like it! Tried again. Still can’t get into LDS. One trip to the well was fine, but no more please


They don’t need to do another crossover on SNW, this episode was special and it’s best not to tempt fate, especially as the SNW characters need development time. By far my favorite of the season, though.

And we did see a live-action Sehlat (well, CGI, but you get me) on ENT in “The Forge.”


I think they can hit lighting in a bottle twice. Love SNW and truly love LDS! Fun and interesting characters.

If they do it again, I hope it’s not in S3 of SNW. Give some time to let the crossover breathe. It also wouldn’t fly if it was an accident, like in “Those Old Scientists.” One of the crews would need to have a legitimate reason to reconnect with the others on purpose.

I would love another crossover, to be honest. I have struggled with Strange New Worlds and its wildly uneven quality (imo, of course) but I thoroughly enjoyed Those Old Scientists. It was great fun.

It doesn’t need a follow-up. Like how likely is it that these two crews need to time travel and cross paths AGAIN? If they do do it, I’d rather see the SNW crew sucks into the future, and make the SNW characters animated like the final scene. In other words, Not another live-action episode.

The SNW/LDS crossover was fun, and I’d love to see the Cerritos crew in live action. Not sure S3 of SNW is the right vehicle for that. Season 2 was great fun with the crossover and the musical, but Season 3 has a lot to tie up right off the bat. Even if they can wrap up the finale’s events inside of the season premiere, that leaves nine episodes to give the actual SNW cast exciting things to do.

In promo pictures, Mariner and Boimler were seen standing in Sam’s lab, which also didn’t end up in the final episode. And in fact, the whole set seems very elusive…?

Anyway. I’d love to see more live-action in Lower Decks! They could have their very own episode like that. No need to bring the supporting SNW cast into it. LD flies very well on its own!