‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Cast Pitches Musical Episode And Another ‘Strange New Worlds’ Crossover

Three of the stars of the animated comedy Star Trek: Lower Decks were at the ST-SF convention in San Francisco over the weekend. Tawny Newsome, Dawnn Lewis, and Eugene Cordero have finished their voicework for season 5, and they talked about how their characters have evolved through the series and discussed some things they would like to see, including a musical episode and another crossover.

Tawny wants funny version of “Subspace Rhapsody”

When a fan suggested that following the Strange New Worlds musical episode, Lower Decks should do one too, Tawny Newsome said it’s something she has been advocating since the beginning:

“It’s hard to top [‘Subspace Rhapsody’]. I’ve been saying it to [showrunner] Mike [McMahan] for years: Do a musical, do a musical! And he has always said no one has done the musical episode better than Buffy. He’s like, ‘We can’t touch it.’ It’s true. Well, and then ‘Subspace Rhapsody’ came out and I love that one. I do think that ours would be funnier because of the tone of our show. They weren’t trying to be funny, so that’s not a slam, they are an hour-long space drama and we are a 22-minute cartoon. I was like, ‘Look they did it so well that we could do the funny version of that.’ I will tell you, there is not one in season 5. So, if you want one, tell Paramount. We’ll see.”

Tawny Newsome at ST-SF 2024 (Photo: TrekMovie)

Strange New Worlds producers keep talking crossover

Newsome also said there has been talk of following up the Strange New Worlds season 2 episode “Those Old Scientists” with another live-action crossover:

“So there is not a crossover currently slated. But I will tell you every time I’m at like the Saturn Awards or Critics Choice or something, Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonzo Meyers—the showrunners for Strange New Worlds—are always like, ‘We had another idea for how to get you on the show. Would you ever dress as a Ferengi and come on…’ They are always scheming. Half of it is us joking and pitching, but I do believe that if something came up in the room, we’d all rush to do it.”

Tawny was also asked if she took anything from the SNW set and she revealed:

“So here’s what I took. I took my combadge and I took my bras, because I was like, ‘These are very nice bras and I’m taking them.’ They were nice!”

Tawny Newsome as Mariner and Jack Quaid as Boimler in  “Those Old Scientists” (Paramount+)

Evolving relationships

While not explicitly linking it to season 5, the actors talked about how the character relationships have evolved on the show. Dawnn Lewis commented on the relationship between Captain Freeman and her daughter, Beckett Mariner:

“Any parents wish your teenagers were out of your house? Okay, that’s kind of what the dynamic was between Captain Freeman and Mariner when the show first started. I love you, but you really annoy the heck out of me. Of all ships in outer space, how did you end up on my ship? Since then, every subsequent season has been our characters discovering things in common with each other. Some you really want to hold on to your first impression because it was just so important to you, but gratefully our amazing writer and creator Mike McMahan has found different levels of growth. We are still very much who we are as individuals, but each subsequent season we are discovering and allowing, and speaking into the different things that we have learned about each other, and we’re growing. So the relationship deepens… but I don’t know if Captain Freeman and Beckett will be best friends.”

Dawnn Lewis at ST-SF 2024 (Photo: TrekMovie)

Eugene Cordero talked about the Tendi/Rutherford relationship:

“It’s fun because it is a real love and if you watch as the relationship continues to grow, it’s less about will they/won’t they as a couple and more of look at how many things they continue to have in common, and get more assimilated to each other. There’s just so many moments… We basically feel like we have a real deep connection in a different way that when it’s even remotely close to a romantic relationship [Does Rutherford voice] ‘Nah, man, come on. Let’s keep it fun and friendly.’ So yeah, I have a blast and Noël [Wells] is amazing. And it makes it really easy for us to to work together and keep doing the show.”

Eugene Cordero at ST-SF 2024 (Photo: TrekMovie)

Revisiting the Edo?

When asked if there was a planet from Star Trek history Newsome would like to see the USS Cerritos check in on, she definitely had one in mind:

“The Edo. Have we seen them again? The sexy people in the rompers from [TNG] ‘Justice‘ that kill you for going on the grass. Because, I understand them, but then in 15 years of therapy, what have they become? Like, ‘Maybe we were a little harsh and maybe we should wear slightly more clothes.’ Because there is a lot of running and not a lot of support.”

The Edo from TNG’s “Justice” (Paramount)

Awaiting koala answers

One of the recurring gags for Lower Decks is the mystical koala entity seen by characters as they ascend to new levels of consciousness. It inspired this fun exchange…

Fan: I have one burning question, what’s up with the koala?

Tawny Newsome: It is not for you to know… You’ll know one day.

Dawnn Lewis: You’ll know when we know.

Tawny Newsome: Yeah.

The koala from Lower Decks awaits us all

No regrets for Mariner

When a fan asked if there was anything about their characters they would change or something different they’d want them to do, Dawnn Lewis said she would like to see Captain Freeman “smoke a joint” because she is so high-strung, giving her an episode when she could “out lower decks the lower deckers.” Eugene Cordero said he was “fine with everything,” but did note he was glad that Rutherford was no longer “glitchy” after the first season.

Tawny Newsome got a bit serious for this one by referencing a recent conversation she had with Discovery star Sonequa Martin-Green about their shared experiences.

“I was talking to Sonequa [Martin-Green] about the response to Mariner and the response to Michael Burnham. It is really interesting seeing the fan response to non-Black women who come out and are rebellious or whatever. She and I were sharing our experiences of like, ‘It’s interesting how much they hated me.’ ‘Oh, it’s interesting how much they hated me.’ And then I’ll have people come up to me at cons and be like, ‘I hated Mariner and now she’s my favorite character.’ I hear that all the time and I don’t give those people shit. I am like, ‘Why did you think you needed to say that out loud,’ but whatever.

I was talking to Mike McMahan and I was like, ‘I wonder if had we come out the gate like a little stealthier with Mariner.’ Like if she wasn’t so ‘BWAH!!’ in those first two episodes. And he was like, ‘Tawny, no. They would have done the same thing. The haters were going to hate… We really didn’t change her, people just kind of caught up to what we were doing.’ People caught up to the tone. They caught it to the fact that her mania was kind of bravado, but secretly she does really love Starfleet. So yeah, if we had done this differently, would my block list on Twitter be lower? [laughs] The answer is kind of:  no. I think we did it exactly how we needed to like she needed to just come out and be her full self.”

Eugene Cordero as Ensign Rutherford, Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner, Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler and Noël Wells as Ensign Tendi in the Lower Decks series premiere (Paramount+)

Animation and post-production is still underway for Lower Decks season 5. Paramount+ has not set a release date. but the show is expected to arrive later this year.

More to come from ST-SF

Stay tuned for more from the convention, and check out our previous reports:

Find more Trek convention news and reports at TrekMovie.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Tawny wants funny version of “Subspace Rhapsody”

She’s a great person, but OMG, I am not down with this at all. It’s becoming very clear that her version of Star Trek is much more fantasy than science fiction. Her comfort level is cute gimmicks and comedy, not science fiction stories.

This is a major Red Flag for me for SFA.



Totally agree with this. I fear the days of thoughtful, impactful Star Trek, which explored the human condition, are behind us. For some perspective, I happen to be sitting here watching ‘The Inner Light,’ as I write this.

Yeah, it’s unfortunate that Star Trek has become just a standard entertainment TV show unless of a prestige sf tv series like Foundation, Silo, Severance or the upcoming Three Body Problem. Even Invasion and Monarch come across with more gravitas and science fiction elements than Star Trek does these days.

So when did Star Trek become something that is more silly than serious?

SNW has too much silliness and it’s very popular for that unfortunately. I still cringe at what they have done to Spock especially as Nimoy made him one of Trek’s best characters.
Totally agree with you, Foundation is a great example of sci fi done right I love it. Silo and Severance also are top notch sci fi.Really looking forward to 3 body problem, we are spoiled right now for high quality sci fi shows. If SNW sticks with the sit com or musical approach next season I am done with it.

Spock can be funny, but that humor has to come out of how he perceives those around him, not because someone thinks it’d be cute to make him swap minds with T’Pring or some hackneyed crap.

I fear for the future of “Star Trek” because I don’t think another musical (even if it is on Lower Decks, which should have been the show to do a musical to begin with, not SNW) is going to help things. We need a return to episodes that explore the human condition. Sure, SNW has done a couple of these, but, man, it’s feeling too few and too far between.

“Hackneyed crap…”. This made me laugh. Fantastic comment.

That musical is the worse episode ever of Trek for me, not only was it excruciating pop nonsense music ,it just felt so out of place with the most rediculous reason for it all happening.
I also think we need SNW episodes that do what you say, original good stories and please can we not have so much reference to TOS and then totally rewrite it’s canon.
The show doesn’t need gimmicks or TOS fan service if it has good writing.

The OS could also be silly too.
A myth to think ST is ‘oh so serious’

TOS did do silly episodes too…. look at the monstrosity that is “I, Mudd”. And I’m going to come out and admit it: I’ve never been a fan of “The Trouble with Tribbles” either.

That’s all well and good but those are two of the more popular episodes among fans lol

Never claimed they weren’t. Just stating an opinion.

Yes indeed. Every show has had its silly episodes. Discovery is probably the most serious of the lot, with Picard a close second.

And it’s also of course just wild speculation going on when it comes to what Newsome will actually do as a writer. It’s fun to muse on it, but we won’t know until the show premieres, so any doomsaying with an air of authority based on mere scraps of commentary is a little funny.

One word…..Fizzbin………

And don’t forget that sometimes a serious episode comes across as silly… “Brain and brain. What is brain.”

That one was intended to be a farce, but a ‘creative’ decision overrode that intent.

I’ve never read that anywhere. And I’ve read most of what was written about TOS. What’s your source about this?

SNW is the best Trek since DS9 and Peck’s Spock is a big reason why. Almost as good as Nimoy, who is bar none the best actor in Trek history.

We will just have to disagree with this one, maybe Peck can play a decent Spock if the material he had to work with wasn’t so awful and yes that’s down to the poor writing. SNW can do alot better than the very below average season 2.
SNW and any season of DS9 could not be further apart for quality.

Though it is my favorite series outside of TOS, I am no fan of most ds9 s1, besides maybe three eps, but agree wholeheartedly with this assessment. SNW has all of the on-camera ingredients to be a success, but TPTB cooks and bakers keep fouling it up in spite of this, so recipe is not enough, you have to know how to work in the kitchen, along with chemistry (and in this case, alchemy) works to make the shows rise. And that means real drama and real stakes.

Trying to be like those shows would be the death of ST.

It has always been a balancing act, even back in the TOS era. While I love Coon’s injection of humor into the series most of the time (even while delivering some of Trek’s most memorable eps ever), apparently GR wanted to steer it back towards being more somber. Yet even he acknowledged the need to lighten up on occasion, though I think it took TVH hitting 100 mil in order for him to do that (and even there he was claiming it was finally a matter of Bennett listening to his ideas, though his time travel feature idea was grim and grotesque (relating to JFK and including a rape of Amanda by Klingons.)

I really think you need the occasional PIECE OF THE ACTION or TRIBBLES or THOSE OLD SCIENTISTS to leaven the mix. Shoot, didn’t it take James Doohan to point out to Gerrold that the latter had actually written a solid piece of drama underlying TRIBBLES, featuring Kirk in an ever-declining position that could potentially lose him his command?

But since the current batch of shows seems to rely mostly on spectacle and stupidity — sometimes in the same frame (look at the turbolift system) and only carry an occasional leavening of SF drama, that’s not quite the same admixture as before. Yin/yang, matter/anti-matter, storytelling … all a matter of balance. I have found nearly all 21st century Trek incapable of or unwilling to strike such a balance. So it makes sense that this can cost viewers.

I really don’t mind when Star Trek can be light and fun and why I do enjoy SNW and LDS so much.

Same time, I do agree I miss the gravitas too. It’s one of the reasons I liked season 3 of Picard so much because they brought some of that back. It felt like a very adult show but still had fun and comedic moments. It just never overtook the show either. The newer shows just needs more of a balance.

And you can never go wrong watching The Inner Light. 😀

I rewatched The Visitor the other day. That’s the type Star Trek stories I miss as well.

Absolutely, Tiger2, 200% with you on this! Drop the Mic.

Hope Kurtzman Team read this post.

I don’t deny that the occasional bit of comedic relief actually accentuates the gravitas. (My own guilty pleasure is “Qpid.”) Shakespeare did comic relief even in his tragedies!

But we’ve had almost nothing more than an infinite diet of comic relief lately (PICARD aside), and a lot of the “comedy” is obnoxious, not funny, most specifically including Tawny Awesome.

Totally with you on how Picard season 3 balanced the tone. Before that we had stories like Stardust City Rag which tried to do a zany comedic heist bookended by shocking dark scenes of violence.

You’ve got to have some levity that ebbs and flows, that’s been part of Star Trek since day one. Every show even has characters who are designed to inject humor and your mileage may vary on how successful the likes of McCoy, Data, Quark, Neelix, Phlox and Tilly are there, but it’s clearly been deemed essential. Take that away and it can get a bit oppressive. As much as I love The Inner Light and The Visitor, I don’t think I could take it if every episode of Trek was that deep and intense!

That’s what’s been on my mind the past couple of days with these articles and posts. I started watching TOS when I was about 6-7 years old back in the early 1970’s. I didn’t require anything to be ‘YA’ for me, I just loved it for what it was/is, and learned life lessons from it that follow through to this day. It’s probably my age talking here, but give kids intelligent, thoughtful and inspiring things to watch, they’ll love it. Why does everything have to have an age demographic targeted now? Just…write..:smart…stories. TOS did, as did TNG, VOY, DS9. Stories for everyone, every age.

Watched ‘I, Borg,’ yesterday too. Also a very thoughtful episode, imo. Yesterday was a good day!

I fear the days of thoughtful, impactful Star Trek, which explored the human condition, are behind us.

Well — in the spirit of Phlox’s “optimism!” — perhaps in 10 years or so we’ll see new management jettison the lighthearted comedy and revisit quality, thoughtful Star Trek. Stranger things have happened, and it’s what we saw with James Bond and SUPERMAN RETURNS.

I’m not even sure I’m going to watch STARFLEET ACADEMY, at this point.

What about Battlestar Galactica, the original was more light hearted the remake improved everything and gave us a darker more gritty version.

None of the writers on modern Star Trek take it seriously. It’s a big joke to them. But yes, the days where Star Trek has something to say are behind us.

That episode deserves your attention, not for you to be dashing off a comment on a doofy website while it plays in the background.

Fair. I actually thought that as I was writing it. Spot on.

It’s just too bad you’re not actually paying attention. The rest of us are loving the thoughtful, impactful Star Trek that’s currently on the air.

As for TIL, that’s probably the most overrated episode of Trek ever. It’s a fine story, but poorly told and it’s funny that people who think Trek should move forward into the future in space all love it so much.


Really, who is ‘the rest of us?’ Have you been reading these threads? I pay attention to good writing, or lack thereof. Of course you’re entitled to your opinion, but please refrain from speaking for everyone. It’s just not accurate. LLAP.

I never though INNER was well-realized in terms of the actual making (visually it just reminds me of CAPTAIN’S HOLIDAY, which while a fun show should not be the visual reference for this one), but the story is just plain good.

This feels like a strange overreaction to me.

Jack Quaid must sing.

A question that has been on our mind a lot lately:

Is Paul Simon an overrated musician?


Funny you ask that, as I ask myself that same question often. I say Yes, overrated. With respect.

It is true how divisive both Burnham and Mariner were at the beginning but for different reasons.

But I feel with Mariner she was SUPPOSED to be divisive because we never had a Starfleet officer who didn’t seem to like being in Starfleet very much and defied orders so blatantly. But I think she slowly won people over once people understood the character more. And she has really changed in the last few years. I always liked her personally.

With Burnham I think she’s still very divisive now. But I think making her a mutineer was the biggest mistake (and so much crying lol). I still don’t believe she could ever be Captain of a starship and I actually like her as a Captain.

I think the crying thing is a bit exaggerated by a lot of folks on here, but I do agree that making her a mutineer (when she really wasn’t because she was thrown in the brig within seconds) was a really stupid idea. It was clear that once Bryan Fuller was fired, the incoming producers didn’t really care for that storyline and it was brushed under the carpet.

Season 1 was a *mess*- and I say that as a huge fan of DISCO.

I was mostly joking about the crying thing. But yes the mutineer part is a real issue for some. I think if they could redo things that would be one of the first things to go as well.

I know Star Trek is just a fictional show but we know how seriously someone labeled a mutineer in the military today is a big deal. It just doesn’t jive with the real world. It’s still punishable by death today (probably a big reason very few do it lol). I can buy she earned her way back into Starfleet but being Captain is just not believable IMHO.

Now other people can disagree but that still seems to be a huge sticking point why so many still hate the character.

The friction behind the scenes was really evident in how that storyline played out. Burnham’s redemption doesn’t feel earned. Suddenly the likes of Detmer just forgive her 3 episodes in without scenes that really show their motivation? It’s like the writers didn’t believe in the idea so they gave up and just hoped we’d do the same.

I think the problem was mainly that too many people were saying “yes” to Bryan Fuller while some needed to say “no”. Especially in the writing room. Some of his ideas were really out there. I mean I loved his Hannibal show, but Star Trek was a bit much for his crazy form of storytelling. This is also why I think he generally has a hard time staying on as showrunner for shows in general.

Very possibly. He doesn’t strike me as being flexible.

The scenario you describe — Detmer forgiving Burnham 3 episodes in — would first require that Detmer have scenes, dialogue beyond “setting a course, blah blah blah” and some kind of character development. Clearly not what the DISCO folks are interested in.

Oh and I would love another SNW/LDS crossover. TOS is currently my favorite SNW episode because it was just done so well and just funny.

But I think it would make more sense for the crossover to happen on LDS and this time the Enterprise ends up in the 24th century and that crew could be completely animated this time.

I think McMahan could go to town with it

With all due respect if TOS is the best SNW episode it is not saying much. At least it was better than the one where the doctor and nurse Chapel do a John Wick on the Klingons. Who writes this stuff lol

Fair enough. And I don’t pretend to be in the majority either. And I admit I really enjoyed the comedy episodes in SNW but I understand the complaints about it as well.

Yes, that was horrible! Season three: no more John Wicks!

The guy who wrote Batman and Robin writes them, or at least oversees them.

Good point. Kind of hard to believe the guy who wrote A Beautiful Mind and Cinderella Man, both of which I love, has produced this drivel for Trek.

John Logan can write good plays and period films. But genre fare brings out a totally different writer.

That damn koala again. Star Trek has had many takes on religion — all of DS9, TFF, “Who Watches the Watchers,” Terralyseum, Apollo, etc. — but positive or negative, it has never, ever previously trivialized religion. So off-putting.

In what conceivable way is the koala gag “trivializing religion”? That’s a fucking bonkers assertion.

I mean, I would argue that episodes like Who Watched the Watchers where Picard talks about religion like a plague for civilizations to be freed from, or moronic character in DS9’s seventh season like Ross and (I believe) Bashir who talked about ‘not believing in the Prophets’ when they were a legitimate scientifically-proven phenomenon, were far more obnoxious takes on religion than the Koala.

As a person of Faith, I’ve only ever found the koala funny, never offensive. And hardly Trek’s most belittling view on religion.

Such a great time hope they have one there next year!

I was at this panel at ST-SF and I can tell you these lovely people are so naturally funny. I belly-laughed so hard so many times. They were the best panel and considering everyone was good that’s saying a lot. I’d love another crossover episode. Honestly, Those Old Scientist is one of my favorite episodes of Star Trek, period.

Heck no like techno. While I love Subspace Rhapsody, one is enough. You did it, great, now move on.

With all due respect to Tawny Newsome, this is a case I think of reading social politics into a situation where they’re not applicable. Like, dislike for mariner had nothing to do with her sex or skin color, it had to do with her manic nature, cutting her crewmate open with a Bat’leth and singing screechily about a shuttle blast-shield. It was the standard Trek ‘we don’t have the characters nailed down yet for the first half of the first season.’

But I was talking to Mike McMahan and I was like, ‘I wonder if had we come out the gate like a little stealthier with Mariner.’ Like if she wasn’t so ‘BWAH!!’ in those first two episodes. And he was like, ‘Tawny, no. They would have done the same thing. The haters were going to hate… We really didn’t change her, people just kind of caught up to what we were doing.’

…That is absolutely untrue. Mariner is not still like she was in those first few episodes, she’s less hyperactive. It was precisely because she was so ‘BWAH!!’ And when the writers changed that, and reserved that for selected moments only (“THERAPY!!!!” “FREINDSHIP!!!!” etc. :-) ) she became a lot more likable. And the fan issues with Michael Burnham are also totally different, having to do, again, with the way she was written, made central to everything, constantly crying (at least by reputation), hyper-competent at everything, etc. I am less versed in the criticisms there, but I know that in both cases, they were character-based. To try and make it about ‘it’s because we’re women’ is… frankly, everything wrong with discourse over women in media these days. Legitimate criticisms of writing are written off as sexism and racism (probably because there are sexists and racists loudly bellowing about so much these days, to be fair), and all discussion and legitimate criticism breaks down because of assumptions of bad-faith motives behind any claims lead them to be dismissed out-of-hand.