Mike McMahan talks warp bubbles, the USS Cerritos, Captain Riker, and what to expect in Star Trek Lower Decks Season 2
Set a course for Star Trek Lower Decks Season 2. Maximum warp!
Although UK fans are getting their first look at the all-new animated Star Trek series today on Amazon Prime Video (read our review). Showrunner Mike McMahan is already putting the finishing touches on Season 2. And he is eager to tease us with what awaits beyond the final frontier.
Sitting down with a few YouTube channels and Podcasts, the showrunner teased more Riker. More guest stars. And more character development for Tendi and Rutherford. But alas, one character that won’t be popping up for a cameo is Jean Luc Picard. Talking to Ketwolski on YouTube, McMahan said:
“I can tell you right now we are so deep in production, not only is it all written, but I’ve got episode 209 to watch this week in animatic form. And we’ve already sent the first four episodes to color. So we are buzzing along. You guys will definitely get a new season in 2021, god willing… It’s a really great second season, I am really excited for you guys to see it. You don’t know what’s coming. It’s really fun”
The executive producer talked about how they are changing things up with the characters in season two:
“There was a distinct edict the second season… I want to know more about Tendi and Rutherford by the end of the second season than I did by the end of the first… We don’t want them to be supporting Mariner and Boimler. I want it to feel like it’s almost four leads, as opposed to two leads and two sidekicks… Having now written all of the second season, there’s a lot less ‘It’s Mariner and Boimler; It’s Tendi and Rutherford.’ More often it’s the four of them together or different mixes.”
McMahan also confirmed that the bridge crew will be changing for Season 2. Especially after the demise of a major character in season one:
“The new head of security… I’m really excited for you guys to see this. I’m really proud of what we decided to do there. And because we weren’t having to explain what the show was to ourselves or to an audience, you get some really fun Dr. T’Ana episodes… There’s a really funny Billups episode, where you learn more about his backstory. Billups is the secret sleeper favorite of the writers. We came up with such funny shit for him second season.
The second season is different. No longer is the secret between Mariner and her mom. What we do with that story and with Freeman I’m really excited for you guys to see it. The first and second season feels different, in a good way”
One of the funniest traits of season one was the glorious cameos from the mainstays of Star Trek lore. But, McMahan has put the brakes on fan hopes of seeing an animated version of Jean Luc Picard. But, never fear. Jonathan Frakes will be returning as Captain William T. Riker in season two.
“Riker is back second season because Boimler is on the Titan and we follow that thread… And I am a big fan of Farscape and they do stuff narratively with their leads like taking them away from the main ship for extended periods of time, which I think is fascinating and having real consequence.”
JEAN LUC PICARD
“Even though I have my own Star Trek show, I still can’t imagine being able to work with Sir Patrick, in a way. Part of is that Lower Decks lives thematically, and just the whole vibe of it isn’t a show where Patrick Stewart Picard showing up would make a lot of sense… I love Frakes’ performance and he is known for his jovial nature. With Patrick Stewart being in Picard and Picard being the tone that it is, I didn’t want to create anything conflicting… Picard is this reliable father-figure. He is not really a goofball”
While speaking with Ship-Talking podcast, the showrunner touched upon the unconventional design of the U.S.S. Cerritos. He also revealed that the tepid “grow on you” response from the fans was not an accident. In fact, it was by design.
“All the things people were getting twisted up about like warp bubbles, and where is the deflector dish and how can you get through the struts. I’ve got answers to all of that. It’s not stuff you want to hear, because it’s not the best ship in the fleet, but that feeling a lot of people had of ‘Oh, I don’t know if I like the look of this ship,’ and then by the of the season they are ‘I kind of like this little ship.’ That’s exactly what we were going for.”
After immersing myself in season one and finding the first few episodes a bit of a culture shock, I am looking forward to more Lower Decks. The references to classic Trek moments, episodes, and events paid homage to the legacy of the franchise. While also forging its own path alongside Mariner and Boimler.
I’ll admit, there was a degree of tone adjustment and series acclimatization to endure. But after three episodes, I was thoroughly hooked on the show. And let’s face it, having the U.S.S. Titan with Riker and Troi come to the rescue accompanied by a blast of Jerry Goldsmith’s theme was a masterstroke.
If this is a taste of what McMahan has in store for us in season two, I will be first in line to watch it. Lower Decks may not be vintage Star Trek, but it has earned its place amongst the franchises best. And long may it continue.
Set a course for season two. Maximum warp!
Star Trek Lower Decks Season One is streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime Video NOW!
The Future of the Force. The future of pop culture writing.
Phil Roberts is the Owner, Daily Content Manager, and Editor-In-Chief of The Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Batman, DC, Marvel, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, King Kong, and the Ray Harryhausen movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force and babbles frequently!