Star Trek: Lower Decks' is a love letter to franchise: creator Mike McMahan

Ravi Bansal
·3-min read

New Delhi, Jan 28 (PTI) Writer-creator Mike McMahan says he has made 'Star Trek: Lower Decks' as a love letter to the iconic franchise that has been around for over five decades.

The animated series, which currently streams on Amazon Prime Video, is all things 'Star Trek' but it also offers something new to franchise fans, he said.

'This series is a love letter to 'Star Trek'. It's sort of something new, something that you haven't seen before but it also feels like something that might have been there the whole time.

'One of the wonderful things that Gene Roddenberry created is a format for a show that is so familiar and so fun to tell stories in, but also feels like there's this expansive world that you can keep examining, like other places, areas and ships. I just wanted to build on to that...' McMahan told PTI in a Zoom interview.

The animated series looks at the lives of the people serving in the lower rung of Starfleet's one of the least important ships.

The show features the voices of actors Tawny Newsome as Beckett Mariner, Jack Quaid as Brad Boimler, Noel Wells as D'Vana Tendi and Eugene Cordero as Sam Rutherford.

McMahan, who previously worked as a writer on cult hit animated series 'Rick & Morty', said the show explores the stories of these characters who largely went unnoticed in previous 'Star Trek' works.

'My dream 'Star Trek' is one that's all about balance and is really funny. There are characters you usually don't get to see on a ship, even though we have a fully thought out bridge crew and sci-fi premises.

'Here, we're focusing on the emotional stories of these lower decks officers,' he added.

All the characters in the series, McMahan said, have been developed with a pinch of his own humanity.

'It's a combination of characters that I love and saw in Star Trek. In all the shows and the movies, you have a lot of echoes across the different characters. Like Data and Tuvok, and Odo and Spock, they all have similarities in a way.

'So what I wanted to do is do the same thing. Like make sure the characters feel familiar. But at the same time, when you're writing comedy, you want to have something relatable and you want to write stuff that has different elements of myself and some of the other writers.' The rest of the job was done by the actors who gave a different dimension to these characters with their performances.

'The voice actors bring so much, like Mariner is so influenced by Tawny Newsome and her performance. Same is the case with Jack Quaid with Brad Beutler, Noel Wells with Tendy and Eugene Cordero with Rutherford.

'As we get to know these voice actors and how they interpret these characters, we're really trying to lean into their strengths as well. It's kind of a pastiche of 'Star Trek' and me and the voice actors and things we find while we're writing,' McMahan said.

'Star Trek: Lower Decks' is produced by CBS’ Eye Animation Productions, CBS Studios’ new animation arm; Secret Hideout; and Roddenberry Entertainment.

Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, Rod Roddenberry, Trevor Roth and Katie Krentz serve as executive producers alongside McMahan. PTI RB BK BK