Tell a “Star Trek” fan even five years ago that in 2020 there’d be six new series in production simultaneously and they’d have thought you’d overdosed on cordrazine. The latest, announced earlier today at the franchise’s presentation at San Diego Comic-Con@Home, is “Star Trek: Prodigy,” a CG-animated series. The show will “follow a group of lawless teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship and use it to search for adventure, meaning and salvation.”
“Star Trek: Prodigy” is being developed by Kevin and Dan Hageman of “Trollhunters” and “Ninjago” fame, under the purview of current franchise architect Alex Kurtzman, and is targeted for a 2021 launch on Nickelodeon. The actual animation will be done by a newly created branch of CBS Television, CBS’ Eye Animation Productions.
“Prodigy” is the sixth “Trek” series in development since the franchise returned to episodic TV with a bang in 2017 with the debut of “Star Trek: Discovery” on CBS All Access. This new animated show will be the first series not exclusively geared for All Access, while another animated series, “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” geared more for adults in the vein of “Rick and Morty,” will launch on the streamer August 6. That show is taking a more satirical look at the franchise, poking fun at the tropes that fans all know and love. “Solar Opposites” creator and “Rick and Morty” veteran Mike McMahan is the creator of “Lower Decks” — he’d previously proven his “Trek” chops by concocting one of the greatest Twitter parody accounts ever, “TNG Season 8,” which provided fake episode loglines for if the series had continued. Classic example: “A subspace rumple disables the Enterprise and blinds the crew. Data & Geordi’s plan to build the perfect girlfriend backfires explosively.”
Once the panel itself got under way as a Comic-Con@Home livestream at 1:00pm ET, more was shared about “Lower Decks.” But first, the “Star Trek: Discovery” cast and producers assembled to give a Zoom table read, with concept art interspersed, from the Season 2 finale. The entire table read for the whole episode will be available Friday July 24 on cbs.com, and is meant to raise money for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, with a donation link included. Unfortunately, for some viewers the livestream of the table read unexpectedly ceased on YouTube, possibly due to the triggering of some automatic copyright protection software, Deadline reports. The feed was dead for 20 minutes until resuming shortly after end of the table read.
Details were scarce about “Discovery” Season 3. For one, there was no hint at the release date. All we know so far is that the Discovery found itself 900 years in the future at the end of the Season 2 finale, having agreed to jump that far ahead into the future to protect the holy grail-like “Sphere Data” the ship has been carrying. It appears that at this time in the 32nd Century, the Federation barely exists, and a rebellion has been waged against the once sprawling galactic organization.
One of the most exciting things about Season 3 will be the opportunity to see more of Anthony Rapp’s Lt. Stamets and Wilson Cruz’s Dr. Culber as they resume their relationship following Culber’s death, resurrection, and then their break up. Hey, it’s “Star Trek”! Already, it’s the most thoughtful depiction of an LGBT relationship ever in “Star Trek” and seeing how it continues to develop should be exciting. “For me the great thing about Season 3 is that it explores family in wonderful new ways,” says Anthony Rapp, which seems a given, since the Discovery crew literally won’t know anyone else in the 32nd Century. Wilson Cruz says, “Their relationship is on more of an equal footing. I love the new Culber. He’s more three-dimensional, to my mind.” As a physician he’ll be dealing more with issues of mental health in Season 3.
A little tease of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” was given as well. “I think Michael Burnham gives Spock permission to be human,” says Ethan Peck, noting that Spock had been encourage to be Vulcan only and suppress his human side in his whole life to that point. The new series will feature more of Peck’s spock along with Anson Mount’s Capt. Christopher Pike and Rebecca Romijn’s Number One.
The panel then switched to “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” showing the first scene from the initial episode, in which Tawny Newsome’s Ensign Beckett Mariner, a “screwup,” makes fun of Ensign Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid), who Quad describes as a Starfleet “fanboy.” She catches him recording his own captain’s logs, even though he has far to climb up the command ladder. Mariner is so hopped up on Romulan whiskey and excited about her new bat’leth that she accidentally stabs Boimler in the thigh. Watch the full scene below.
The “Picard” panel that ended the livestream was light on details about Season 2, currently being written with some pre-production taking place, but heavy on personality. Brent Spiner said Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman, and Michael Chabon actually wept while they pleaded with him to return as Data — the tears ostensibly sealed the deal. And Marina Sirtis, a highlight of Season 1, said “I was just happy, to be honest, that I didn’t have to wear the space suit.”