Back in June, CBS Television Studios announced it had signed a five-year deal with Star Trek: Discovery co-creator and executive producer Alex Kurtzman, who would develop a number of future entries in the utopian TV franchise. At the time, it was reported that those shows would include a soapier Starfleet Academy show from the creators of Gossip Girl and Marvel’s Runaways; two limited series, including one based on The Wrath of Khan; and an animated series. Today, the studio announced more details on that animated project: it’ll be an adult cartoon called Star Trek: Lower Decks, created by Rick and Morty head writer Mike McMahan.
Described as focusing on “the support crew serving on one of Starfleet’s least important ships,” the new series takes its name from a seventh season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which the actions of the senior staff (and stars of the show) are seen through the eyes of the ship’s junior crew members. McMahan, in addition to being a “life-long Trekkie,” is the creator of @TNG_S8, the parody Twitter account that imagines a spirited final season of Next Generation involving lots of the same schtick that no doubt will populate Lower Decks. (McMahan’s Twitter adventures were adapted into a book in 2015.) He’s also been writing for Short Treks, the interim mini-episode series designed to expand the Star Trek: Discovery universe and hold fans over until the show returns in January 2019.
“Mike won our hearts with his first sentence: ‘I want to do a show about the people who put the yellow cartridge in the food replicator so a banana can come out the other end.’ His cat’s name is Riker. His son’s name is Sagan. The man is committed,” Kurtzman said in a press release. “He’s brilliantly funny and knows every inch of every ‘Trek’ episode, and that’s his secret sauce: he writes with the pure, joyful heart of a true fan. As we broaden the world of ‘Trek’ to fans of all ages, we’re so excited to include Mike’s extraordinary voice.”
Lower Decks will be produced by CBS Television’s new animation arm, CBS Eye Animation Productions. It joins the Jean-Luc Picard sequel series the studio (and actor Patrick Stewart) confirmed was in the works back in August.
While actual plot details are TBD, McMahan does offer one assurance in the press release: “I promise not to add an episode at the very end that reveals the whole thing took place in a training program.”