Animated Nickelodeon 'Star Trek' Show Unveiled During Comic-Con at Home
During a marathon 80-minute Comic-Con@Home virtual panel Thursday, the creative teams of Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek: Picard talked the future of long-lasting franchise — and teased two new entries into the property.
The first piece of news came from Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin, speaking ahead of the individual show-specific sections of the panel, as the two announced Star Trek: Prodigy, a new animated show debuting on Nickelodeon in 2021. The series is being developed by Trollhunters veterans Kevin and Dan Hageman, with Nickelodeon executive vp of animation production and development Ramsey Naito overseeing for the network.
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Prodigy will follow a group of "lawless teens" using a derelict Starfleet ship to search for adventure, according to Nickelodeon. Kadin said that the Trek creative team is "super excited" to use the show as an entry point for younger viewers into the franchise.
Kurtzman and Kadin also spoke briefly about the unique place that Star Trek, as a property set in a near-utopian future, has when addressing contemporary social issues.
"We're all so proud to be working on a show that has a message that really matters, and really resonates," Kadin said. "What's great when you're working on genre [material] is that you often get to say things about current events and mask them so they don't feel like medicine."
That was a message echoed by the cast of Star Trek: Discovery, following a virtual table read of the first act of the show's season two finale.
"Star Trek is fiction, it's science fiction, but it's always meant to imagine a world where people are valued for who they are — the content of their character, not the color of their skin, not their gender, not their gender expression, not their age. In this explosive time, it seems more resonant now than ever that we help shine a light on all of those issues," said Anthony Rapp, who plays Lt. Stamets.
Wilson Cruz, Hugh Culber on the show, added, "What I'm grateful for is the fact that Star Trek has always been this aspiration for our society, for our country … It's been our job to not only imagine that future, but to create it. Going into season three, we have the opportunity to really have a conversation about the world we want to create."
Multiple members of the cast teased that the as-yet unscheduled third season of Discovery will see the cast — who traveled into the far future in the finale of the show's second year — discovering brand new final frontiers inside themselves as they try to adjust to their new surroundings. Sonequa Martin-Green said that she believed Michael Burnham was searching for "salvation of sorts," as well as a "hope of unveiling, continual unveiling, and finding that sweet, sweet balance between all the forces that wage within me." Michelle Yeoh, meanwhile, joked that Georgiou was "really pissed off" at having to rebuild her power base in the future.
The Discovery crew, teased Mary Wiseman (Ensign Tilly) is "on the edge of the unknown, and I think all of our ideas of who we are and where we're headed are going to be transformed."
Also present during the Discovery segment were Ethan Peck, Rebecca Romijn and Anson Mount, who would be appearing in the Discovery spinoff series, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Mount, whose character Captain Pike got a glimpse at his own future in Discovery's second season finale, said that in the spinoff show, his character would be struggling to come to terms with that discovery (no pun intended).
"There's a reason that we can only see our past, because we're a very neurotic species and we wouldn't know how to comport ourselves," Mount said. "The question becomes, how do you move forward? I think he's going to wrestle with, how he can best utilize the rest of his life for the good of the world, the universe?"
Following the Discovery portion of the panel, the cast of animated comedy Star Trek: Lower Decks debuted the first glimpse at the show, which begins Aug. 6 on CBS All Access.
According to showrunner Mike McMahan, the series — set soon after events of the 2002 movie Star Trek: Nemesis and intended to hew closely to Star Trek canon — would act as a good introduction to the franchise. Noël Wells, who voices Ensign Tendi on the series, agreed. "Obviously, it's going to be exciting for those people who are Trekkies, but the show has a totally different perspective and comedic bent that we haven't seen before," she said. "If you're into animation, if you like dark comedic comedies, there's plenty for everybody."
The extended panel ended with the cast of Star Trek: Picard looking back at the show's first season. Many, including Alison Pill and Michelle Hurd, noted that Patrick Stewart's involvement was a major draw to work on the show — much to guest star Marina Sirtis' amused disdain — while Stewart himself talked about his joy at returning to the iconic role after so long.
"I made the right decision [to return]," Stewart said. "It was entirely due to the people I met in the first couple of meetings, who were our producer-writing team. I sat for more than two hours listening to them talk [about] their plans, and how they wanted not just to revive Next Generation, and to illustrate the years that have passed, and the world was changed. That's what excited me. And then, the daily excitement was working with you guys, and discovering this extraordinary range of talents that had been assembled. There is such diversity in our ensemble, that for the probably the first five episodes, I was just awash with the satisfaction, the deep profound satisfaction, of working with you all. But, also, he was not the same man. He was a sad, disappointed, angry, possibly dangerous individual."
Picard has been renewed for a second season, but the subject wasn't addressed during the panel.
by Lesley Goldberg
by Carolyn Giardina