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With Star Trek: Lower Decks, creator Mike McMahan is going where no one has gone before: into the bowels of a Federation Starship. The Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead-like animated series coming to CBS All Access will shine a light on the unsung heroes who make the massive spacefaring vessels tick. And since the show is set during The Next Generation era, we might see some familiar faces start to fraternize with the menial laborers of Gene Roddenberry's sci-fi opus.
"There are a lot of recognizable characters in the galaxy at that point," McMahan teased to Entertainment Weekly. "Next Gen is my favorite era. And as a huge Trek fan, I would definitely want to try to use some of them so that I could not only build out the world, but also work with some of my heroes. But I can't get more specific than that. You'll have to wait and see."
If the show does end up springing for TNG cameos, the production won't be wanting in the character department. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), Worf (Michael Dorn), William Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), Data (Brent Spiner), Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden), Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton), and Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) are all up for grabs. Bring on the fan service!
EW's coverage also came with two new production stills, which you can check out below:
As a veteran writer/producer on Adult Swim's Rick and Morty and Hulu's Solar Opposites (he co-created the latter with Justin Roiland), McMahan is aware that he's once again subverting genre expectations. With that said, he doesn't want fans to think that he'll be nitpicking cliches through R&M's "very specific, chaotic, nihilistic lens."
"Lower Decks treats mythological sci-fi things just as important as a regular Trek show, while finding new stories to tell — just from a different angle," the creator told EW. "It's not disassembling mythological sci-fi things. It's treating them as important for everybody on the starship as it would be in a regular star Trek show."
He added that the "big stories" of the bridge crew trickle down into "social-emotional stories" for the "Lower Deckers" voiced by Tawny Newsome, Jack Quaid, Noel Wells, Eugene Cordero, Dawnn Lewis, Jack Ransom, Jerry O'Connell, Fred Tatasciore, and Gillian Vigman.
Star Trek: Lower Decks is expected to make its debut on CBS All Access sometime this year. The series won't be super crass like Rick and Morty can sometimes be, but "it's definitely not a kids show," McMahan said, "only because it's a little bit more complex than a kids show would be."
Not to worry, though. Nickelodeon is currently working on a Trek program for younger audiences.