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The cast of Star Trek: Lower Decks on their bonds of 'mutual respect, love, and bullying'
The hit animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks is ready to boldly go into Season 2. The outrageous yet surprisingly poignant love letter to all of Star Trek will return on Aug. 12, and the cast of the U.S.S. Cerritos is ready to beam back in.
Our four main Lower Deckers are back, as are the actors who play them: Tawny Newsome (Beckett Mariner), Jack Quaid (Brad Boimler), Noël Wells (D’Vana Tendi), and Eugene Cordero (Samanthan Rutherford). The new season continues to build on the zany friendships of all four characters and takes them into some new territory as well.
SYFY WIRE caught up with Newsome, Quaid, Wells, and Cordero before Season 2 began to talk about how recording the new season was different, continued fan shipping of Tendi and Rutherford, favorite episodes, and more.
Though the cast was often separated while recording this season, the connections between them are stronger than ever. Some of that is thanks to creator Mike McMahan and the writing staff being more familiar with the actors, and some of it comes down to really good casting.
“I do think that Mike and the writers have gotten so good at nailing our comedic voices,” Newsome said. “Because we've formed a friendship and we've formed a friendship with Mike, I feel like everyone can just kind of predict how everybody's going to do everything.”
She continued: "So when there's a Boimler line on the page and Mariner's supposed to be like, kind of overlapping with him, whatever, I can hear how Jack's going to do it at this point. So even though we haven't been able to be together, not even so much because of COVID… mainly because Jack and I don't stop working on opposite sides of Canada for some reason… I feel like in the booth, we all kind of know how the puzzle's going to go together. So we're all working towards the same goals. We're all playing our part in the little orchestra that is the dialogue of the show.”
Quaid agreed, adding that one of the things he missed most about the new season was “being able to actually be in the room” with Newsome. The bond extends beyond him and Newsome, however.
“I know what Eugene's going to do. I know what Noël's going to do, Jerry O'Connell, Dawnn [Lewis], everybody,” he said. "It feels like we've formed this family, and a lot of these people I've only met either once in real life or not at all, just on Zoom, and I feel like we've formed this family.”
That family “does bleed into real life” according to Quaid, who together with Newsome agreed they shared “a friendship built on a bedrock of hazing.” Newsome was quick to fill that out, saying, “Mutual respect, love, and bullying.” Quaid added, “We just had lunch together in L.A., and it was like, 'Oh yeah, we were cast very well.'”
It was a different experience for Wells also, who was not used to recording alone. “It was a very interesting setup we had,” she explained, adding, “but at the same time, I think it actually helped me develop Tendi's character a little bit. Because in the first season she's a bit nervous, and I think that that was reflecting accurately how I was feeling even in the studio with just recording in front of a bunch of people. And then when I'm in my closet, I'm like, 'Oh, I can do this. I make up characters all the time when I'm alone in my bedroom.'" And so, she got to really cut loose.
Tendi and Rutherford share many scenes together and have a very special friendship. Naturally, they are shipped to the Q Continuum and back by Trek fans. Are either Wells or Cordero tired of being asked about whether or not their characters are into each other?
“I think we haven't been asked enough, honestly,” Wells said. Cordero added, “I don't mind it. I mean, if that's what people are seeing, and that's what people are clinging onto and feeling that there might be something there then hold onto it, man.”
“Hold onto it," Wells said in agreement. “Yeah, we all got to hitch our kites on something.” Cordero added: "I mean, these two characters relate to each other really well, and they have a friendship that people want and assume are usually romantic. Because it's like, oh, these two people talk to each other a lot, and it's like they must be in love. It's like, no, they could just be friends. Talk to your friends more.”
Wells was quick to say that Rutherford was “very hot and attractive as an animated character” and Cordero echoed the statement, saying, “Tendi’s definitely very cute. And so they would make a great… they would look good together. That’s for sure.”
Since both Mariner and Boimler know mostly all there is to know about Trek history and legends, would their favorite installments of the franchise be different from the actors who play them?
Newsome’s favorite was unexpected. “I think my favorite episode in all of Trek, I think is ‘Dax’ from Deep Space Nine. I love Jadzia Dax. I love Deep Space Nine. But I think Mariner's favorite episode would be something way more like action-packed… her favorite would probably be like Star Trek Beyond or something.”
“I think Boimler's would probably be something like 'Measure of a Man,'” Quaid answered, adding, “Just something where it's diplomatic. We have to think things through. We're all talking. He wouldn't want anything action-y.” As for Quaid’s own favorite?
“That's a hard one to say. I would say just off the top of my head, I forgot what it's even called, but I love the one with the Gorn [‘Arena'] from the original series," he says. "It's just so many dive rolls. Like, I think that they broke a record for the amount of dive rolls in an episode of television. So I think I just, I don't know, that one really speaks to me."
Star Trek: Lower Decks returns on Aug. 12 for second contact, streaming on Paramount+.