Since the first announcement of the animated comedy series Star Trek: Lower Decks, one question has been on the minds of both Trekkies and Rick and Morty fans everywhere: Just how much will this show mock the various tropes of the Star Trek canon? According to Rick and Morty veteran Mike McMahan, not as much as you might expect.
In a new interview, McHahan drops some tantalizing hints about the direction of Lower Decks, while clarifying that the cynicism and nihilism from Rick and Morty probably won't factor in at all. Speculation ahead.
McMahan spoke with Entertainment Weekly about Lower Decks, hinting that it may contain some cameos from the era of TNG. "Next Gen is my favorite era," McHahan told EW. "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."
So, we might get some TNG Easter eggs or outright cameos. Right now, it's not clear. Those possible TNG connections would make sense, since McHahan is the guy behind the super-popular, hilarious parody account TNG Season 8, which used to "reveal" various fake plots for a hypothetical season of The Next Generation.
So if you love something the way McHahan loves Star Trek, how do you mock it without really destroying it? This, it seems, is the one way Lower Decks won't be anything like Rick and Morty. Here's how McHahan put it:
"The fun of Rick and Morty is that it breaks down sci-fi tropes and is told through Rick Sanchez, who has a 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. 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."
Lower Decks is still part of the "real" Star Trek canon, so it won't necessarily be as "meta" as fans might expect, based on the Rick and Morty writing connection. If you've been watching Short Treks, you might already be aware of this. Back in 2018, the Harry Mudd stand-alone Short Treks episode "The Escape Artist" focused on a hilarious space-caper starring Rainn Wilson as Harry Mudd. In case you haven't seen it, the twist-ending is worth the entire short episode, but the point is, it was written by Mike McHahahn. Nothing about "The Escape Artist" says Star Trek is stupid, and in some ways, it humorously advances the canon of exactly how Harry Mudd evolved (or devolved?) between Discovery and The Original Series.
Either way, if fans thought that Lower Decks was going to tear down Star Trek for the sake of some cheap jokes, think again. Being funny in the Final Frontier, it seems, doesn't mean you have to get too dark.
Star Trek: Lower Decks does not have an official release date.