Wesley in "Coming of Age."

Slime Worms

34 years later, Star Trek just rebooted an extremely obscure alien

Showrunners Dan and Kevin Hageman talk about the mysteries of Prodigy, including a slick Next Generation callback.

Paramount

Although Star Trek: Prodigy is technically a kids’ show, like its Star Wars cousin, The Bad Batch, it has more ongoing mysteries than some sci-fi shows for grown-ups. But in its midseason premiere, “Asylum,” Prodigy casually revealed the answer to one big question. Inverse chatted with showrunners Dan and Kevin Hageman, who not only pointed out a retro Easter egg, but also hinted that Prodigy will be an entirely different series by the end of this season. Spoilers ahead.

Murf in Star Trek: Prodigy.Paramount+

Murf is a Next Generation Easter egg

The adorable blue-purple goo-creature called Murf (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) has been a slimy puzzle since Prodigy began in 2021. Murf is indestructible and communicates through unintelligible coos and gurgles. The audience has assumed that Murf is a mysterious alien species, but in “Asylum,” when the motley crew of the Protostar arrives at a Federation relay station, a DNA scan claims that Murf is a Mellanoid slime worm.

“We do reveal what Murf is,” Dan Hageman tells Inverse. “I found that one. It was very difficult to come up with that. It was a very deep cut. It was from The Next Generation, and somebody called Wesley Crusher a ‘Mellanoid slime worm.’”

The moment comes from the 1988 Season 1 Next Generation episode “Coming of Age.” Appropriately, that episode is about Wesley Crusher taking the entrance exams for Starfleet Academy, which parallels the kids in Prodigy wanting to join Starfleet. Welsey bumps into someone named Rondon, who hurls the insult, “you despicable Melanoid slime worm!” Why Rondon (or anyone else) considers this an insult is now somewhat confusing. Murf is not only adorable, but easily one of the most resilient and strongest aliens in the entire Trek canon!

The USS Protostar in the Prodigy midseason debut.CBS/Paramount

Prodigy is moving closer to established Trek canon

Because the adventures of the wayward crew of the Protostar began in the far-flung Delta Quadrant, Prodigy has been slowly introducing the young runaways of the series to different aspects of the more well-known Star Trek universe. In “Asylum,” the crew takes a step that seems to get them closer to the Federation, only to be thwarted by a bizarre program at the heart of their ship that sabotages the Starfleet relay station.

However, the Hagemans confirm that this season’s journey will continue to take the young crew into all sorts of familiar Star Trek scenarios. Kevin Hageman also wants any fans who may have slept on Prodigy to understand where the show is headed.

“Starting out there were some stray complaints from people who watched our pilot episode and said, ‘Oh, this doesn’t seem like Star Trek. It seems like Star Wars.’ But we were starting outside of Star Trek,” Hageman says. “As you see each episode, we’re getting closer and closer to Federation space, and it starts to feel a lot more Trek. The first 20 episodes of Season 1 will be a complete story.”

The misadventures of Dal, Gwyn, Murf, Pog, Rok-Tahk Zero, and Murf aren’t traditional Starfleet missions, mostly because the kids are on the run and trying to figure things out as they go. Their ship is technically stolen, making them a bit more like Star Wars space pirates than Federation explorers. The Hagemans see no problem with this, and argue that it’s possible to reconcile Star Trek and Star Wars into the same universe.

“Star Wars could exist in the canon of Star Trek,” Dan Hageman says with a laugh. “I mean, somewhere way out there, that galaxy could exist.”

Star Trek: Prodigy streams on Paramount+. New episodes drop on Thursdays.

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