The Inverse Interview

Star Trek Is About to Boldly Go Where It’s Never Gone Before: Netflix

For Trekkies old and new, the highly anticipated Prodigy Season 2 will be worth the wait.

Ma'jel and Dal in 'Star Trek: Prodigy' Season 2.
Netflix/CBS Studios
Star Trek

Dan and Kevin Hageman seem relieved.

It makes sense. The brother duo behind the first Lego Movie and Trollhunters scored a big win back in 2021 when their Star Trek series Prodigy got picked up by Paramount+ and Nickelodeon. But despite signing a two-season deal, Star Trek: Prodigy was quietly canceled after Season 1 — until Netflix swooped in. Now, we’re just days away from the Season 2 premiere, so it’s no surprise that the look on the Hageman Brothers’ faces reads as a mix of glee and exhaustion.

“We’re very excited to be able to tell this story,” Kevin Hageman tells Inverse.

Over Zoom, the Hageman Brothers seem less like siblings and more like two friends who’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons with each other for decades. Kevin clearly wants to be the DM, while Dan is the guy who wants the quest to get bonkers. When it comes to crafting epic, animated projects, this geeky dynamic clearly gets he job done. But now, it’s up to the algorithmic streaming gods to decide Prodigy’s fate.

“I think it really all rests on the success of the Netflix platform,” Kevin says.

Star Trek: Prodigy began as a newcomer’s introduction to the massive canon of Star Trek, but Season 2 hits the ground at proto-warp speed with most of the main cast — Dal (Brett Gray), Jankom (Jason Mantzoukas), Rok (Rylee Alazraqui), Murf (Dee Bradley Baker), Zero (Angus Imrie), and Gwyn (Ella Purnell) — all, more or less, assigned to Starfleet duties. However, any cozy status quo is quickly up-ended by even more time-travel shenanigans than in the first season. It’s a big, surprising season-long arc, but the Hagemans were determined to sneak in some classic Star Trek standalone stories, too.

Dan Hageman hopes that’s enough to win over not just Netflix’s massive audience but the hardcore Trekkies. He says he’ll know Season 2 was a success “if it really sticks in the grill of the Star Trek fandom.”

So ahead of this historic drop — the first time that 20 new Star Trek episodes will be available all at once — Inverse caught up with the Hageman Brothers to talk about the flavor of Prodigy Season 2, balancing episodic adventures with an epic serialized arc, how the show fits into Star Trek canon, and their hopes for the future.

Star Trek’s Greatest Hits

Admiral Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) is back in Prodigy Season 2. But it’s not only Voyager references this season.

Netflix/CBS Studios

“Going into Season 2, we wanted to continue with that idea of what are the greatest hits [of Star Trek]?” Kevin says. “What are concepts and episode ideas that we can introduce to new fans that make up that Star Trek DNA? But we also we found ourselves it is a little more serialized, so the challenge was how to do that and also wrap up a lot of these bigger stories.”

In addition to introducing a new regular Vulcan character named Ma’jel (Michaela Dietz) — who is clearly inspired by Majel Barrett Roddenberry, the late “First Lady of Star Trek”Prodigy Season 2 has a slew of Trekkie greatest-hits moments. Without getting into any big-time spoilers, these include parallel universes, some classic aliens for The Original Series, a big shout-out to the 1986 film The Voyage Home, at least one doppelgänger dilemma, and a lot of time travel.

But in addition to creating a diversity of very different stories and completing a bigger arc, Prodigy Season 2 is also a kind of Rosetta Stone for a certain point in the Star Trek timeline. Because Season 2 takes place mostly in 2384, aspects of Lower Decks and Picard canon are fully addressed and integrated. (Lower Decks occurs between 2380 and 2383, while the earliest Picard Season 1 flashbacks happen in 2385. But the way Starfleet feels in the early days of Picard’s 2380s has seemed a bit incongruous with Lower Decks and Prodigy. In Prodigy Season 2, there’s a very deliberate fix for that.)

“We always wanted Prodigy to embrace the whole canon of Star Trek.”

It’s also worth noting that while Admiral Janeway didn’t appear in Picard Season 3, Prodigy Season 2 elucidates her post-Voyager role a little more clearly. In fact, because Prodigy Season 2 includes recurring roles from Voyager regulars The Doctor (Robert Picardo) and Chakotay (Robert Beltran), it’s tempting to think of the series as a follow-up to that version of Trek, rather than a midquel between Lower Decks and Picard. But for the showrunners, Prodigy’s canonical scope is bigger than either of those options.

“Everyone would say, oh, it’s like a Voyager spinoff, and we were like, no, we’re not a Voyager spinoff,” Dan says. “We are Voyager-adjacent just because Janeway is one of our leads. But we always wanted Prodigy to embrace the whole canon of Star Trek. The things that pop up are things that happen in that timeline.”

Major Trek Twists

Kevin Hageman and Dan Hageman (center), with some of the Prodigy cast including Angus Imrie, Kate Mulgrew, Ella Purnell, and director Ben Hibon in 2022.

Tristan Fewings/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The specifics of these events from elsewhere in the Star Trek pantheon range from minor Easter eggs to major events. And some twists and details have been planned since 2021, well before Picard Season 2 or Season 3 aired. The Hagemans reveal that, three years ago, with multiple Trek projects in production, they were in contact with other Star Trek showrunners to make sure Prodigy not only lined up with the rest of canon but also expanded upon a few specific plot points.

“We were all talking and sharing what we were planning and making sure we were all in sync,” Kevin says. “So there was some collaboration.”

By the final episode of Prodigy Season 2, several aspects of Star Trek are fully connected, but there’s also an open-ended notion that the series could continue in some way, shape, or form. But will there be a Prodigy Season 3? The Hageman brothers offer a surprising response.

“Just a lot of dreaming on Season 3,” Kevin says. “Maybe it’s something that happens down the line. I could see something happening in 10 years. Maybe sooner.”

“Maybe there’s a live-action version of it,” Dan adds. “We’re hoping.”

Star Trek: Prodigy Season 2 hits Netflix on July 1.

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