Star Trek: Lower Decks Creator Explains the Show's Place in Canon

Production on Star Trek: Lower Decks is continuing amid the coronavirus pandemic. The series comes from Mike McMahan, former writer on Rick and Morty and co-creator Solar Opposites on Hulu. During an interview with Inverse, McMahan explained how he fit the animated comedy into the canon of the Star Trek franchise. "Lower Decks is very different from Solar Opposites and Rick and Morty," he says. "Within Lower Decks, there is a proper in-canon Star Trek show. It takes place during the TNG era. It's on a ship that feels like it’s always existed there and the bridge crew is dealing with big, never before seen Starfleet Star Trek type stories. So every episode has a thing like that happening in it. And then, on top of that, we've got A stories and B stories that are emotionally driven from the point of view of the lower deckers on the ships. So it was an area of storytelling that people had covered every once in a while on Star Trek, but never built a show around.

"It was important to me that if you know everything about Star Trek and you watch this show then it fits into Canon and doesn't break Star Trek. In fact, it grows it. And if you know nothing about Star Trek, then all of the canon in Lower Decks feels like mythological, broad understandable sci-fi stuff. So you can still enjoy Lower Decks even if it's your first Star Trek show. I used to have a Twitter account called TNG Season 8 that imagined fake episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. This sort of it walks an even finer line than that Twitter did where its stories feel very Star Trekky, but you're having a good time while you're watching it. And it's half the length of a regular Star Trek and takes place in '90s Star Trek. It's sort of like a love letter to people that love Star Trek, but it's also a funny show for people who have never seen it."

In a previous interview with ComicBook.com, McMahan offered more details about Lower Decks' place in Star Trek canon. “I was a [Star Trek: The Next Generation] guy and when I grew up, that was the Star Trek I really loved," he said. "I like all Star Trek, but that's the one that feels most like home to me. I wanted to choose a year that was kind of untouched, was kind of blank slate, that didn't touch on anything that they might be doing for whenever Picard takes place but also doesn't get in the middle of anything that was like, ‘Oh, this was happening during the Dominion War.’ Or, you know, ‘This would be happening during [Star Trek: First Contact].'

“For me, it was like what was a little spot where our characters on a less important ship could be having adventures and doing their thing that wouldn't break anybody else's favorite show. Everybody else, there's so many fans. There are people who are huge fans of Deep Space Nine. I love Voyager and Enterprise and everything that came around there, those shows are all amazing. I didn't want anybody to feel like I was trying to subvert their favorite show by what we were doing. Also, because it was my favorite era, I was like, ‘I'm going to slip in at the very end and get to do just one more little piece of that era. Just one more little growing of the world, just in this different format.’”

Star Trek: Lower Decks is expected to premiere on CBS All Access in 2020.