Work on Star Trek: Lower Decks continues for its 2020 debut on CBS All Access. Creator Mike McMahan has revealed some new details about the show's cast of characters. McMahan was a writer on Rick and Morty. He tells Slash Film that there are some things from that show that you can't get away with when you're writing for the Star Trek universe. "A big thing that was important to me was figuring out how do we comedically access these characters," McMahan says. "How can these characters be funny and not break Star Trek? You can't have a Morty in Star Trek. You can't just have a stupid person in Starfleet, otherwise it breaks the aspirational paradigm of what humanity is like in Starfleet. So our leads are foils for each other, but they're very much ingrained in Star Trek."
McMahan also offered some more specific details about the crew of the USS Cerritos. "You have Ensign Beckett Mariner, who is sort of like our Tom Cruise/Maverick, where she's amazing at Starfleet stuff, and she's incredibly knowledgeable, but she just hates following the rules and she bristles at the military structure," he says. "She wants to do whatever she wants. She's kind of like Captain Kirk if Kirk wasn't a captain and didn't have the power. Kirk would follow his gut, and she followers her gut.
"Then, Ensign Brad Boimler also knows everything about sci-fi stuff, and is also an amazing Starfleet crew member, but he's so by-the-book and so burdened by following the rules that he can't follow his gut. So the comedic friction there is that they both want the same thing, they're both good at this stuff, but emotionally and from a human level, they're completely different about how they do it."
McMahan also had a message for fans worried that a comedy series doesn't fit into the Star Trek franchise. "Star Trek has always had comedy in it," he says. "Every series of Star Trek has funny characters, funny episodes, and those always live in the B-stories for the most part. That, to me, is what I love about Star Trek. So it's really taking that aspect of it and letting that shine. I can't wait for you guys to see it, because it's one of my favorite things I've ever made. It feels like it fell out of another dimension in the 90s where they were making a funny Next Generation era show."
Star Trek: Lower Decks debuts on CBS All Access in 2020.