The first season finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks had two surprising Star Trek: The Next Generation returns with Jonathan Frakes as Capt. William Riker and Marina Sirtis as Cmdr. Deanna Troi aboard the USS Titan. But fans likely noticed a difference in appearance between the Titan crew and the USS Cerritos crew. The Cerritos crew were wearing the uniforms designed for use in Star Trek: Lower Decks. The Titan crew was still wearing the uniforms introduced in Star Trek: First Contact. Star Trek: Lower Decks creator Mike McMahan explains that even in a universe with a replicator, some ships will get different materials than others. Plus, uniform changes are a Star Trek tradition, and one that McMahan plans to examine in future episodes.
"Even in TNG, the uniforms change, every year," McMahan tells Inverse. "The real-world answer [for the changes] is, the costumers got better and the uniforms got better-looking. But there are really great ways in-universe to discuss that. So, if I get a few more seasons on this, that will be something, because I really want to do an episode where they're testing new uniforms on Boimler."
McMahan continues, "I get people tweeting at me, 'Uh, I wish the Star Trek writers new about scarcity,' and I'm like, I wish you knew that just because there is stuff, that doesn't mean everybody gets it. I mean, even people with 3D printers have to look up the code! And not every ship gets the new stuff. I'm very fascinated with the idea that we have replicators [in Star Trek] that can make anything. But who's designing that stuff? It becomes like intellectual items, like why aren't they all eating Lincoln's last meal? The more you look at it, some ships would have different stuff, which is why you'd want to get the thing with the purple stripe on it, which goes all the way down to uniforms. I mean why is Starfleet even in uniforms? It's not to make them camouflaged and they're not strictly military. It's representational of who Starfleet is."
Those Star Trek movie uniforms will be back in the second season of Star Trek: Lower Decks, as Capt. Riker and the Titan return as well. "Yep. We'll see the Titan next season because Boimler is off the Cerritos, and we'll be seeing Capt. Riker again as well," McMahan said in another interview. "Boimler has been talking about moving on to bigger and better all first season, and now we're going to see what happens when he gets what he wants."
The full first season of Star Trek: Lower Decks is streaming now on CBS All Access.