Charting a brand new frontier for the “Star Trek” franchise, the cast and creators of Paramount Plus’ “Star Trek: Prodigy” debuted the teaser trailer for the animated kids series on Friday during the virtual Comic-Con@Home panel for the “Trek” TV universe.
The trailer establishes that executive producers Kevin and Dan Hageman and director/co-executive producer Ben Hibon are approaching the show — co-produced by Nickelodeon Animation Studio and CBS Eye Animation Productions — with a dramatic visual style that belies the series status as the first “Trek” series explicitly created for kids.
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“It’s not designed just for kids,” Hibon said during the panel. “It’s just designed for lovers of animation, for lovers of sci-fi.”
“We wanted to be that little brother, little sister that smacked the bigger sibling and says don’t underestimate us,” added Dan Hageman.
The story follows six young aliens — Dal (Brett Gray), Gwyn (Ella Purnell), Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui), Murf (Dee Bradley Baker), Zero (Angus Imrie) and Jankom Pog (Jason Mantzoukas) — who commandeer an abandoned Starfleet starship they know nothing about. Kate Mulgrew is reprising her performance as Capt. Kathryn Janeway from “Star Trek: Voyager,” albeit as an hologram who helps teach the new, young crew how to navigate the cosmos.
“She’s devastatingly beautiful,” Mulgrew said in the panel with a smile. “She’s going to help these kids. She’s determined to help them get off this very, very dangerous and dark planet and into a much better place, a different galaxy.”
When asked about why she chose to return to the world of “Star Trek” 20 years after “Voyager’s” series finale, Mulgrew gave an eloquent and seemingly extemporaneous speech praising the virtues of one of the most long-lived film and TV franchises in Hollywood history.
“After a moment’s deliberation, I thought, what could be better than possibly handing this to the next generation, to a demographic that heretofore has not known anything about ‘Star Trek’ — the beauty of it, the philosophy of it, the depth of it, the hope and the promise of it,” she said. “If there’s any age group that is going to take this thing and embrace it with a wholeheartedness not seen before, it’s the young kids. They’re going to get it in a way that older people — due to perhaps a little life experience, a scintilla of cynicism — might not get entirely. But the young ones — 5, 10, 15 — are going to embrace it with a guilelessness and a readiness and I think an emotional capacity that’s going to make them absolutely adore it. At any rate, that’s my hope and that’s my intention.”
The trailer also unveils a first look at that starship, which is not, as the show’s title might suggest, named “Prodigy.” Instead, a close look reveals it’s named the “U.S.S. Protostar;” even more curiously (and nerdily), its registry number starts with NX instead of NCC, indicating the “Protostar” is an experimental ship rather than a fully commissioned starship. How and why it came to be abandoned are mysteries that the show will no doubt explore.
“Star Trek: Prodigy” will debut on Paramount Plus this fall.
Following the “Prodigy” panel, the cast and creator of the adult animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks” debuted the full trailer for Season 2 of the Paramount Plus series. The show will pick up with Ensign Boimler (Jack Quaid) aboard the “U.S.S. Titan,” as captained by William Riker (Jonathan Frakes), while his old compatriots — Ensigns Mariner (Tawny Newsome), Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) and Tendi (Noël Wells) — toil away on the far less glamorous “U.S.S. Cerritos.”
The trailer reveals two new guest stars for the season: Frequent “Trek” actor Jeffrey Combs (“Deep Space Nine,” “Voyager,” “Enterprise”) as an evil computer, and “Star Trek: Voyager” star Robert Duncan McNeill reprising his role as Lt. Tom Paris — on a commemorative plate speaking to Boimler as a gas-induced hallucination.
Season 2 of “Star Trek: Lower Decks” will debut on Paramount Plus on Aug. 12.
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