The “Star Trek” universe continues to grow at CBS All Access.
The streamer has given out an order for two seasons of a half-hour animated comedy series called “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” Variety has learned. Developed by “Rick and Morty” writer Mike McMahan, the series will focus on the support crew serving on one of Starfleet’s least important ships.
This will mark the first animated series on CBS All Access. It will be produced by CBS Eye Animation Productions, CBS Television Studios’ new animation arm, along with Alex Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment. Kurtzman and Heather Kadin will executive produce along with Roddenberry Entertainment’s Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth and veteran animation executive Katie Krentz. McMahan will also executive produce in addition to writing. Aaron Baiers, who brought McMahan to the project, will serve as a co-executive producer.
“Mike won our hearts with his first sentence: ‘I want to do a show about the people who put the yellow cartridge in the food replicator so a banana can come out the other end,’” Kurtzman said. “His cat’s name is Riker. His son’s name is Sagan. The man is committed. He’s brilliantly funny and knows every inch of every ‘Trek’ episode, and that’s his secret sauce: he writes with the pure, joyful heart of a true fan. As we broaden the world of ‘Trek’ to fans of all ages, we’re so excited to include Mike’s extraordinary voice.”
This series is one of several “Star Trek” projects that Variety previously reported was in development at CBS All Access. In addition to the upcoming launch of Season 2 of “Star Trek: Discovery,” the streamer also recently announced a series starring Patrick Stewart focusing on Capt. Jean Luc Picard after the events of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Other shows that were reported to be in development at that time include one set at Starfleet Academy from creators Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz as well as a limited series based around the “Wrath of Khan” story.
“As a life-long Trekkie, it’s a surreal and wonderful dream come true to be a part of this new era of ‘Star Trek,’” said McMahan. “While ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ is a half-hour, animated show at its core, it’s undeniably ‘Trek’ – and I promise not to add an episode at the very end that reveals the whole thing took place in a training program.”
This is also the latest instance of McMahan getting a two season commitment from a streaming service for an animated project. Back in August, it was announced that McMahan and “Rick and Morty” co-creator Justin Roiland had received the same commitment for the animated comedy “Solar Opposites” at Hulu.
In 2011 McMahan started a Twitter account where he posted episode plots to a fake season of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” They were such a hit that Simon & Schuster hired him to write a readers’ guide to a fictitious eighth season of “TNG” titled “Star Trek: The Next Generation: Warped: An Engaging Guide to the Never-Aired 8th Season.”
“We couldn’t have imagined a better creative team to work with on CBS All Access’ first original animated series than Mike McMahan, Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment,” said Julie McNamara, executive vice president of original content for CBS All Access. “’Star Trek: Lower Decks’ is a fantastic complement to our growing lineup of original series and our ongoing expansion of the ‘Star Trek’ universe on CBS All Access.”
And while this will be the first animated project for All Access, it will not be the first animated “Star Trek” series. Previously, NBC aired “Star Trek: The Animated Series” from 1973-1974, featuring the voices of much of the main cast from the original 1960s series.
McMahan is repped by ICM.