Comic-Con@Home 2020: Star Trek Universe

Star Trek Universe Virtual Panel

One of the first “mega” entertainment panels to release during the flagship Comic-Con@Home weekend was the Star Trek Universe panel on Thursday, July 23rd. This was definitely a Hall H type outing, with the hour long panel, moderated by Deadline Hollywood’s Dominic Patten, covering four current and upcoming Star Trek shows for the CBS All-Access streaming channel.

After a short interview/introduction with Star Trek Universe Executive Producers Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kaden, cast and producers from three of the five upcoming Star Trek shows staged virtual mini-panels. Star Trek: Discovery kicked things off with a live “table” read of act one of the season 2 finale (“Such Sweet Sorrow” Part 2) and a follow-up Q&A with the cast with EP Michelle Paradise moderating. Next up is the Q&A with the cast and creator of the new animated comedic series, Star Trek: Lower Decks. Capping off the hour is a Q&A with the cast of Star Trek: Picard, coming off of their season one finale.

Moderator Dominic Patten (Deadline) opens with Alex Kurtzman (EP) and Heather Kaden (EP). They discuss the expansion of Star Trek universe with a few new shows:

  • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds where iconic STU characters are coming back with their own series.  The writers room has started for the show and there are 10 stories plotted.
  • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will include Anson Mount (Captain Christopher Pike), Rebecca Romijn (Number One), and Ethan Peck (Spock) in the cast.
  • In addition to ST: Lower Decks, there is a new animated series for kids on Nickelodeon from the Hageman brothers to introduce kids to the ST brand.  The show will be called Star Trek: Prodigy.

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The Star Trek: Discovery portion of the panel (starts at the 5:25 mark).

Co-showrunner, Michelle Paradise, introduces cast members Sonequa Martin-Green, Michelle Yeoh, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, Wilson Cruz, Mary Chieffo, Tig Notaro, Alan Van Sprang, Jayne Brook, Emily Coutts, Oyin Oladejo, Patrick Kwok-Choon, Ronnie Rowe Jr., Sara Mitich, and upcoming Star Trek: Strange New World stars Anson Mount, Rebecca Romijn, and Ethan Peck and executive producer, Olatunde Osunsanmi, who also directed the season two finale and acts as narrator for the live read. Osunsanmi and Paradise also pick up the slack on voicing characters whose actors are not on the panel.

Highlights:

  • ST: Discovery table read is to support the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Donate at naacpldf.org/StarTrekUnited.
  • The live reading of act one from the finale of S2 includes some storyboard artwork and computer graphics over the live reading. There is also some special sound effects and background music that enhances the read.
  • Short follow-up Q&A with ST:Discovery cast is moderated by Michelle Paradise EP (starts at 28:46).
  • The cast discuss Star Trek and its topical cultural and political stances past, present and future and what they find most compelling or impactful for each of them as individuals.
  • Olatunde Osunsanmi talks about the most profound scene to direct in the season finale — the last scene where we see Spock thinking about his sister, Michael, and how it ties us back into the timeline.
  • Sonequa Martin-Green talks about what may happen in season 3 after Michael Burnham’s heroic leap into the future in the season 2 finale.
  • Doug Jones (our Whedonopolis fan favorite) talks about what Commander Saru did for his people (Kelpians) in season 2 and what that means for him and Kelpians going forward.
  • Michelle Yeoh points out that Georgiou is a survivor and will handle whatever season 3 has in store for her. “[Going] Into season 3, I think she’s really pissed off! It’s like, Michael Burnham, don’t get in my way!” she quips. She’s been torn from her world for the second time but she will handle it.
  • Ethan Peck discusses how Michael Burnham gives Spock permission to be human and teaches him how to be human which is essential to the development of Spock.
  • Wilson Cruz states that Culber’s choices in S2 led to him saving Stamets’s life and looks at how that will impact their relationship. He is also looking forward to Culber’s new role in the area of mental health. He feels Culber is a more 3 dimensional person now.
  • Anson Mount reacts to seeing what the future holds for Captain Pike. “When you see how it’s all going to end, and it’s not so pretty, what do you do with that?” he explains. “I think he’s going to wrestle with how he can best utilize the rest of his life for the good, for the world, for the universe.”

If you would like to see the full table read of the episode, “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2,” it will be available at CBS.com/StarTrekDiscovery. The Discovery crew will return for another season on CBS All Access.

Season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery premieres October 15th on CBS All Access with 13 new episodes.

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Star Trek: Lower Decks Virtual Panel starts just after the 45:00 mark.

Prepare to see another side of the Star Trek Universe in Star Trek: Lower Decks, the exciting, new, animated comedy series from creator/showrunner/EP Mike McMahan. Check out the trailer:

The year is 2380 and the series is set in the ST: The Next Generation (series) era and right after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis (movie) but before the events of Star Trek: Picard. The show revolves around the Starfleet crew that reside in the lower decks of the U.S.S. Cerritos. The ship’s crew is comprised of lower decks crew “Ensign Beckett Mariner” voiced by Tawny Newsome, “Ensign Brad Boimler” voiced by Jack Quaid, “Ensign Tendi” voiced by Noël Wells, and “Ensign Rutherford” voiced by Eugene Cordero and the ship’s bridge crew including “Captain Carol Freeman” voiced by Dawnn Lewis, “Commander Jack Ransom” voiced by Jerry O’Connell, “Lieutenant Shaxs” voiced by Fred Tatasciore, and “Doctor T’Ana: voiced by Gillian Vigman.

In this virtual panel, we get to see the faces behind the voices for the new ST animated comedy series.

Highlights:

Take a first look at a scene from Star Trek: Lower Decks.

  • Tawny Newsome explains that Ensign Beckett Mariner “doesn’t always play by the rules, even though she could because she’s good at things.”  She compares her to someone “who is a class clown because you are ahead of the lesson in school.” 
  • Beckett Mariner is the perfect foil for Jack Quaid’s Ensign Brad Boimler who always tries to play by the rules. “Ensign Brad Boimler is the ultimate Starfleet nerd. He’s like a complete fanboy for all the captains and the first officers — basically anyone who works on the bridge…” explains Jack Quaid.
  • Ensign Tendi is the newest member to join the lower decks folks on the U.S.S. Cerritos. “[She is] the fresh eyes on the Cerrittos,” explains Noël Wells. “She is excited by everything. She is unflappable. Even if there’s weird things happening, she turns it into this optimistic point-of-view.”
  • Eugene Cordero talks about Ensign Rutherford, who is a cyborg, engineer and team tech. “He’s the guy you want on your trivia team talking about every single ship that has ever been in the galaxy — or beyond!”
  • Gillian Vigman voices Dr. T’Ana who is the ship’s head medical officer (and who appears to be feline in origin). EP Mike McMahan sums it up with, “Dr. T’Ana — she might be great as solving space medical mysteries, but she’s also a scary, crusty alley cat — which is why we love her.”
  • Next we have Fred Tatsciore who voices the rough and tough, Lieutenant Shaxs. “He is a definite shoot first and ask questions later [Starfleet officier]!” He may not always be the best person when it comes to security (with all that shooting first), but he gets the job done.
  • Jack O’Connell notes immediately that his character, Commander Jack Ransom, has a short fuse. “I don’t think he’s the easiest person to work for, but… he does deeply care about Starfleet. He just does and says things that I’m not sure we could get away with on other Star Trek franchises.”
  • Dawnn Lewis voices the fearless leader of the U.S.S. Cerritos, Captain Carol Freeman. “It’s funny, as the captain, I never feel like I am confident and I never feel in command. I always feel like I’m just talking for talk’s sake and people are just gonna do what they’re gonna do anyway. But I take myself very, very seriously.”
  • Lewis continues, “And the Cerritos, in our mission to do “second contact” — which is almost more important than “first contact” because first contact, no one knows they’re there… second contact, we make sure things are running smoothly, things are running right…”

In the panel Q&A, the group discusses what befalls their characters in season one, what the most fun thing is about being in the Starfleet, and their favorite moments for their characters that they would like to share with the CC@Home audience. BUT be forewarned — spoiler mistakes were made… and then bleeped… most of the time.  (But I’ll be honest, it makes me want to watch the show just to figure out what the heck they almost spoiled!)

This one piqued my interest. I will be watching.

Star Trek:  Lower Decks premieres August 6th on CBS All Access and it looks like it’s going to be a really fun ride.  

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Star Trek:  Picard  Virtual Panel starts at 59:44.

Last, but not least, Dominic Patten, senior editor at entertainment new website “Deadline,” moderates a conversation with the cast of Star Trek: Picard. Included in the panel is Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard), Alison Pill (Dr. Agnes Jurati), Isa Briones (Dahj/Soji), Evan Evagora (Elnor), Michelle Hurd (Raffi Musiker), and Santiago Cabrera (Cristobal Rios) along with special guest stars Brent Spiner (Data/Dr. Soong), Jonathan Del Arco (Hugh), Jonathan Frakes (William Riker), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), and Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi)

Highlights:

Here is the portion of the video that is the Star Trek: Picard panel:

  • The show just completed airing its first season and it will be coming back for season 2.
  • When asked about how it felt to bring back the ST: Picard series, Sir Patrick Stewart explains that it didn’t feel like coming back but that they never really left.
  • Alison Pill came up with a new moniker for Sir Patrick Stewart, referring to him as “SPS.”  But wait, there’s more!  Sir Patrick, himself, prefers the moniker given to him by someone in Second City (comedy troupe) in Chicago, which is “P-Stew.”  So pick your moniker and get trending, #SPS or #PStew.
  • Marina Sirtis teases Patrick Stewart about his challenges in learning (or re-learning) everybody’s name on set. She also admonished everyone for lavishing Sir Patrick with constant praise, “Stop it, just stop it! He’s going to be impossible to work with now!” “It took us years to train him!”
  • Cast members talk about why they were drawn to the project and about bringing returning characters and new characters to ST: Picard
  • Evan Evagora talks about his nervousness in meeting Sir Patrick and how helpful other cast/crew members, especially Jonathan Frakes, were in making him feel more comfortable bringing a new character into this world.
  • Isa Briones discussed the challenges of playing multiple characters in the show — make-up changes, playing against yourself in a scene, etc. She notes that when she was auditioning, she did not know it was for multiple characters.
  • Santiago Cabrera is asked about his character, Cristobal Rios, being the foil to Patrick Stewart’s rigid, strict and by-the-book Jean Luc Picard. Cabrera says that as you see their differences, over time, you start to see their similarities.
  • Jeri Ryan, Brent Spiner and Mirina Sirtis talk about bringing back their characters from the original Picard series — fan reaction, how it was returning to set, etc.
  • Brent Spiner is also creating a new character in addition to his previous one, Data.  He talks about how that was a particular draw for him to join the show. He also took a certain delight in mentioning some weeping from producers and even from Patrick Stewart, in asking him to return.
  • Jonathan Del Arco discusses taking the adolescent character, Hugh, that he was in the first Picard series to the new series as an adult. He is surprised at the audience’s embracing of this role.
  • Sir Patrick Stewart is asked how he feels about his decision to return to the role of Picard now that the first season is done. “I made the right decision.” He goes on to say that the writers wanted “not just to revive Next Generation but to illustrate the years that had passed and that the world has changed. And that’s what excited me.”

Star Trek: Picard is available on CBS All Access. We hope to see season 2 in 2021!

The  Comic-Con@Home Blurb:

Star Trek broke barriers when it first premiered more than 50 years ago, inspiring people of all walks of life by championing cultural diversity, scientific advancement, and the exploration of new frontiers. Today, this legacy carries on through the Star Trek series on CBS All Access, where Starfleet and new characters alike take on exciting missions and explore uncharted areas of the universe while keeping true to the ideals of “Star Trek” that society needs now more than ever. Join us as we virtually bring together the casts and producers from Star Trek: Discovery, new animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek: Picard.

Dominic Patten, Deadline’s senior editor, moderates the overall “Star Trek Universe” panels with an introduction and discussion with Secret Hideout executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin who give a glimpse of what’s ahead in the ever-expanding franchise.

The cast of Star Trek: Discovery reprises their roles in a virtual table read of the season two finale “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2.” Cast scheduled to appear, include Sonequa Martin-Green (Commander Michael Burnham), Michelle Yeoh (Philippa Georgiou), Doug Jones (Commander Saru), Anthony Rapp (Lt. Commander Paul Stamets), Mary Wiseman (Ensign Sylvia Tilly), Wilson Cruz (Dr. Hugh Culber), Mary Chieffo (L’Rell), Tig Notaro (Commander Jett Reno), Alan Van Sprang (Captain Leland), Jayne Brook (Admiral Katrina Cornwall), and the Discovery Bridge crew Emily Coutts (Lt. Detmer), Oyin Oladejo (Lt. J.G. Owosekun), Patrick Kwok-Choon (Lt. Rhys), Ronnie Rowe Jr. (Lt. J.G. Bryce), Sara Mitich (Lt. Nilsson), and upcoming Star Trek: Strange New World stars Anson Mount (Captain Christopher Pike), Rebecca Romijn (Number One), and Ethan Peck (Spock), alongside Star Trek: Discovery executive producer and co-showrunner Michelle Paradise and executive producer Olatunde Osunsanmi, who also directed the season two finale.Act one of the table read will make its world premiere at Comic-Con@Home followed by a brief cast Q&A.

Mike McMahan (Rick and Morty, Solar Opposites), creator, showrunner, and executive producer of the upcoming animated comedy series Star Trek: Lower Decks, which premieres Thursday, August 6 on CBS All Access, will debut an exclusive extended first look from the premiere episode. McMahan also moderates a fun discussion with the Starfleet crew residing in the “lower decks” of the U.S.S. Cerritos, including “Ensign Beckett Mariner” voiced by Tawny Newsome, “Ensign Brad Boimler” voiced by Jack Quaid, “Ensign Tendi” voiced by Noël Wells, and “Ensign Rutherford” voiced by Eugene Cordero and the ship’s bridge crew including “Captain Carol Freeman” voiced by Dawnn Lewis, “Commander Jack Ransom” voiced by Jerry O’Connell, “Lieutenant Shaxs” voiced by Fred Tatasciore, and “Doctor T’Ana: voiced by Gillian Vigman.

Patrick Stewart and the lively cast of the hit original series Star Trek: Picard, come together (virtually) for the first time post-finale to discuss the critically acclaimed first season. Cast members scheduled to appear includes Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard), Alison Pill (Dr. Agnes Jurati), Isa Briones (Dahj/Soji), Evan Evagora (Elnor), Michelle Hurd (Raffi Musiker), and Santiago Cabrera (Cristobal Rios) along with special guest stars Brent Spiner (Data/Dr. Soong), Jonathan Del Arco (Hugh), Jonathan Frakes (William Riker), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), and Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi).

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Post Author: Mar Laine

Assignment Editor, East Coast. I don't binge-watch, I power-watch. I'm a major television junkie, but I love movies, too. I embraced my geek style in the new millennium and have run with it ever since. I have been working in the entertainment industry since forever, but it hasn't dulled my sense of wonder whenever I watch a great movie or an absorbing television show. I love genre -- in particular, I love vampires, the supernatural, and some slasher pics. I also love comedies -- they make life easier. I've been traveling with Whedonopolis since 2007 and writing for the site since 2008. The views expressed on these web sites are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of any of my employers, past or present (or future). Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/reeltvgeeks ; Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reeltvgeeks/ and YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3nN7TLpZ2_6caHIn1RAtkA/videos