Star Trek: Lower Decks debuted last year and is the first animated comedy from the science fiction franchise. The series is set to return on August 12 and ahead of the season two premiere, a media day was held where we had the opportunity to speak with stars, Tawny Newsome (Ensign Becket Mariner) and Jack Quaid (Ensign Brad Boimler). The pair shared their thoughts on their characters and what fans can expect in the upcoming season.
The show so far has given viewers a good idea of who the different characters are but who were they prior to joining the USS Cerritos? In particular, Mariner seems to have this outlandish and mysterious past that viewers are dying to learn about. Newsome revealed that we’ll receive a little bit more about her history.
I’ve seen all the theories, okay. I’m just going to say it. Was Mariner a child on the Enterprise? Is Mariner a time traveler? There’s all these things of why has Mariner been to all these places. Worked with all these people. How old is she? Is she 1,000? Is she 25 like the rest of them? The answer is, I’m not going to tell you. Some of it is because I don’t know and some of it is because we reveal a little bit in this season so it will be delightful when you find out. You’re in it for the long haul with her. She’s not going to tell you all her s--t up front. She’s just not. The show or the character so you’ll have to keep on watching.
Boimler and Mariner find themselves in different positions than when we first met them on Lower Decks. Boimler has joined a new ship, the Titan, and is under the command of a familiar face, William Riker. It’s quite a transition to a more important ship in Star Fleet and the young ensign is experiencing some growing pains. Quaid said, “Boimler is a little bit out of his depth this season. He’s book smart. He’s not really great thinking on his feet and that’s something he has to do a lot on the Titan. There’s a little bit of ‘be careful what you wish for’ happening.”
Without her season one partner in crime, Mariner finds some one else to team up with. However, the collaboration throws a monkey wrench into her schemes when that person is her mother and captain of the ship. “She is now working with Captain Freeman, and it’s not great for either of them. I can tell you that. They don’t love it. Not having the anonymity,’ Newsome stated. “Not having her little secret of being the captain’s daughter puts all of her stuff on blast. She has to do all of her sneaky side missions in full view of the rest of the crew and captain so that’s rough.”
Though Star Trek: Lower Decks is an animated comedy, it does have complex characters that continue to grow. When asked about what they wanted out of their characters this season, Quaid wanted “to see Boimler get just a hair more confident just to show a bit of growth. Obviously, we hope the show goes on for a very long time and we want to make sure to parcel that out. Boimler can’t be self-actualized immediately. But it’s cool to see Boimler change, especially from who he was last season.”
Newsome’s Mariner also had to change up her routine this season and her perspective on things has evolved.
I feel she had to drop some of the artifice of being too cool for school a little bit, which we learned in season one particularly the end of it, was a façade. She does love the job; she just wants to do it her way. Season two with what I talked about earlier that being on display with everyone knowing that she’s the captain’s daughter. Not being able to sneak around. That comes with you have to drop the façade a little bit because otherwise, why would you stick around.
I think she’s a little more direct. She’s a little more like this is what I want to do and why whereas last year, she maybe had a, I don’t know, she had cool cover reasons for why she was doing certain things. This year I think she has to be like, I want to do this because I think it would be good. Yeah, so maybe she’s a little more honest which scary because she was very honest last year.
Now that Boimler and Mariner are separated, the voice actors reflected on their characters’ relationship. “For Boimler, I think he realizes how much Mariner really means to him or part of him misses the Cerritos but he was just so bowled over by the idea of this promotion and this new life of his, he didn’t quite realize how much he missed them,” Quaid said. “I think by the end of the season he really understands just how important Mariner is to him because I always thought the two of them as best friends who just won’t admit that they’re best friends. I think we see a bit more of that this season…but I’m really excited to show you guys the turns in that relationship.”
Newsome added, “I think we see Mariner being pretty hurt with her friend abandoned her without saying goodbye. That’s pretty sh*tty. So, we didn’t see Mariner expose hurt a lot in the first season so that’s a vulnerable side that we haven’t seen before and how she deals with it is of course, being aggressive but I think that’s interesting.”
With regards to series as a whole this season, Newsome excitedly shared that Star Trek: Lower Decks “was confident last year but this year it’s so sure of itself. It’s so sure of its sense of humor. I feel like all of us, all the performances, all of the writing, we’re like yes, we know this is funny, we know this is great Star Trek and there’s zero apologies for it. Zero F’s given and I love it.”
The creators behind Lower Decks are huge fans of Star Trek and draw deep from the mythology and legacy. There are so many Easter eggs and of course, guest stars. Since Boimler is on the Titan, that means more Jonathan Frakes. Quaid spoke about his new TV boss. “I love this version of Ryker that we haven’t really seen before where he gets to be a little nuttier and a little bit more jazzy, I’m going to say is the word. It’s really great. He was amazing in our season one finale. He’s great in this.”
Newsome can’t wait for viewers to meet the new Tamarian security officer, Kayshon, played by Carl Tart. “I think it is the perfect pairing of voice with alien because the Tamarians as we know, they speak in these metaphors…To have a goofy weirdo like Carl. Just a goofy dude. I think it’s perfect. I think it’s an exact example of what Lower Decks does so well. It takes the thing we all love and puts a weirdo behind the mic to bring it to life and to expose what’s kind of funny about it. I’m so excited for Carl to join the world.”
When asked if they would ever boldly go where no one has gone before, the two actors didn’t share the same enthusiasm as their on-screen counterparts. Quaid said, “It’s terrifying out there in space. Everything is out to kill you.” Newsome echoed that sentiment. “I would not do well in space. I would be a screaming mess and I would be looking for the seatbelt.”
Don’t miss the season 2 premiere of Star Trek: Lower Decks this Thursday, August 12, on Paramount+
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