As a franchise, ‘Star Trek’ has always had an odd, sometimes contradictory relationship with animation. On the one hand, the series’ first revival – even before ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ – was ‘Star Trek: The Animated Series‘, which aired for two seasons beginning in 1973 and featured contributions from the entire original cast as well as some of the original series’ best writers. Despite this, the show lapsed into relative obscurity (which is to say, as obscure as something with the ‘Star Trek’ name on it can get). It has also had a dubious relationship with the franchise’s official continuity. Despite reportedly being disavowed by Gene Roddenberry in the late eighties, the ‘Next Generation’ era is littered with references to the show, canonizing at least some of it. The official stance (such as it is) muddied even further with the series’ 2006 DVD release and its subsequent arrival on streaming platforms. Nonetheless, it has remained in many ways the franchise’s red-headed stepchild.
But as they say, “That was then, this is now.”
Part of writer/producer Alex Kurtzman‘s efforts to expand the ‘Star Trek’ brand under the auspices of CBS All Access is ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks‘, an animated comedy series from ‘Rick and Morty’ writer Mike McMahan. But it doesn’t end there. As he recently revealed to the Hollywood Reporter, Kurtzman has more animated ‘Star Trek’ projects planned for the near future. This includes “at least” one more animated series and the next round of ‘Short Treks’ shorts. No word yet on what this other animated series might be or when it might air, but the ‘Short Treks’ – there will be two of them this time – are set for spring, following the completion of the second season of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ and both will be animated.
Of his interest in animated ‘Trek’ outings, Kurtzman had this to say:
“There’s other animated things that we’re building that are an entirely different perspective and an entirely different tone [from ‘Lower Decks’]. What’s exciting about it is not only looking and each animated series as what’s the different tone, but what’s the different technology we can apply to these things so that visually they’re entirely different?”
Kurtzman further notes that his expansion of ‘Star Trek’ is driven by “what feels right.” So far, that includes ‘Lower Decks’, ‘Short Treks‘, and the still untitled Picard series. Other potential series in the works include a ‘Discovery’ spinoff focused on Michelle Yeoh‘s character and a Starfleet Academy series from ‘Runaways’ showrunners Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage.
Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more on these and other upcoming ‘Star Trek’ projects as it becomes available!