Star Trek: Lower Decks arriving before Discovery Season 3!

Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers present for Star Trek: Discovery Season 2.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting what I believed was an imminent announcement of the release date for Star Trek: Discovery’s third season. Season 2 concluded well over a year ago, in mid-April 2019, and while Star Trek: Picard took up what had been Discovery’s early-year broadcast window in 2020, I still thought we’d have seen the show in late spring or early summer. Even with the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, I thought that Discovery should have been well on the way to finishing its post-production work by the time Picard Season 1 was drawing to a close. I was surprised to see no mention of Discovery aside from a very brief “coming soon” placeholder image when Picard concluded, but I still thought we’d see the show around the midpoint of the year.

It took me by surprise, then, when it was announced that Star Trek: Lower Decks is going to premiere on the 6th of August – in just five weeks’ time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for Lower Decks and I was still hoping to see it this year, but I always thought that the plan for 2020 had been to release Picard in the early part of the year, then follow that up with Discovery Season 3, before dropping Lower Decks in the autumn. So it’s a little bit of a surprise that Lower Decks is going first!

The main characters of Star Trek: Lower Decks.
L-R: Ensigns Tendi, Rutherford, Mariner, and Boimler.

Evidently what must’ve happened is that Lower Decks is ready to be broadcast while work is still continuing in some areas on Discovery Season 3. If you follow Star Trek and Trekkies on social media, you may have heard over the last few weeks that some of Discovery’s post-production crew have said they’ve finished their work, but it seems there’s still more to do! Partly this is due to coronavirus impacting schedules and forcing many folks to work from home. But partly it seems that Discovery’s third season wasn’t as ready-to-go as I’d expected. I didn’t think we’d go from Picard’s first-season finale straight into Discovery Season 3, but I did think we’d see a release date announced.

As excited as I am for Lower Decks, I’m at least slightly disappointed with what feels like a delay to Discovery’s third season. With the ship and crew having left the 23rd Century behind in the finale of Season 2, I’ve been eagerly – and somewhat anxiously, I admit – waiting to see what kind of future they arrive in. I recently took an in-depth look at the Season 3 trailer – and you can see what I thought by clicking or tapping here.

We got a little more information about Lower Decks in the announcement, including a first look at the ship the show is set on: the California-class USS Cerritos. Named for a city in the Los Angeles area, the Cerritos is a pretty cool design in my opinion. With obvious visual elements of The Next Generation’s Galaxy-class, the ship has a familiar “Star Trek-y” design that’s instantly recognisable as part of the franchise.

The USS Cerritos.

It definitely feels as though care has been taken with this design, and that it was designed by someone with an appreciation for the Star Trek franchise as a whole. By being a smaller starship than, for example, a Galaxy-class ship, I think it also does a good job of conveying that this is a minor ship; not a flagship by any means, the Cerritos is of lower importance among the fleet. The saucer-plus-nacelles design is reminiscent of ships like the Miranda-class and Nebula-class; the former being best-known as the design used for the USS Reliant in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

I guess for now we’ll have to put Discovery on the back burner and start getting excited for Lower Decks! Star Trek can do animation very well, but this will be the franchise’s first fully-animated series in 45 years, as well as the first attempt to make a comedy series. The team behind the show – including Mike McMahan – have a good track record at producing successful shows just like Lower Decks, so there’s reason to be hopeful.

Unfortunately, as of right now ViacomCBS hasn’t announced who has the international broadcast rights to Lower Decks. Netflix has Star Trek: Discovery and Amazon Prime Video has Star Trek: Picard, so it could be the case that either of those companies snaps up Lower Decks as well. Hopefully an announcement will come soon, so we can get the show within 24 hours of its US premiere, as has been the case for the other two series since Star Trek returned to television.

So all that’s really left to say is this: roll on the 6th of August and the premiere of Star Trek: Lower Decks! Let’s hope for a successful first season.

Star Trek: Lower Decks will premiere on CBS All Access in the United States on the 6th of August 2020. International broadcasts have not yet been confirmed. The Star Trek franchise – including Lower Decks and all other properties mentioned above – is the copyright of ViacomCBS. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.