The internet has been buzzing lately thanks to news that the first new animated Trek show since the 1970s — Star Trek: Lower Decks — is still coming along, despite the COVID-19 lockdowns which have caused so many productions to pause. What is also interesting is that the Trek show which will air on Nickelodeon, which is rumored to be called Star Trek: Prodigy, is also moving forward.
Eagle-eyed Star Trek fans have noticed that Nickelodeon Animation Studio is looking for talented folks to work on the new show. The studio needs people like Storyboard Artists, Environmental Artists, CG Modelers, and Prop Designers. All of these positions must be filled in order for “Prodigy” to come to life.
Kevin and Dan Hageman will serve as the creators, executive producers and writers of the show, which will focus on “a group of lawless teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship and use it to search for adventure.” The Hageman Brothers are known for their work on “Trollhunters” and “The Lego Movie.”
Many of the names fans have grown familiar with are also part of the new Nick show, including Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, Katie Krentz, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth who will all serve as executive producers on the project alongside the Hageman Brothers. Aaron Baiers will serve as a co-executive producer.
The one unique thing about the Nick Trek show is that it will not stream on CBS All Access (as we know it). This might seem obvious, but it’s an important distinction. It will air on Nickelodeon at first, and then, perhaps, get rolled into the content that will debut on the new Viacom/CBS/Paramount streaming service that will eventually replace CBS All Access.
This move by ViacomCBS is one of many steps designed to make Star Trek as culturally relevant as its space-inhabiting rival — Star Wars. Wars has been on television geared for youth for years with animated series like “Clone Wars” and “Star Wars: Rebels,” on the Cartoon Network and Disney Channel. This strategy of putting Star Wars in front of young audiences early has clearly worked.
Even the son of noted Trek author and Inglorious Treksperts host, Mark A. Altman, admitted that he enjoyed Star Wars more than Star Trek. In their recent podcast, Altman’s son shared that once he saw Star Wars, he thought there was nothing that could top it. And the younger Altman saw Star Wars before he saw Star Trek.
Perhaps having a new series aimed at the younger audience can break through the hold that Disney and Star Wars have on children. Certainly ViacomCBS would be happy for even a fraction of the estimated $5-7 billion in merchandise that Disney rakes in per Star Wars film. Star Trek can get there, but the franchise needs to get there early.