Star Trek: Prodigy marked a number of firsts for the beloved sci-fi franchise. It is made entirely in CGI animation and is aimed at a younger audience. The story follows a ragtag team of young misfit aliens who stumble upon an abandoned spaceship and take their first unofficial steps to track Starfleet’s great explorers.
The series premiered almost a year ago and we haven’t received any new episodes since last February. Star Trek: Prodigy is set to return on October 27, and we got to speak with creators and executive producers Kevin and Dan Hageman. They discussed what to expect in the second half of the season and revealed some interesting tidbits about Thadiun Okana, a legacy character who becomes something of a guide for the crew of the Protostar.
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ITPA: When we left for the last time Star Trek: Prodigy, Zero is able to incapacitate the Devin but Gwyn is also inadvertently affected. How does this event shape crew dynamics going forward? In particular, are there tensions between the two most involved?
Dan Hageman: I can say that the information that Gwyn learns at the end of episode ten is vital information that the crew needs. It’s something that eventually comes out in the back half and changes the course of their attempt to get to Starfleet.
Kevin Hageman: I’ll also add, I think it’s okay to share that this moment with Gwyn is going to put Zero on a trajectory. Our show starts with these kids who are the worst of the worst, right? And they don’t really know their places on deck and their roles. I think that moment when Zero hurts Gwyn is going to put Zero on that medicine trajectory and help heal others because Zero was a weapon and now they’re choosing to heal.
ITPA: Speaking of the other characters, a big mystery from the start of the series is Dal’s origin. It is a species of unknown origin and it does not have a great memory of its childhood. The New York Comic Con trailer teases that we’ll learn more about his backstory. Will it tie into the larger narrative as a whole or is it something that will bring more insight and context to Dal himself?
D.Hageman: I think your origin story will obviously bring context to your life, but it’s also, depending on what you find out, your origin story, whether it’s helpful or hurtful, I think it’s up to the person today to see how that defines them. We really want to explore this relationship.
K Hageman: I think it would be fair to say that we didn’t want Dal’s secret origin to suddenly become a star wars movie or something. You are Captain Kirk’s child. No no no. We wanted a real, more grounded discovery for him.
ITPA: You described this second half as having The fugitive feel with Janeway chasing after the Protostar. Could you tell us a bit more? In the film, Tommy Lee Jones has this crocheted, “I don’t care” attitude. Do you think the Vice Admiral will soften her stance a bit when she finds out they’re just kids?
D.Hageman: Speaking of The fugitive, yes there is a crotchet aspect of Tommy Lee Jones, but that was not what we wanted to highlight. It’s more or less, you understand the position of Richard Kimble and you understand the position of the character of Tommy Lee Jones. This is a collision course of two people.
K Hageman: You like them both.
D. Hageman: You root for both.
K Hageman: Whenever you cut to Tommy Lee Jones and his crack team, I like those guys. You know what I mean? You support both sides. What’s going to happen?
D.Hageman: There is this moment when he [Kimble] said, “I didn’t do it”, and he [Jones] said, “I don’t care.” His job is simply to apprehend the bad guy or apprehend the criminal. From Admiral Janeway’s position, she must find this ship [Protostar] to find out what happened to Chakotay and those kids just commandeered him. This is going to be a collision course. Then we also established that there’s a weapon on this ship that can’t be near a Starfleet ship, so that’s another issue to have. You understand why they run away. You understand why they are being sued.
ITPA: Much has been said about the return of Billy Campbell’s Thadiun Okana. You had mentioned that in the writer’s room you still wanted him to be a dodgy guide for the young crew. What about the character who made you want him to cross paths with our protagonists?
K Hageman: I think we tried to have Han Solo, but it was a different franchise so we went with Billy Campbell.
D.Hageman: We loved him in “Outrageous Okana” and we knew, or just thought, no one else would use him
ITPA: Just a kind of follow-up. You said no one else was going to use it. Star Trek: Prodigy exists in its own corner of the universe, but you’re not afraid to incorporate familiar faces into the show, whether through simulations or meeting the real character. What is that process with superiors when considering bringing back an old Legacy or Legacy character?
K Hageman: We talk to the other showrunners first. We say, “Hey, we’re thinking of doing this.” And people will say, “Oh, we’re using that person too.” We will have conversations to make sure we don’t hurt each other.
D.Hageman: If any of the other shows want to use Janeway, we don’t want Kate Mulgrew to feel like she owns her character and nobody else can touch her. No.
K Hageman: We want to see her in a live action aspect.
D.Hageman: They would come to us because they know that we use his character a lot on our show. Hey, they have an idea on how they can make it work on this other show or whatever and we’ll talk about it. With Okana, I think we included Okana, then Mike [McMahan] wanted it in Lower decks. He was like, “Oh, I was hoping to use him as a DJ for this little while.” And you’re like, “Okay, we’re doing a little more than a DJ.”
K Hageman: Just put a blindfold on his eye and it’s good.
D.Hageman: Yeah, so we thought, here’s our design. He has an eye patch. He is a bit overweight. He kind of went through some things. He’s like, “That’s awesome!” So now you have the Okana eye patch in Lower decks.
ITPA: What are you most excited for viewers to see in the second half of the season?
K Hageman: I’m so excited for the final. We have already said it. Kevin and I have worked on nearly 200 TV episodes and this is one of our favorites. It’s something where everything you’ve watched so far has accumulated so far. We feel the team, Ben Hibon and the team really delivered a dynamite episode; episode 20.
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