The next starship crew exploring the Final Frontier of Star Trek has arrived. No, it’s not guest stars for Picard Season 2, or a full break-down of the rest of the Strange New Worlds gang. Instead, after a decent amount of speculation, the full cast and character list for the upcoming animated series Star Trek: Prodigy has been revealed. And, it turns out there are some massive deep cuts to old school Star Trek canon, specifically, The Original Series.
Remember when Spock wore that red visor in the classic Star Trek episode “Is There In Truth No Beauty?” Well, one of the new alien crewmembers on Prodigy is a direct call-back to that alien species. Here’s the details of the new Prodigy crew and how it all connects to the larger Trek universe and timeline.
Mild potential spoilers for Star Trek: Prodigy ahead.
Meet the Star Trek: Prodigy Crew
Paramount+ has given a full breakdown of the cast and characters in Star Trek: Prodigy, the upcoming series from Kevin and Dan Hageman, which is a collaboration between Nickelodeon and Paramount. The story will center around some adolescents who find themselves on board an abandoned starship. The series is set in 2383 (after Voyager and Lower Decks, but two years before the earliest Picard flashbacks). The show is also set in the Delta Quadrant, which means it’s pretty far away from the action of everything happening in the Prime Timeline in the 2380s and 2390s. (I.E. That Romulan Supernova in 2387, is really far away.)
We’ve known for awhile that Star Trek: Voyager‘s Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) will appear via hologram, but up until now, we haven’t known anything official about any of the new young alien crew members. That is, until now. Here’s who they are! Names and descriptions in quotes come straight from the new Paramount+ press release.
- Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui) “a Brikar and an unusually bright eight-year-old girl. Rok is a bit shy, but not when it comes to her love for animals.” (Note: this is the Rock-looking character.)
- Dal (Brett Gray) “17 years old and an unknown species, he fancies himself a maverick, who even in the toughest times, holds strong onto his unwavering hope.”
- Zero (Angus Imrie) “is a Medusan: a noncorporeal, genderless, energy-based lifeform. Since others would go mad at the sight of their true self, Zero wears a containment suit they made themselves to protect others.” (We’ll come back to this in a second!)
- Jankom Pog (Jason Mantzouka) “a 16-year-old Tellarite. Tellarites are known to relish an argument, and Jankom is no different. Regardless of opinion, he will always play ‘devil’s advocate’ for the sake of hearing all sides.”
- Gwyn (Ella Purnell) “a 17-year-old Vau N’Akat who was raised on her father’s bleak mining planet and grew up dreaming to explore the stars.”
- Murf (Dee Bradley Baker) “age and species is unknown but who is an endearing, indestructible blob with curiously good timing and an insatiable appetite for ship parts.”
Star Trek: Prodigy and Its Deep Canon Connections
The species Brikar comes from expanded Trek book canon, specifically a series of Starfleet Academy YA novels published in the ‘90s. The Brikar species first appeared in a book called Worf’s First Adventure. Looks like they’re legit canon now!
Obviously, Tellarites (the pig-like aliens) have been around since the TOS episode “Journey to Babel,” and have more recently appeared fairly prominently in Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 (as well as the Short Treks Harry Mudd episode “The Escape Artist”). So, we have an idea of how Jankom Pog will act. Maybe?
Some fans think the species Vau N’Akat could be connected to the Founders (shapeshifters) from DS9, but we don’t know if that’s true. For now the Vau N’Akat and Gwyn are a mystery.
But the most eyebrow-raising inclusion on this list is the fact that Zero — who looks like a robot — is actually a Medusan. Think of his robot-like appearance like a Vorlon encounter suit from Babylon 5. Which is an upgrade from the box that Medusan had travel inside of in TOS!
In “Is There In Truth No Beauty?” the Medusans were established as fantastic astrogators, despite the fact that they were formless, and the visage of them would drive you utterly nuts. In that episode, the fact that Dr. Miranda Jones (Diana Muldaur) was blind assisted her in dealing with the Medusan ambassador, Kollos. Spock, of course, at one point, did fail to have on his anti-insanity visor (cool red shades) and briefly, went bananas. The Medusans have been sparsely mentioned in Trek canon since, though in the Star Trek: Picard episode “Broken Pieces,” one of the Rios holograms did mention “Medusan Astrogation.”
More broadly, having a young Medusan as part of the crew of Prodigy is not only a cool Easter egg, but also speaks to the meaning of the origins of the alien.
“Is There In Truth No Beauty?” is the first episode in which we learn about the Vulcan concept of IDIC; infinity diversity in infinite combinations. But, since that episode we haven’t “seen” a Medusan since. In many ways, this alien species is the most extreme version of Star Trek’s message of tolerance: a lifeform that humanoids are psychologically unable to handle. Putting this kind of character on a Trek kids’ show is already pretty edgy. And hopefully, this news indicates that Prodigy won’t be a lightened-up version of Trek, but instead, will go boldly into the great cultural and political issues that make the franchise so beloved.
Star Trek: Prodigy is set to debut sometime in 2021 on Paramount+.