By Lee Parham

With the upcoming release of Star Trek: Prodigy, we take a look back on the animated side of the ever-expanding Star Trek universe.

The show that started it all, Star Trek: The Original Series, premiered on television in 1966 and ran for three iconic seasons before its controversial cancellation in 1969.

The cancellation was at the chagrin of Trek fans, leaving the community clamoring for more adventures of Captain Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the crew.

While many may recognize the return of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979, one specific television series bridged the gap between The Original Series and the films.

That show was known as Star Trek: The Animated Series, which ran for two seasons from 1973-74.

Legendary Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry decided to conceptualize the series as a cartoon after the live-action version was canceled, and The Animated Series was born.

The show witnessed the return of the majority of the original cast, who reprised their roles in voiceover form. Despite decent reviews, it suffered the same cancellation fate as its predecessor.

The Animated Series was nixed from the official canon after the premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987. The franchise wouldn't touch animation for a long time.

After decades of countless live-action shows and movies, Star Trek dove back into the world of animation in 2020 with Lower Decks, which is about the less important members of a starship crew.

Lower Decks arrived after other live-action Star Trek series had already been relatively well-received, and now has two seasons under its belt and third on the way.

Lower Decks’ success led to another new animated Star Trek series being commissioned: Prodigy. The show uses 3D graphics, and is targeted at a younger audience on Nickelodeon.

Star Trek: Prodigy follows a group of teenagers in the Star Trek universe as they adventure across the galaxy in an abandoned spaceship.

Kate Mulgrew reprises her iconic role as Captain Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager. Other notable voice actors include Dee Bradley Baker, Jason Mantzoukas, and John Noble.

Following in the footsteps of the original Star Trek: The Animated Series, Lower Decks and Prodigy look to boldly go where no Star Trek series has gone before, foraying into successful cartoons.