Saturday, July 24, 2021

First Teaser Trailer for 'Star Trek: Prodigy' Debuts at Comic-Con@Home 2021


We’ve Only Just Begun.

Introduced by Executive Producers Kevin and Dan Hageman,
the All-New Teaser Trailer Features the First Look
at the “Star Trek: Prodigy” Starship

From CBS Studios’ Eye Animation Studios and Nickelodeon,
“Star Trek: Prodigy'' Launches on Paramount+ in the U.S. This Fall

Paramount+, the streaming service from ViacomCBS, today debuted the official teaser trailer for the all-new animated kids’ series STAR TREK: PRODIGY. The teaser trailer was introduced by executive producers Kevin and Dan Hageman during the series’ Comic-Con@Home virtual panel and featured a first look at the STAR TREK: PRODIGY starship.

Produced by the Nickelodeon Animation Studio and CBS Studios’ Eye Animation Studios, STAR TREK: PRODIGY will premiere on Paramount+ in the U.S. this fall.

The STAR TREK: PRODIGY virtual panel was part of the overall “Star Trek” Universe panel, which kicked off Paramount+’s Comic-Con@Home “Peak” Animation programming block, showcasing the service’s upcoming animated series. The “Star Trek” Universe panel also included season two of STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS.

Moderated by Jerry O’Connell (STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS), the STAR TREK: PRODIGY panel featured a conversation with voice cast members Kate Mulgrew (“Hologram Janeway”), Brett Gray (“Dal”), Ella Purnell (“Gwyn”), Angus Imrie (“Zero”), Rylee Alazraqui (“Rok-Tahk”), Dee Bradley Baker (“Murf”) and Jason Mantzoukas (“Jankom Pog”) alongside executive producers Kevin and Dan Hageman and director/co-executive producer Ben Hibon.

Developed by Emmy® Award winners Kevin and Dan Hageman (“Trollhunters” and “Ninjago”), the CG-animated series STAR TREK: PRODIGY is the first “Star Trek” series aimed at younger audiences and will follow a motley crew of young aliens who must figure out how to work together while navigating a greater galaxy, in search for a better future. These six young outcasts know nothing about the ship they have commandeered – a first in the history of the Star Trek franchise – but over the course of their adventures together, they will each be introduced to Starfleet and the ideals it represents.

STAR TREK: PRODIGY is from CBS’ Eye Animation Productions, CBS Studios’ new animation arm; Nickelodeon Animation Studio, led by President of Animation, Ramsey Naito; Secret Hideout; and Roddenberry Entertainment. Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, Katie Krentz, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth serve as executive producers alongside co-showrunners Kevin and Dan Hageman. Ben Hibon directs, co-executive produces and serves as the creative lead of the all-new animated series. Aaron Baiers also serves as co-executive producer.

About Paramount+:

Paramount+, a direct-to-consumer digital subscription video on-demand and live streaming service from ViacomCBS, combines live sports, breaking news, and a mountain of entertainment. The premium streaming service features an expansive library of original series, hit shows and popular movies across every genre from world-renowned brands and production studios, including BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and the Smithsonian Channel. The service is also the streaming home to unmatched sports programming, including every CBS Sports event, from golf to football to basketball and more, plus exclusive streaming rights for major sports properties, including some of the world’s biggest and most popular soccer leagues. Paramount+ also enables subscribers to stream local CBS stations live across the U.S. in addition to the ability to stream ViacomCBS Streaming’s other live channels: CBSN for 24/7 news, CBS Sports HQ for sports news and analysis, and ET Live for entertainment coverage.

For more information about Paramount+, please visit and follow @ParamountPlus on social platforms.

About the Star Trek Universe on Paramount+:

The Star Trek Universe on Paramount+ includes current and upcoming seasons of the original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, STAR TREK: PICARD, the animated series STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS and the upcoming STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS and STAR TREK: PRODIGY, the first “Star Trek” series aimed at younger audiences. The Star Trek Universe on Paramount+ also includes all 726 episodes from the six classic Star Trek series and a selection of Star Trek films, including the documentary WOMAN IN MOTION: NICHELLE NICHOLS, STAR TREK AND THE REMAKING OF NASA.

About CBS Studios:

CBS Studios is one of the world’s leading suppliers of entertainment programming with more than 70 series currently in production for broadcast and cable networks, streaming services and other emerging platforms. The Studio’s expansive portfolio spans a diverse slate of commercially successful and critically acclaimed scripted programming, genre-defining franchises including the ever-growing “Star Trek” universe, award-winning late night and daytime talk shows and an extensive library of iconic intellectual property.

About Nickelodeon:

Nickelodeon, now in its 42nd year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The brand includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, location-based experiences, publishing and feature films. For more information or artwork, visit Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of ViacomCBS Inc. (Nasdaq: VIACA, VIAC).

Facebook: @StarTrekonPPlus, @StarTrek, @ParamountPlus

Twitter: @StarTrekonPPlus, @StarTrek, @ParamountPlus

Instagram: @StarTrekonPPlus, @StarTrek, @ParamountPlus


* * *

What fans learnt during the Star Trek: Prodigy panel:

Prodigy may be the younger Star Trek sibling, but don’t underestimate it

“We knew that people were going to look at our show like, ‘Oh, this is a little brother or the little sister of the Star Trek Universe.’ And we wanted to be that little brother or little sister that smacks the bigger sibling and says, ‘Don’t underestimate us.’” - Dan Hageman, Executive Producer of Star Trek: Prodigy

It’s geared to kids, but intended for everybody

“You just tell a good story from a place of heart, people who we can relate to. So we never really view it from a place of ‘it’s for kids.’ It’s really for everybody. I think when you go from the perspective of ‘these are characters who don’t know Starfleet,’ all of a sudden you’re talking to kids. You’re also talking to people who have been curious about Star Trek, but are afraid to jump into Star Trek. It’s a great entry point.” - Dan Hageman

It centers on a group of rebellious kids

“...what I like about this show is we get to play a group of rebellious kids who aren’t really necessarily part of Starfleet, who are, in many ways, causing trouble and mischief.” - Jason Mantzoukas, Jankom Pog

Despite her appearance, Rok-Tahk is a “cute little eight year old”

“It’s really fun playing Rok-Tahk, because I get to, you know, people… they think it’s this big rock monster but really it’s just this cute little eight year old. So it’s been really fun because I got to… I get to just be myself.” - Rylee Alazraqui, Rok-Tahk

Jankom Pog is an inherently contradictory engineer

“What has been a blast about doing this character is… Jankom Pog is inherently contradictory. So he’s deeply argumentative, deeply aggressive. He’s a very confrontational character. So [it’s] an absolute blast to play as a full of bluff and bluster kind of character… he’s the engineer. He’s the mechanic. He’s always trying to fix what’s wrong, always trying to make things work and, frustratingly, to a greater or less degree, is not always successful.” - Mantzoukas

Zero is a Medusan

“Zero isn’t a robot. Zero is a Medusan. They are a genderless, non-corporeal entity - a light source, essentially - and they are in a containment suit because if anyone ever saw them, they would go mad.” -  Angus Imrie, Zero

You may not always understand what Murf is saying...

“Murf is sort of — it’s this blob, it’s this sentient blob that’s kind of like Rok-Tahk’s familiar, or a lieutenant or sidekick or something. So it understands what’s going on, but you don’t always understand what Murf is saying, and that, I think, is going to evolve as the series evolves.” - Dee Bradley Baker, Murf

On the return of Janeway

“She’s Janeway at her best. She’s there to help this motley crew… get this defunct ship working. And she does. She is the essential Captain Janeway. She’s full of, I think, warmth. She’s going to help these kids. She’s determined to help them get off this very, very dangerous and dark planet and into a much better place. A different galaxy. So she brings to bear on this task all of her skills and most of them are deeply human.” - Kate Mulgrew, Captain Kathryn Janeway

Bringing Trek to the next generation

“I’ve been a part of it for upwards of 25 years and the Hagemans are well aware of the fact that it has changed my life. So when this was proposed to me sometime ago, after a moment’s deliberation, I thought ‘what could be better than possibly handing this to the next generation?’ To a demographic that heretofore has not known anything about Star Trek. The beauty of it. The philosophy of it. The hope and the promise of it. And if there’s any age group that’s going to take this thing and embrace it with a whole-heartedness not seen before, it’s the young kids. They’re going to get it in a way that older people, due to, perhaps, a little life experience, a scintilla cynicism, might not get entirely. But the young ones, five, 10, 15, are going to embrace it with a guilelessness and a readiness, and, i think, an emotional component, that’s gonna make them absolutely adore it. At any rate, that’s my hope and that’s my intention.” - Mulgrew

A Rundown of the Panel:

Courtesy of TV Fanatic

Creator Kevin Hageman opened things up with a great description of how he and Dan wanted something new to add to the Star Trek Universe.

"This is the very first Star Trek series that's going to actually be through the eyes of characters who are outside of Starfleet. I think that really makes this show stand out from all the others."

Mulgrew pointed out that Hologram Janeway is very helpful as a Starfleet program, and Dan quickly agreed.

"They probably wouldn't last one day without the help of Hologram Janeway."

The joy of Comic-Con panels has always been the chance to witness the banter between the cast and production team members. Inside jokes, anecdotes about productions, even deeply personal connections have a way of spilling out to the delight of fans.

O'Connell, being a member of the Star Trek: Lower Decks cast, couldn't help slipping in a few mentions of his show which was quickly shouted down by his panel.

One assumes this was the whole reason he was chosen for the job.

But, to be fair, he was very good at directing the conversation back to the topic at hand (while handling the trash talk in a good-natured manner.)

He asked the director, Ben Hibon, about the rich and cinematic look of Star Trek: Prodigy, a huge departure from both Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek: The Animated Series.

Hibon is effusive about the creation process.

"The thing that felt incredibly exciting about this is that Prodigy has the ambition to tell this story from a kid's perspective and focus on this entry point for a brand new generation of Trek fans.

"It owns that visual, that aesthetic, you know. It was never designed just for kids. It's designed for lovers of animation, for lovers of sci-fi.

"The ambition of the show is that kids should watch it with their parents and vice versa. We wanted to really make sure that it has that kind of visual impact.

"And also because Prodigy is canon, we want this series and this story to fit within that incredibly rich universe that comes before and after.

Dan added his personal take on the show's aim.

"Early on, we knew that people were gonna look at our show as the little brother or little sister of the Star Trek Universe. We wanted to be that little brother or little sister that smacks the bigger sibling and says, 'Don't underestimate us.' "

Hibon made a great observation that Trek has a science behind it with rules that must be recognized and Kate Mulgrew was eager to point out the appeal of that to young viewers.

"Children are very astute. You've grasped an essential component of the childlike imagination, which is an extraordinary perception. They need to be grounded while taking flight at the same time."

SDCC 2021 Kate Mulgrew - Star Trek: Prodigy
Hibon added, "We have to create foundations that are believable and that we can all kind of understand. We can understand the rules and, once we have these rules, we can just break them to elevate the story."

Looking to target younger viewers is really about gathering a "full" audience, according to Dan and it's not about writing "for kids" per se.

"You just tell a good story from a place of heart. People who we can relate to. We never really view it as being for kids. It's for everybody.

"When you go from a perspective of characters who don't know Starfleet, all of a sudden you're talking to kids, you're also talking to people who have been curious about Star Trek but are afraid to jump into Star Trek. It's a great entry point."

Brett Gray, as the central character, Dal, was excited about the interplay between his character and the rest of the cast.

"[The show has] these really incredible arcs and these really incredible characters and I feel very lucky because I get to come in contact with all of them and have my own interaction with everyone, learn about each character as each episode goes.

"One thing I love about playing Dal is I get to understand myself and who I am and my place in this universe along with all the other characters."

At this point, Mulgrew asked Gray about his vocal skills, putting him on the spot by asking him to demonstrate. Citing possible spoilers, he declined.

Kevin jumped in to describe the joy of discovering Gray for the role of Dal.

"When Brett came in, he just blew us away. You just had this energy and you have this infectious, invite-able voice and personality.

Gray added his personal memory of his audition.

"I also walked into the audition barefoot by complete accident. I got there way too early.

I was in the lobby of Nickelodeon and I kicked my shoes off and just started reading all the scripts because they were sitting on the table and totally forgot that I was at an audition. And they called me in and I completely walked in without my shoes on."

O'Connell invited Purnell to describe her character, Gwyn, an individual with a mysterious aura about her.

"Gwyn is a Vau N'Akat. She starts quite closed off and I think that's where the mystery comes from. She's very much under the thumb of her father and she has her own sort of ideals and beliefs but she's very conflicted.

"There's two sides that she's fighting with constantly. Throughout the season, she gets to be a kid and she gets to find herself. Learns to let loose a little and enjoy herself. I think the real Gwyn gets to comes out.

Purnell admitted that joining the Star Trek Universe was somewhat overwhelming. "There's a lot of pressure coming into something that is so loved and popular."

Young Rilee Alazraqui was next up.

"It's really fun playing Rok-Tahk because people think it's this big rock monster but really it's just this cute little eight-year-old. I get to just be myself. When I'm recording, I just act myself. She's an animal-loving, cute little rock monster."

According to Dan, it was very much an intentional choice to counter the visual of a rock monster with an eight-year-old's voice.

"What's a rock monster that hasn't been done? For Dal, if there's one person to befriend on this alien mining planet, just from looks alone, it would be the giant rock monster."

Kevin chimed in that they had to push to cast Rilee. "There was pressure to hire an adult to play a child but we wanted a real kid. The assumption was the Brikar would be the security officer but she's a kid who hates to fight. She loves science."

At this point, something that never happens accidentally at a live Comic-Con event happened. The door behind O'Connell opened and his wife, Rebecca Romijn (Number One on the forthcoming Star Trek: Strange New Worlds), and Ethan Peck (Spock, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds) walked in.

The interruption flustered him and he misspoke in introducing them to his panel, referring to Kate Mulgrew as Vice-Lieutenant Janeway, an error for which he was absolutely flamed.


And at length.

Getting back on track, O'Connell asked Jason Mantzoukas to provide some insight on his character, the Tellurite, Jankom Pog.

"Jankom Pog is inherently contradictory. He's deeply argumentative, deeply aggressive. He's a very confrontational character. An absolute blast to play as a full of bluff and bluster kind of character.

"He's the engineer. He's the mechanic. He's always trying to fix what's wrong. Always trying to make things work and not always successful."

When O'Connell moved onto Angus Imrie, who portrays the character, Zero, he flubbed again when he referred to Zero as a robot. (Although, looking at the graphic, I totally understood how he made that assumption.)

"Zero isn't a robot. Zero is a Medusan. They are a genderless, non-corporeal entity. A light source, essentially. And they are in a containment suit because if anyone ever saw them, they would go mad.

"They are not very good at social conventions. They can read other people's minds and tend to blurt out exactly what everyone else is thinking, creating completely incoherent social situations.

"Part of the joy of playing them is that they learn. They learn how to understand other people's emotions, other characters' emotions rather, and grow with them.

"It's been a hoot trying to find a voice for a character that doesn't have a body. That has been part of the great journey of it."

The next cast member to discuss character was Dee Bradley Baker, a veteran voice actor with literally HUNDREDS of credits to his name.

"Whenever Hollywood thinks to cast a spineless blob, they often think of me for some reason.

"Murf is this sentient blob that's kind of like Rok-Tahk's familiar or lieutenant or sidekick or something?

"It understands what's going on but you don't always understand what Murf is saying. I think that is going to evolve as the series evolves."

Since Murf's language is pretty much unintelligible, there was no fear of spoilers if Baker demonstrated his speech. So he did. And it was like if whales, Wookies, Porgs, and a fart had a linguistic baby.

(The Murf demo is only about 20 seconds of the video, btw)

Saving the Star Trek royalty for last, O'Connell (while still apologizing for the rank mistake) petitioned Mulgrew, aka Vice-Admiral Janeway, to discuss her holographic self.

"She's devastatingly beautiful. She's Janeway at her best. She's there to help this motley crew get this defunct ship working, and she does.

"She is the essential Captain Janeway. She's full of warmth. She's going to help these kids. She's determined to help them get off this very, very dangerous and dark planet and into a much better place. A different galaxy.

"So she brings to bear on this task, all of her skills. Most of them are deeply human. She's funny, she's alive, she cares, she can be strict. She can be strong. She can be powerful, but mostly she's driven to help them succeed."

Joining the Star Trek Universe is an amazing experience for many of the cast members.

Mantzoukas grew up watching reruns of Star Trek: The Original Series every afternoon and connects deeply with becoming a part of that canon.

Baker also watched Star Trek as a little kid.

"It holds a special place in my heart. The reason is the optimism that it presents that we can work together. It's the original inclusive television series. It was so revolutionary at the time.

"That's part of the brilliance of how this show is configured is that they've once again assembled a really appealing ensemble of disparate characters and creatures that are able to work together.

"That, to me, is the hope and the appeal, that there is a bright future ahead. There's adventure, there's fun, but that we can work it out so we can go there together. It's great to be aboard a show that's about that."

With twenty-five-plus years of life in the Star Trek Universe, Mulgrew was expansive about the possibilities Star Trek: Prodigy presents.

"What could be better than possibly handing this to the next generation?

"To a demographic that heretofore has not known anything about Star Trek. The beauty of it. The philosophy of it. The depth of it. The hope and the promise of it.

"And if there's any age group that's going to take this thing and embrace it with a whole-heartedness not seen before it's the young kids. They're going to get it in a way that older people might not get entirely.

To conclude the panel -- after O'Connell was done groveling about the Vice-Lieutenant thing -- the Hagemans were happy to present the very first teaser trailer/trailer that teases of Star Trek: Prodigy.

Panel Hightlights:

- The ship is called the U.S.S. Protostar. With the registry NX-76884, the Protostar is an experimental vessel which is apparently marooned on the mining planet. Blending the sleek style of the Intrepid-class USS Voyager with a more stripped down, Star Trek: Discovery vibe, the Protostar will be the abandoned starship mentioned in descriptions of the show going back to its early development that will take the Prodigy kids on their weekly adventures.

- The interior of the Protostar looks a lot more advanced than Voyager did, though it is appropriately equipped with blue LCARS-style computer controls. The Protostar will have a giant window view screen as its bridge window, a aesthetic change made with JJ Abrams' Kelvin Timeline films and carried through to Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and presumably Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

- "She's devastatingly beautiful," Mulgrew joked about her character during the panel about Janeway. "She's going to help these kids. She's determined to help them get off this very, very dangerous and dark planet and into a much better place, a different galaxy."

- Purnell's 17-year-old Gwyn is a member of a species called the Vau N'Akat, and she grew up on her father's mining planet, a cheerless place that drove her to explore beyond her home. Gray's 17-year-old Dal is from an unknown species. He fiercely guards his hope for a better future and sees himself as a nonconformist. Alazraqui's eight-year-old Rok-Tahk is part of the Brikar species. She's a little shy and uncommonly smart, especially when expressing her devotion to animals. Baker's Murf is an "indestructible blob" from an unknown species. His age is also a mystery, but he does have quite the appetite for ship parts and an intriguingly good sense of timing. Imrie's Zero is one of the oldest and most unusual aliens to grace the STU canon. They're Medusan, an energy-based species that have no gender and no corporeal form. To look upon their true appearance is to die from insanity, so Zero created a containment suit to protect their shipmates from harm. Finally, Mantzoukas plays 16-year-old Jankom Pog, a Tellarite who, true to form, enjoys a good argument and will often take an opposing viewpoint regardless of his own opinion, just so all perspectives can be heard.

- Lasting just under a minute, we see Brett Gray’s Dal working in some kind of hazardous slave labor as an unseen voice says, “No one will escape.” “I’m getting outta here, to a better life,” the kid says. Angus Imrie’s Medusan Zero can be spotted giving a shrug, and then Rylee Alazraqui’s rock-like Rok-Tahk is heard saying “What will happen if they catch us?” while some kind of glowing-eyed, multi-legged critters are seemingly in hot pursuit. Jason Mantzoukas’ Jankom Pog takes a more comedic moment, stating, “Like it or not, you’re stuck with me,” while Dee Bradley Baker’s blob-like Murf squeals. Ella Purnell’s statuesque Gwyn declares to Dal, “I tried to save you.” He responds, while offering his hand, “And now we can save each other.” And then we see it: the experimental starship that the kids will embark on their journey on. It’s “our ticket out of here,” Dal says. The trailer culminates with the Star Trek: Prodigy title card as Holo Janeway can be heard saying, “We’ve only just begun."

- As for the panel itself, Ben Hibon confirmed that the show is indeed canon as part of the bigger Star Trek world. One of the most interesting reveals came from Angus Imrie, who explained that while his character Zero looks like a robot of some kind, he’s actually a Medusan -- a non-corporeal being in a containment suit. We’ve previously seen a Medusan way back on The Original Series episode "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" but this will be the first time a member of that particular race gets a main character role.

- At one point, Rebecca Romijn and Ethan Peck suddenly popped up in the background at moderator Jerry O’Connell’s house. The pair, of course, are currently shooting Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, where they play Number One and Spock, respectively. (And O’Connell plays Commander Jack Ransom on Lower Decks, so that’s quite a Star Trek household right there!) Peck had the shaved Spock eyebrows and everything.

- As for the return of Janeway, Mulgrew at this to say: “She’s Janeway at her best. She’s there to help this motley crew and get this defunct ship working. And she does. She’s full of warmth. She’s determined to help these kids get off this dangerous and dark planet. She’s funny, she’s alive, she can be funny… but mostly, she’s driven to help them succeed.”

- In the trailer, the USS Protostar blasts off into a vibrant, nebula-filled space vista, presumably with the Prodigy kids aboard as Goldsmith's fanfare swells and Dal observes "there are a lot more stars than I thought."

Trailer Images:

- Despite the tough look, producers Dan and Kevin Hageman describe Rok-Tahk as far from a warrior or security officer-type and the character is incongruously voiced by child actor Rylee Alazraqui.

- Dal tells Gwyn that they can save each other and it's just the kind of togetherness and teamwork we've come to expect from Star Trek and family friendly viewing.

Originally published: July 23, 2021 at 20:02 BST.

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