Sunday, January 29, 2023

‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ Producers on How Season 2 is Very Different and Their Hopes for More Seasons and a Movie

Kevin and Dan Hageman, the co-creators of Star Trek: Prodigy, along with executive producer and director Ben Hibon, recently offered fans some hints about what’s coming in season 2 of Nickelodeon's hit Paramount+ Original Series, and opened up about their hopes to continue the show and maybe even see it on the big screen.

Season 2 will be about earning a ship

During a TREKtalks2 panel, executive producer Kevin Hageman summed up how the second season of twenty episodes is going to be different than the first season of Prodigy:

Kevin Hageman: Season 1, if you boil it down, it’s about a bunch of kids who steal a ship and the adventures that unfold. In season 2, we just felt like what’s the next step of evolution of youth, of education, of growing up? And they’re going to earn a ship in season 2.

He also offered some details about what we can expect in season 2:

Kevin Hageman: In season 2, you’re going to see there are a lot of unanswered questions by the end of season 1. Asencia is still out there somewhere floating around. She is still alive. There is the promise of a new ship. There’s Gwyn flying off to Solum to try to do what her father could never do. Season 2 is going to be really exciting because it’s going to feel like a new chapter. We’re diving into new territory, but it still feels like a continuation of season one. And so I think by the end of season two, it’s all going to just feel like this gargantuan epic piece.

In their Mission Log podcast interview, the brothers emphasized how the season is designed to feel very different:

Dan Hageman: I’m excited for season 2. As excited as I was for people to watch season 1, I think internally our team is like, “Wait for season 2.” We all love the cast and crew and we love these characters. And it’s a totally different adventure.

Kevin Hageman: With season 2, Dan and I wanted to make sure that season 2 didn’t feel like it’s the exact same thing. I hate it when the seasons blur together, and you have no idea what season was which, and it was all kind of one in the same… So we tried to really keep the DNA of season 1, but what’s the next chapter? I apologize for making this comparison to Star Wars, God forbid. But when you watched Empire Strikes Back, I remembered that well. Because it was on Hoth and it had these different aspects to it. That was very different from Star Wars: A New Hope, right? And so we definitely wanted to make sure that season 2 has its own flavor.

Season 2 should be coming this year

Back on the panel, Kevin and Ben gave an update on the current state of production for season 2:

Kevin Hageman: We don’t even know when it’s going to get released. We’re hoping it will be 2023, later this year. We’re starting to mix the very first episodes of season 2 right now. So we should have things ready later this year. But that’s all up to the networks and the overlords of Star Trek, because you want to try to pace out each of the shows, right? You don’t want all the Trek shows to drop at the same.

Ben Hibon: We have multiple episodes in different stages of production all at once. That’s what happens when you work on a TV show. The different stages of production roll into each other. So you suddenly find yourself with 14 or 15 episodes in production at one time. So right we’ve locked animatic storyboarding on the entire 20 episodes. So we are on the tail end of that. And on the front end, we are doing the final mix on episode 1 and 2 next week. So we have final picture on the first two and we’re getting finished animatic on the last [two]. So that’s how wide of a breadth you have in terms of where the season is. So every pieces are kind of locked into place. But the production is in full swing, basically.

(L-R) Dan Hageman, Rylee Alazraqui, Dee Bradley Baker, Kate Mulgrew, Kevin Hageman, Ben Hibon and Brett Gray at NYCC 2021

Why Holo Janeway had to go

In the season 1 finale, “Supernova, Part 2,” Hologram Janeway sacrificed herself to save Starfleet, and the kids were later assigned to Admiral Janeway’s new ship. Dan Hageman talked about how he didn’t think it was a risk to kill off Hologram Janeway, citing this handoff to Admiral Janeway:

Dan Hageman: I think it would be a risk if we didn’t do that. For us, it was baked in… We lead with emotion, and so you have to end with emotion. And for us, we felt we felt storytelling is about relationships, and it’s the relationships between these children and their mentor and what she has taught them. And I also would think it would be odd if season 2 had two Janeway mentors. It would get muddled. And so one has sacrifice themselves so the other can flourish.

Even though the second season will have the kids on Janeway’s new ship, which will include more adult characters, Kevin said the show will still keep the focus on the kids:

Kevin Hageman: It’s always going to be about our crew of kids. What we love, though, is these kids who are thrust into the adult world of Trek and adult circumstances. And so it’s fantastic to have Admiral Janeway and these other adult characters. And in season 2 there’ll be other fantastic adult characters around them. And then that creates conflict and creates humor to play off of that. That’s part of the magic of Star Trek: Prodigy.

From “Supernova Part 2”

Pushing for more seasons and a movie

The 20-episode order for season 2 should probably keep the Prodigy team busy through 2024, but they made it clear they are hoping for more.

Kevin Hageman: Our hope right now is just that now that season 1 is fully out on Paramount Plus, we’re hoping that the numbers are good. And we’re all kind of eagerly waiting to see if we can get a green light for season 3.

… I could write these characters for a long time. They’re so fun. And unlike some of the other Trek shows, these are kids who started off so far from Starfleet. And now we get to do this fantastic growth of them growing up and becoming young adults and becoming Starfleet. It’s exciting to think about where we could go with them.

Back on the Mission Log podcast, they talked about how they are even thinking further into the future. When asked if they would keep going even beyond season 3, they revealed those discussions have already started:

Kevin Hageman: All our heads are always in the clouds here. Like we want to do an animated movie. I would love for the show to keep going for many, many seasons. And then, sort of like what they did with The Next Generation—they had the show, and then they started to spin off and do the features. And so to be able to have the show, and then to have a feature, like it’d be amazing. Not just an animated feature, but if you could do a live-action feature it would be absolutely stunning. So we have lofty ambitions. [Dan interjects: Theme park rides!]

Ramsey Naito, who is the head of animation for all of Paramount and Nickelodeon, so whenever we sit down with her, she’ll bring up maybe a season 3 and talking about possibilities and we’re like, “Season 3 and season 4 and we have an idea for the movie.” And she’s like, “Whoa, whoa, one thing at a time.” So we’re pushing as hard as we can. And everyone at the network and the studio have been so supportive, so wonderful. They love our show. Notes are so minimal. The trust that they have in all of is is so great. I think the future of our series just it really rests in viewership. If the viewers are there, then the show will keep going. But if the viewership isn’t there, if the numbers aren’t there. it’s going to be hard to convince the studio.

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