Why Star Trek: Lower Decks Creator Mike McMahan Wanted Non-Trekkies In The Writers' Room

It seems like any screenwriter's dream: Work hard, build some credits, and eventually land a major gig that reminds you of the films that inspired you in the first place. And if you're a fan of an ongoing franchise, maybe you help create an upcoming project. It's a system that (usually) works, too — who better to create a new, exciting television series than a passionate fan?

That being said, there's also something about getting fresh perspectives. In an effort to shake things up a little, "Star Trek: Lower Decks" creator Mike McMahan made it a point to fill the show's writers' room with dedicated fans and "Star Trek" newbies alike. While it might seem like a no-brainer to stick with die-hard fans, the writers who were new to the "Trek" universe brought something special to the table, too:

"The original 'Star Trek' was made by people who had never seen 'Star Trek' because they were creating it. I wanted that feeling of brains that didn't know 'Star Trek' as well, but were just thinking about the characters and the comedy. ... [The new writers] find things that are super funny that they love, and you're like, 'Oh, right, that was normal to me because I've seen it my whole life, but that is an amazing, weird, funny thing.'"

As it turns out, McMahan's unconventional decision paid off. The show has been a breath of fresh air, which was almost certainly the result of getting fresh eyes in the writers' room. Plus, it's showed the power of writers' room synergy: "Star Trek: Lower Decks" hits a sweet spot by simultaneously honoring its predecessors and making its own mark.

A balanced approach to Star Trek

Over the years, "Trek" writers' rooms have built a great reputation. When recalling her experience on the "Star Trek: Voyager" writing team, Lisa Klink gushed that:

"It was very welcoming. And it didn't matter what your rank was in the stack. The best idea won out no matter where it came from."

Likewise, several Star Trek Training Room graduates have raved about the writers' rooms, reaffirming the fact that they really are open to all ideas, no matter who pitches them. Given their stellar reputation, a "Star Trek" writers' room might've been a surprisingly ideal environment for a non-fan to dip their toes into the water.

But even though McMahan wanted the "Lower Decks" room to mimic that of "Star Trek: The Original Series," the two shows have gone in different directions. The "Lower Decks" creator has previously mentioned that he wasn't as concerned with fleshing out the sci-fi side since people today are more accepting of the genre and all of the fantastical, unbelievable elements that come along with it. "The Original Series" was burdened by convincing viewers of plausibility, but "Lower Decks" can take greater liberties. That being said, no matter how big of a risk the "Lower Decks" writers are considering, the team is sure to abide by one central rule: As McMahan told /Film in an exclusive interview, "[w]e're all comedy writers and ... [t]he funniest joke wins. The funniest idea wins."