Why Lower Decks' Showrunner Wanted To Bring The Breen Back To Star Trek

"Star Trek: Lower Decks" has done a great job in making itself a part of the collective "Star Trek" canon by weaving in bits from other shows, including drawing from their massive casts of characters and enemies. While cameos from franchise favorites Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) or Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor) are an absolute delight, there's also something really fun about seeing some of the alien adversaries from live-action "Trek" brought back to cause more trouble. In season 3, the crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos not only took a trip to the space station Deep Space Nine, but they also encountered one of the biggest baddies from "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine": the Breen. 

In an interview with ComicBook.com, series showrunner Mike McMahan explained why he decided to bring back the Breen and whether or not we can expect to see them causing problems for the Cerritos again anytime soon. Hey, at least if they do, they don't have to worry about digging the costumes out of boxes somewhere — animation has its perks! 

Bad guys that have to be taken seriously

The Breen were a terrifying enemy on "Deep Space Nine," joining the Cardassians and Changelings near the end of the Dominion War and nearly defeating the forces of the Federation. They are deeply mysterious and incredibly deadly, which makes them the perfect villains to bring back for more... if McMahan decides to do so. For now, the showrunner says there aren't plans to have any more Breen in "Lower Decks," but he loved being able to bring them to the series:

"One of the things I really love about 'Lower Decks,' as a fan of the franchise, is I've always wanted shows that take place post-Dominion War, and now we have three of them. And I like putting little nods to 'Deep Space Nine' into these shows, including the idea that, post-Dominion War, where did this leave the Breen? Are they slowly creeping around and finding footholds on planets you might not suspect them of being on? Because Ransom knows who they are the second he sees them, and I love that people take them deadly seriously. I like that, like the Borg, the Breen are this entity in 'Star Trek' that Starfleet officers can't not take seriously. 

In the episode, Commander Ransom (Jerry O'Connell) discovers a Breen incursion on the planet Brekka, and he immediately recognizes the incredible danger the away team are in. The Breen are not to be trifled with, and knowing that they're lurking around the Alpha quadrant definitely ups the stakes for all of Starfleet. They are an unknowable enemy with completely mysterious motives, so I have a hard time believing they won't be back in some way. They're just too cool.

Post-Dominion War chaos

Not only are the Breen a real threat, but they're instantly recognizable. Their distinctive helmets, which look a lot like Princess Leia's bounty hunter helmet in "Return of the Jedi," are hard to miss, and they were a major part of the final season of "Deep Space Nine." The Breen didn't really appear in the other "Star Trek" shows, but they are mentioned in both "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Star Trek: Voyager," making them true franchise regulars. We haven't seen them since the end of the Dominion War, which makes their appearance special: 

"[...] I just like the era that we're in, and it makes sense to me that they would have, because of the end of the Dominion War, had to push into the Alpha Quadrant to find these little wasp nests to set up, and that maybe Starfleet should be doing a job of visiting these planets that they've been to a couple of times and making sure that's not happening."

The main duty of the California-class ships on "Lower Decks" is second contact, where they go in and help planets freshly introduced to the Federation, but there is definitely a need for third, fourth, and fifth contact. Starfleet has a tendency to drop in, change things, and run, which isn't exactly helpful to everyone involved, and the Breen could potentially take advantage of that in horrifying ways. The Breen will probably be back at some point, even if there aren't any immediate plans for them to return. With "Star Trek," you can almost never say never.