Captain Janeway Returns In Animated 'Star Trek: Prodigy' Series; Watch A New 'Star Trek: Discovery' Season 3 Clip [NYCC]

A virtual version of New York Comic Con is kicking off today. How will it stack up against the disastrous Comic-Con at Home earlier this summer, or the comparatively spectacular DC FanDome virtual experience? We'll find out over the next few days, but let's get started with an hour-long panel devoted to the Star Trek Universe, including two CBS All Access series, Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek: Discovery, as well as some fascinating news about a returning Starfleet captain in an animated show for Nickelodeon. Set your phasers to "recap," because we have a lot of ground (or it is space?) to cover. You can watch the full panel, or just get the highlights, below.

Star Trek Lower Decks

Creator/showrunner Mike McMahan kicked off the panel talking about what he was most proud of about the first season of the show, and pointed specifically to the idea of not only focusing on the lower deck crew members, but building out the story to include the bridge crew and other Starfleet members to create a home base family vibe.

Spoilers for the season one finale (which dropped on CBS All Access today), but it's finally revealed to the rest of the cast that Mariner is Captain Freeman's daughter. Dawnn Lewis and Tawny Newsom spoke about the in-story challenges of portraying a mother and daughter operating with a testy relationship on the same crew. As for Boimler, who gets transferred to the Titan (the ship Commander Riker from The Next Generation takes on after leaving the Enterprise), Jack Quaid talked about his character's excitement for the opportunity to achieve a long-held goal. Fred Tatasciore talked about Shaxs' glorious death scene, and moderator and Trek veteran Wil Wheaton reunited (virtually) with his old Stand By Me co-star Jerry O'Connell to talk about how O'Connell portrays the character of Ransom.

Surprise guest Jonathan Frakes dropped in on the panel and lit things up and spoke about how he reprised his role as Riker – with a slight twist – in the season finale. "[McMahan] encouraged me to do what I've wanted to do with Riker for the past 35 years, which was let Riker be a wild, insane character." (Fun fact: Turns out Frakes accidentally spoiled Jack Quaid about the plot point of Boimler joining the Titan.)

McMahan wrapped up the panel by addressing the upcoming second season:

"I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say that we had a blast on this first season, and first seasons are hard, but it was a party for us...the second season, what we knew was, we loved these characters. So we were like, 'Let's get Mariner and Tendi in a story. What does that look like?' And Boimler's on the Titan – we don't undo that. When we start the season, Boimler's on the Titan, and you'll be seeing Riker again in the beginning of next season for sure. The only other thing I want to say about season 2 is that it's even bigger and it's even funnier, and it's still very Star Trek. I can't wait for you guys to see it...we know that it's bigger than us and we have to be really careful with it, and we want it to be funny and good and surprising, so we're working really hard to make something really special for everybody."

Star Trek: Discovery

The Discovery portion of the panel began with a sneak peek of the first episode of season 3, featuring David Ajala's Book character engaged in a dogfight chase scene in which he literally runs into Michael Burnham floating through space, and the two of them crash-land on an alien planet. You can watch that sequence below:

Sonequa Martin-Green spoke about the curiosity that comes with being flung so far forward on the timeline and how Burnham's interests are focused not only on her crew, but what this new future will have in store for them – literally, scientifically, and spiritually.

Executive producer Alex Kurtzman, who explained that they wrapped production ten days before the pandemic lockdown began earlier this year, addressed the idea of going so far into uncharted territory with this upcoming season's new setting. "The temptation is that you can do anything. You can say that anything's possible and the laws of physics don't apply anymore, all of these things. I think that while the crew definitely goes into a world that has a tremendous amount of technology they've never seen before, it was equally important for us to have it feel grounded. Some of the technology they find is evolved version of technology that they're already familiar with. That keeps it grounded in the language of Star Trek."

Star Trek: Prodigy

The entire panel concluded with the news that Kate Mulgrew will be leading the cast of Nickelodeon's animated series Star Trek: Prodigy, reprising her role as Captain Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager.

"I was at first a little bit uncertain," Mulgrew explained as she recounted her reaction to the pitch of being in this new series. "After all, I had played her for seven years in four-and-a-half-inch heels, and invested every scintilla of my being in that women. I thought, 'An animated version of Janeway? I don't know.' But even as I was talking to Kurtzman on the phone, long-dormant longings to restore her started to stir, and I thought, 'This will be heavenly. I can go into a recording booth, which I love to do. I can now endow her with nuance that I couldn't do before, because I didn't have the privacy and freedom of a recording booth. And we can take it to unlimited places. Then I thought, 'I was the first female captain, and now I'm going to be the first children's captain. And what on Earth could be better than that?'"

Mulgrew says she was "dazzled" when brothers Dan and Kevin Hagemen sent her the animatics and the scripts. "How thrilling to be able to introduce to these young minds an idea that has elevated the world for decades?" she said. "To be at the helm again in that way is going to be deeply gratifying in a brand new way for me. I'm ready to go, guys. This is going to be a wonderful adventure, and I'm so glad you're on board with me."

Here's the official description of the panel:

The beloved panel returns to New York Comic-Con with a special virtual edition, featuring exclusive back-to-back conversations with casts and producers from the Star Trek Universe on CBS All Access, alongside a few special surprise guests. Join the creator of STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS, Mike McMahan, and series voice cast for a special edition of CBS All Access' official Star Trek after-show, The Ready Room, as they dive into the season one finale with host Wil Wheaton. Voice cast appearing include Tawny Newsome, Jack Quaid, Eugene Cordero, Noël Wells, Dawnn Lewis, Jerry O'Connell, Fred Tatasciore, and Gillian Vigman. Be the first to learn the latest about STAR TREK: DISCOVERY before season three premieres on Thursday, October 15, exclusively on CBS All Access. Join series stars Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, and Wilson Cruz; new cast members David Ajala, Blu del Barrio and Ian Alexander; and series co-showrunners and executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Michelle Paradise, for an exclusive conversation on what's in store for the U.S.S. Discovery crew. Moderated by Sarah Rodman of Entertainment Weekly.

Star Trek: Discovery season 3 debuts on CBS All Access on October 15, 2020.