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Small details you missed in the Star Trek: Lower Decks trailer

Star Trek: Lower Decks, the latest series to launch in the Trek universewill finally go where these series have rarely gone before: the lower decks. 

CBS All Access has transported fans' first full look at the newest chapter in the Star Trek universe on our screens, and it's both full laughs and more than a few Easter eggs. Created by Emmy-winning Rick and Morty and Solar Opposites writer Mike McMahan, this latest Starfleet adventure has already been renewed for a second season and centers around four ensigns who must balance their thankless work, social lives, and a multitude of sci-fi anomalies. 

Among the leading cast of the USS Cerritos' supporting crew is the irreverent Beckett Mariner, voiced by Space Force's Tawny Newsome, and the stickler Brad Boimler, voiced by The Boys' Jack Quaid. Master of None's Noël Wells voices leading character Tendi, an enthusiastic (and literally "green") newcomer who works in the medical bay, while The Good Place's Eugene Cordero voices the engineering-inclined Rutherford, who's getting used to a new cyborg implant when Star Trek: Lower Decks starts.  

Executive producer Alex Kurtzman (2009's Star Trek, Star Trek: Discovery) told Deadline in October 2018 that McMahan pitched the half-hour adult animated comedy series as "a show about the people who put the yellow cartridge in the food replicator so a banana can come out the other end." This, coupled with the trailer's first footage, confirms a noticeably different approach to Trek than both its animated predecessor and currently airing live-action counterparts Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard

That's had some Trek fans on the fence about the latest chapter in the franchise. Still, based on several small details you may have missed in the trailer for Star Trek: Lower Decks, McMahan's long-standing love of Star Trek (particularly The Next Generation) may produce a series new, young, and old viewers can appreciate. 

Star Trek: Lower Decks features a number of character homages and familiar alien races

The first original animated series to debut on CBS All Access and only the second animated series in the long-running sci-fi universe created by Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek: Lower Decks has a lot to live up to. With so much of its tone, visual style, and focus bucking the approaches of other Trek fair, details that ground the show in the larger universe may be the key to winning over more hesitant fans. 

Fortunately, the trailer proves McMahan does know his rather expansive source material, as evidenced by his cast of characters. A number of the supporting roles feel like homages to past Trek icons — especially Captain Carol Freeman (Dawnn Lewis), who offers Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) vibes. At the same time, the Captain Kirk-and-First-Officer-Riker-esque commander Jack Ransom (Jerry O'Connell) goes shirtless at one point. 

Chief Medical Officer Doctor T'Ana (Gillian Vigman) has an even more specific call to two of Lower Decks' biggest inspirations. The doc is a Caitian like M'Ress (Majel Barrett), a Starfleet communications officer who served as relief in the absence of Lieutenant Uhura on the USS Enterprise in Star Trek: The Animated Series (Nichelle Nichols). But, like her referential fellow bridge crew, she feels like an homage to TNG's Doctor Pulaski (Diana Muldaur).

Several smaller blink-and-you-miss-it appearances in the Lower Decks trailer may excite Trek fans. The blue skin and antenna of the icy-planet Andorian can be seen at various points among shots of the Cerritos crew. And towards the end of the trailer, the purple-ish, fish-like Antedians make an appearance. Tendi and Rutherford can also be seen facing off against classic Star Trek antagonists the Borg and Romulans, though it's not yet clear whether the Borg are there or merely part of a holodeck training sequence. 

One Star Treks: Lower Decks characters is strikingly similar to a TNG character

Set in 2380 after The Next Generation era and the events of Nemesis, Lower Decks is half full of TNG references. That even goes for the series' title, which is presumably based on the seventh season TNG episode of the same name. On that episode, two junior officers and friends vie for the same promotion — while two other friends, an engineer and a nurse, appear to be performing well on their evaluations during a promotion process. Soon after, one of the junior officers is sent on a top-secret mission with a devastating outcome. 

While the ending of the TNG episode has a much more somber tone than McMahan's Lower Decks, the character and plot set-up of the season 7 episode make it clear that it is at least partly inspired the CBS All Access series. That connection seems to be wholly confirmed by parallels between Ensign Brad Boimler and junior officer Lt. Sam Lavelle (Dan Gauthier) from The Next Generation's "Lower Decks" episode. 

Beyond their similar physical looks, both Lavelle and Boimler have big dreams of a promotion. When Captain Freeman asks Boimler whether he sees a captain's chair in his future, he responds, "I hope so." In another scene, Boimler parts his hair to "look more promotable." Lavelle and Boimler both seem to be generally nervous and overeager to please, and work to resemble the Starfleet leaders they admire. 

While it could be a coincidence, the many similarities just based on Boimler's trailer appearances make it seem like a fair guess that he's inspired by Lavelle.

The Lower Decks trailer features callbacks to TNG-era ships and weapons

While there were plenty of character connections to be made, the trailer is also chock-full of ship and weapon Easter eggs that help solidify the animated series as part of the TNG and Nemesis era

A "California-class" starship named after a real California city, the USS Cerritos' design is visible from multiple angles in the trailer, and is reminiscent of several 24th-century Federation ships. That includes saucers and warp nacelles similar to that of Galaxy-class and Nebula-class vessels. The trailer for Lower Decks also gives viewers a glimpse at the ship's schematics, where a good eye can catch the presence of the Argo Buggies featured in Star Trek: Nemesis being stored above the shuttlecraft. The all-terrain vehicle came equipped on the shuttlecraft Argo, which was attached to the USS Enterprise-E — the ship Jean-Luc Picard called "home" in Star Trek: First Contact.

Beyond what the ship carries, several of the weapons seen in the hands of various characters should also be familiar to hardcore Star Trek fans. In one shot of the crew fending off a zombie attack, Ensign Tawny and Captain Freeman are both shooting Type-2 Phasers — a weapon that dates as far as Star Trek: The Original Series – through closing sickbay doors. Rutherford can also be seen inserting an isolinear chip, a memory chip with onboard nanotech processors that appears in TNG and Star Trek: Voyager, into a drawer. 

For any fans willing to do a little zooming on a Klingon weapon, the double-sided scimitar designed explicitly for TNG and known formally as a bat'leth appears in the Lower Decks trailer as well. It can be glimpsed in a storage container as Tawny and Boimler lay in the middle of a corridor towards the start of the trailer.

The Lower Decks trailer offers up a medley of Star Trek uniforms and suits

While the gadgets, weapons, ship, aliens, and character archetypes are all pivotal parts of any Star Trek series, uniforms remain one of the most important aesthetic aspects of the sci-fi universe. 

Star Trek: Lower Decks knows this, offering up in the trailer several looks at what fans can expect the characters to wear. While the uniforms appear to be standard TNG fare, Boimler is pictured at two separate points wearing a dress uniform. The style changed throughout The Next Generation's run, but Boimler's version strongly resembles its second iteration, which appeared on episodes like season 2's "Manhunt." As a bonus Easter egg, one of the shots in the dress uniform shows him and Tawny walking towards a structure. Across the top appears to be writing in Klingon — alluding to a possible colony or specific area of Qo'noS, the homeworld and capital of the Klingon Empire.

Other recognizable Trek wear includes Tendi's all-black full-body stealth suit, which is worn by several TNG crew members, including Worf (Michael Dorn) and Picard, in part one and part two of season 6's "Chain of Command." As she fights a Romulan, you can also see that Tendi has slung over her shoulder a phaser rifle that more closely resembles those seen in First Contact and Nemesis. In a separate scene, Tawny unexpectedly walks in on a naked Boimler. She's wearing what looks like an environmental suit, designed to keep crew members safe from hostile space environments; it's a piece of body armor that has changed quite a bit throughout Star Trek's run on the big and small screen. 

These are just a few, though not all, of the small details Star Trek fans may have missed in the Lower Decks trailer. See them all in-universe when the 10-episode first season premieres on CBS All Access on Thursday, August 6, 2020.