Star Trek: Lower Decks' Mike McMahan Opens Up About How Season 5 Works As A Conclusion For The Series

 Tendi beaming off the Cerritos.
Credit: Paramount+

Amidst several TV cancellations in 2024, Paramount+ announced that Star Trek: Lower Decks would end with Season 5 this year. Those who are fans of the show, like myself, are surely sad to see the show go. Fortunately, this entry on the list of upcoming Trek series is gracing us with one final batch of new episodes. But, with the unexpected news of its ending, some may wonder if it'll truly feel like a final season. Showrunner Mike McMahan was asked for his thoughts on that and had some fascinating insight to provide.

Mike McMahan, who previewed what's ahead for each Lower Decks character while speaking with CinemaBlend months ago, spoke to AwardsRadar about how Season 5 works as a conclusion to the series. The Star Trek showrunner noted that he would've sooner made more seasons of the series indefinitely. However, given that wasn't an option, he had to shift his priorities:

For me, it’s like, I’m greedy. I would have kept making this show forever, but getting five seasons is such a miracle. It’s insane that this show even existed. Every season I felt like was a miracle. There are grand stories I’m telling for the characters in Lower Decks. So, Season 5 feels like an amazing sendoff. It feels like the end of a chapter but not the end of a series. I had enough time to know that it had to be special.

Based on that response, Star Trek: Lower Decks forthcoming conclusion could be similar to the ending of Picard. This is to say that that series opted for a capper that teased what's next for the characters rather than trying to wrap up the series in some conclusive fashion. This isn't odd, of course, considering fans likely know that the adventures of these characters could continue despite the end of the series.

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Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine in Star Trek
Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine in Star Trek

I don't know about this one. 

The fact is that while Star Trek: Lower Decks itself may end, there will be opportunities for it to live on in other media. As we saw with the wild crossover with Strange New Worlds, the crew of the Cerritos can exist in the realm of live-action. CinemaBlend's Adam Holmes, while admitting that he was annoyed by Lower Decks cancellation, said that he'd love to see a live-action take on the series. However, he believed it to be a longshot given the animated show's imminent demise.

To me, at least, what feels more realistic is for Lower Decks to continue with comic book adventures. I've seen lots of positive reactions to some of the comic-based exploits of Boimler and the crew, and I can easily see the series thriving in that medium as the voice actors and Mike McMahan move on to other projects. Sure, it's not as exciting as seeing a live-action series, but it would still be a way for the show's lore to be expanded upon.

Let's also not forget that every Star Trek series lives on in some form via references made within other shows. I'm sure that future adventures will acknowledge the crew of the Cerritos, their shenanigans, and some of the truly bonkers ideas that Mike McMahan ended up making part of the canon. It's a shame to see the series end, but I'm confident that it's going out on top.

A specific release date for Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 5 hasn't been announced at this time, but fans should likely expect it to drop later this year as part of the 2024 TV schedule. In the meantime, you can stream past seasons using a Paramount+ subscription. I'm glad to hear Mike McMahan's positive outlook on the final season, and I'm ready to see the crew get together for one last ride.