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A Fistul of Retro Revivals

A Fistul of Retro Revivals

Since it’s inception, Lower Decks has had multiple cameo’s and revivals over the years with Season Four showcasing some impressive returns from Chaotica himself causing chaos for the Lower Decks crew to Grand Nagus Rom and Lita boarding the Cerrtitos for trade negotiations. But with decades of canon to lift from, who else should take their retro guest spotliight?

Over time Lower Decks has evolved into a more mature show since it’s debut. Sure, at it’s heart it’s still a comedy, but the themes and character development have made that comedy far greater than it’s two-dimensional art style would first suggest and it’s season four finale showed how far it can go when plucking an old reference form Trek’s past to form a whole new story direction.

While several characters have been revived over the seasons, from Kira commanding Deep Space Nine or Will Riker jazzing it up on the Titan, to throw away cameo’s like Elizabeth Shelby at an exclusive event, , the latest season finale ‘Old Friends, New Planets’ used a long forgotten character to answer a season-long mystery in an innovative way for the show byu introducing expelled cadet Nick Locarno as the mystery villain behind the destruction and disappearance of starships across the quadrant.

Having a once and done appearance in TNG episode The First Duty, Locarno (who’d become inspiration for Tom Paris, also played by Robert Duncan McNeil) was expelled after the death of a cadet under his command after ordering an unsafe manoeuvrer to boost his ego ahead of graduation. After fellow cadet Wesley Crusher told the truth of what happened, Locarno was expelled never to be seen again – until Lower Decks brought him back as a massive surprise reveal.

Locarno, and his ties to Mariner, weren’t something we’d expected to see. Especially as the lead baddie. Which made us wonder, what other forgotten gems of Trek’s past could show up as Lower Decks gears up for it’s next season?

The Jack Pack
Introduced in Deep Space Nine, the Jack Pack were a by-product of genetic manipulation on the cheap. Julian Bashir was lucky to have had a good surgeon when he was a child, these guys? Not so much. Remarkably intelligent, but with major social and psychological flaws, the quartet of enhanced humans were placed in the care of Bashir temporarily, but soon enough they’d sweep him into their paranoid conspiracies, convince him they could map out the future through statistical probabilities and become a temporary intelligence asset until they proposed the only way to win the war with the Dominion: Surrender.

In fairness to them, they were right. Without manipulating events to bring in the Romulans, or the Cardassian defection, the Federation had very little chance of success and many elements – such as the Breen joining with the Dominion – weren’t on the table at the time. So surrender was the only realistic choice to save millions of lives.

Thats aid, bringing them back an intelligence asset would be a ridiculous mistake on Starfleets part. But there is a crew ridiculous enough to make it work for an episode of two. Jack and Lauren – the psychopath and the deviant – would be a perfect fit when mingling with the Lower Deckers, especially with Sarina, who Bashir healed from her muted state, being the voice of reason. The only downside is that the overly emotional and affectionate Patrick would be missing from the line up as actor Michael Keenan, who had a few roles beyond Patrick in the Trek Universe, sadly passed away in 2020.

The Mirror Universe
Revived and redesigned in Discovery, the Mirror Universe has always been a nice place to reference whether it’s seeing Georgiou’s empire, Terran Archer being swept up in the Empire’s politics or even the 24th century where things got weird under the reign of Emperor Worf and the many incursions between Deep Space Nine and Terok Nor.

For four seasons of Lower Decks we’ve had a couple of hints of the Mirror Universe and they’ve been restrained from dipping into some obvious territory. But like Thanos, it’s inevitable that at some point we’ll see our favourite Lieutenant JG’s cross through the looking glass….

Raffi & Rios
Seeing as the two were main characters in a Star Trek show, Michelle Hurd starring in 28 episodes with Santiago Cabrera starred in 18, this is a bit of a cheat. But there’s still a story to be told here…

Both introduced as disillusioned ex-Starfleet misfits in Picard’s debut season, Raffi and Rios would have their own personal journey’s before being back in uniform by the second season. While we got to see Raffi’s late Starfleet life at the Academy and as Intelligence Operative, and Rios’ short lived stint as captain before deciding to live out his life in the 21st century, there’s still some chance to show the early lives of hopefuls before their Starfleet lives went wrong.

Lower Deck’s takes place in the early 2380’s and going by what we learned in Picard Season 3, both Raffi and Rios would have been active offiers. By 2385 Raffi’s a Lieutenant Commander and aide to Admiral Picard, while it was in 2390 Rios, as executive officer of the USS Ibn Majid, woul;d face a moral crisis that made him leave the service.

Michelle Hurd’s still keen to return to Star Trek, particularly for Terry Matalas’ Legacy concept, though could make a good fit to show a more humorous side to Raffi in Lower Decks. Though maybe it’d be more fun to see a much younger, eager junior officer version of Rios join the Cerritos crew with a cigar and a few jokes in the future.

Arfidor & Kol
Throughout the many multiple references in Lower Decks, one thing is clear; the writers love Voyager. Even to the point of giving the ship a whole episode to itself as the now museum ship is filled with exhibits from it’s weirdest adventures. But there’s one comedy duo that was missing in the line up.

In the episode False Profits, Voyager stumbled upon two Ferengi scientists from The Next Generation that got lost traversing an unstable wormhole. Having landed on a primitive world, Arridor and Kol gave up their science careers to use their technology to become overlords of the locals. In the end, rumbled by Voyager, they use the wormhole, which Janeway planned to get her crew home with, making it more unstable as they run from the good guys.

Where they ended up? No one knows. But maybe we could if the Cerritos found them…

Captain Bateson
Like any good meme, the joke that Frasier and Cheers were just holodeck programs has been run into the ground. Even to the point that it came up on the official Star Trek twitter account!

Back in the day Cheers, Frasier and various Star Trek shows were all filmed within ridiculously close proximity and there were crossovers aplenty, such as Bebe Nueworth turning up as a sexually charged alien in The Next Generation, to Kate Mulgrew turning up in Cheers as Sam’s girlfriend. The connections were so many that even the Frasier cast would perform a Voyager parody as part of Star Trek’s 30th anniversary. Well, all but one cast member….

For all the actor crossovers, only one would barely have any screen time. As Kelsey Grammer appeared as a time displaced captain who’s ship would be at the centre of a time loop in Next Generation episode Cause and Effect, he’d barely be on screen for a minute as a thankful Captain Morgan Bateson, while his Cheers and Frasier cast mates would have full on starring guest roles.

If there was anyone better suited for a Lower Decks revival, Kelsey Grammer is the right fit. Aside from also being famed for his voice-over work as Sideshow Bob in the Simpsons, he’s also the leading man in another highly promoted Paramount+ show, the Frasier revival which could make for some fun cross promotion opportunities!

Our latest issue of Comms takes a look at the last year of Star Trek, sci fi, superheropes and more!! With the usual features including What If, Fistful Of Data and more, the “All Good Things” issue of Comms is available as part of SFCQ2’s free membership! To find out more visit our Comms preview or Enlist Today!

ADM JT Marczynka, DoFA
Creator of things, writer of words, caffeine addict. Director of Communications for Starfleet Command Quadrant 2.

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