The midseason premiere of Star Trek: Prodigy arrives for streaming on Paramount+ on Thursday, October 27th, 2022. But before the USS Protostar returns, Comics Beat got the opportunity to speak with series creators, writers, and executive producers Kevin and Dan Hageman.

Kevin and Dan Hageman
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 08: Kevin Hageman and Dan Hageman attend “Star Trek” Day on September 08, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Paramount+)

The Beat caught up with Kevin and Dan over Zoom to ask about the upcoming midseason premiere, inquire about the New York Comic Con 2022 Murf plushies, and find out what it’s like to work with the next generation of Trek talent!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

AVERY KAPLAN: Why is Dal / Brett Gray perfect for the captain’s role on Prodigy?

DAN HAGEMAN: I think it starts with him thinking he’s perfect for the captain’s spot. When we went into the show, Star Trek’s always been about the best of the best. What about people who start the worst of the worst?

So someone who seeks the captain’s chair, in our opinion, is someone who is undeserving of the captain’s chair. But, to see that growth, that’s why we think Dal / Brett Gray is the perfect person for that role.

KAPLAN: Without spoilers, can you give our readers a tease of what your goals were when writing the midseason premiere?

DAN: Speaking of episode 11, some time has passed. What we want to bring you is a great big adventure sequence – I know that was a goal. 

Kevin and I do a lot of feature writing, so when we look at episode 1 through 20, we’re thinking of that as more of a movie structure than a television structure. 

KEVIN HAGEMAN: It’s almost like a miniseries that we’re doing with these 20 episodes.

DAN: We’re thinking about episode 10, we’re thinking about episode 20, before we even write episode 2.

KEVIN: In the middle of the movie, the action or the story starts to escalate, right? And so, what is going to be the greatest obstacle – what’s the wedge that’s going to get in the way of what our kids most want, which is to get to Starfleet? What if Starfleet is hunting them down?

DAN: And Starfleet is at risk! The one thing you want is the one thing you can’t have.

KEVIN: And then we thought, well, god, we’ll have two Kate Mulgrews. We’ll have two Janeways! This is going to be amazing.

KAPLAN: Can you speak to the idea of having a Janeway on both sides of the generational conflict?

DAN: I think everybody would want a Janeway on their side, first off.


DAN: So it feels like, you’re not quite sure… I’m a big fan of The Wire. What I love about The Wire was there were smart people on both sides of the argument. And that’s what I love having in Star Trek: Prodigy. You understand the kid’s position, but you also understand Admiral Janeway’s position. So therefore, how’s it going to come to a conclusion?

KEVIN: You love both sides, right? Even though Admiral Janeway is going to be an antagonist, she’s not a villain. You’re not going to not like her.

Right away, Dan and I said, “This is sort of like The Fugitive.” That was a movie that we loved seeing Harrison Ford versus Tommy Lee Jones. But you love Tommy Lee Jones, he’s not a bad guy – he’s just trying to hunt down this runaway.

KAPLAN: What’s it like working with the next generation of talent, both in terms of actors and behind the scenes (with the youngest staff writer ever to work on a Trek series)?

DAN: (Writer) Keith Sweet, he’s fantastic. He started on our desk, and we were going to move him up to writer’s assistant. But then he wrote a script that just knocked our shoes off. We were like, “We’ve got to get him into the room.”

KEVIN: For season 2, yes.

DAN: For the writer’s room, we’re very proud of our writer’s room. 

We wanted people who knew Star Trek up and down and also people who didn’t know Star Trek up and down, and having great conversations. Because we know our audience were going to be on both sides: people who knew Star Trek and people who didn’t know Star Trek. 

KEVIN: And also, with the crew or writers that we have that like Star Trek, they like different shows. It’s very different, someone who grew up on Star Trek: The Next Generation versus, I more or less grew up on Star Trek: The Original Series.

KAPLAN:  What went into the decision to bring back Jellico?

DAN: We had to find, “who could shut Admiral Janeway down?” And then we were like, “It’s gotta be Jellico.”

KEVIN: We all love Ronny Cox, you know. That was actually really easy to come to that, because we were talking about, “Who in this time period would be an Admiral who would be above Janeway?”

DAN: I think we actually went out and got a list of who were the active admirals at that time. The list was like, there’s 3 characters… and when we saw Jellico’s name, we were like, “Oh, that’s easy.”

KEVIN: You know what’s great, when we record with Ronny, he’s just like, the nicest guy in the world. And he’s known for playing the most hardass, tough villain guys.

KAPLAN: Did you get a Murf plushie at NYCC?

DAN: Yes, but – I got 3 of them, and they’re already all gone. One of them went to our writer’s assistant who just got married, and I had to give her one. And the other two went to my children.

So I guess technically I have two in my family possession, but I don’t know. I need another one.

KEVIN: But you’re not a bad enough dad who is going to just, take it away from their bed and put it on your office desk.

KAPLAN: How was the Prodigy writer’s room pizza party?

KEVIN: That was fantastic! Because, with that writer’s room, it had been a year and a half to two years, so it was such a joy to be able to come back and eat pizza.

DAN: It was one of the first times seeing a lot of the people in the season 2 writer’s room, which was done all over COVID. So it was the first time we had all of us coming together.

And then we had writers from season 1 coming in. It was fantastic, it was great. And we tried honey on pizza for the first time, which is a new thing.

KEVIN: Show runners are different about it, but for me, to have writers in a room together is magical. And we didn’t have that for season 2, at all. So it was special, coming together.

KAPLAN: Is there any chance of a crossover with another Trek series, and if so, is there any you’d particularly hope to crossover with?

DAN: I think we want it more than all the fans, wanting a crossover. The question is, who would it be with? And, it doesn’t matter. 

I know Star Trek: Lower Decks is close to our timeline, but… I wonder how you deal with that future aspect. It’s still two years, I think we’re still two years ahead of them. 

They’d have to come to us, because our kids were all on a slave planet. Unless, they come to that slave planet and don’t save anyone. Which… is something they might do. “Prime Directive, later!”

KEVIN: Or Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s “Trials and Tribble-lations.” I love stuff like that. So, that would be really cool to somehow take our show, and for them to come across the TOS or TNG Enterprise would be amazing.

DAN: And we keep pushing live-action Ella Purnell and Brett Gray.

KEVIN: Yeah! Brett looks just like Dal. Ella with some makeup could totally pull off a live-action Gwyn. Yeah, we might be pushing for that, some day.

[Editor’s Note: Purnell and Gray told The Beat and other outlets they would be willing to appear as their characters in live action during a NYCC ’22 roundtable.]

KEVIN: We’d have to get rid of Brett’s little ‘stache on his lip, though.

DAN: We’d have to pay extra for that.

KEVIN: Yeah, I don’t know if he’s willing to part with that. 

DAN: He’s not gonna want to do that.

The midseason premiere of Star Trek: Prodigy will be released for streaming on Paramount+ on Thursday, October 27th, 2022.


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