The first animated series in the Star Trek franchise, Star Trek: The Animated Series only ran for two seasons in the early 1970s. For more than 40 years after that, the franchise avoided animated shows.
Last year, the release of Star Trek: Lower Decks marked Trek’s first venture back into animated territory. According to Metacritic, a reviews site that averages critic reviews and viewer reviews, the series was met with mixed reactions from both critics and fans.
The show certainly isn’t Star Trek as fans are used to seeing it. All the references to Trek canon in Lower Decks make it clear that the show was created and written by serious Trek fans. However, they’re serious fans who clearly don’t take themselves, or Star Trek, too seriously. Lower Decks is a fun, irreverent take on the franchise that doesn’t sit well with some longtime fans but that others love.
Star Trek fans are also used to bonding with the characters through seeing the actors portray them onscreen. Even the cast of The Animated Series was familiar to their audience because they’d already seen them in The Original Series. So, watching the animated characters without any indication of the actors behind them is likely another jarring change for Trek fans.
So, we’ve put together this quick guide to help fans familiarize themselves with the actors behind the characters.
Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner
Lower Decks was not Newsome’s first plunge into space comedy. Last year she starred in Space Force alongside Steve Carrell, John Malkovich and Ben Schwartz. So, she was well-prepared to take on the role of Ensign Beckett, the rebel without a cause. Or at least the rebel with an unclear cause.
Newsome started her acting career in 2013 with a few guest spots on popular shows like Chicago Fire, 2 Broke Girls and Comedy Bang Bang. Her first big role was in the show Bajillion Dollar Properties, in which she played a hilariously ruthless realtor. She had a few other big recurring roles before she landed a spot on the main cast for Space Force.
She’s currently working on a TV series called Scroll Wheel of Time, in which she’ll portray Mariah Carey.
Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler
Judging by his Instagram, Quaid is just about as goofy as his character. As an actor, Quaid is no stranger to the science-fiction genre. His breakout role was in The Hunger Games as the District One tribute Marvel. Yes, he’s the tribute that killed Rue. Fans were not happy when they found out, according to Entertainment Weekly. This led Quaid to issue a public apology on behalf of his Hunger Games character because he’s hilarious like that.
Quaid went on to appear in several movies and short films. He had a few recurring roles on television in addition to his own show, which followed his comedy troupe.
His first big television role was in the Amazon Prime series The Boys, which followed a team of antihero supers. Quaid is currently working on the next installment of the Scream franchise.
Noel Wells as Ensign D’Vana Tendi
Wells has been a comedic pro for several years, and her talent for getting laughs is certainly in the spotlight on Lower Decks. Wells started her comedic career with College Humor Originals in 2011. A couple of years later, she landed the ultimate job for any comedy-inclined actor, Saturday Night Live.
From there, she did some voice acting and a few movies before nabbing a major role on Master of None. She did some more voice work and a few television guest spots before she got one of the lead roles in another animated series, Craig of the Creek.
Wells is currently working on an animated series called The Adventures of Drunky alongside comedic greats like Sam Rockwell, Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Coogan and Dave Attel.
Eugene Cordero as Ensign Samanthan Rutherford
Cordero is also a comedy veteran. He started his career in the late 90s with guest spots on Amy Poehler’s Upright Citizens Brigade. From there, Cordero landed roles in several short films and popular television shows. He made an appearance on The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Arrested Development.
After that, he joined both College Humor, with Lower Decks costar Wells, and Funny or Die, creating comedy short comedy sketches. Cordero also continued to land guest spots on major shows like Hawaii Five-0, Silicon Valley, Drunk History, Key and Peele, Parks and Recreation Comedy Bang Bang, Veep, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Steven Universe and The Good Place. So, if he looks familiar, that’s why. Additionally, he had a major role in Bajillion Dollar Properties with Lower Decks costar Newsome.
In 2019, Cordero hooked up with the Broken Lizard’s Club crew, the comedy group behind Super Troopers, for the firefighter-centered comedy Tacoma FD. He’s currently working on that show and Scroll Wheel of Time with Newsome.
These are the ensigns of the starship Cerritos. Their adventures are nowhere near as serious as the ensigns of the Enterprise, but they’re doing their very best.