Star Trek Guide

When Does Lower Decks Take Place in the Star Trek Universe?

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 1 of Star Trek: Lower Decks, "Second Contact," now streaming on CBS All Access.

CBS All Access is home to a burgeoning Star Trek universe. After the streaming service gave the sci-fi franchise new life with Star Trek: Discovery, things kept going from there with the arrival of Star Trek: Picard. And now, the platform's newest series has finally arrived: the in-canon, animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks.

The cartoon stars an entirely new cast of characters, the crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos. But given the wide world of the Star Trek universe and the large number of television series that comprise it, fans may wonder where Lower Decks falls in the franchise's timeline. After all, from Discovery to Picard and everything in between, the multiple Star Trek series cover more than a hundred years of the Federation. So what era does Lower Decks take place in?

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The premiere episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks opens with Ensign Boimler recording a fake Captain's log that he begins by announcing the stardate as 57436.2. Of course, the significance of stardates in Star Trek lore vary from series to series, and there is no way to tell if Boimler is using an actual one, or simply playing Captain by coming up with a series of random numbers. However, that ultimately doesn't matter because we know that Lower Decks begins in the year 2380.

To put this into perspective, let's consider the years of some of the most well-known Star Trek series. The events of The Original Series take place from 2266 to 2269. As for The Next Generation, that series took place between the years 2364 and 2370. After this, Picard and the rest of the NCC-1701D crew returned in several movies, the last of which, Nemesis, took place in 2379.

In terms of Star Trek television shows, the next to come after this would be the recently released Star Trek: Picard, which picks up with Jean-Luc Picard's adventures in 2399.

Therefore, Star Trek: Lower Decks picks up a year after the events of the last The Next Generation film, and it will examine a 20-year gap we have yet to properly see explored on television. Essentially, Lower Decks takes place in an unexplored era. One might even say the crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos will go to a time where no one has gone before.

Star Trek: Lower Decks stars Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner, Eugene Cordero as Ensign Rutherford, Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler, Noël Wells as Ensign Tendi, Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman, Jerry O'Connell as Commander Jack Ransom, Gillian Vigman as Doctor T'Ana and Fred Tatasciore as Lieutenant Shaxs. New episodes premiere Thursdays on CBS All Access.


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