Red alert: don’t read any further unless you’ve seen the season two finale of Lower Decks!
Ensign Bradward Boimler reporting for duty! Following the season two finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks, StarTrek.com spoke to Jack Quaid about Boimler’s dream Star Trek drinking buddy, his favorite part of the fandom, and why he considers landing the role to be “a happy accident.”
StarTrek.com: Boimler has gone on quite a journey from the beginning of season one to the end of season two. What has been your favorite part of his journey so far?
Jack Quaid: Oh, man, I just love seeing him gain so much confidence. It's been so cool to watch a character I voice go through such a dramatic shift. It's been really cool. My favorite moments were when Boimler was on the Titan and seeing him struggle to fit in, and then seeing him make a huge sacrifice play for the good of the many, just to be demoted in a very interesting way. Then taking that perceived failure, that perceived low point that makes him the best of it, and really gaining confidence as an Ensign, and as a Starfleet officer.
I think that's been a really cool journey to see him go through. To see where he is at now, and how many wins he's had this season, it's been really cool, especially considering how the places he would find himself in season one. It's great to see Boimler get a win or two.
Going off of that, while he was on the Titan, Boimler has this amazing monologue about what Starfleet is really about, which is exploration and science, and that really gets into the heart of what makes Star Trek so special. What is it like getting to deliver a speech like that?
JQ: I knew it was going to be a big one. Often there's been this debate about the two sides of Trek, which I don't really think are two sides. I think they can be one and the same, and the best Star Trek stories are one and the same. But the two things I'm talking about are the phaser fight, ship battle, action packed version of Star Trek, and then the more quiet, moral dilemma Star Trek — Star Trek that deals with science questions and exploring, as opposed to action.
I think that there are a lot of Star Trek stories out there. Sometimes they're one or the other; sometimes they're blended. I think what that monologue was really trying to say was that all types of Star Trek are welcome and that our show embraces all of it. It felt like a mission statement for the show itself. So I know there was quite a bit of pressure there, actually, to get that right. But Mike [McMahan] worked with me on it in a really great way. I think it's awesome. I feel really honored that Boimler got to deliver that kind of speech.
What has been your favorite interaction with the Star Trek fandom so far? And what does it mean to you to be part of the Star Trek family?
JQ: Oh man, I just did New York Comic Con and I had so many people coming up to my booth and telling me how much they were into Lower Decks. I had people cosplaying as Boimler, I had people in the red Ensign Lower Decks shirts. I found a lot of joy in the show and I think it was so cool to watch the show from where it started to where it is now. See the impact it's made and see how many fans are digging it. It's so rewarding to see. It feels like I was there since the beginning, even though I wasn't. Mike McMahan was there since the beginning, so I can't even imagine what this is like for him. It's just so cool to be so welcomed by the Trek family. I mean, Star Trek fans are awesome. They're really my favorite kind of people. They're amazing.
If Boimler could get drinks at Ten Forward with any Star Trek character from across the franchise, who would it be?
JQ: Any Star Trek character from across the franchise? Let's see. I think he'd probably want to just hang with Riker again. Oh man... I think it's just Riker again. I think he just still wants to party with Riker. They were really bonding by the end and I think he'd want to actually chat him up as opposed to his transporter clone. He'd want an actual face to face with him, after everything that went down. I think that's definitely who it is.
Lower Decks is full of Easter eggs for eagle eyed fans to catch. Do you have a favorite Easter egg from season two?
JQ: There are so many. I think maybe my favorite, and the one that I truly gasped at when I saw it was the skeleton of the giant Spock from Phylos. I remember Boimler mentioned that in season one, and then I did my research and I watched that episode. Just to see a giant Spock skeleton, I was like, "Oh God, can we do that?" I had a real moment of shock with that. I think it's so cool and I love anytime we grab things from The Animated Series and put them into our show. It makes sense. I also loved the fact that we had a Pandronian, with the drill instructor.
I love the fact that we have a Tamarian senior officer in the show. I think it's such a great homage to “Darmok,” an episode that I watched pretty recently, and it's just such good sci-fi storytelling. It's incredible. The fact that we're embracing that race by having an amazing senior officer in Starfleet is really, really cool. And I think Carl Tart just does such an amazing job with that character. So if I had to pick just two, those were my favorite references.
Do you have a favorite episode or episodes of Lower Decks that you've recorded?
JQ: “I, Excretus” is definitely up there. I loved putting Boimler through the Borg cube simulator and how obsessed he is with getting a perfect score. That was definitely up there for me. I loved recording in season one, the one where Boimler has a girlfriend named Barb and Mariner does everything she can to try to figure out if she's really an alien. I really loved recording “wej Duj.” I loved Boimler's whole thing with trying to find a bridge buddy, was so much fun to record. And, honestly, anytime I've gotten to be in the same booth as Tawny Newsome has been incredible. We got to do a lot during season one, but because of the pandemic, we had to stop for season two. Here's hoping one day we can get back to doing those records together.
A large part of Boimler's story has been him learning to value his friendships with his fellow ensigns, as well as focus on being the perfect Starfleet officer. Can you share a little about how that might shape his story in season three?
JQ: At the end of the last episode of season two, I think he married all those aspects together. He got along with his friends, he wasn't trying to get promoted at the expense of his friends anymore. He basically considered that his friends were just as important to him as getting promoted, and I think it made him a much more well-rounded officer. I think we basically get to see Boimler's growth continue in that way. He's starting to realize that getting promoted isn't everything, even though still likes to brown nose on occasion. So I'm really excited to see where Boimler goes from here and how his character takes shape in the new season. I'm very, very excited because they always surprise me. So I'm very excited about it.
Can you describe your Star Trek experience in three words?
JQ: I think to me, it's a happy accident. I mean this because I really did not expect to get cast in the show at all. I just thought I was going in for another voice role. Voice roles are very hard to book because they just have every flavor of every person on the face of the earth. So I didn't think I was going to get it, and then I just got thrust into this world that I knew a little bit about, but not a lot about. I just get to learn about it every day and it's so exciting. So I would call it a happy accident.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Star Trek: Lower Decks streams exclusively in the United States and Latin America on Paramount+, on Amazon Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Japan, India and more, and in Canada, airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.