Star Trek just altered uniform canon — ‘Prodigy’ showrunners explain why
Starfleet uniforms change constantly. From The Original Series to The Next Generation to newer shows like Picard and Discovery, part of the fun of a Trek series is seeing the latest spin on the uniforms. However, for Trekkie canon-nitpickers, Starfleet’s various fashion shifts have resulted in eras with different uniforms in play simultaneously. And with the big Prodigy cliffhanger, “A Moral Star Part 1,” yet another new Starfleet uniform has been introduced. But Prodigy showrunners Dan and Kevin Hageman have answers! Here’s what they said about how Prodigy’s new duds fit into the 2383 timeline of Trek.
When the crew of the USS Protostar decide to return to Tars Lamora for a heroic rescue mission, they also decide it’s time to look like a proper crew. So far, Dal, Zero, Gywn, Jankom, Murf, and Rok-Tahk have been a bit rag-tag in their civilian clothes, because they’re technically not part of Starfleet at all. Visually, this has made them closer to the “motley crew” of the La Sirena in Picard than any other Trek team. This means that suiting up for “A Moral Star Part 1” was a big deal.
In an email interview, the Prodigy showrunner brothers explained why this episode was the right time for the kids to get their new Starfleet uniforms.
Why Prodigy got new uniforms
“We knew at this mid-season break we wanted the crew to return to Tars Lamora to save the rest of the miners,” the Hagemans explain. “And as Janeway states, ‘There’s nothing more Starfleet than that.’ So what better time for our crew to don the uniform?”
The Hagemans also reveal that they “never wanted them to don Starfleet uniforms too early in the season,” because when the crew puts on the new uniforms the moment “means something.”
Prodigy uniforms in Star Trek canon
Because Prodigy takes place in 2383, this specific uniform style now exists alongside two, perhaps three other styles in service at Starfleet. In the 2380-2381 era of Lower Decks we got the funky uniforms worn by the crew of the Cerritos and other California-class starships. Lower Decks also made it clear that these uniforms were in service at the same time as the First Contact-style uniforms which pervaded most of the TNG movies and the later seasons of DS9. In 2020, Lower Decks showrunner Mike McMahan pointed out the precedent in ‘90s Trek canon for various uniform styles to change “every year,” and that he hopes to do a Lower Decks episode in which “they’re testing new uniforms on Boimler.”
But in Picard Season 1, we saw a uniform style different from both the Lower Decks and First Contact era. They must have rolled out sometime in 2385, because Picard, Raffi, Icheb, and others wear that style in the flashbacks. So, what gives? Has Prodigy contradicted this canon? Nope! Here’s why.
The Prodigy uniforms might change, again!
According to the Hagemans, these new uniforms and combadge are unique to this specific ship.
“Since the USS Protostar is an experimental starship, we felt it gave us some freedom to create our own uniform design, as long as it fit alongside the uniforms of this era. We, [executive producer] Ben Hibon, and our design team spent a lot of time discussing the badge and uniforms. We had to balance the style of our series, while also recognizing these kids aren’t actually anywhere close to being Starfleet Officers, which is why we went for a stripped-down design.”
They also doubled down on the Mike McMahan approach, saying “we all know different styles of combadges often co-existed in the same era, and we knew we wanted something special for Prodigy.”
The second part of the latest Prodigy cliffhanger — “A Moral Star, Part 2” — will air next Wednesday on Paramount+, which the Hagemans promise “was written to be a satisfying conclusion to the first 10 episodes.” But, they also point out that the crew still “has a long way to go.”
For fans of the characters, the crew of the Protstar will surely continue to grow and change. But the Hagemans also hinted that those changes could be reflected in even newer uniforms down the line. “Throughout the seasons, we want their uniforms to evolve with them.”