‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’: Tawny Newsome on Mariner’s Decision, ‘Strange New Worlds’ Crossover

Tawny Newsome in 'Star Trek: Lower Decks'
Spoiler Alert
Paramount+

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 finale.]

Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) might have started out the Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 finale away from Starfleet, but by the end of it, she was back where she belongs.

But where will her career path take her next? Well, she doesn’t know that, but we do know that we’ll see her and Ensign Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid) again before Season 4 — in the upcoming Strange New Worlds crossover. Below, Newsome breaks down where Lower Decks left Mariner and teases her trip over to the Enterprise.

Mariner’s back with Starfleet by the end of the finale and happy to be. Besides figuring out where she belongs, why did Mariner need the time away at this point?

Tawny Newsome: I feel like when you’ve been doing something a while, and you start to complain about it because all you see are the flaws, you need time away to really appreciate it. But also she needed time away to refocus and figure out what she really wanted to do because it wasn’t easy for her to leave, but it was very familiar, that feeling of everybody not trusting her and everybody accusing her of selling them out and saying bad things. So she was like, “yeah, yeah, yeah, this always happens.” It wasn’t entirely unsurprising to her that this was happening, so she kind of accepted her fate and left, but then once she was gone, I think she was like, “wait a minute. I kind of threw away my chance at getting to do what I wanna do with my career, so I better get back in there.”

If her friends hadn’t been in trouble, how long do you think it would’ve taken her to return? Because she had said, she’d been looking for a reason to return before she found out what was going on but would she have gone back right away?

If her friends weren’t in trouble, I think she would have found enough s**t to annoy Petra [Georgia King] with that Petra would’ve been like, “you gotta get out of here,” because she was already starting to poke around. She was like, “Who’s funding all this?” “It’s Picard, who cares?” She was clearly idle and restless and looking to just get into some trouble. If she hadn’t quit, I think she would’ve been fired. It would not have been long.

Tawny Newsome in 'Star Trek: Lower Decks'

Paramount+

We really saw Mariner take command in the finale when she returned, and her mom (Dawnn Lewis) asked about being captain one day, but Mariner wasn’t sure. So what’s it gonna take for her to figure out the path that she wants to be on for her career right now?

This new recommitment to Starfleet really is kind of a clean slate for her. So it’s rushing it a bit to be like, “Do you wanna be a captain?” She’s like, “whoa, whoa, whoa. I just got my mind wrapped around coming back into the fold. Let me get back in here. Let me see what I love about this. Let me start fresh.” She was kind of jaded. She’d been in it for so long she thought she knew everything about it. So to now go on missions with a new attitude about stuff, I think for the first time, she’s kind of open to learning and figuring out what she loves about it.

And how she can learn from and annoy Ransom (Jerry O’Connell) some more.

Oh yeah. We gotta keep it on brand. Even though she’s had emotional growth, she is still Mariner.

I have to say I really enjoyed watching Mariner and her mom’s relationship play out over these three seasons but especially this one, with it starting with Mariner trying to exonerate her, then everything that happened in these last couple of episodes. So how is Mariner feeling about that relationship at the end of Season 3?

I think good. I think it was really hard not to be trusted. I identify with Mariner in the way that the people who are often the loudest mouths, the squeakiest wheels, the most righteous, the people who will absolutely go to war for what’s right and for their friends and stand up for people are often the last people that get that same support in return. So when it came time for everyone, including her mom, no one was equipped to do that because they’re not used to having to do it for Mariner. She’s the crusader. When she needed crusading on her behalf, no one was equipped. So I think her mom kind of seeing that and realizing the error in that was a really big moment for both of them because it now allows Mariner going forward to say, “hey, sometimes I’m gonna need your help and support too,” which gives her a lot of vulnerability as a character.

Mariner and Boimler’s dynamic is so much fun.

It looks like very real friendships that I have in real life. It feels very real to me. Just two inseparable kinds of sibling dynamics. Just such deep love that is decidedly platonic. Sorry to all the shippers out there. It is platonic, but I can understand why people think it feels romantic because it is so unshakeable, they’re so close, and I just love it.

How is Mariner’s relationship? Is there even one anymore with Jen (Lauren Lapkus)?

I don’t know. That finale made it look like maybe they were done, but Jennifer’s still on the ship, and I’d like to think that 24th-century interoffice romances are a little more mature than they are now. So maybe there’s hope.

Noel Wells, Jack Quaid, Tawny Newsome, and Eugene Cordero in 'Star Trek: Lower Decks'

Paramount+

What are your hopes for Mariner in Season 4?

I hope she gets to not feel so much pressure to solve all the problems all the time. And I hope she just gets to be a good daughter, a good officer, [and] a good friend and not feel like she’s the only one who can fix everything. That’s a lot of pressure.

But can she not put that pressure on herself?

Oh, we’re gonna find out in Season 4. She will be tested, for sure.

For the Strange New Worlds crossover, is the Mariner we’re going to see the one from the end of Season 3? In terms of timelines and how she’s feeling about Starfleet?

I don’t know exactly how the timelines fit together in terms of our show. That’s confusing to me. I don’t know yet. But we’re not seeing a Season 1 Mariner, that’s for sure.

Can you say who from Strange New Worlds we might see Mariner connecting with in any way? I know there’s been all this talk about Boimler and Spock (Ethan Peck).

Boimler and Spock are adorable. We love Spoimler. We love them on screen and off. I love Jack and Ethan’s friendship. It’s so cute. We kind of got to spend time with a good amount of the bridge crew. Without saying whether or not I had scenes with these people, I will tell you that I was on set with Celia Rose Gooding, who I absolutely adore. We just became such good friends. I will tell you that I was on set with Rebecca Romijn, who was kind of the only person I knew beforehand, obviously, just because she’s married to my castmate, Jerry O’Connell. So it was really fun to get to be around her on set. And I really enjoyed meeting new folks like Christina Chong, especially Melissa Navia, just such a warm, welcoming group.

Talk about filming the crossover since we’re actually seeing you in live-action!

Yeah, it was wild. There were so many layers. That costume has so many layers, and ours was a little different than theirs, obviously because it was made to look like our Lower Deck costumes. It’s all like sucking you in but also doing things like keeping your shoulders in place, and it makes you stand up really tall. There’s a lot of that going on. And it was wild to kind of distill some of our cartoon characters’ mannerisms to tone them down but still have shades of them for live-action. Jack pointed [things] out to me [that Mariner does] because Jack was really good about studying our show so that he could bring a lot of physical mannerisms onto live-action.

Can you say anything about what Mariner will take with her from the crossover to Lower Decks Season 4? Will we see a different Mariner in any way due to what happens?

I know the answer to that one, and I can’t say that. I will say Tawny took from Strange New World, [which] is my comm badge. They don’t need this. Their comm badges look different. They don’t even have ’em. This is a different thing. No one else is gonna use this, this is mine.

Which character from Strange New Worlds can Mariner learn from the most for what she needs going forward?

The way the episode is structured, she has [an] influence on some members of that cast that will, I think, affect maybe their episodes or just maybe just in subtle ways their character going forward. I still haven’t seen all of the scripts for Lower Decks Season 4, so maybe there are some ways that Mariner has been affected, but it’s not immediately apparent.

What’s been your favorite Trek reference so far on Lower Decks?

I love 301 because there’s so many First Contact nods because I think First Contact is my favorite Trek movie. So I just love everything to do with Bozeman and Zefram. And then that “Magic Carpet Ride” needle drop is pretty epic. I was really enamored with our season three premiere for a lot of reasons, but I also really love both of the “Crisis Point” episodes. Shout out to writer Ben Rodgers for both of those episodes. They really take what we love and what we laugh at about all of the Trek movies and just skewer them so perfectly and so lovingly and tell a really good emotional story for each of our leads — The first one for Mariner and then “Crisis Point 2” for Boimler. They’re really well done, and they always bring a smile to my face to watch either of those episodes.

Star Trek: Lower Decks, Season 4, TBA, Paramount+