Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Prodigy episodes 1 & 2, “Lost & Found.”
There are good reasons why Star Trek: Prodigy‘s exciting musical score sounds very similar to the orchestral themes of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movies. Star Trek: Prodigy stars Kate Mulgrew, who returns as the hologram of Captain Kathryn Janeway. The Janeway hologram mentors an all-new and eclectic group of young alien rebels who find a Starfleet ship, the USS Protostar, and use it to escape their brutal enslavement in the Delta Quadrant. Star Trek: Prodigy is a joint production by Nickelodeon and Paramount+ aimed at young audiences but the animated series is enjoyable for Star Trek fans of all ages.
Star Trek: Prodigy and the rest of the growing lineup of new Star Trek shows on Paramount+ wouldn’t be possible without the success of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movies. The franchise was dormant after Star Trek: Enterprise was canceled in 2005, but Abrams’ breathed new life into Star Trek with his 2009 reboot film starring Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as a younger Captain James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock. Set in the alternate Kelvin timeline, Star Trek 2009 turned the classic tropes and iconography of Gene Roddenberry’s 1960s TV series into a big-budget modern blockbuster with spectacular visual effects. Star Trek was a global hit that reinvigorated the franchise and spawned two sequels, 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness and 2016’s Star Trek Beyond, the latter directed by Justin Lin. However, one of the secrets to J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek success is the spectacular score composed by Academy Award winner Michael Giacchino.
Michael Giacchino returned to Star Trek and composed the main title theme for Star Trek: Prodigy as well as the score for the two-part premiere, “Lost & Found.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, Giacchino’s Star Trek: Prodigy score sounds remarkably similar to his music for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movies. The composer uses similar beats that build momentum throughout Star Trek: Prodigy‘s exciting action sequences and Giacchino’s crescendos when Dal (Brett Gray), Gwyn (Ella Purnell), Zero (Angus Imrie) and the other young rebels find and launch the USS Protostar, which is a musical echo to Kirk and Spock’s breakneck adventures aboard the Starship Enterprise. In Star Trek: Prodigy, Giacchino follows his personal belief that the score is another character in the film who ‘speaks’ to the audience and guides them on how to feel as the heroes fight evil villains in outer space.
It’s evident from watching Star Trek: Prodigy‘s premiere that Michael Giacchino was the right choice to compose the series’ score. Prodigy has thematic similarities to J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek 2009: both projects are about a young crew of neophytes who take over a starship against impossible odds. In Star Trek 2009, Kirk led a crew of cadets fresh out of Starfleet Academy who had to rise to the occasion and save Earth from the time-traveling Romulan, Nero (Eric Bana). Star Trek: Prodigy‘s young alien heroes are even less skilled; having come from a mining planet in the Delta Quadrant, Dal, Gwyn, and the others have never even heard of the United Federation of Planets. But their adventures are just as fast-paced and energetic as Kirk’s exploits in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek trilogy.
Star Trek scores are a vital component of every Star Trek movie and TV series, all of which have memorable themes that are beloved by Trekkers. Jerry Goldsmith’s score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture is one of the all-time great science fiction compositions and it later became the theme of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Michael Giacchino’s Star Trek 2009 theme succeeded at the daunting task of creating a sweeping new sound to accompany the Starship Enterprise while also incorporating the nostalgia of Alexander Courage’s original Star Trek theme from 1966. With Star Trek: Prodigy, Michael Giacchino crafted a score worthy of the next generation of Star Trek heroes (and their new younger audience) that ideally harkens to the best parts of his Star Trek 2009 music.