The cast of 'Red Dwarf'

Listen Up, Smegheads: We Might Be Getting a ‘Red Dwarf’ Prequel

Red Dwarf co-creator Rob Grant has exciting news for fans: he’s working on a prequel to the classic British sci-fi comedy series.

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It’s been a long time since there was any new Red Dwarf, so this is just what us Smegheads wanted to hear—although it’s important to note that none of this has been greenlit yet and is still very much a potential series. But there is a title in place already—Red Dwarf: Titan—and a plot involving a young Lister (played in the current series by Craig Charles) and Rimmer (played in the current series by Chris Barrie).

Grant first let fans know of his plans at the BFI’s Comedy Time Travel Special on November 5. According to those who were there, Grant announced that he and collaborator Andrew Marshall would be working on the project, and showed off a sizzle reel he’d put together. The Red Dwarf fan blog Ganymede & Titan reported from the scene:

After this came the real surprise, when we were cautioned to definitely turn off any naughtily left-on recording devices—a short sizzle reel was screened, for a project to be called Red Dwarf: Titan, written by Rob Grant and Andrew Marshall – Rob’s recent writing partner on Quanderhorn and The Nether Regions.


In itself this isn’t News news. Sizzle reels are made in a very early stage of development, to drum up interest—a pilot script may not exist, it’s unlikely any big money is behind it, and certainly there is not yet a commission.

But a few days after the BFI event, Grant got talking to the Radio Times and revealed all he could about this new development. He said:

It’s a prequel to Red Dwarf, and it’s set just before the events of the pilot show.

The important thing is, it’s also one universe to the side, so that gives us some leeway in how we can handle things.

Basically, Lister and Rimmer are bunkmates already, and they go down for shore leave on Titan. And Titan’s like this hideous favela of rundown, dirty, dingy alleyways, street traders, criminals, and while they’re there, they get a warning from some mysterious source and they have to go off on various escapades to get out of it.

So maybe “prequel” isn’t quite the right word, and we’re looking at more of an alternate universe-meets-prequel type idea. A bit like the post-2009 Star Trek movies, in fact, which Grant specifically name-checked. He said that although the current cast—Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Danny John-Jules, and Robert Llewellyn—wouldn’t be playing younger versions of themselves, “we would hope for … the original cast to make various guest appearances like they’re doing in the Star Trek franchises.” According to Grant, all of the actors are “keen” to be involved.

He also said that Red Dwarf: Titan is currently “planned as a novel and a TV show” with “the script inform[ing] the novel and vice versa.”

Where did we last leave the Red Dwarf crew?

The last outing for Lister, Rimmer, the Cat, and Kryten was the 2020 TV movie The Promised Land, which saw them going up against an evil cat (for non-Dwarf fans, not an actual cat, a Felis Sapien) who’s worshipped as a god by his fellow cats. It was a great ride full of callbacks and easter eggs for dedicated fans, but could we ever see what happened afterwards?

Maybe. Grant also said at the BFI panel that there was “real interest” in continuing the current series—which has survived since 1988—and that “provided we can get everyone available … I think we’ve got a good chance.”

Step up to red alert. (Although that will mean changing the bulb.) The slime’s coming home!

(featured image: BBC Two)

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Sarah Barrett
Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.