‘Star Trek: Starfleet Academy’ Series a Go: Probably Discovery Spinoff
A Starfleet Academy series was always rumored in the late ’90s/early 2000s, but now it’s finally here, with co-showrunners Alex Kurtzman and Noga Landau.
Starfleet wants You!
That, or whatever the Federation recruitment slogan would be, you’ll be hearing over the next few years as Paramount+ has placed a series order for a new live-action show, “Star Trek: Starfleet Academy,” the streamer announced today, just two days after confirming multi-season orders for Strange New Worlds and Lower Decks.
Paramount+ won’t confirm this, but the Starfleet Academy series is likely a spin-off of Star Trek: Discovery, which will end in early 2024 with its fifth and final season. The speculation then is that it would be set in that show’s 32nd century timeline. A Discovery Season 4 story arc in which Mary Wiseman’s Ensign Tilly served as a field instructor for a group of Academy cadets before leaving the show altogether to continue being their instructor feels like a backdoor pilot .
However, Paramount+ has not announced a casting for the series. And is generally cryptic about the show, something reinforced in franchise overlord Alex Kurtzman’s in-universe statement about it — he’ll be co-showrunning with “Nancy Drew” EP Noga Landau, with Gaia Violo the premiere episode writes.
“Entrance into Starfleet Academy is now open! Explore the galaxy! Captain your destiny!” began Kurtzman’s statement. “For the first time in over a century, our campus is reopening to accommodate individuals at least 16 Earth years (or species equivalent) who dream of pushing their physical, mental and spiritual boundaries, who value friendship, camaraderie and place honor and dedication to a cause greater than themselves. The coursework will be rigorous, the instructors will be among the brightest lights in their respective fields, and those admitted will live and study alongside the most diverse population of students that have ever been admitted. Today we encourage everyone who shares our dreams, goals and values to join a new generation of visionary cadets taking their first steps to create a bright future for us all. Apply today! Ex Astris, Scientia!”
A lot needs to be read about the tea leaves here! The fact that the Starfleet Academy campus, known to be located in San Francisco in the Trek lore, has been closed for “over a century” feels like a nod to the series being in the timeline of Discovery ‘ will take place, either after the show wraps up or somewhat concurrently with Season 5. Again, this is speculation and Paramount+ won’t confirm, but it’s a likely connection of the dots.
The Academy was closed for over a century after a cataclysm called “The Burn” that restricted warp drive across much of the galaxy and caused the Federation to crumble until only a small remnant state remained – Earth itself separated and was independent planetary government. So it wasn’t the home of Starfleet Academy for a long time.
Then, in the fourth season finale, the President of United Earth, played by Stacey Abrams, promised that our planet would rejoin the Federation. And so the academy is expected to reopen now!
The 32nd century setting was a previously unexplored part of the Trek timeline up until seasons 3 and 4 of Discovery, and is still mostly “fresh snow” to explore, Kurtzman told IndieWire in late 2020. “There are so many extraordinary new opportunities and story options that it feels like a never-ending fountain,” he said. “Also, we’re now separated from the pre-existing canon, which means we can write the future of ‘Star Trek’ on this show, and it’s completely fresh snow.” It’s hard to imagine Kurtzman giving up this blank slate to make it into to write on it in the foreseeable future.
Episodes of Season 4 of “Discovery,” which aired in December 2021, revolved around a group of Academy cadets (pictured above) who were still primarily based in the mobile space station at Starfleet Headquarters in Space, run by Ensign Tilly were looked after and got a little respect. They were a diverse group, including a green-skinned Orion and a Nausican, two alien species not typically depicted as members of Starfleet – reflecting how much more inclusive Starfleet can be at this point.
With Kurtzman and Landau as co-showrunners, Violo will also serve as executive producer alongside Aaron Baiers, Jenny Lumet, Rod Roddenberry, Trevor Roth, Frank Siracusa and John Weber.
It should be noted that a Starfleet Academy series is something that fans have been hoping for – literally for decades. Just such a series was rumored in the late ’90s and early 2000s when Rick Berman helmed the TV franchise Trek. If you were a subscriber to the glossy, perfect-bound Star Trek: The Magazine (RIP), you would have been tempted by such a prospect. There was an episode that was filmed at the Academy starring Wil Wheaton’s Wesley Crusher in The Next Generation. And there was even a PC game called Star Trek: Starfleet Academy that was set earlier in the time of Kirk and Spock and featured new footage of William Shatner in the role that was filmed for the game.
Now the dream of a “Starfleet Academy” series is finally being fulfilled.
Registration: Stay up to date on the latest movie and TV news! Sign up for our email newsletter here.
https://www.indiewire.com/2023/03/star-trek-starfleet-academy-series-likely-discovery-spinoff-1234824329/ ‘Star Trek: Starfleet Academy’ Series a Go: Probably Discovery Spinoff