Star Trek

Holly Hunter Cast As Starfleet Academy Lead

The Academy Award winner will play the chancellor of Starfleet Academy in the 32nd century spin-off.

Paramount+ has announced the new lead actor in Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, the upcoming spin-off series set in the 32nd century.

Holly Hunter will play the captain and chancellor of Starfleet Academy, in what by all accounts looks to be a spin-off of Star Trek: Discovery. Her character’s name has not yet been revealed.

Hunter won the Oscar for Best Actress for 1993’s The Piano. She was nominated three additional times, for her work on Broadcast News, The Firm, and Thirteen. More recently she has appeared on Succession, Bless the Harts, and Mr. Mayor. And of course Hunter voices Elastigirl / Helen Parr in Pixar’s The Incredibles.

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy “will follow the adventures of a new class of Starfleet cadets as they come of age in one of the most legendary places in the galaxy,” according to Paramount+. The show begins production later this summer, and boasts the largest contiguous set ever built for a Star Trek series. The Academy set includes a two-story central atrium, an amphitheater, classrooms, a mess hall, and a idyllic walkway lined with trees (according to Variety).

Starfleet Academy promises to be a different kind of Star Trek show, set at a fixed location and focusing on students who are in training but far from experienced Starfleet officers. It’s not all budding romances, personal discovery, and exams in temporal mechanics, however. The show will also introduce a major antagonist to the Federation:

STAR TREK: STARFLEET ACADEMY introduces viewers to a young group of cadets who come together to pursue a common dream of hope and optimism. Under the watchful and demanding eyes of their instructors, they discover what it takes to become Starfleet officers as they navigate blossoming friendships, explosive rivalries, first loves and a new enemy that threatens both the Academy and the Federation itself.

The Academy is an area of Star Trek’s universe that has been attractive to storytellers for decades, dating back at least to producer Harv Bennett’s desire to create a Starfleet Academy feature film back in the early 1990s. Of course several episodes of Trek’s various incarnations have visited the Academy — located on Earth, in San Francisco — from the Wesley Crusher episode of TNG “The First Duty”, to Nog’s attendance on Deep Space Nine, to Voyager‘s alien simulation “In the Flesh,” to James Kirk’s graduation in 2009’s Star Trek movie.

Mary Wiseman as Ensign Sylvia Tilly (Star Trek: Discovery)
Mary Wiseman as Ensign Sylvia Tilly (Star Trek: Discovery)

Alex Kurtzman and Noga Landau serve as co-showrunners and executive producers of Starfleet Academy.

Discovery concludes its fifth and final season on May 30. That series, which ushered in the modern renaissance of Star Trek on television, started in the 23rd century but leapt forward to the 32nd after two seasons. Since then one of the crew, Mary Wiseman’s Ensign Sylvia Tilly, has spent time off the ship teaching at the Academy — as Discovery‘s crew helped Starfleet recover from a devastating event in its history that led to Earth’s secession from the United Federation of Planets.

Wiseman has not been confirmed as a cast member for Starfleet Academy, though of course her character’s involvement (and the ending of Discovery) has provoked wide speculation.

Stick with SciFi Stream for more on the new show as it enters production.


Darren is a fan of all things science fiction, and founded the popular Stargate website GateWorld in 1999, followed by SciFi Stream in 2007. He lives in the Seattle area.

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