Report: ‘Star Trek: Starfleet Academy’ Series Taking Shape, Next In Line After ‘Section 31’

Earlier today, reports out of the TCA event revealed that Paramount+ was developing more Star Trek series beyond the five currently in production. A new report offers more details on what’s next for Trek on TV.

Section 31 pickup expected soon

Reports from the TCA quoted a Paramount+ executive telling the journalists that they were “still in development” on the Section 31 series led by Michelle Yeoh, adding “there will be more news on that soon.” And according to a new exclusive report in Deadline, their sources tell them the Section 31 series is “expected to get a pickup soon.”

Development of the Section 31 show was originally announced in early 2019 and a writers’ room was put together for the show, headed up by former Discovery writer/producers Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt. Over the last three years, executive producer Alex Kurtzman and star Michelle Yeoh have talked up the potential series, but it never seemed to be able to get out of development; however, today’s announcements indicate that soon may change.

Michelle Yeoh as Georgiou in “Die Trying”

Academy series taking shape

Our earlier article also cited how Alex Kurtzman told the crowd that in addition to the Section 31 show there is another Star Trek series he is “remaining tight-lipped about.” According to Deadline’s new report, that other show is titled Star Trek: Starfleet Academy and it is “next in the Star Trek development pipeline behind [Section 31].” Deadline sources say the show is being developed by Absentia co-creator Gaia Violo, and it “will be pitched to Paramount+ shortly” with the hope to “get it going in the next year.”

Reports on a Starfleet Academy show being in development by Kurtzman actually go back to 2018 when he was first tapped by CBS to expand the Star Trek Universe for CBS All Access (now Paramount+). At that time Variety reported it was being developed by Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz (The O.C.). Not much was heard about the project until 2020 when Alex Kurtzman mentioned it on a couple of occasions, including Star Trek Day last September.

And more recently there has been a lot of speculation that the Academy show will be a spinoff of Star Trek: Discovery and set in the 32nd century. Season four of Discovery introduced a new Starfleet Academy and series star Mary Wiseman left the show with her character of Sylvia Tilly taking on a teaching position at the Academy. Both she and Discovery showrunner Michelle Paradise have confirmed that Tilly will return, and the character has been seen in a trailer for the second half of season four, however, they could have bigger plans for Tilly. Her Academy storyline in season four could be setting her up for an Academy series in the same way that the Georgiou/Guardian story in season three set up the Section 31 series.

Tilly (Mary Wiseman) at the opening of Starfleet Academy on Discovery 

Part of a long-term plan

Discussions of these potential shows should be put into the context that Paramount+ currently has five Star Trek series, including three live-action series, in active development. All the shows have multiple season orders, with enough episodes to fill up most of 2022 and 2023 with non-stop Star Trek on the streaming platform.

Alex Kurtzman talked today during the TCA about how they are thinking long-term for the franchise (via Variety):

We have to think several years out. So we’re thinking about, you know, knowing that we’re going to want new shows on the air two or three years from now we have to start putting those now. So there’s a bunch of things in development that are now starting to take shape and we’re super excited about it.

So it’s likely any new Star Trek shows will not arrive until 2024 or 2025. And by that time, it’s also likely that some of the current five Trek shows will have wrapped up.

Keep up on the Star Trek Universe of Television.

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If Starfleet Academy is in the 32nd Century, I bet they’ll release it when Discovery finishes it’s run and move Tilly to the new show.

And it would be easy to keep the former Discovery characters showing up again like how the TNG characters kept showing up on DS9 and VOY.

Star Trek is the ultimate job security! ;)

Ahhh, but it is also the ultimate typecasting. For anyone who isn’t Shatner, Stewart, or Bakula.

At this point I think everyone just accepts that when they take the job. And the positives probably out weigh the negatives. The spin off shows made all of them multi-millionaires easily including Enterprise because they shot so many episodes back then.

I would love to have a job where I can work 5 to 7 years and then retire if I really wanted to after that.

LOL, so true. But not all of them are like that. The Captains certainly are. But what about the, say, Linda Parks’ of the world? How well off are they?

Well its been 20 years but remember they still pull in money from conventions, syndication/streaming deals and even merchandise (but thats not what it used to be). By the time Voyager came around, all the main actors were making between $50-75 thousand per episode. Guessing the same for Enterprise although Bakula probably made a lot more.

I mean most still have to work but none of them are starving artists either if they have a decent accountant.

I remember a story about Shatner where after TOS was cancelled that for a while he was out of work for so long he was living out of his truck or something. Speaks a lot to how he is so stingy now that he charges like 70 bucks or something for his autograph. But the point is, the money from syndication and such doesn’t always go as far as you think it does. Like, is Enterprise even in syndication? I have never seen it in reruns since it went off the air outside of Netflix or something like that.

Enterprise is in syndication where I live in L,A. for the past 5 years with the other classic shows. In fact I just looked it up, it’s on in 2O minutes. A Voyager episode is on now. :)

And as I said they probably still have to work but money still comes in from all these shows in some form. I was only making the point Star Trek is still life long income.

And Shatter always comes off like a greedy bastard.

He sure does. but I dunno if the story I told you is true or not.

Shatner himself has said that he takes any job offered him because of the mindset he acquired living in the back of his truck. That, and advice passed on from Edward G. Robinson and John Wayne. Maybe it’s also why he’s so protective of his roles, but he also did that when TOS was still on.

Thanks for letting me know. That’s what I thought was going on but I wasn’t sure. I am not forgiving the behavior per se but It does help to explain it.

Yeah, look, I’m not saying the guy has the most sterling character, of course. But it’s interesting background.

That it is

Shatner himself has said that he takes any job offered him 

Except, evidently, as “Chef” on Enterprise.

The Enterprise guest shot was as Mirror Kirk for their Mirror episodes. Shatner was game and they had meetings and shared scripts. The issue just came down to money. The show didn’t have the budget to afford Shatners asking price.

Honestly, I don’t blame Shatner for asking for high pay. He is in a position where he has the clout to ask for it. Just like I’m sure Stewart has a price. One that was met when asked about playing Picard again.

Really? I always heard the tale as “Chef”. How would they have worked Mirror Kirk from the 2260s into a Mirror Universe of Enterprise’s 2150s?

Kirk was trapped on the Defiant when it flitted in and out of universes. Maybe they planned on de-aging him.

If I recall, the idea was that MU Kirk went back in time using the Tantalus Field (I’m guessing it turns out the device was a time machine. Those people had to go somewhere I guess) and the idea was his presence in the past led to the creation of the MU to begin with.

I’m not a fan of that idea but it was the gist of what I heard about it. It was talked about in the extras on the BD for Enterprise season 4.

There were several different ideas floated on how to bring him back: Mirror duplicate and Chef were both ideas considered at different times.

Because shatner was OBSESSED with coming back and guest starring on Enterprise. The really amazing thing is how he apparently worked with the writers on story ideas before discussing money, which was clearly the most important thing to him.

He only wanted to return so he could bask in the media attention and leverage it for EVEN MORE money. You’d think though, that he’d have discussed money first, made sure it was something that would please him, THEN discuss the story details.

Not a very smart man, as he continues to prove every time he’s in the news.

I can blame Shatner in the sense that he talks on and on about wanting to come back for the love of the character, then turns down offers because it doesn’t pay him enough. Even sillier when you consider he wanted to return to a show on UPN, in 2004, not exactly a time and place that he should have expected to fork him over a huge paycheck.

To Stewart’s credit, he wasn’t hung up on coming back, never made a big deal about it, and even turned it down at first, despite being obviously being offered a huge paycheck.

You leave the Empress out of this

Shatner and Stewart have had lots of roles since then, but I think they’ll always be identified as Kirk and Picard. But has a single Trek actor besides them gone on to anything afterward, even the ones who were famous before? Maybe Nimoy in directing, Spiner and Mulgrew on stage to an extent, and…? Auberjonois was on Boston Legal with Shatner, um…help me out, people. Jeri Ryan?

The Kelvin cast has done a bunch. Pine’s become a big star, notably, as has Saldana.

Well for example, Shatner will always be known as Kirk, no doubt. But as far as the Emmys are concerned, he won them for Denny Crane, not James T Kirk. If Patrick Stewart is ever to be in the movies again, it will be in the MCU, not in a Star Trek film. Jeri Ryan did a lot in Boston Legal, Law and Order, etc…

The Kelvin Cast has done a lot, but they are an exception. Many of them had careers before Star Trek, which is not usually the case for Star Trek actors.

Right, it’s usually the lead who’s best known from the other series. Interestingly, a lot have had stage backgrounds- Shatner, Stewart, and Anthony Rapp come to mind.

Right exactly. So what do the supporting actors do?

Actually, Stewart was still mostly unknown to American audiences when TNG came along. The only known talent on that cast was LeVar Burton, possibly Wil Wheaton.

That’s a bit of an overstatement. A lot of Trek fan at the time knew him from his pervious role as Gurney Halleck in David Lynch’s Dune.

I’d seen Stewart in both Excalibur and Dune, but he was far from well-known in the US at the time.

Right, he was Arthur’s step dad in Excalibur as well. Yea, he was far from well known, but he wasn’t “mostly unknown.” Somewhere in between those conditions.

Most of Treks actors are doing just fine financially. Much better than myself anyway lol. Even if for most of them are ‘known’ only for Trek and will only ever really be known for Trek. Many of them probably just on way smaller things away from the camera and live the good life, have families etc. Living the good life as they say.

It makes the most sense that Tilly will lead the show, considering she was removed from Discovery. But also considering she was removed from Discovery it gives me the impression the show might happen before DIS ends, if DIS gets Trek’s typical 7 yr run.

Wow things are really moving!

Completely forgot about the Academy show although they talked about it not that long ago. And yeah I agree, I hope it would stay in the 32nd century. I really want that setting to thrive. And it would be interesting to see an Academy show post-burn. It seemed obvious that episode was setting Tilly up for her own show. Not a huge fan favorite of hers, but I do like her. This show can have enormous potential if it stays in the 32nd century.

As for the more infamous S31 show, I would kind of like to see that show back in the 24th century. But if they bring back Tyler then maybe it will be a 23rd based show again, which I’m also fine with. But I think Star Trek and especially Discovery has made it clear moving characters to different centuries is no longer a big deal. ;D

Yeah, keeping the time/place a mystery where Philipa ended up when she stepped into the Guardian tells me that it won’t be the 23rd century that everyone assumed the S31 show would be set in.

If they set it in the late 24th century and have Bashir and Garak as the main cast, than they have a recipe for something truly amazing. Add in a political aspect to it and I’m sold.

S31 truly feels like the best vehicle for doing a DS9 successor show. We have a TNG successor shows with PIC and LDS to extent, VOY through PRO and TOS through SNW. Even ENT received a lot of huge nods through the mentions of the TCW on Disco. DS9 is completely ignored so far (beyond easter eggs). Hope that there is a reason for that and we will get to see legacy characters from that show as main characters.

 VOY through PRO

Not forget to mention through PIC too. Even it was “only” one and a half character.

Didn’t O’Brian say he was going to an Academy job? Think Meany would be game? Possibly. What other characters said they were heading to the Academy? If any?

I suspect that an early 25th century Academy show has been abandoned.

The late 24th century pretty full with Prodigy, LDS and Picard flashbacks.

The 32nd century seems a more likely option for an additional show.

I honestly don’t know why so many here think that? Doesn’t feel like an automatic to me at all.

Besides, a late 23rd century Academy show could still work. And I still don’t know why an early 25th wouldn’t work either. Both of those hold a lot more promise than sticking in the the 32nd century.

The idea of Starfleet Academy as a film or series has been floating around since the late ’80’s and it’s one of those concepts I never found compelling.

Setting it in the 32nd century makes sense but the series may have broader appeal if set in the 23rd or 25th century.

And, just as this VERY exciting news comes out This positive announcement very much upsets, Robert Meyer Burnett A TOS Trek Vet,Who Directed Free Enterprise.
He is Very Anti Kurtzman Trek..
In fact,
even thought this Starfleet Academy show might be years away,
Rob is speaking out against it in a live broadcast on Youtube, RIGHT NOW!
Rob also hated JJ trek, all 3 films.
He feels Trek has been dead since 2009.
I like Rob.
But he has no objectivity about Modern Trek.
In fact,Rob has even said recently, for him, it’s all about TOS.

Rob is a purist, straight and simple. Hard to fault him for having that opinion.

Sorry but yes it is. It’s people like him that act like anything made after Enterprise is like drinking poison. He can certainly like what he wants but acting like Kurtzman is the devil only creates the division in the fandom to a toxic level it has been since 2009 because he has an audience and creates that resentment more.

Look at the guys from Trekyards. Stuart Foley is a hardcore TOS fan and also didn’t like the new films but has a very balanced view on the franchise as a whole. If he doesn’t like something, he says it, but doesn’t demonize everything that comes out either and still tries to appreciate things in shows he still doesn’t love like Discovery and Picard. He’s been critical of both, but still open minded enough to believe they have potential. A lot of ‘purist’ don’t have to come off like barking dogs foaming at the mouth.

People like Rob just come off like closed minded bitter old men because Star Trek isn’t done the way THEY want it to be done (now that I think about it, that used to be a lot of people on these boards back in the day ;)).

It’s all subjective…I enjoyed TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise, but….found the JJ Abrams movies to be very flashy, but lacking any real substance. STID was particularly BAD. I mean Plan 9 From Outer Space bad. Same thing with Discovery…I think it’s gawdawful, yet a lot of people seem to enjoy it.
Hopefully, Strange New Worlds will restore my faith in the franchise.

I’m not getting on anyone’s case for not liking something in the franchise. I think Nemesis was a total disaster. STID not much better.. I just don’t think tearing down every thing and everyone who makes it as an enemy of the state is a balanced way to go about it either.

Obviously I understand the newer stuff is more divisive and share some of those issues, especially Discovery.. I’m never shy about my issues with that show either.

But telling people it’s not real Star Trek and Kurtzman is a hack who should be fired etc doesn’t do anything but bring in the other mouth breathers. He doesn’t do what Midnight Edge does but comes off pretty toxic at times. I like hearing his opinion on other stuff but I tune him out when he rants about Star Trek these days.

And trust me all the people who think SNW will be the second coming will be complaining about that one too. The same people who once thought the Kelvin movies and then Discovery would usher in a great era of Star Trek just to complain bitterly about them once they arrived because it wasn’t the Star Trek they envisioned in their heads.

STID could have been much more than it was had Khan’s reveal been more than what it had initially seemed. Marcus would tell Kirk not to believe what he had been told. “He’s not Khan, son but he has been loyal to me some two hundred years before you were even born. His name is Joachim. I AM KHAN.”

The idea that the head of Starfleet had been overseeing a black ops operation that just built the most powerful ship in the fleet with a crew consisting of Khan’s loyal subjects would have been a heck of a twist. Khan playing the long game with full knowledge of his fate in an alternate universe makes for a great story.

Totally agree here, though one thing that is frustrating is Foley constantly says DIS is in its own universe and not prime.

I’ve found Foley to be quite problematic at times. I wouldn’t say he’s a toxic fan but he’s not far off.

I can’t stand him. I stopped watching years ago.

Yeah I agree as well. I find it annoying but they repeat it constantly (but I can’t think of any time lately but only watch here and there). But he’s not dogmatic about it either. He has said in the past he accepts people feel differently and don’t have to agree with him, but I wish they let it go already.

It looks different because of production choices and being in the 2020s even if you still don’t like them. But none of it is real!

Although the show runners deny it the idea that Star Trek Discovery is set in its own Trek universe is not preposterous. In fact, if one knows nothing of what the producers say and they watched past Trek and then Star Trek Discovery deciding is in its own universe is a very logical conclusion.

When it comes to Robert Meyer Burnett, I can’t help but wonder if his current stance on Trek is fueled largely by spite and jealousy. With his Star Trek: Federation pitch in the mid-2000s, I think Burnett saw himself as the “next man up” in the creative world of Star Trek. But, he was never able to make it beyond Blu-ray special features and fan films. I recognize the fact that not everyone cares for the Kurtzman era of Trek. But Burnett’s criticism’s are often little more than click bate, and he does himself no favors associating with folks like Midnight’s Edge.

Yikes. There’s a fair amount I like about the new stuff, a fair amount that I don’t but I’m not opposed to a Starfleet Academy series. I just don’t find the concept particularly compelling. I sample it all but if it doesn’t work for me I move on.

No one cares about rob.

Yeah, I’m trying to get my head around what an Academy show is going to look like. Trek has been a bit muddy on how the command structure works. Military academies are basically college, so, are we following a group of students through three or four years of school? How does SA interact with training for non officers? It’s hard to imagine someone going to SA for a glamorous job in ….maintenance?? It’s also hard to imagine SA as the adventures of Red Squad, always out on training exercises that turn into the real deal. Cadet to Captain promotions, anyone?

Can there just be one post-nemesis show set on a starship. Please. Pretty please.

You have two: LDS and PRO.

I like them for that they are, but they’re not the same.

I am interested in a Starfleet Academy series, but not when it set in the far future and it being a direct spin-off from DIS. DIS is just so bad. Badly written. Horrible characters. I watched the first two seasons, skipped though season 3, but there were no improvements in sight. I don’t really want a series closely related to DIS.

I agree. Doing anything that harkens back to Star Trek Discovery in anyway is not smart.

So of all the series they announced, the only one not being actively discussed is Meyer’s planned Khan miniseries, which would have been interesting. But Meyer’s out of the picture, so alas who knows if that will ever happen.

Not feeling the show at all…an academy show set in the TUC era/pre-TNG would be nice….otherwise it’s Tilly as a high school teacher, saved by the bell the college years.

The Academy series is intended to target an audience niche that isn’t the people on this thread. It’s not for our unfulfilled nostalgia.

They are not likely to be invested in the 23rd or 24th century, and those eras would have this show bumping into others.

That is, they want to target teens and college kids, not fill in cool bits of canon for folks like us who experienced post-secondary education decades ago. If cooler 32nd century technology and a newly revived Federation are more compelling to younger audiences in the key demographic, that’s what’s important.

If it’s successfully done, this show may attract all of us the way Prodigy does. But if all it does is draw in the key demographic in larger numbers than the other shows, that would be enough.

Although I’d prefer an Academy series post-NEM/PIC with Kirayoshi O’Brien, Miral Paris and Kestra Riker-Troi as the dynamic trio, I am very interested in the 32nd century.

And who knows… if it’s 32nd century, there may be connections to legendary early centuries at the Academy… when Kirk, Picard and Janeway roamed those holy halls… and hid the Ambassador’s Stone in the holochamber of secrets :-) I want some Ba’ul guards floating around Camp Academy.

Now a Starfleet Academy: The Next Next Generation is something that sounds very interesting to me. Way more so than a Discovery-era show.

Section 31 only makes sense as a time-travel show involving the Guardian of Forever. Gary Seven’s Assignment Earth with a Savage Curtain twist… Carl, the Guardian, re-assigning history’s worst of the worst to give them another chance…

Maybe S31 has a thing for “casting” former dictators before their demise. I could see Prime Khan being recruited right from the bridge of the Reliant.Or Colonel Green will get his second chance as well…

It would be a very weird idea but it makes sense within Trek lore…

I am really looking forward to both – Section 31 and Starfleet Academy! These are very interesting and different concepts! I also hope that Section 31 is more covered ops like in DS9! As Alex Kurtzman teased on ST-Day it will be really interedting to see young people in Starfleet Academy that have to grow up in a complicated world and in my intrepretation) help to rebuild Starfleet and its values after the Burn in the 32nd century or in the Picard-timeframe…

Big thumps up for Alex Kurtzman and all people responsible for bringing us so much new and exciting Trek!

So, this new Starfleet Academy show, the Section 31 show, and Strange New Worlds are all spin-offs of Discovery. Reminds of how DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise were spin-offs of TNG. But TNG was an amazing and well-liked show than spun-off other great shows. Discovery does have its fans, but I’m not one of them. I will give all these shows a chance, but if they are anything like Discovery, then I am not filled with hope.

I am glad Prodigy exists. I love that show. I hope we get spin-offs from Prodigy someday!

There are so many spin-offs they could focus on and they’re choosing Starfleet Academy… ugh!

Same reaction here, sadly. This subject has had no interest for me since it was brought up in the 80’s. But if P+ is interested in grabbing younger viewers, this would likely be a viable option. As for me – Star Trek 90210, hard pass.

There is room for many more spinoffs. Don’t like this one, just wait a year. :)

I’m not as against an Academy show as others are I AM dead set against it being a 32nd century show. I’d much rather have it set post TUC but honestly it would probably be fine set anywhere from Pike era to Picard era. The only NO to me would be 32nd century. Honestly the less Trek that finds itself there the better.

Hopefully Kurtzman will revive the “this only for Voyager” style of dividing up the universe and will say that only Discovery gets to play in the 32nd century. To me that is an era that had so much promise, but hasn’t fulfilled it at all (so far). Then again, maybe the next show can bring on a new show runner like Pillar or Ira Steven Behr (or Mike McMahan) and really make a 32nd century show that wows us all with it’s brilliance, innovation, and Star Trekiness.

I think the 32nd century has been tainted by what Star Trek Discovery did to it. That damage is done. The train has left the station. Sticking there means they are obliged to continue in the same quagmire that has bogged down Star Trek Discovery. Why would any producer want to start a show with such a disadvantage?

I’ve always just assumed that Starfleet Academy was just future space college. Not four years of flight training. Not enlisted training. I guess my assumptions are going to get challenged by this show…..

Zero interest in Section 31. Marginal interest in Starfleet Academy; reduce that by half if Tilly is the lead.

Section 31 has been coming soon for four years. This sounds like Kurtzman and crew refuse to take no for an answer as according to them it’s always just about to happen. I’m not sure why they are so bent on pushing this.

Section 31 is best used as seasoning in existing Star Trek, not for consumption on it’s own anymore than most people don’t just eat a bottle of ketchup for dinner.

Also, any chance that they can get away from everyone who is not good needs to wear black leather? Starting to think that colorful
Clothing is limited to one universe and even then only about ten percent of participants. It’s a little cliche at this point.

I hope the show is sexy.