Holly Hunter To Lead ‘Star Trek: Starfleet Academy’ Series As Chancellor

The Star Trek: Starfleet Academy TV series has its first announced cast member, and it’s an Academy Award winner.

Captain Hunter

Paramount+ just announced Holly Hunter will star in the upcoming YA-focused Starfleet Academy series, playing the “captain and chancellor of Starfleet Academy.” Hunter’s Hollywood career spans decades, starting in the 1980s, including a breakout role in Raising Arizona and her first Oscar nomination for Broadcast News. She went on to pick up three more Academy Award nominations, and won in 1994 for her leading role in the film The Piano. She is also known for voicing Helen Parr (Elastigirl) in the two Incredibles Pixar movies. Hunter’s television resume is also extensive, including multiple Emmy nominations and two wins. She starred in the TNT series Saving Grace which ran for 3 seasons from 2007-2010 and most recently was part of the cast of the NBC sitcom Mr. Mayor which ran for two seasons between 2021 and 2022.

“It feels like we’ve spent our entire lives watching Holly Hunter be a stone-cold genius,” said Starfleet Academy co-showrunners Alex Kurtzman and Noga Landau in a statement. “To have her extraordinary authenticity, fearlessness, sense of humor, and across the board brilliance leading the charge on Starfleet Academy is a gift to all of us, and to the enduring legacy of Star Trek.”

The new series is set at the famed Starfleet Academy in San Francisco in the 32nd century, the same timeframe established in Star Trek: Discovery. It is set to go into production in late summer at Pinewood Studios in Toronto.

Holly Hunter (Ricky Middlesworth)

Cadets face new love and a new enemy

Today’s announcement also included this synopsis for Starfleet Academy:

The series 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.

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.

Alex Kurtzman and Noga Landau serve as co-showrunners and executive produce the series alongside executive producers Gaia Violo, Aaron Baiers, Olatunde Onsunsamni, Jenny Lumet, Rod Roddenberry, Trevor Roth, Frank Siracusa and John Weber. The series premiere episode is written by Gaia Violo. As we’ve previously reported, Lower Decks star Tawny Newsome is one of the show’s writers.

Hunter is the first officially confirmed member of the Starfleet Academy cast. While Discovery’s Mary Wiseman has sidestepped questions regarding the show, fans expect she will also be part of the cast. Her Sylvia Tilly was established to be a teacher at Starfleet Academy in season 4 and continues to be one in the current fifth and final season, although she is “on loan” to the ship at the moment.

Keep up with news about the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.

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An interesting casting choice.

I’m not sure what to think of this, she’s a good actress but I don’t think I see her as a “captain” leading a bunch of cadets. Who knows…

Well we have to remember that Captain is both a position and a rank. We have several characters who are shown to have the rank of Captain yet serving as a Captain of a ship (or them ever have been given a starship command). And of course we have had several characters who aren’t Captain in rank, yet serve as Captains of a ship. All very much in the style of the Navy.

More importantly, I’ve never heard of “chancellor” as the title for the head of a military academy; I had thought it was

Civilian universities sometimes have a “chancellor”; at the University of California, there is a system-wide chancellor, although individual campuses have a president (except Berkeley, where the chancellor is the president). The incoming chancellor was a professor of mine a long time ago!

Considering this is fiction, and set a thousand years in the future there’s no reason to assume it will be run by modern military convention. Especially as it’s not a military. Besides, a chancellor is a common title for the head of a school.

im not sure why these kinds of comments are even being made. It’s like criticizing it for having a woman in a leading role in a position of power because the show was started In the 60s and that wasn’t common back then.

Picard is also called the Chancellor of the academy in PIC S2. So it tracks with canon.

“Captain” is most usually seen as a rank as opposed to a specific role. I’ve never known a Cpt. in real life that had a ship, but instead a desk in an office building.

Captain is indeed a rank (the equivalent of colonel in the other services), and plenty of them have desk jobs. For example, the current commander of the U.S. Navy’s Cyber Defense Operations Command is a captain, and although a Surface Warfare Officer, has never commanded a ship, per her official bio.

On the other hand, the commander of a ship can be called “captain” even if he does not hold that rank.

That was the case with William Bligh, whose lack of rank was one of the factors that eventually resulted in the famous mutiny against him.

We’ve had THE BOUNTY blu-ray out to rewatch for two weeks now, but keep getting distracted by more ‘fun’ movies like GO and SUPERBAD (that’s after two weeks of ‘nothing but 70s classics’ which was a total blast, as I’m so big on political paranoia stuff.

I recently read something from Anthony Hopkins about how his experience on THE BOUNTY made him give up caring about quality in film work and just treat it as workaday going forward. He had been on board way back, years earlier when David Lean was going to make it as two films (one on the mutiny, one on the trial), but Bernie Williams — the producer who later gave the creatives so much trouble on STAR TREK GENERATIONS — told the studio that the Lean films would cost 40 mil instead of the 25-30 Lean said they would, and basically destroyed Lean’s passion project, which would I think have had Chris Reeve in the Fletcher Christian role.

I thought THE BOUNTY was okay. Its portrayal of Bligh is somewhat more sympathetic than that of the previous versions, without ignoring the quirks and odd insecurities the man had that led to disaster. In some ways, the requirements of the mission vs. the resources he was given to accomplish it really stacked the deck against him, and the caste system and harsh discipline routinely employed by the British Navy at the time didn’t help. Contra Charles Laughton and Terence Howard, Bligh was more of a harsh taskmaster than an outright sadist.

Did you serve in the US Navy? I did and knew of plenty of four-stripers (0-6) who captained a ship, as well as lower ranks who ere CO’s of a ship. My boat had an O-6 as a CO. CO’s are informally addressed by ship’s company Captain, regardless of actual rank. These lower ranks are also said to “captain a ship” or said to be Captain of the Seawolf, etc, again regardless of rank.

No, I should specify that I’m referring to the captains I’ve known strictly as a civilian. I’m sure someone in the actual Navy would know captains of ships, but the point stands re: James’ original comment.

She definitely could command a room full of cadets. It’s a great choice!

Spot on. Silly as it might seem, she showed command presence in the jet sequence of The Incredibles, getting the cockpit chatter 100%. So I’ll be tuning in mainly because of her. Confidence is high.

Worse actors have effectively played Captains…

Fortunately she’s a great actor so I bet she does very well.

i feel like she’s gonna be a space mom alla Mrs. Incredible

A smart casting choice to prop up an iffy concept of a series. She is an excellent actress that will bring some legitimacy to the project.

She’s an actress who has shown range. So I don’t fear a Bujold, issue during the start of filming. And one who has done broadcast tv even, so she has experience in filming even at a much faster pace, then what Trek on streaming shoots at. And certainly having a strong performer can attract talent (with most of the primary cast I assume to be younger, I don’t see this as that big of factor). But I do expect it to have an impact on the performances of the cast, as not waiting to empress themselves. Usually when acting with a really good actor, it helps elevate your own performance. Of course for all I know she might have a rather small role on the show, even if appearing in most episodes. Who knows.

Elastigirl to the rescue! First bit of good news I’ve read about this show.

For me it’s the second after Tawny Newsome writing for the show.

That’s fair. I just hope she doesn’t make everyone talk really fast for no reason. :)

I feel exactly the same. This is good news for me. I just wish it was set in the 25th century.

My dislike of the 25 century is that so far it’s not developed much, probably something appealing to producers and writers. And that its visual elements aren’t easy to tie down.

For example I can look at a ship in the 23rd, 24th centuries and see details that tell me things (thrusters, transporter emitters, bridge, hangers, weapons, sensors. With the ships in the 32nd century I see them and have no clue. So I really want to see this world in more detail if we are going to be set in it.

OMG. Really.

Yes really. The OG Enterprise had logic to its design. The people lived and worked in the saucer. The engineering hull was just that, for the engineering and Warp core. The warp nacelles were separated from both so any possible radiation from creating a warp bubble would be away from people. These new ships make no sense at all unless you can show me otherwise.

Ooo, love this! Now I’m excited!

Angela Bassett would’ve killed in this role.

No denying that. But it all comes down to budget, availability, interest on the actor’s part and chemistry with the rest of the cast. That said, would I love to see a cameo from Angela? Heck, yeah!

She would have killed it as (a different) Burnham too.

OMG YES! And it would’ve lasted 7 SEASONS!

She’s busy killing it on 911, which has much better writing than anything I’ve seen from recent Trek.

Great news! But why do shows like this have 8 Executive Producers? What role do they serve?

Many reasons. For instance, sometimes it’s a negotiated title, other times it has to with advancing through the system.

Executive Producers get streaming residuals.

They have them because they realized they can maybe just get by without the 15 Executive Producers they had for Discovery and Picard. ;)

Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth are both from Roddenberry Entertainment and have been Executive Producers on all the new shows. It’s unclear how involved they actually are. It seems to me like they have some kind of advisory capacity but probably it’s more Rod Roddenberry lending his “cred” is the son of the original creator of Star Trek.

I think that Frank Siracusa and John Weber are local producers in Canada, so they are probably the liaison between Secret Hideout in Los Angeles and the studio in Toronto. They are involved in a lot of American shows that are shot in Canada.

Aaron Baiers is vice president of Alex Kurtzman’s production company Secret Hideout.
Jenny Lumet seems to be an Executive as CBS Studios.

I think Olatunde Onsunsamni has been the producing director on Discovery, i.e. he’s overseen the directors that are hired for individual episodes (plus he’s directed a bunch of episodes himself). He may hold a similar position on the new show.

Thank you. I really appreciate that thorough answer.

Rod just gets a check. That’s about it. .

Rod would get a check regardless – Eoddenberry Productions is the successor in rights to Norway Productions – His Father’s production company for STAR TREK – so he’d get royalties or whatever they have to pay for the rights to do ANY STAR TREK. Not that he needs the money,him Mom left him millions!

Solid actress. I hope they write her character well.

Excellent get. Hunter rules. The YA angle is very much not my cup of raktajino, but I recognize not everything’s for me, and I’m going to give the show a chance regardless.

Make it your tea.

Maybe I’m ignorant as to what is around/popular these days but I feel like the show is 10-15 years too late to capitalize on the vibe it’s going for.

I love this casting. We’ve seen her comedic and serious acting skills many times. I think she can hit the ground running with this one.

This is exciting news!

I would be interested in this series if it took place in the early 25th century as opposed to 32nd. Could have been a nice companion piece to Legacy.

Here’s my pitch. Episode 1, the whole class of Starfleet Academy is on a ship (or small starbase) that is thrown back in time due to a “time mine” remaining from the Temporal War and find themselves stranded in the early 25th century and having to reintegrate with the “primitive” but more engaged/active/interesting Federation of that time.

Well, it’s set in the 32nd century, and Legacy isn’t even a gleam in Terry Matalas’ eye anymore.

And just like the last 3 seasons of Disco it’s not interesting to me.

God no. They that no talent show runner would turn Nepo baby Jack into an admiral.

“Short for Edwina,TURN TO THE RIGHT!”

Holly Hunter is a fantastic actor, so this is great news. I just hope they get an entirely new team of writers, rather than using those who have written Discovery.

Same here. Here’s hoping…

Oof! That’s a good point. They’ve got Tawny Newsome in the writers room, and she seems smart and to know a thing or two about Star Trek, which also gives me hope.

New writers would be great. And Holly Hunter is amazing. It still doesn’t change anything, the 32nd century “burn” era of Star Trek sucks and this is just doubling down on it.

This is pretty great news! It’s nice to have another big name attached to Star Trek.

Also with today’s movie news (yeah I’ll believe it when I see it of course), we could have two Academy based themes happening and both roughly around the same time while set a thousand years apart from each other. That’s pretty wild.

I’m a doubter of the series but this is a spectacular choice.

Tilly is a false flag: She’s probably not in it and it’s probably not set in the new Disco time either. I’ll bet a dollar its in the Legacy timeframe, maybe even that Lost Era……….

They confirmed it last month it takes place in the 32nd century. And they been clearly dropping hints about it on Discovery this season.

They are not trying to trick anyone, it will take place in the 32nd century.


Except every actor who could be involved if that were the case, especially Wiseman, is being oddly coy- “I hope,” etc.

Of course, that could be NDAs at work, or maybe just contracts not being finalized. We’ll see.

They confirmed the period it takes place in. And it’s a completely different show so it’s not a shock the actors from another show can’t confirm they are in it or not yet.

We all knew what period Picard took place in and yet every TNG cast member said they either didn’t know they were in it or couldn’t confirm it until much much later. It still took place in that time period.

Same deal.

How’s it going to feel to be spectacularly wrong in a couple of months…..

well, it is only a dollar……

Every single thing you’re guessing is wrong. :)

“Legacy timeframe”? Legacy doesn’t exist in anything other than some fans’ heads.

Great casting… love Hunter. On the other hand, I was elated about Hurd & Cabrera in Picard, and the first two seasons were still abysmal.

Fantastic casting! Another Oscar winner in a Trek series really shows that they can pull in some A list actors. Hunter shows a lot of range in whatever role she plays. This has me very excited. Looking forward to seeing who else will round out the cast. Hopefully we will get more news in the coming weeks!

Not bad casting. It’ll probably still be the Melrose Space stinker we expect tho.

Quite the get! Go Star Trek. I still struggle to understand how they are going to make this show compelling to fans. But if they were able to sell the concept to an Oscar winning actress I think it’s a good sign. Out of curiosity is anyone excited about this show? (Those who aren’t need not reply)

I’m cautiously optimistic for it (and I really enjoy the 32nd Century).

“I still struggle to understand how they are going to make this show compelling to fans”

I bet someone said something similar when they announced TNG. Remember the protesters ? 🤣

Indeed I do. But my comment really was about the show not being star ship based.

It’s entirely possible it could include a starship at some point. There have been references to training vessels. Enterprise herself was assigned to the Academy in TWOK.

maybe the iss enterprise might end up being youed by the academy

They said the same about DS9. Even after they got the Defiant, it was still a space station based show.

Personally I never felt that Star Trek has to be confined to just being a “spaceship show”.

Ha. I once met a guy who refused to admit that anything past TMP even *existed*.

I’m always excited when a new Trek is coming out.

Actually I am because it’s not strictly star ship based.

But also make no mistake there will be starships lol

How about a juicy role for Annie “Mee-Maw” Potts? 8)

I always had a crush on her when I was a kid.

While I’m not very enthusiastic about the show itself this is very exciting news. Always loved Holly Hunter and could get me more interested in it.

Great casting choice!

Well. . .wow. I had virtually no interest in an academy series, particularly one set in the 32nd century — but Paramount, you’ve got my attention, so mission accomplished, I guess. Hunter is awesome.

Of course, the unasked question is: will she have a southern accent?

Every planet has a south.

And lots of planets have a North.

That too. 🤣 Doctor Who forever!

Her character will be from the planet New Georgia.

‘TV show I don’t care about.’


‘…TV show I maybe care about now.’

Solid casting choice. Holly is terrific in most everything) loved her in ‘Saving Grace’) and her work on ‘Succession’ recently also excellent. Sounds promising.

Interesting choice. I don’t expect SFA to be written to appeal to fans of TOS, TNG, DS9, etc.
We are aging, and Par+ needs to bring new fans into the franchise.
They are going to create what they want. The suits and creatives who might read these forums must scratch their collective noggins…
We can’t agree on what Trek is (or isn’t.)
I encourage everyone to give the show a chance and watch it.
When we all watch the shows in the franchise? I think it’s good for all of us.
When Par+ sees good numbers, they will be inclined to produce more Star Trek.

I’m totally going to watch and so are you.

I agree. As a greybeard legacy fan who watched first-run TOS way back and who loved watching SNW and Picard S3, it is imperative that Star Trek attract new younger fans if the franchise is to last another 60+ years.
Discovery really tried to target a new audience in the past 3 seasons (unlike S1 and S2) and I expect SFA is trying to attract a new and younger demographic. That said, I hope SFA will still be a great Star Trek show that older fans will want to watch and great to hear casting new with HH.
Oh btw, Discovery S5 may not have been “must see” TV for this legacy fan, but I will definitely be watching the two-part series finale starting this week!

What? Score! Talented actress. Looking forward to this much more.

Why do people think it’s going to be set in the 25th century?

Because they keep assuming this will morph into Legacy

That is weird. From the very beginning Paramount made it clear that it is in the Discovery future timeline.

Well, they were being coy about when it was set for a while, but it was always pretty obvious that it was going to be in the 32nd century.

One helluva a great actress. Perhaps one of the biggest gets ever for Secret Hideout Trek.

i think michelle yoeh is a pretty big gets for secret hideout trek shows

Ingerestinggggg. Kind of fun getting a casting announcement and the Oscar cred, while meaningless to me personally, is a really cool distinction for Star Trek to be able to hold. It’s pleasing to see Star Trek’s industry cred level up.

Wow. Hunter is brilliant. Excited to watch this now.

I hope it doesn’t drown in Trek minutia and just tells compelling stories.


Ha ha Wrong TNT show but for a second I thought it was Kyra Sedgwick from the Closer. I suppose too old now but oh would she have been an amazing Captain. Maybe put her as an Admiral Lol

I love her voishe. Welcome to the family, Holly Hunter!

Lets hope none of the cadets are related to any past Trek character, but I am sure the writers, producers cant help themselves to connect them to some previous character. Saying this, Hunter is an excellent choice and I am impressed with this casting.

One thing I don’t understand is if Paramount is in such dire straits economically, how they could afford so much big names for their shows? I mean they literally hired guys like Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, Nicole Kidman, Holly Hunter, Zoe Saldana etc… You would expect them to be a little more economical (cheap) with their hirings.

Right, and Dennis Quaid, Donald Sutherland, Helen Mirren (!) and Kevin Costner for nearly 5 years (!). It does kind of boggle the mind. (Clearly I’m a big fan of the westerns P+ has offered).

Sometimes studios blow money just to make themselves seem more viable than they are. Back in the 70s a studio spent something like 2.5 mil to acquire rights a Gay Talese nonfic book, THY NIEIGHBOR’S WIFE, but apparently never even developed it for film — it was a way they had of announcing in the trades, ‘hey, we’re still here.’

Also this kind of go-big think goes back to the 1959 BEN-HUR, which, if the pricey film had failed, would have tanked that studio for good.

It’s not a simple equation, but to put it as simply as possible. The Sheridan shows can afford the talent because their production costs don’t require special effects, which are insanely expensive on Trek. All shows have a budget, it’s how they choose to allocate it. I think the Sheridan shows are much cheaper to produce, and they’re creating a better return or perception of return. No matter what the status of Paramount Plus is, they still have to bring new content or shut it down. Even with the talent, I think the Yellowstone-spawned universe is much cheaper, and much more popular than the Trek shows at this point.

Star Trek: 90210. No thanks, Holly Hunter is amazing but that is not enough to convince me to continue in the furthering adventures of Kurtzman literally destroying the galaxy because *reasons* HARD PASS!!!

It is no guarantee of anything, that’s for sure. Recruiting acting talent hasn’t been a problem for any of Secret Hideout’s shows. It has helped elevate the stories in most cases. Sadly, Trek is an IP, and will be mined more for its superficial qualities than its intrinsic ones. This is the way.

Yeah I agree. Still sux tho

Way to go with Holly! They’re definitely getting more Academy for their buck!

i had zero interest in this new series. until now. hunter – what a great choice. so cool.

hopefully this means she’s the main character and not Tilly

I don’t think either of them will be… the younger cast will be the focus.

Nobody ever said Tilly was the main character.
No one in a position to know anyway.

Probably the most impressed I’ve been with any trek regular casting news since Mulgrew. Let’s hope this time turns out better writing-wise.

Am wondering if this was inspired by Linda Hunt’s casting in SPACE RANGERS (that’s assuming anybody associated with ACADEMY has ever even seen the short-lived series from Imagine Entertainment. I actually have it on DVD, mainly because they did one episode, BANSHEES, that I still really like after at least a dozen viewings.)

I watched all the episodes of that show on youtube and I enjoyed them. It had the legendary Cary-Horuyuki Tagawa (Shang Tsung) and the lead of the Viper tv show. I think the concept was solid and it could have continued for a long time. Although I don’t think anyone would necessarily get casting inspiration from a very short-lived series from the 90s. I am just hoping this is not a stunt casting where they kill off the big-name star at the beginning of the series.

I know what you mean, long time back when I was 7 or 8 years old I was really into a tv show called THE NEW PEOPLE (precursor to LOST in some ways, group of young people in plane crash stranded on island that was used for something nuclear, I think), and I was totally impressed with the one old guy (Richard Kiley), but they killed him off after the first show.

I was actually thinking about the Stargate Atlantis pilot episode where they had a big name actor like Robert Patrick and killed him off at the end of the pilot. Everyone thought Patrick was gonna be a series regular.

HH was great in BVS. But I’m not exactly excited about this news. A great actress is joining a show that nobody asked for… ok…

More Holly. Less Tilly. PLEASE!

I seriously don’t know her, but I did always find her voice as an excellent choice for Mrs. Incredible.

The latter part of the synopsis sounds like high-school/university teen relationship drama in Star Trek-based setting… which most likely is not my mug of raktajino.
Apart from the setting, what from “Star Trek” will remain?

Star Trek can be many things as episodes covering different genres in prime universe series (TOS, TAS?, TNG, DS9, VOY or ENT) proved.
While being many things, can it still remain true to (what I perceive as) the original concept of Star Trek – a thought/mind provoking/inspiring/challenging science fiction allegory?
Remember, some TOS episodes were written by established/experienced science fiction writers.

So this is still going to be in the Discovery universe? Unreservedly pessimistic.

I’m not really interested in anything to do with the 32nd century. Had there not been a extremely pointless “burn” that happened because someone screamed (I’m still having a hard time believing that really stupid explanation by the way), then I’d be a bit more interested. Also the ship designs for 32nd century, I can’t stand any of them at all. They all look like people who don’t know a thing about trek did the ship designs. And the writing is horrible so far. As to holly hinter, yes she is an excellent casting choice, but whether it will make this show better, more of the same, or worse is still to be decided.