Starfleet Academy’ Sets Filming Window & Episode Count

Estimated read time 6 min read

The Big Picture

  • Starfleet Academy
    is set to be the next new
    Star Trek
    series, following a group of young cadets.
  • Production is underway with filming expected to start in late summer, with the first season confirmed to be 10 episodes.
  • The series aims to cater to a new generation while welcoming back long-time fans, but it may not air until 2026.

While it may appear that parts of the Star Trek universe are winding down following the end of Picard and heading into Discovery‘s fifth and final season, it’s still an incredibly exciting time to be a fan of the franchise. Behind the scenes, Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman and the team behind the franchise are diligently working to bring fans more exciting Star Trek adventures. Announced almost exactly one year ago, Starfleet Academy is set to be the next new series, following a group of young cadets at a stage in their Star Trek journey we’ve rarely seen on screen.

Kurtzman, along with the Discovery cast and co-showrunner Michelle Paradise, are currently making the rounds at SXSW ahead of Discovery’s early premiere at the event. In an interview with Collider’s Steve Weintraub at our SXSW studio, Kurtzman was able to share some juicy details about the newest addition to the Star Trek family. While he remained tight-lipped about when the series takes place, Kurtzman told Collider that they’re getting ready to begin filming late this summer, and they’re “halfway through the writers room now.” Following in the steps of Discovery, Picard, and Strange New Worlds, Kurtzman confirmed that the first season of Starfleet Academy will be 10 episodes. With all these exciting details, the EP was also realistic about the timeline for when we might be able to see the new series, saying it may not air until 2026.

“It could end up not airing until 2026. We don’t know. But by starting [shooting in late summer], just building the sets alone is a massive endeavor, then six months of shooting, then six to eight months of post. If you recall, there was all this noise around Season 1 and Season 2 of Discovery because the streaming service, they were like, ‘Oh, it’s like a turnaround on a cop show.’ I’m like, ‘No, you don’t understand. It’s eight months of visual effects turnaround, and we’re not gonna rush that.’ So, it’ll come out, but it’ll come out when it’s done.”

What to Expect From ‘Starfleet Academy’

Even with its lengthy production process, Kurtzman was able to share enough information to keep us excited in the meantime. While he confirmed they “haven’t started casting the kids,” it sounds like some of the adult roles have already been filled. Though he was insistent on not revealing when the series is set, that information does lend itself to the theory that Starfleet Academy is a Discovery spin-off. Season 4 saw Mary Wiseman‘s Tilly take a trip to the newly re-opened Academy in the 32nd century and developing a strong interest in teaching. With Lower Decks star Tawny Newsome in the writers’ room, Kurtzman noted that “it feels like the spirit of that show has somehow also migrated into Starfleet in some ways.”

Kurtzman was also able to tell Collider a little bit about what we can expect from the new series as far as the characters and the themes. He said:

“There’s a lot of different kids from a lot of different places. Some of them want to be there, some of them don’t want to be there. It’s gonna be a fundamental reinforcement of all the things we love about Starfleet, in general. You always want to ask yourself, ‘Why this show now?’ I think that one of the big things that certainly my 17-year-old son is facing, which is kind of a fundamental ‘Star Trek’ question, is, ‘How did we get here? How has this generation inherited the mistakes from previous generations? And what are we gonna do to fix it, to build that optimistic future that is Roddenberry’s essential vision?’ That is very much going to be at the heart of
Starfleet Academy

With the protagonists of Starfleet Academy primarily being older teens and young adults, Weintraub noted his excitement at expanding the audience for the franchise to aim at a demographic that hasn’t had a Star Trek series aimed directly at them. Kurtzman wholeheartedly agreed while noting that in bringing in those new viewers, it’s imperative to his team that they also welcome back long-time fans with open arms. “I couldn’t agree with you more,” he said. “I will also say, and I’m always very vocal about this with the studio, you can’t do that to the exclusion of OG fans.” Kurtzman elaborated on the dedication of Star Trek fans saying:

“You have to make sure that you are also pleasing people who have been around and are die-hard ‘TOS’ fans, die-hard ‘
Next Gen’
fans, whatever iteration of ‘Trek’ is yours. You cannot alienate those people. You actually also have to invite them to the tent. So the challenge is how do you do that while also bringing ‘Trek’ to a new generation of fans that have no experience with those shows, has never watched those shows? So you need to make a show that you can drop into if you don’t know anything about ‘Star Trek,’ but also a show that you can get a tremendous amount out of if you have all of that canonical history.”

With the nature of a school-set series seeing some students graduate and move on with their lives, Weintraub was also curious about whether Starfleet Academy will follow one set of students through graduation and beyond, or whether we’ll see new students added with each season. Kurtzman said: “Without spoiling anything, what I’ll tell you is I think the structure and the construction of the show is going to allow for both of those things to happen.”

Star Trek: Discovery returns to Paramount+ on April 4. You can catch up with Seasons 1-4 now on the streamer, and don’t miss our full SXSW interview with Kurtzman and Paradise. Stay tuned at Collider for the latest updates on Starfleet Academy as they become available and look for a lot more on Star Trek: Discovery soon.

Star Trek Discovery TV Show Poster

Star Trek: Discovery

Taking place almost a decade before Captain Kirk’s Enterprise, the USS Discovery charts a course to uncover new worlds and life forms.

Release Date September 24, 2017

Main Genre Sci-Fi

Seasons 5

Watch on Paramount+