Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Starfleet Academy: New Series in Works as Paramount Plus Looks to Further Expand ‘Star Trek’ Universe

A new Star Trek offshoot, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, is in development at CBS Studios and Alex Kurtzman’s studio-based Secret Hideout for Paramount+, the streaming service from ViacomCBS, sources have revealed to Deadline.

Credit: Paramount Plus / Nickelodeon

Sharing a name with the late 1990s video game, the series is set among the college of cadets mentored for leadership roles in the United Federation of Planets space force.

Reports suggest that Absentia co-creator Gaia Violo is currently working on a take for the project. With the long-gestating Star Trek spinoff Section 31 starring Michelle Yeoh expected to get a pickup soon, Starfleet Academy is believed to be next in the Star Trek development pipeline behind it. It will be pitched to Paramount+ shortly, and the hope is to get it going in the next year, sources said.

During Paramount+’s TCA executive session Thursday morning, Nicole Clemens, President, Paramount+ Original Scripted Series, noted that the Michelle Yeoh-led Section 31 was still in the works and she expected news soon.

Star Trek boss Kurtzman, speaking during the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds panel later in the day, confirmed the latest growth spurt in the Trekverse to Deadline. He revealed that “there is another one” besides Section 31 but added that he wanted to keep “tight lipped” about the new series.

“We have to think several years out,” Kurtzman said. “We’re thinking about knowing we’ll want new shows on the air two or three years from now so we have to start planning those now. There’s a bunch of things in development now that are starting to take shape and we’re super excited about it.”

Paramount+ exec Clemens teased even more shows in the Star Trek universe. “I think we have some fantastic offerings in our slate and I think you may see a few more very curated editions coming,” she said.

With the second season of the Patrick Stewart-led Star Trek: Picard bringing the iconic Q character from Star Trek: The Next Generation back, the deep legacy of villains may prove to be the thrust of a next iteration of the Trekverse.

That move was implied at the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds virtual TCA panel by co-showrunner Akiva Goldsman who confirmed an upcoming connection to the infamous Khan, as played by Ricardo Montalbán in the original Star Trek series and 1982 move Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. “She’s related to Khan, for sure,” the EP said of SNW’s La’an Noonien-Singh, portrayed by Christina Chong. “We don’t want to bring folks into the show to be splashy,” Goldsman added. “We want to dig deeply into characters that are part of our ensemble.”

The classic sci-fi brand created by Gene Roddenberry currently has Star Trek: Prodigy, Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Short Treks, Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Lower Decks on Paramount+ as well as Star Trek: Strange New Worlds coming in May. Expected to take flight by 2023, and first reported in 2018, Section 31, a spinoff of Star Trek: Discovery features the Emperor Philipa Georgiou character played by Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings alum Yeoh.

The upcoming Strange New Worlds had its virtual TCA panel today almost four months before its long anticipated launch.

Along with EP Kurtzman, the gathering included fellow executive producers Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers, plus Strange New World stars Anson Mount, an in-costume Ethan Peck, Rebecca Romijn and Celia Rose Gooding. The SNW panel also screened a clip from the May 5 premiering series, which has already been renewed for a second season. The extended glimpse at SNW gave a reveal of Grammy winner Gooding as Cadet Nyota Uhura and the reluctance of the character to consider a permanent role for herself in Starfleet.

The barrier breaking Ujura was played by Nichelle Nichols in the original Star Trek show and its subsequent big screen iterations. Speaking on the first day of Black History Month 2022, Gooding said that she wanted to see SNW build upon the presence Uhura had in the OG Star Trek and be able to display even more complexities for a Black woman than was possible on network TV back in the 1960s.

Oscar winner Goldsman penned and directed the Strange New Worlds premiere, with the story by Goldsman, Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet. Goldsman, Kurtzman and Lumet serve as SNW executive producers in addition to Alonso Myers, Heather Kadin, Frank Siracusa, John Weber, Rod Roddenberry, Trevor Roth and Aaron Baiers. The new series is produced by CBS Studios, Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment.

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H/T: TBI Vision.

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