Star Trek's Starfleet Academy Series Has Cast Academy Award Winner Holly Hunter As Its First Actor, And I'm Jazzed About Her Role

 Holly Hunter speaking in Senate committee meeting in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Holly Hunter speaking in Senate committee meeting in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
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When Star Trek: Discovery concludes at the end of the month, there will only be two Star Trek TV shows airing to Paramount+ subscribers, there will only be two shows in the franchise left on the platform: Strange New Worlds and Lower Decks, the latter of which is also set to end. But not to worry, as Starfleet Academy is on the slate of upcoming Star Trek TV shows, and today brings word that Holly Hunter is the first actor to be cast in the project. Better yet, we know who she’ll be playing, and I’m jazzed about her role.

As officially announced by Paramount+, Hunter, who won an Academy Award for her performance in 1993’s The Piano, will star in Starfleet Academy as the captain and chancellor of the title institution. Her character wasn’t named, but needless to say she’ll be spending plenty of time with the young group of Starfleet cadets who are in training to become officers. I'm looking forward to seeing how she does playing this kind of authority figure, and hopefully one who's sympathetic enough rather than too strict. Co-showrunners Alex Kurtzman and Noga Landau had this to say about Hunter’s casting:

It feels like we’ve spent our entire lives watching Holly Hunter be a stone-cold genius. 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.

Although Starfleet Academy, which was first reported in 2021, arguably marks Holly Hunter’s first big foray into the sci-fi realm, she’s certainly no stranger to performing in genre fare. Superhero fans know her well for voicing Elastigirl in the Incredibles movies and for playing Senator Finch in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Hunter also scored Oscar nominations for her work in Broadcast News, The Firm and Thirteen, and her other notable credits include O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Big Sick and the short-lived TV show Mr. Mayor.

While no specific plot details for Starfleet Academy have been released yet, the premise has teased that in the midst of the central students studying and forming friendships, rivalries and romantic relationships, they’ll have to contend with “a new enemy that threatens both the Academy and the Federation itself.” It’s also been confirmed that the show will take place in the 32nd century, i.e. the same time period that Star Trek: Discovery has been set in since Season 3.

As such, it’s possible that Mary Wiseman, who plays Sylvia Tilly in Discovery, could appear in Starfleet Academy, if not join Holly Hunter as one of the series regulars. After all, Tilly has been an instructor at Starfleet Academy since Discovery Season 4, so it’d be strange if viewers didn’t run into her. However, when CinemaBlend presented Wiseman with a hypothetical return to Star Trek through this upcoming show, she wouldn’t confirm or deny anything.

CinemaBlend will continue passing along casting updates and other key information concerning Starfleet Academy, including when it will premiere. Look through our 2024 TV schedule to learn what shows are currently airing or arriving soon.