Why is Star Trek: Starfleet Academy happening after the events of Discovery?

Alex Kurtzman reveals why Star Trek: Starfleet Academy is happening post-Discovery.
Paramount+ "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" FYC Second Season Event
Paramount+ "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" FYC Second Season Event / Phillip Faraone/GettyImages

Star Trek: Discovery has ended, but we aren't done in the mess era that is the post-Burn era. With the close of Discovery comes the beginning of the Academy Era. The next show to be produced in the Star Trek canon will be Star Trek: Starfleet Academy. It's a show that will be focused on giving younger fans a series to call their own.

Deemed a "young adult" show, the series will star Holly Hunter as the series lead. She'll play the headmaster of the Academy and the one whose job it is to reign the nonesene in. The series is a big project for the brand and may be the biggest and most important Star Trek show ever. It's entire design is to cater to the high school/college bunch in an attempt to garner more youthful fans to the franchise.

So that's why they're keeping the franchise going in the 32nd century. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, the franchise head Alex Kurtzman explains that the reason the show is staying in the Discovery era is to reflect modern-day troubles.

"...My thinking was, if we set “Starfleet Academy” in the halcyon days of the Federation where everything was fine, it’s not going to speak to what kids are going through right now.

It’ll be a nice fantasy, but it’s not really going to be authentic. What’ll be authentic is to set it in the timeline where this is the first class back after over 100 years, and they are coming into a world that is only beginning to recover from a cataclysm..."

So, Discovery will further continue the grim-dark love affair that Hollywood has with telling modern stories. Let's ignore that when Star Trek was created, and throughout its heyday in the early 2000s, those 40 years were besieged by problematic issues daily. No different than now.

Yet, Gene Roddenberry still desired to showcase a future to believe in. Instead, Kurtzman is giving us a future to dread. The idea that we have to make the future feel like the present to make the material relatable is proof of why Kurtzman is not the man to lead the franchise anymore. This show could end up being no better than some of the Greg Berlanti messes that plagued the CW for years.

All because Kurtzman needed his future, set 1,000 yards ahead of today, to be as dark and disturbing as today is. Kids are already struggling with mental health issues at an unheard-of rate. They want less grimdark nonsense and more optimism. They need it. They need escapism that helps remind them that anything is possible. Not a constant reminder, no matter where they turn, that the future is bleak and hopeless.

Which is why this series will likely be doomed from the start. If the youth of today is who you're targeting, and this same group has no way to escaping the constant dirge of negativity, why give them a show that constantly reminds them of that fact?