Casting Starfleet Academy: The Legacy

This entry is part 4 of 13 in the series Starfleet Academy.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been ruminating about how I would put together a new Star Trek show, one set at Starfleet Academy. You can check out the previous entries by looking in the little box to the right there. So far, we’ve spoken of the general premise and what the world would look like. Now let’s get into who the cadets would be. As an added bonus, I’ll even throw in some ruminations about what former Star Trek characters I would want to bring back for special cameos connected to the new characters.

We’ll start with what I think would be the most obvious inclusion: the Legacy. Starfleet has been around for centuries. It’s likely that there would be legacy families, ones that have had multiple generations serve. Certain cadets would arrive at Starfleet Academy with a great deal of pressure on them. They not only have to do well for their own sake, but to uphold their families’ status and reputation. I mean, that happens nowadays with institutions of higher learning. I went to a college that both my parents attended and that my grandfather had been both a professor and served for a year as interim president.

But that begs the question: which Starfleet family will the Legacy come from? I suppose we could just make one up, but I think it would be a lot more fun to reach through the rich history of Star Trek and find someone from a family that fans would instantly recognize. And really, I can think of only one family I would want to use:

Oh my...

Oh my…

That’s right, folks. The first character you get to meet is Kamlyn Sulu, the great-grandson of none other than Hikaru Sulu, the helmsman of the original Enterprise and eventual captain of the Excelsior.

Demora_Sulu,_2293Don’t forget that in Generations, we met Sulu’s daughter, Demora, who was serving as the helmsman of the Enterprise-B on its maiden voyage. That implies to me that Sulu’s family places a great deal of value in its members serving in Starfleet. Now, close to a hundred years after Hikaru, Kamlyn is just the latest Sulu to grace the halls of Starfleet Academy. This is the place where his great-grandfather, his grandparents, his parents, and who knows how many uncles, aunts, cousins, and siblings, have attended.

Getting into Starfleet Academy is difficult enough. Just imagine how it would be even more stressful for Kam. The moment anyone spoke his name, they would immediately think of Hikaru and Demora and all the rest. Kam would be driven to push himself to excel, to live up to his family’s reputation. Sure, there might be a day when a Sulu doesn’t do well in Starfleet, but Kam doesn’t want to be the one who to break that tradition.

I picture Kam as a hypercompetitive individual, someone with a good heart but who initially doesn’t believe that he can fail. He’ll rub some people the wrong way initially, but once they see past the first impression, they’ll find someone who is a good leader, driven to succeed, someone they can trust.

In other words, someone who could easily become a living legend one day, if he doesn’t tear himself apart emotionally first.

The Special Guest Star

Like I said, I think each character in the new show should have a former Trek castmate come to visit them and give them encouragement. So who would I have come visit Kam?

Well, the obvious choice would be Great-Grandpa Sulu himself, but that’s a little too on-the-nose and would smack a little too much of Bones on TNG. So instead, my suggestion would be Tuvok from Voyager.

Tuvok_2371We know that Tuvok served on the Excelsior during the events of Star Trek VI. And we also know that Tuvok has spent time as an instructor at the Academy. If he isn’t teaching, maybe he’s brought in as a special guest instructor just in time to witness Kam self-destruct after a particularly disastrous failure of some kind. Kam is so distraught that he’s ready to drop out of the Academy entirely.

Rather than let that happen, Tuvok pulls Kam aside and relates a time on the Excelsior when Captain Sulu screwed up badly but kept going, teaching Tuvok some sort of lesson about human tenacity. This convinces Kam to stick with it.

So there we go. The first cadet to enroll is Kamlyn Sulu. Who will we meet next week? Come on back to find out.

In the meantime, if you’re enjoying the series, please share it with your Trekkie friends. I’d love to hear what people think.

Series Navigation<< Starfleet Academy: Setting the StageCasting Starfleet Academy: The Outcast >>

4 Comments:

  1. I’m enjoying these! I’m not exactly a hard core Trekkie, more of a wannabe, but I’ve watched my fair share of the original series. And I’d definitely enjoy watching Starfleet Academy take off!

  2. Ensure that Tuvok is used for more than just boosting young Kamlyn’s ego. He knows something deep and dark and mysterious. If you want to do continuity with Voyager‘s end arc somehow, this would probably be something about the Borg. Or, he might know some dark secret about the Sulu family based on his experience on the Excelsior and his broader “first Starfleet career.” Whatever it is, the revelation of this piece of knowledge should be a turning point in the series as a whole. Maybe Tuvok will be killed or sacrifice himself. (That would be expected since that’s what always happens to mentors, but I think it’s good to use the tried-and-true story archetypes if you use them well. Or, you could subvert the expectation by having someone else die, perhaps a secondary mentor figure.)

    Tuvok is a great choice for a continuity tie-in character, but I would be bumming if this show were to lean heavily on Voyager without also drawing from Deep Space Nine. (I don’t want to start a flamewar, but DSN is definitely more my kind of show.)

    Maybe have a Cardassian character in Starfleet Academy — probably the first Cardassian in Starfleet, facing intense discrimination. Contrast that with Kamlyn facing the exact opposite problem! Maybe the two of them start off as enemies, or maybe Kamlyn feels bad for the Cardassian from the start; eventually they end up as fast friends and the captain-first officer dynamic gradually grows out of their teamwork.

  3. The legacy family idea should definitely be an aspect of a show like this, and you’re right the Sulu family is a logical choice. Tuvok’s appearance is aided by the fact that he was once an instructor at the academy so providing mentoring to a young cadet is something that would be very natural to him.

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