Did Star Trek: Discovery Just Set Up a Starfleet Academy Spinoff?

The fourth episode of Star Trek: Discovery's fourth season bid farewell to one of the show's main characters. (SPOILERS follow for the Star Trek: Discovery episode "All Is Possible.") Sylvia Tilly has struggled with her role as a Starfleet officer for weeks. In "All Is Possible," she realized that she might not be in Starfleet for the right reasons. The realization came after Tilly and Adira joined a group of Starfleet cadets on what was supposed to be a routine training mission. Things went very wrong. Tilly managed to keep the group alive on a hostile planet long enough for rescue. Upon returning to Starfleet headquarters, Tilly received an offer from Kovich to teach at Starfleet Academy. After a tearful farewell, Tilly left Discovery for her new position.

We know that Mary Wiseman hasn't exited Discovery altogether. Her comments on The Ready Room following the debut of "All Is Possible," suggest Tilly will return later this season. Is it possible that Tilly's unexpected departure sets up the long-rumored Starfleet Academy series?

There have been rumors of a Starfleet Academy show circulating ever since Alex Kurtzman signed on as Star Trek television development head. A New York Times profile of Kurtzman revived speculation about the project. Kurtzman more or less confirmed some development regarding the series when he mentioned it during the Star Trek Day event stream in September. He stated, "I know there's been a lot of conversation about Starfleet Academy, which we are very excited about." He provided no further details.

Since the rumors pre-dated the USS Discovery's time jump, most assumed Starfleet Academy would occur during a familiar Star Trek era, either the 23rd or 24th century. As the idea has been brewing for years now, plans could have changed with Discovery's jump through time.

Having Tilly lead a Starfleet Academy series set in the 32nd century would offer exciting possibilities. It would allow Wiseman to play a leading role as Tilly. She could grow the character separately from the Discovery cast, crowded with fan-favorites as it is. Tilly is also the perfect point-of-view character for a Starfleet Academy series. She only recently graduated, serving aboard the Discovery during the Klingon War while still a cadet. Yet, her quick promotions, time as Discovery's First Officer, and the trip through time give her experience beyond her years. 

Additionally, sending Tilly to the academy to teach during the post-Burn era would offer more opportunities to check familiar alien societies. There's also some extra drama to mine from the Federation only now beginning to rebuild from near collapse. 

Do you think Star Trek: Discovery is setting up a Starfleet Academy spinoff? Let us know in the comments. Star Trek: Discovery debuts new episodes on Thursdays on Paramount+.