Paul Giamatti Is The Villain In Star Trek: Starfleet Academy

Starfleet Academy has a new Oscar-nominated bad guy.

Paul Giamatti Star Trek. Starfleet Academy
CBS Media Ventures / Getty Images / Rodin Eckenroth

Paul Giamatti is one of those actors who has always had us wondering 'why hasn't he been in Star Trek yet?' Well, wonder no longer because he is! It was announced today via Variety that the double Academy Award-nominated, and multi-award winning actor, known for his roles in the films American Splendor (2003), Sideways (2004), Cinderella Man (2005), and The Holdovers (2023), as well as TV shows such as Billions (2016-2023) and 30 Coins (2023), will be adding to the already talent-filled cast of Star Trek: Starfleet Academy. Not three weeks ago, we were reporting on the casting of Oscar-winner Holly Hunter as Captain and Academy Chancellor!

Giamatti will be joining the cast of Academy as season one's main antagonist, the actor having previous form playing evil adversary The Rhino in The Amazing Spider Man 2. According to Variety, Giamatti will feature in a recurring guest role, and his character will have "a sinister connection to one of the cadets".

When it was first announced back in May 2023 that admissions were open once more to Starfleet Academy, revealed that the series would feature a "new enemy that threatens both the Academy and the Federation itself". That's pretty much the MO for most Star Trek villains, but at least now we can put a face to the bad guy before he fires the first photon torpedo to rain on the commencement parade!

This is all great news for the franchise as it continues to pull in the big names, a power that Star Trek has always had. We've already been tantalised by descriptions of Academy's gigantic atrium set, which is, according to Variety, two-stories high, and has a walkway with trees, amphitheatre, classrooms, and a mess hall, making it simply the largest ever "contiguous" filming space built for Star Trek. Along with the ever-increasing list of Hollywood heavyweights, this is clearly a series that has not spared on the budget!

A particularly exciting time for Giamatti, too, who happens to be a "huge Star Trek fan," as showrunners Alex Kurtzman and Noga Landau reported in a statement via Variety, adding, "The sheer delight with which [Giamatti] dove in on Starfleet Academy is only surpassed by the gratitude we feel about him joining our incredible cast".

Giamatti doesn't have long to wait either, as Starfleet Academy is about to start filming sometime 'this summer'. For us fans excited to see his take on a new Trek villain, however, we might have to stand by until as late as 2026 for the confirmed ten episodes to air. In the meantime, we can be more than content with what has now become almost a monthly announcement of world-class actors to either teach or terrify those cadets!


Jack Kiely is a writer with a PhD in French and almost certainly an unhealthy obsession with Star Trek.