How to Get Cast in a ‘Star Trek’ Production

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Photo Source: James Dimmock/Paramount+

Ever since the original “Star Trek” series premiered on NBC in 1966, the franchise has continued to “live long and prosper.” For half a century, Trekkies of all ages have gathered to celebrate the sprawling world Gene Roddenberry created. The original has spawned countless spinoffs, from “The Next Generation” and “Deep Space Nine” to “Voyager” and “Enterprise”—not to mention 13 films and counting, beginning in 1979 with “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” all the way up to the upcoming “Star Trek 4.”

Paramount+’s latest contributions to the franchise include “Picard,” “Discovery,” and “Strange New Worlds,” which premieres May 5. The expansion comes as part of creator Alex Kurtzman’s nine-figure deal with CBS Studios. 

“Four years ago, we made a promise to grow ‘Star Trek’ into something it had never been before, and thanks to the incredibly hard work done by our many talented showrunners, writers, and directors, along with the extraordinary support of CBS Studios and Paramount+, we’re keeping our word,” Kurtzman told Variety. “Now, our current shows are set up for the future as we work to build ‘Trek’ ’s next phase of programming for years to come.”

As the franchise continues to grow, we’ve rounded up some go-to resources for those hoping to join an upcoming project. Here, you’ll find audition advice and details on future “Star Trek” casting calls—so new crew members can, in the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, “make it so.”


What is “Star Trek” about?

Born from the creative mind of Roddenberry, “Star Trek” began as a sci-fi adventure focused on the USS Enterprise’s five-year research mission “to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Helmed by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), the crew takes to the sky after an alien race, the Vulcans, introduces technology that allows humans to travel faster than the speed of light. Though Kirk and Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) only explored the stars from 1966 to 1969 on NBC, the series laid the foundation for a franchise that might just make it to the 23rd century in real life. In the years since, Trekkies have followed the journeys of subsequent crews, including the characters on “Discovery”—Paramount+’s most-watched original series.

Scene from 'Star Trek'

Who is in the cast of the “Star Trek” films and TV shows?

While even the most casual “Star Trek” fans know that Shatner and Nimoy portrayed the now-iconic captain and first officer alongside George Takei (Hikaru Sulu), Nichelle Nichols (Nyota Uhura), and James Doohan (Scotty), the franchise has added countless now-familiar faces to its roster over the years—even launching some to superstardom. 

“Star Trek: The Next Generation,” which premiered in 1987, featured Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard), Jonathan Frakes (William T. Riker), Michael Dorn (Worf), Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi), and LeVar Burton (Geordi La Forge). Stewart recently returned to the franchise in Paramount+’s “Star Trek: Picard,” which premiered in 2020 and is currently airing its second season.

“Star Trek: Discovery” features an array of newcomers and industry veterans, including Sonequa Martin-Green (Michael Burnham), Anthony Rapp (Paul Stamets), Doug Jones (Saru), and Emily Coutts (Keyla Detmer). When “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” premieres, fans can expect to see Anson Mount (Captain Christopher Pike), Rebecca Romijn (Una Chin-Riley), and Ethan Peck (Spock). 

Meanwhile, in J.J. Abrams’ cinematic reboot franchise, which began with 2009’s “Star Trek,” Chris Pine stars as a young Kirk alongside Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Simon Pegg (Scotty), and John Cho (Sulu), as well as the late Anton Yelchin (Chekov).

How does the casting process work for “Star Trek” projects?

When it comes to a franchise as massive and diverse as “Star Trek,” it’s hard to pin down one distinct casting experience. But as April Webster, the casting director for “Star Trek” (2009), said, putting the right ensemble together was challenging

“We felt so committed to the fans. These are very iconic figures, and we didn’t want to not please them in some way,” she said. “When we were looking for Kirk, to find that right balance of someone who had that bravado but [wasn’t] arrogant was a tricky thing to find.” 

The team discovered what they were looking for in Pine. “We had him there with Zachary Quinto—aka Spock—and they auditioned together. And I was like, ‘Oh, of course, it’s this guy,’ ” Abrams told the New York Daily News in 2013. 

But when concepts don’t click with auditioners right away, Webster has a solution. “The way that I work with auditioning actors—because I’m also a director—is that I try to get a sense of where they’re blocking their energy, and…we’ll try to tweak that and make an adjustment. Oftentimes, people will separate their bodies and their heads,” she explained. “They stop breathing. They go right up into their brains and forget exactly what they’re saying. So what I try to do is ground them in some way so that they’re able to get back in the room.”

'Star Trek' scene

Which Star Trek projects are currently filming?

There are currently three live-action “Star Trek” series on Paramount+: “Picard,” “Discovery,” and “Strange New Worlds.” While none of these shows are actively seeking new hires, they’ve all been renewed for another season, with “Strange New Worlds” getting the green light ahead of its premiere. “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” an adult animated series, will also return to the network for a third season later this year.

The Hollywood Reporter noted that “Picard” was renewed for Season 3 at the same time Season 2 was announced, as the network ordered a two-season pickup; according to writer Christopher Monfette, the upcoming installment will be the series’ last.

Scene from 'Star Trek'

Where can you find “Star Trek” casting calls and auditions?

While there are currently no open casting calls for any of the new series, you can check out these science-fiction gigs to tide you over. If that’s not enough, these sci-fi casing calls will surely have you shooting for the stars. And, as always, keep checking our casting call section for all the latest updates on who’s looking for talent.

Scene from 'Star Trek'

Who are the casting directors for the “Star Trek” franchise?

The franchise has brought in some big names to help cast the next generation of stars. CDs Margery Simkin and Orly Sitowitz have been hard at work on both “Discovery” and “Strange New Worlds.” The two have worked together on other hit drama programs, including “American Gods” and “Into the Badlands.” Lisa Parasyn (“Schitt’s Creek,” “Wynonna Earp”) is also a CD for “Discovery.”

Actors on set in 'Star Trek'

What are the best audition tips for landing a role in a “Star Trek” project?

As Stewart once said, “One of the really nice things about being an actor is that no experience is wasted.” 

Pine noted that “there’s stuff that no acting school will ever teach you, and you just have to be a self-aware artist. Sitting in an audition room can be the most destructive experience ever, so you have to know how you operate. If it does you a service to talk to another actor in the room, to get comfortable and loosen up, then great. But if that dissipates your energy, if that makes you feel competitive, you have to be very vigilant; the combative egos that happen in an audition room can come across as quite nice and quite approachable. You just have to be conscious of that.”

When Quinto began his acting career, he never expected to become a film star. As he told Interview, he thought he would end up part of the New York City theater scene. But once he moved to L.A., he found himself attracted to the audition process. “I loved auditioning because it was just an opportunity to act. Whether or not I got the job was the next hurdle, but the idea that I would get to act that day was the thing that excited me the most about it,” he said. “I had to learn how to modulate my performances and interpretations of these roles in auditions for the camera. I would say auditioning was my real training ground. The technical aspects—like hitting marks and pacing yourself and preparing and dealing with the downtime—the first recurring role I had on ‘24’ was probably the way I learned that stuff.”

Webster advises not putting too much pressure on yourself at auditions. “When you come into a room, [be] present to what you’re actually doing there, which is the audition; it’s not impressing me, it’s not trying to be the character necessarily, or getting the job,” she said. “It’s really just to come in and do the audition. Don’t talk too much unless they ask you questions. I’ve seen people talk themselves out of jobs. You want to come in and do your job and affect the room. Spread your energy in the room, as opposed to letting whatever is going on there make you more crazy or nervous.”