Tom Swift: Nancy Drew Spinoff Casts LeVar Burton to Voice AI Barclay

The worlds of the supernatural and cosmically paranormal are about to collide on The CW's Nancy Drew, with Tian Richards (Dumplin', Burden) set to be introduced as Tom Swift in what's set to be a backdoor pilot for a spinoff series. Original series showrunners Melinda Hsu Taylor and Noga Landau previously revealed that Swift and Nancy's (Kennedy McMann) will meet up over an investigation that puts Nancy and Tom's belief systems at odds.

Now thanks to Deadline Hollywood, we're learning which very famous voice will be joining Tom on his adventures. LeVar Burton (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Jeopardy!) will voice Barclay, Tom's steadfast AI companion and tough-love mentor (and apparently a take on Tom's best friend and sidekick from the books, Bud Barclay). Created by Tom when he was eight years old, Barclay has been by his side ever since- transferring himself to Tom's smartwatch, his tablet, his laptop, and even the screens of his car to offer astute encouragement and lightning-fast analysis. He's Tom's Hype Man, confidante, and friend- with a surprising depth of emotion and a journey of his own to take.

nancy drew
Image: Screencap

The CW's Tom Swift follows the serialized adventures of its titular Black, gay, billionaire inventor who is thrust into a world of sci-fi conspiracy and unexplained phenomena after the shocking disappearance of his father. Tom takes to the road on a quest to unravel the truth, leaving behind the comforts of his usual moneyed lifestyle, all while fighting to stay one step ahead of an Illuminati-scale group hell-bent on stopping him. His missions will require his genius and flair for innovation guided by love, romance, friendship, and the mysteries of the universe yet unsolved.

Inspired by the Stratemeyer Syndicate series of novels first introduced in 1910, the spinoff's lead character Swift is set to be introduced during the Ruben Garcia-directed 15th episode of the second season as a back-door pilot. The episode will see Swift crash into one of Nancy's investigations. She interprets the event as supernatural, while Swift believes it to be cosmically paranormal. Reportedly, a full pilot script is also in development, with Nancy Drew bosses Melinda Hsu Taylor and Noga Landau co-creating the new series with Cameron Johnson of Fake Empire, which also produces the original show. CBS Studios is set to produce, with Nancy Drew executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage executive producing Tom Swift alongside Lis Rowinski, Johnson, Landau, and Hsu Taylor.

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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