Star Trek: Discovery season 2 casts Ethan Peck in the iconic role of Vulcan science officer Spock. Season 1 of the CBS All Access series mostly shied away from direct references to the original Trek shows, but did forge a connection to Spock via lead character Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), who was revealed to be Spock’s foster sister. The connection between Burnham and Spock will be further explored in season 2, as revealed by the recent first trailer.
The character of Spock was central to Star Trek: TOS, as well as the movies based on the TOS characters. As played by Leonard Nimoy, Spock was a half-human/half-Vulcan struggling with the conflict between his super-logical Vulcan ways and his pesky human emotions. In J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot films, the role of Spock was taken by Zachary Quinto. Old Spock met new Spock when Nimoy appeared in a cameo in 2009’s Star Trek as a future version of Quinto’s character.
The plan to include Spock in season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery was first revealed in April, but no actor was named for the role, leading to speculation that Quinto himself might play the character. However, it’s now being reported by TVLine that Ethan Peck and not Quinto will take on the role of Spock in the second season of Discovery. Showrunner Alex Kurtzman explained what he saw in Peck that he thought would allow him to play one of science fiction’s most iconic and beloved characters:
“We searched for months for an actor who would, like [Nimoy and Quinto], bring his own interpretation to the role. An actor who would, like them, effortlessly embody Spock’s greatest qualities, beyond obvious logic: empathy, intuition, compassion, confusion, and yearning. Ethan Peck walked into the room inhabiting all of these qualities, aware of his daunting responsibility to Leonard, Zach, and the fans, and ready to confront the challenge in the service of protecting and expanding on Spock’s legacy. In that spirit, we’re thrilled to welcome him to the family.”
Peck additionally celebrated his casting in the role of Spock with a post on Twitter, in which he posted a photo of himself alongside members of the Nimoy family. Take a look below.
A veteran TV actor, Peck had one of his earliest roles playing a younger version of Ashton Kutcher’s Kelso on That '70s Show. Peck later scored roles on the series version of 10 Things I Hate About You, as well as Gossip Girl and Madame Secretary. Peck’s film work includes roles in the Justin Timberlake sci-fi film In Time and the 2010 fantasy-adventure The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Peck has good acting genes, as he is the grandson of legendary Oscar-winner Gregory Peck.
Obviously, playing Spock on Star Trek: Discovery takes things up a notch for Peck both in terms of exposure and pressure. Nimoy made Spock so iconic through TOS and the first six Trek movies that in the minds of many Trek fans, no one else can ever truly embody the character. Quinto made Spock his own in the reboot series, but many hardcore Trek fans objected to the intense emotionality of the portrayal (especially when he became super-violent in Star Trek: Into Darkness), and with the idea of Spock getting into a romantic relationship with Uhura. Obviously, any attempt at depicting Spock will be fraught with peril. It will be interesting to see how Star Trek: Discovery chooses to depict the character, and whether fans of Nimoy’s Spock will embrace the new take.