Silencing speculation that Spock's face would be hidden for a huge portion of Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, news broke yesterday that actor Ethan Peck is set to play the iconic half-human, half-Vulcan character made famous by Leonard Nimoy and, more recently, Zachary Quinto.
If you count childhood flashbacks, deleted scenes, the animated series, and Spock's rapidly aging selves in the movie The Search For Spock, Peck is now technically the eleventh actor to canonically play the character in some version of Star Trek. Not only is this passing of the pointed ears pretty significant, it's also great news for fans. Here's why, plus two possibilities for what the reveal of Peck's casting might mean for Spock in Discovery's upcoming new season.
The fact that fans already know the face of the new Spock is great, partially because not only does Peck totally look the part, that Instagram photo with him giving the famous Vulcan salute alongside Adam Nimoy, Terry Farrell, Julie Nimoy, and Adam Knight is beyond heart-warming. Essentially, if you know anything about behind-the-scenes Star Trek romances, Deep Space Nine veteran Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax) is freaking married to Spock's IRL son, Adam Nimoy. If you can't get behind Dax and Spock's son standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the new guy playing Spock, what kind of Trek fan are you?
Bringing in a new Spock helps to let everyone relax about the legacy of what Nimoy and Quinto have done before. This guy has the acting chops and he's already been totally taken in by the extended Star Trek family. Nicely played, CBS.
Another reason why the casting of Peck is so great is that it frees Discovery of the Zachary Quinto baggage. By the time Peck's new Spock shows up on Discovery it will have been a decade since the 2009 Star Trek film rebooted the idea of Spock for new audiences. But, Peck's Spock can't be like Quinto's Spock, because Discovery is (in theory) happening in the "real" prime Star Trek timeline.
Unlike, Quinto-Spock, Peck-Spock is supposed to become Nimoy-Spock. Quinto-Spock was just supposed to be his own thing. Had Discovery brought Quinto back as Spock for this season it would have felt like a poorly considered publicity stunt. Instead, bringing on Peck feels like a smartly calculated decision.
If everything matches up with canon (as Alex Kurtzman has promised it will) Peck will be playing a Spock in transit between "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before." Remember when Spock kind of yelled for no reason and smiled in "The Cage"? How did he go from being that guy to being a cool cucumber who would only raise an eyebrow when serious s*** went down? Hopefully, Peck's take on the character will answer some of those questions.
It's a good bet that Captain Pike won't hang around past the end of Discovery Season 2, if only because it seems like having a white guy captain on the most diverse Trek ever won't be interesting for very long. Not to mention, we all know that Pike has to become Fleet Captain at some point, so everything can match-up with the events of "The Menagerie" in the original series. The point is, Pike feels like a limited-time deal. But what about Spock? In terms of the timeline, theoretically, Spock could be doing freaking anything between the time of Discovery and the start of his five-year-mission on the Enterprise in the original series.
Based only on the first trailer for Season 2, it seems like a huge part of this season will literally be about Burnham tracking down her half-brother and figuring out why he took a leave of absence from Starfleet. But now, with the casting of Peck, it feels like Burnham might find Spock sooner than some fans though. In other words, the powers-that-be aren't going to reveal Ethan Peck as the new Spock and then only have him in one scene. Which begs the question: if you've got a new great-looking Spock, and the character can stick around beyond this season, why not just keep him?
If Spock became a member of the crew the USS Discovery, even if for a little, the results could be... fascinating.