The third actor in history to play one of the most beloved sci-fi characters of all time has just been named.
In a statement, Star Trek: Discovery executive producer Alex Kurtzman had this to say about Peck's casting:
“Through 52 years of television and film, a parallel universe and a mirror universe, Mr. Spock remains the only member of the original bridge crew to span every era of Star Trek. The great Leonard Nimoy, then the brilliant Zachary Quinto, brought incomparable humanity to a character forever torn between logic and emotion. We searched for months for an actor who would, like them, 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, Zack, 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.”
The Discovery team had hinted earlier this summer that Spock would turn up on the show, seeing how the title ship received a distress call from the Enterprise in the first season finale. In this iteration of the Trek universe, Spock is the adopted brother of lead character Michael Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Green. Season 1 also introduced James Frain as Sarek, foster dad to Burnham and father to Spock, seemingly making Spock's appearance an inevitability.
The 32-year-old Peck, grandson of legendary actor Gregory Peck, is best known for his role as Patrick Verona on the 2009 TV series 10 Things I Hate About You. His credits also include sci-fi and fantasy films like In Time and The Sorcerer's Apprentice, while his TV resume features guest shots on Gossip Girl, That '70s Show, and others.
Spock was first played by Leonard Nimoy on the original Star Trek, which premiered on NBC in 1966. The logical, emotionless and vaguely Satanic-looking science officer, who also doubled as second in command of the Enterprise, was famously rejected by the network, only for Spock to become the most popular character on the program.
Nimoy played Spock for three seasons of the original Trek and the sole season of the animated follow-up series, in a guest appearance on Star Trek: The Next Generation and in six theatrical films featuring the classic cast through 1991. He reprised the role (renamed "Spock Prime") in 2009's Star Trek and 2013's Star Trek Into Darkness.
Those films, along with 2016's Star Trek Beyond, featured one-time Heroes alum Zachary Quinto as the Kelvin universe's Spock. Quinto is scheduled to appear as Spock in a fourth Trek film starring the current cast, but those plans may now have been jeopardized by stars Chris Pine (Captain James Kirk) and Chris Hemsworth (George Kirk) walking away from contract talks.
Now Ethan Peck will assume the role, and to say he has a bit of a legacy to live up to is, to quote a certain Vulcan, a logical statement to make.
Still, he's got nothing to fear from the family of the late great Leonard Nimoy, as they welcomed Peck with open arms, the actor revealed on Twitter.
"Thanks to the Nimoy family for your open arms, warm welcome, smiling curiosity and support, for making me feel worthy, as I embrace and take into my heart the iconic half alien we know as Mr. Spock. It is an incomparable honor," he wrote in a post that included a photo of himself posing with the Nimoy family.
Nimoy's son Adam kept his father's legacy alive and well by making the documentary titled For the Love of Spock, which focused on the enduring nature of the iconic Star Trek role throughout the years. It included interviews with the likes of Nichelle Nichols, William Shatner, George Takei, J.J. Abrams, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, and, of course, Zachary Quinto.
Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery premieres in January 2019.
This story was originally published on August 14 and was updated on August 15.