Star Trek: Discovery adds James Frain as Spock's father Sarek

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May 3, 2017, 2:53 PM EDT (Updated)

We've known for some time now that the next Star Trek series, Discovery, would take place in the years before The Original Series and would deal with previously referenced events in Star Trek history. These roots in old Star Trek will then be contrasted with more progressive elements, including new alien species, gay characters and a storyline not centered around a starship captain. Now a new face of an old friend will be joining the adventures.

According to Entertainment Weekly, James Frain -- of Gotham, Orphan Black and True Blood fame -- has joined the series as Sarek, the Vulcan ambassador and father of Star Trek's most iconic alien character, Spock. We don't yet know what part Sarek will play in Discovery's overall narrative, but he's described as a "key character."

Sarek's Trek history dates all the way back to 1967, when he first appeared in the episode "Journey to Babel" and cemented the often-stony relationship between him and his son. Mark Lenard originated the role and returned to play Sarek many times, right up until the character's death in Season 5 of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Ben Cross played an alternate version of the character in 2009's Star Trek, and now Frain will step into the role for the character's 50th year of existence.

Star Trek: Discovery will debut later this year (in theory), with a Vucan ambassador joining an already robust cast of characters.