News

Star Trek: Discovery’s Ethan Peck Hopeful Fans Will Get More Spock

No red shirts for Peck, who guest-starred as the iconic sci-fi figure. Plus, that nod to Kirk and what that close shave meant.

by | April 19, 2019 | Comments

ÒSuch Sweet Sorrow, Part 2Ó -- Ep#214 -- Pictured: Ethan Peck as Spock of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Russ Martin/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by Russ Martin/CBS)

Intentionally or not, by the finale of its sophomore season, Star Trek: Discovery, along with actor Ethan Peck, who guest-starred as Spock, provided an argument for another prequel to the original series.

At least two more live-action series are in the works: the first led by Michelle Yeoh as Philippa Georgiou about Starfleet’s shadowy Section 31 division, and the other led by Patrick Stewart, revisiting his role as Jean-Luc Picard from The Next Generation. (Santiago Cabrera, Michelle Hurd, Alison Pill, Harry Treadaway, and Isa Briones will join Stewart in the new series.) The Short Treks program has already seen four episodes released, and Emmy Award–winner Mike McMahan (Rick And Morty) is developing Star Trek: Lower Decks, a half-hour animated comedy focused on the support crew of one of Starfleet’s least important ships.

Even if the intention is to see Spock recur on Discovery, the case made for a series about a young and hungry Enterprise crew led by Anson Mount as Christopher Pike, Rebecca Romijn as Number One, and Peck as an up-and-coming version of the iconic sci-fi figure couldn’t be stronger.

Discovery’s second season focused on universal themes of family, understanding, love, and loss — all well-trod storytelling paths with the inherent danger of an attack of saccharine. Under the guidance of Alex Kurtzman and his team, however, the result has been mysterious, thrilling, unpredictable, and, of course, very worthy of the series’ recent third season renewal.

Both Discovery seasons are Certified Fresh: Season 2 currently has an 83% Tomatometer score, while season 1, which endured a lot of huff and bluster about what Star Trek is supposed to be, is just behind it at a healthy 82%.

Ahead of season 2, some residual grousing turned up around the highly anticipated appearance of Spock, the brother of lead character Michael Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Green.

As Sopan Deb of The New York Times wrote in a recap of the season premiere: “There is an elephant on the bridge. Spock … It’s always been a sore point that Burnham is supposed to be Spock’s foster [sister], whom apparently we never hear about in the history of all of Star Trek. In ‘Brother,’ we get hints about this. Burnham suggests that Spock didn’t accept her as a sibling — which seems, frankly, out of character for Spock, but it’s too early to determine that until we see how this story unfolds.”


"Such Sweet Sorrow" -- Ep#213 -- Pictured (l-r): Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham; Ethan Peck as Spock of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Ben Mark Holzberg/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by Ben Mark Holzberg/CBS)

Now the story has unfolded, and we’ve witnessed Michael and Spock push and pull against each other as if connected by rubber bands. Will they or won’t they be a family? In the finale that aired Thursday night, we found out that they will. The hate Michael perceived Spock had for her melted away over the course of the season — life lesson: bad feelings will escalate when fueled by a lack of communication. The finale showed just how deeply his love for his sister ran, with Spock choosing to accompany her into the unknown and their mutual dismay when it becomes apparent that their ever-after as loving siblings is not to be.

“Personal log: Stardate 1201.7,” Spock says in voice-over of a scene of him embracing their mother in the finale. “One hundred and twenty-four days have passed since your disappearance…We’ve sworn never to speak your name in the presence of others. Yet, I feel you with me, always.”

We spoke to Peck ahead of the finale to find out how the season went for him and what it’s been like inhabiting such an beloved character in an enormous franchise, and, though he was understandably circumspect about whether we’ll see more Spock, one thing’s certain: He won’t be wearing a red shirt.


"Such Sweet Sorrow" -- Ep#213 -- Pictured (l-r): Anthony Rapp as Stamets; Doug Jones as Saru; Shazad Latif as Tyler; Ethan Peck as Spock; Ronnie Rowe as Bryce; Oyin Oladejo as Owosekun; Patrick Kwok-Choon as Rhys; Mary Wiseman as Tilly of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Ben Mark Holzberg/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by Ben Mark Holzberg/CBS)

Debbie Day for Rotten Tomatoes: It’s been so exciting to watch your character develop over the season; the arc has been quite extreme for Spock. Fans have a very specific vision about what the character is, but they start in a very different place with you — can you talk a little bit about that?

Ethan Peck: You’re absolutely right. The season arc is hugely transformational for him. I consider it, I understand it to be sort of his genesis. He is in this place of uncertainty, and back in the beginning of his appearance on season 2 of Discovery, and he ends up much closer to the Mr. Spock we met at the beginning of the original series. It’s just an incredible honor, not just to play Spock, but to play him in this moment in his life when he is full of doubts and he has these pieces of himself that aren’t quite yet fitting together well.

What makes Spock so special is that he is these polar opposites, but they live together in harmony and he creates something much more than either human or Vulcan, in my opinion. I think this is why he’s so highly regarded and so respected and so compelling; because he makes the space in himself for the cold Vulcan logic and the warm hysterical human tendencies. That’s an amazing character to play and to be, and to have found that, I think there was an effort on not just my side, but on the writer’s side to make sure that it was clear he’s not yet the Spock that we have known to come and love in the original series.

We get glimpses along the way, and I think at the end we really come full bore with that mature Spock, or begin to.


Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2 -- Ep#214 -- Pictured (l-r): Samora Smallwood as Lt. Amin; Anson Mount as Captain Pike; Rebecca Romijn as Number One; Ethan Peck as Spock of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Russ Martin/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by Russ Martin/CBS)

Did you know going into this that you were going to play this very special moment in the character’s life? How much did you know about what this season would be for him?

Peck: I didn’t know all that much. I think they took, obviously a huge risk, casting me. Not necessarily — in my opinion — being proven as an actor. Who knows, because it is such a delicate balance in this character and the portrayal of this character of logic and emotion. But then I think that they saw I was extremely dedicated and passionate about doing it, about understanding it, and I was working on the edge of my abilities throughout the season, and I learned so much from doing it. Not just from the experience itself of creating and showing up every day on set and working, but from Spock himself.

I think they gave me a little more responsibility as they went on, and I’d like to think that what I did informed their decision to keep him on. I think in maybe some worlds, there was a possibility that I totally shat the bed, excuse my language, and they gave me less responsibilities, sorta phased me out, so I just feel incredibly grateful and honored. It’s all very surreal to me, still. I just feel filled with those feelings of gratitude and honor.

For fans of the franchise, it’s been very exciting to have the character there. One of the highlights, of course, is when it’s becoming apparent what Michael’s role is exactly with the angel: that she is responsible for some of the signals. But then Spock’s shuttle is disabled, and he’s not able to get back to Discovery to continue on the journey with her. How did you build that emotional moment for the character with his sister?

Peck: To speak specifically to the good bye on the shuttle, I think all of the work that we’ve all done with the Spock in the months that I’ve been there prior to that moment was really priming me for that good bye. I think in that moment, we really see Spock take ownership of himself and of his constituents: of this Vulcan side, of this human side. It’s an action that is deeply emotional and executed highly logically.

In the beginning of part one of the finale, Spock decides that he will stay with Discovery. That’s a very emotionally driven move. He wants to stay with his family, he wants to stay with his sister, with one of the, I think, few places that he can call home — if you can call a person a home — because, in a way, they have so much in common. Although she’s not half human–half Vulcan, she is. She was this human that was raised on Vulcan, and in season 1 you really see her become more human and learn what it is to be human. In this second season, I think we see Spock become more human and more Vulcan together.

In the beginning of part one, he thinks that he’ll stay, but in the end, he knows that he can’t and must say goodbye, and emotionally he would be driven to go with Michael Burnham with Discovery into the future, but logically it’s not possible. I think maybe at that moment he discovers there’s a responsibility he has to tie up his end of the journey, which is to remain.


ÒSuch Sweet Sorrow, Part 2Ó -- Ep#214 -- Pictured (l-r): Ethan Peck as Spock; Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: John Medland/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by John Medland/CBS)

The relationship was a continuation from moments that we hadn’t seen as viewers. I was really interested in your emotional build to that moment with a person with whom you’ve supposedly had such a fraught relationship.

Peck: Yeah. I think it’s a great competition that exists between the two of them — as does exist between many siblings — and we really, I think, dug into the sibling rivalry of it all. Also, I think they’re very similar; they’re both hyper-intelligent, they’re both, I think, perfect candidates for Starfleet, they have dedicated themselves to something larger than just who they are as single beings. So I think there’s a great respect that lives between them that, in the beginning, I don’t think is honored, but there’s a lot of anger on both sides, but they realize that they probably understand each other more than anybody else understands them, in all the known universe.

That feeling of being seen, of being understood, I think, is so essential to satisfying life. I think we all search for understanding and for similarities in one another. Because these are such unique characters, there aren’t many like them, and so I think to have found, I guess, sort of an anchor point in reality, is crucial to them becoming something more than they were, to evolving.

To quote Spock, “This comfort is essential to evolution.” I think that really encapsulates what’s happening in the second season between Spock and Michael Burnham. In terms of the preparation for that last scene, I think the whole season was preparation for it. I don’t think that I, at that point, needed to do that much work, but trust what I had built and what we had built, about Spock and about the crew on Discovery.

At the very end when she’s saying goodbye, she tells him, “There’s a whole galaxy out there full of people who will reach for you. You have to let them. Find that person who seems farthest from you and reach for them. Reach for them. Let them guide you.” Was that a nod to his future relationships with a personality like Captain Kirk?

Peck: Absolutely. I’m not sure who came up with that, but I think it was Alex Kurtzman, and I remember him just glittering while he was telling me this revelation that he’d had about this moment and about this beacon he’s setting for the future in himself that does end up becoming Kirk.

Discovery and Burnham shot off through a wormhole into the future, Admiral Cornwell is dead, Georgiou is somewhere out there, Leland died in a puddle of nanites, and Ash Tyler becomes a permanent Commander in Section 31. Spock, meanwhile, rejoins Enterprise and — despite everyone lying to Starfleet and saying that Discovery and her crew, including Burnham, blew up — he recommends that a gag be placed on everyone’s knowledge of what happened. What is his interest in making that recommendation?

Peck: Because of the dangers of Control. To really completely bury the knowledge of this omnipotent and sinister entity, it should be completely eradicated from the books. Not just physically eradicated, but also conceptually eradicated because of the extraordinary danger that he poses to the universe, or it poses to the universe.


ÒSuch Sweet Sorrow, Part 2Ó -- Ep#214 -- Pictured: Ethan Peck as Spock of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Russ Martin/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by Russ Martin/CBS)

I think I know, but what’s the significance of Spock shaving?

Peck: I think it’s an externalization of his alteration. I think the beard is an externalization of his inner turmoil and his unraveling. To shave is a settling back into a security of who he is and his comfort with himself. That’s what it means to me. It’s also a part of his goodbye to Michael. The self that he knew when he was learning from her and being with her, and to shave it is a part of that. What did you make of it?

Just him transitioning — like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon — and becoming the man that he would be.

Peck. Absolutely. Yeah.

Is there any hope that we’ll see the Enterprise and Spock again?

Peck: Is there hope? Yes, I hope so.

Are you signed up for season 3?

Peck: I can’t say. I know there’s nothing out there on it either way.

But you do hope so?

Peck: Yeah, I hope so.

Star Trek: Discovery seasons 1 and 2 are available to stream on CBS All Access.



Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

comedies Certified Fresh TV Land Animation award winner Lifetime sopranos Marvel Trophy Talk Best and Worst high school Paramount Plus olympics james bond elevated horror History Chilling Adventures of Sabrina ViacomCBS Rock live action romance Funimation sports game of thrones festivals Pop Cosplay 2017 fast and furious SundanceTV Countdown Emmys kids television Britbox Turner Classic Movies Film Video Games nature Red Carpet Disney die hard comic book movie hispanic Grammys concert vs. GoT new zealand Cannes spider-verse renewed TV shows Vudu versus Sci-Fi BET Academy Awards video TruTV Sundance Now movie Chernobyl prank binge CW Seed MSNBC Creative Arts Emmys 73rd Emmy Awards BBC adenture Anna Paquin comics parents singing competition hollywood 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards CBS All Access thriller international anthology President spinoff Legendary Universal Pictures comic book movies black Rocky TLC docudrama Biopics GLAAD 2015 Sneak Peek 72 Emmy Awards Amazon Prime aliens Calendar heist movie dceu Mary Tyler Moore Box Office dexter children's TV Year in Review Mary poppins 2021 Elton John Thanksgiving sag awards royal family Wes Anderson American Society of Cinematographers See It Skip It psychological thriller franchise worst movies series Marvel Studios Rocketman satire reviews Holiday The Arrangement Extras NBC VICE spanish language nbcuniversal mission: impossible screenings dark streaming Holidays biopic twilight CMT stop motion true crime critics politics sequels historical drama TV One Mary Poppins Returns PlayStation blockbuster richard e. Grant FX on Hulu classics Watching Series Epix japan Apple TV+ Peacock Winter TV Pacific Islander kaiju Acorn TV Podcast Horror Comic-Con@Home 2021 Baby Yoda Marvel Television Hollywood Foreign Press Association Sundance Infographic Music scene in color telelvision cancelled TV series hispanic heritage month vampires slashers zero dark thirty strong female leads Amazon Prime Video Shudder Hallmark Fall TV NYCC new york Fargo gangster foreign Awards justice league 90s worst king kong nfl composers PaleyFest 1990s genre cats TCA Awards Tumblr Comedy HBO Max kong Disney Channel Super Bowl TCA 2017 HBO Go spy thriller Disney+ Disney Plus Western finale A24 Country Pirates deadpool superman science fiction AMC ID Lionsgate Paramount boxing aapi BBC America IMDb TV mcc book quibi superhero Esquire facebook Amazon Studios Character Guide cartoon dogs a nightmare on elm street Election Fox Searchlight revenge italian werewolf VH1 popular scary Writers Guild of America cults FOX MCU National Geographic Spike lord of the rings new star wars movies 20th Century Fox HBO Heroines Superheroes Action game show crime thriller TBS Marathons Tags: Comedy 79th Golden Globes Awards Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt zombies TNT romantic comedy Stephen King south america LGBTQ YA The CW doctor who Nominations BET Awards Television Academy spider-man trophy Adult Swim Lifetime Christmas movies RT History dreamworks robots FXX Summer Binge Guide TV renewals Winners jamie lee curtis Women's History Month 2018 laika Pride Month Broadway 93rd Oscars rotten anime The Walking Dead book adaptation cops batman news AMC Plus Turner Freeform witnail CNN women Reality golden globes documentary First Reviews SXSW universal monsters Arrowverse diversity 71st Emmy Awards based on movie animated Star Trek Apple Black History Month Showtime RT21 war DC streaming service marvel cinematic universe Hear Us Out Ellie Kemper toy story comic books black comedy Mudbound Premiere Dates independent Star Wars TCA Winter 2020 TIFF USA Schedule ABC discovery political drama E3 Emmy Nominations stand-up comedy criterion APB Disney streaming service rt labs FX Oscars Nickelodeon directors ghosts IFC Trailer dc halloween Prime Video 2020 miniseries 2019 mockumentary biography YouTube Premium Mystery LGBT Toys asian-american Tubi scorecard cancelled television Discovery Channel Neflix Valentine's Day Classic Film australia pirates of the caribbean sequel know your critic scary movies latino natural history The Walt Disney Company DirecTV archives Tarantino First Look Columbia Pictures CBS tv talk DC Comics 24 frames chucky blaxploitation transformers Netflix reboot YouTube Starz posters child's play mutant Shondaland Awards Tour documentaries crossover indie San Diego Comic-Con rotten movies we love Image Comics Nat Geo golden globe awards 2016 cars Christmas christmas movies feel good YouTube Red Opinion toronto Instagram Live canceled Interview razzies Quiz Fantasy medical drama space Lucasfilm japanese A&E ITV Hallmark Christmas movies DC Universe NBA Ghostbusters cooking rt archives travel 99% joker critic resources rom-coms Comics on TV psycho marvel comics monster movies slasher The Academy stoner crime technology spanish suspense name the review Food Network blockbusters E! Comic Book streaming movies OWN dramedy Set visit DGA Bravo 007 GIFs godzilla Warner Bros. police drama Drama Apple TV Plus french rt labs critics edition Universal Black Mirror halloween tv venice Amazon docuseries cancelled TV shows Musicals period drama wonder woman Trivia Television Critics Association USA Network Tokyo Olympics crime drama green book Endgame spain trailers live event disaster HFPA MTV best Avengers Spring TV casting The Witch action-comedy WGN adaptation breaking bad BAFTA Syfy Crackle talk show cinemax comic TV movies debate ABC Family adventure Comedy Central fresh art house Masterpiece Crunchyroll screen actors guild Walt Disney Pictures VOD Pop TV jurassic park canceled TV shows Kids & Family video on demand Dark Horse Comics festival Exclusive Video Logo hidden camera movies ratings Disney Plus Sundance TV Brie Larson Paramount Network Sony Pictures ESPN Pixar Travel Channel Reality Competition king arthur supernatural SDCC Song of Ice and Fire serial killer comiccon Photos Pet Sematary target indiana jones Hulu football TCA cancelled Captain marvel Tomatazos sitcom unscripted Musical young adult mob IFC Films TV Mindy Kaling hist Alien Martial Arts WarnerMedia Teen Rom-Com El Rey Superheroe OneApp theme song Fox News all-time TCM emmy awards 45 boxoffice zombie remakes Spectrum Originals ABC Signature Family films Film Festival X-Men basketball harry potter New York Comic Con Polls and Games leaderboard what to watch Ovation legend Cartoon Network 4/20 PBS social media The Purge 21st Century Fox free movies BBC One Netflix Christmas movies obituary teaser saw dragons