Leonard Nimoy kicked off a prolific franchise by appearing as the first Spock, but Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' Ethan Peck didn’t feel the need to be influenced by him.

Peck has been the face of the half-human-half-Vulcan since he first appeared in Star Trek: Discovery. The adoptive brother of Sonequa Martin-Green's Michael Burnham, Spock first appeared in season 2. This was a precursor to seeing the classic crew of the Enterprise come together in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, where he would become a main cast member. The series did many things better than previous Star Trek shows and featured Captain Pike (Anson Mount) in the captain’s chair with a smattering of familiar faces. Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding), Chapel (Jess Bush), and T'Pring (Gia Sandhu) are some of the familiar characters that appeared in Star Trek: The Original Series.

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But while the first Star Trek show was undoubtedly formative for these new interpretations of classic characters, Peck was not beholden to previous performances, no matter how significant they were. When crafting this new version of Spock, the actor depended more on himself than on outside influences. “I haven’t spent much time with Nimoy's Spock since before I was preparing for Discovery. A little bit before Strange New Worlds Season 1,” Peck confessed to Inverse. “He felt alive in me at the point we got to Season 2. I discovered something of Spock in me. The human Spock is me. Spock learns from Ethan, and Ethan learns from Spock. We're sort of inseparable.”


Peck is not the only actor who felt freed from some of the most famous sci-fi performances to date. Paul Wesley's persona of Kirk was not quite William Shatner's and even further from Chris Pine's performance in the rebooted Star Trek movies. When Kirk first appeared in Strange New Worlds season 1, episode 10, he brought a new flavor to the character. After a conflict with the Romulans, Kirk teamed up with Pike to find a solution. The future Enterprise captain demonstrated his penchant for breaking the rules, but he also showed restraint when deferring to Pike's judgment. Strange New Worlds seemingly has no problems with allowing familiar characters to take on a life of their own.

This is most likely why fans see a softer side to Spock. Most die-hard fans should be used to Nimoy's restraint when playing the science officer as he leaned into the logic of his Vulcan forebears. But there is nothing wrong with showing different angles of the same character, especially 60 years later. Discovery changed how fans see Spock and Strange New Worlds has picked up that mantle. The character's softer side was expanded on with amusing episodes such as “Charades,” which demonstrated him with a fully human persona.

Peck showing Spock's humanity isn’t a disservice to Nimoy's characterization but an honor. The Vulcan race has changed since the original Star Trek series, but one thing will always remain true. They have emotions so powerful that they rely on logic as true north. Peck's interpretation of the character is faithful to Star Trek lore and another side of Nimoy's performance.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2 is airing on Paramount Plus.

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Source: Inverse