Star Trek XXV (or so): The Search For Spock. Again.
Updated: Aug 15, 2018
Well it's official. We have a new Spock. His name is Ethan Peck. He will make his Spock debut in Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery. You may of course recognize Ethan Peck from such roles as Michel in the 1999 classic Olsen Twins film, Paradise, in which he has the distinction of being Mary Kate Olsen's first ever onscreen kiss; the young version of Michael Kelso (Ashton Kutcher's character) in That 70's Show; and of course his role as Gregory Peck's grandson. I kid. The truth is I know virtually nothing about Mr. Peck other than what I
just found out on Wikipedia. But my absolute favorite thing about him- he is NOT Zachary Quinto. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Zachary Quinto as an actor. I still consider his Sylar character in Heroes to be one of the greatest TV villains of all time. (Well the first season version of the character anyway). My only problem with Zachary Quinto is that he quite simply is not Spock. He just isn't. Never was. Never will be. "I have been and always shall be not freaking Spock!!" No matter how I squint my eyes or no matter at what angle I look at Zachary Quinto, he still isn't Spock. I mean, he is a Vulcan. Just like Tuvok and T'Poi and freaking Dr. Selar, he is a Vulcan. But he is just as much Spock as any of those other Vulcan characters, meaning, he isn't freaking Spock! I think you get my point.
What I have always advocated for ever since I even had an inkling of an idea that they were probably going to cast a Spock in Discovery, was essentially a Leonard Nimoy impressionist. Much in the same way that Ewan MacGregor was an Alec Guinness impressionist in his role as Young Obi-Wan Kenobi. I know that may not be the most popular opinion in the world, but for me, if I am going to believe that a new actor is playing the same character as a previous actor, then he needs to look, sound, and feel like that character. Otherwise, I just don't believe it. I mean,I have had trouble believing two actors were playing the same character within a single movie or television series. Take Westworld for example.(SPOILER WARNING for Westworld Season 1). So we're supposed to believe that Jimmy Simpson is going to grow old and turn into.....Ed Harris? Okaaaaaaay. If you say sooooo. And don't even get me STARTED on the movie Looper. You're trying to tell me that the aging process is somehow going to magically transform Joseph Gordon-Levitt into....Bruce Freaking Willis??!!! No it is not. Under no circumstances, in a million trillion years, is Joseph Gordon-Levitt EVER going to turn into Bruce Willis. No way, no how, not happening! Anyways, what was my point again? Oh yeah. I think that ideally if a second actor is playing the same character as another actor, that he should at least make some kind of effort to seem like the original actor. It doesn't have to exact. And in fact, it shouldn't be exact. The new actor should put his own stamp on the role. Of course. Absolutely. But the starting place should be the original actor. Perfect example again, Ewan MacGregor as Obi-Wan, one of the few bright spots in those crappy Star Wars prequels. Now whether or not Ethan Peck will pull this off, I have no idea. But for now, I will take solace in the fact that he is not Zachary Quinto.
Now, one could make the case, and that one would get no argument from me, that we shouldn't be even talking about the recasting of Spock because there shouldn't even be a Spock in Discovery. Furthermore, the writers/creators of the show never should have invented this ridiculous fan fiction in Discovery Season 1 that Spock has this long lost adopted human sister, that we somehow have neeeeever heard about in 50 years of Trek lore. Some would argue, that what Discovery and all Trek shows should be doing is distancing themselves from previous characters as much as possible, and doing their own thing, making their own mark in the Trek universe, and not trying to ride the coat tails of previous Star Trek series. I will not argue with any of that. If I could go back in time and somehow talk the Discovery creators into omitting this whole silly Michael Byrnum/Spock connection, believe me I would. However, I do not have the Enterprise and the ability to slingshot around the sun, nor do I have access to the Guardian of Forever. So what is done is done. The fact is this connection does exist, and Spock is going to appear on the show. So with that being the case, all I can do right now is hope that if they are going to have Spock, that at least it will be a good Spock.
By the way, it should be noted that when I say new Trek series should distance themselves from previous ones, I'm not actually talking about the new Picard series that was just recently announced, because that is a sequel. If you want to do a flat out sequel of an original series, fine, just make it original, and make it good. (Or make it so, in this case). But if you are trying to create a show of all new characters on an all new ship, then for Gods sakes you should stick to the all new characters and the all new ship.
I am however, ok with the addition of Captain Pike to the show, because that is a character from Trek history that has barely been explored. In fact, if you don't count the pilot episode of the original series The Cage, which I don't because it never aired when the show originally aired, and you don't count those God Awful reboot films, which I don't because they suck, then Captain Pike has only previously appeared in one Trek episode. So I'm ok with bringing him into the fold and bringing new life to this character. By the way, has anyone else noticed that the new Captain Pike looks and sounds a lot like Mitt Romney? Hopefully he doesn't strap any dogs to the top of the Enterprise. Kaaaayooooooo!
Anyways, once again I am getting off topic. The point of all this is- since Discovery will be casting a Spock whether we like it or not, then I will approach this casting with an open mind. Ethan Peck is after all, new blood, and he also happens to be not Zachary Quinto. So no pressure, Ethan, you're only playing one of the most iconic roles in television history. Good luck! May you live long and prosper.