Ethan Peck No Longer Relies On Leonard Nimoy To Inspire Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' Spock


In the second season of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds," the show has proven itself worthy enough to get silly. The original series prequel has been great since day one, but its sophomore season feels especially playful, following the spirit of Gene Roddenberry's original down goofy paths as well as emotional and philosophical ones.

One of the show's goofiest paths to date came in the season 2 episode "Charades," which saw Spock (Ethan Peck) briefly turn human just before an important ceremonial meeting with his future in-laws. The episode has prompted some mixed reactions, but it's classic Trek, especially when it comes to the characterization of Spock himself. Anyone who feared that the emergence of Spock's human side might erase the things we love about him doesn't realize how much humanity Leonard Nimoy's Spock always brought to the role, even if it was via the quirk of an eyebrow.

When it comes to nailing the part of Spock, Peck says he doesn't have to look to Nimoy for direct reference so much anymore. "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," he told Inverse in a conversation about "Charades." It's not so much that Peck doesn't need guidance from Nimoy's portrayal anymore, but that he's internalized the performance by now, and it has become second nature. "He felt alive in me at the point we got to season 2," Peck shared. "I discovered something of Spock in me."

'Spock learns from Ethan, and Ethan learns from Spock'

This isn't the first time Peck has spoken about feeling a deep kind of kinship with the original character portrayal: in the July issue of SFX Magazine, Peck explained that he still hears Nimoy's voice in his head as he reads new scripts and memorizes lines. "I sort of internalized Leonard's version of Spock, or I've done my best to internalize Leonard's version of Spock, and it's something I check in with very frequently when I'm working," he told the outlet.

It may all sound a bit metaphysical for someone playing a logic-minded Vulcan, but given how often actors struggle with striking the balance between a performance that pays homage and one that's true to themselves, it's great that Peck has a strategy that works. And it works well: his Spock feels true to the version we all know and love, yet also possesses an inner conflict that's fitting for someone still earning his stripes and figuring out his identity. Plus, Peck isn't the only cast member of "Strange New Worlds" who feels connected to a late, great actor who embodied the original Enterprise crew. Uhura actor Celia Rose Gooding spoke earlier this year about feeling Nichelle Nichols' spirit when she's working, saying, "I very much feel her with me in how we tell the story of this character."

While Peck says he still checks in with his own sense of Nimoy's performance, he's also become intertwined with the character himself. "The human Spock is me. Spock learns from Ethan, and Ethan learns from Spock. We're sort of inseparable." I'm not saying he's pitching a great "Strange New Worlds" episode right there, but I'm also not not saying that.

"Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" streams new episodes on Thursdays on Paramount+.

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