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Why Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Ethan Peck Needed To Understand Leonard Nimoy To Embody Spock

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is a new series in the iconic franchise, but it’s loaded with a bunch of familiar Star Trek characters. None perhaps are as recognizable as Spock, who Ethan Peck will reprise after previously appearing as the character in Star Trek: Discovery Season 2. Peck has captured the essence of Spock in a way few expected, and he does that in part by trying to understand the original Spock actor, Leonard Nimoy. 

I spoke to Ethan Peck ahead of the premiere of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds about taking the role of Spock and how Leonard Nimoy’s daughter Julie mentioned Peck meeting with her and her brother Adam when he first got the role. I asked Peck meeting them and learning about Nimoy’s life helped him embody Spock, and got a pretty definitive answer from the actor.

Yeah, absolutely. They were so incredibly welcoming with me, both Julie and Adam, and I’m so grateful for their blessing because this would have been really difficult without that. I mean, its been difficult overall anyways because it’s such an iconic and beloved character. Yeah, getting to know Nimoy was very important for me. I read I Am Not Spock, and I Am Spock. I learned a lot from those books. I watched a lot of his interviews that were on the original series blu-ray collection, and that was very insightful. I wanted to know who he was as a person as much as possible because I think that we, as actors or creative people, are sort of inextricable from our work. The experiences I have inform the work that I do, it’s unavoidable, and I think the same went for him.

Ethan Peck looked at many of Leonard Nimoy’s books talking about his personal life. Doing so, as he mentioned above, helps Peck better inform himself on the character of Spock. It certainly seems helpful given Nimoy’s books talk about the actor’s personal connection with Spock and how he built the character throughout his career. For someone like Peck (who also spoke to us about James Kirk appearing in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2), it’s a great reference as he works on Strange New Worlds and continues to develop the character in his own ways. 

Ultimately, learning about Leonard Nimoy is helpful for Ethan Peck because, despite their shared role, they are different people. Both men began playing Spock at roughly the same age, but as Peck pointed out, their life situations are very different. As Peck explained:

Understanding where he’s from, he had a family at the time that he was working. I think he was 33, 34, [and] 35 when he was filming the first seasons of the original series, and he was in a very different stage of development in his life. I mean, I’m the same age, and I’m not married, I don’t have children. I don’t know if that says something about me or about the times, as it were, but yeah, as much as I can know is helpful.

Ethan Peck mentioned at Star Trek: Mission Chicago that he’s watched many of Leonard Nimoy’s Spock performances, but at a certain point, he stopped so he could find the Star Trek character for himself. He also noted that he tends to perform what’s on the page in regards to his character on Strange New Worlds, though he also hasn't dissuaded fans from any theories they’ve had about Spock over the decades. Paramount+ subscribers will learn all about his version of Spock soon enough and see how he’s both like and unlike Nimoy’s Spock.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds premieres on Paramount+ (opens in new tab) on Thursday, May 5th. The premiere syncs up with the Season 2 finale of Star Trek: Picard, but don’t worry, there’s plenty more Star Trek TV shows coming in 2022

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.