Peck? As in Gregory Peck? Turns out Oscar-winning actor Gregory Peck has a grandson who took to the acting business–Ethan Peck–and he has been tapped to co-star in the next season of Star Trek Discovery. This will be the 13th actor to portray the half-human, half-Vulcan Mr. Spock in the more than five decades of the franchise–a role performed by more actors in the franchise than any other character. Peck appears in the photo below (center) with Leonard Nimoy’s family, released today (and if the woman at left looks familiar, that’s because it’s Terry Farrell, who played Dax on Deep Space Nine, Leonard’s daughter-in-law, married to Leonard’s son Adam earlier this year).
Although he wasn’t “that kid in Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” Peck did play a boy in the Disney fantasy film (which also featured former Star Trek actor Alice Krige). He has also appeared in The Drew Carey Show, That ’70s Show, and the TV series version of 10 Things I Hate About You, among other things.
Here is an excerpt from the announcement earlier today about Peck from Star Trek Discovery executive producer Alex Kurtzman:
“Through 52 years of television and film, a parallel universe and a mirror universe, Mr. Spock remains the only member of the original bridge crew to span every era of Star Trek.”
Oops. Actually Spock did not appear in Star Trek Enterprise. So Spock has been in almost all the eras of Star Trek to be put to TV or film. Kurtzman continued:
“The great Leonard Nimoy, then the brilliant Zachary Quinto, brought incomparable humanity to a character forever torn between logic and emotion. We searched for months for an actor who would, like them, bring his own interpretation to the role.”
Pretty much anyone–sci-fi fan or not–can tell you Leonard Nimoy portrayed Spock the longest, from the pilot to the original series through the second film in the J.J. Abrams movie series, Star Trek Into Darkness (and a photo of him appeared in the next film Star Trek Beyond). The character is almost without question the most iconic sci-fi character of the post-television era.
Zachary Quinto has taken on Spock for the three Abrams movies–that is, the part of young Spock in the separate, Kelvin timeline. So where did we come up with eleven other actors who performed the role of Spock well in advance of Peck being handed his first tricorder?
Audiences have seen Spock several times before. Remember in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, moviegoers saw Spock grow up on the Genesis planet, where he was played at age nine by Carl Krakoff:
Then at age 13 he was portrayed by Vadia Potenza:
At age 17 he was played by Stephen Manley:
And Joe W. Davis played Spock at age 25:
If you’re considering actors who performed the role of Spock, you must count Frank Welker, who provided the sound of Spock’s screams in The Search for Spock, and Billy Simpson, who voiced young Spock in Star Trek: The Animated Series:
Technically Carey Scott also performed the role of Spock at 20, in dialogue filmed for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier–but his scenes were cut from the final edit. But we did get to see–in flashback–Spock’s birth. Spock at birth was played by an unlisted, and very young, actor:
After Nimoy and Quinto, Jacob Kogan probably had the most screen-time playing Spock. He got to perform in a few scenes, including the memorable fight scene with some Vulcan bullies at the beginning of Star Trek (2009):
And this will be a surprise to most: an actress once played Spock on the big screen. Well, sort of. Loads of advance marketing for Star Trek (2009) featured a scene with Spock as a baby along with his parents:
That scene was another that didn’t make it to the final cut of the film in its entirety. The baby close-up was portrayed by the very young actress Jenna Vaughan:
Although you’ll read it in the mainstream press several times today, can anyone really say Peck is the third actor in history to play Spock? Nope. Lots of others have played Spock, and to varying degrees. (and I didn’t even begin to list stunt actors like Greg Barnett in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and the many stand-ins over 50 years). Do you think there is anyone we missed, someone who played Spock in the TV series or on film? Let us know in the comments.
Meanwhile we will be eagerly awaiting a 12 O’Clock High homage episode featuring the younger Peck from Star Trek Discovery. Hey, it’s worth a shot.
Star Trek Discovery is expected to return to CBS All Access late this Fall with its second season. But you can pre-order the first season on Blu-ray now here at Amazon.