10:15am PT by Mike Bloom
Who Should Play Spock in 'Star Trek: Discovery'?
The denizens assembled in Hall H for CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery panel Friday at San Diego Comic-Con were in for a bit of a Spock shock when showrunner Alex Kurtzman confirmed a familiar Vulcan would be gracing the small screen for the show’s second season.
The announcement capped months of speculation spurred by the season one finale of Discovery, which saw its titular ship staring down the nose of the famed USS Enterprise.
With Discovery taking place before the original series chronologically, Spock is still chief science officer under Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount). But the recently released season two trailer (watch it again, below) reveals the Vulcan is off on his own journey. “He took leave,” Pike says in a voiceover. “It’s as if he’d run into a question he couldn’t answer.” But Spock has people of interest aboard the Discovery, notably his father, Sarek (James Frain), and foster sister, Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green). With Michael’s theory of her relative being connected to a series of cosmic anomalies, it appears a Star Trek plot will once again revolve around a search for Spock.
That search extends out past the screen to the casting process of Discovery. Although Kurtzman revealed that an actor had been cast for Spock, he neglected to identify him. With our imagination (the real final frontier), The Hollywood Reporter offers a few actors on our wish list for who will don a familiar mop top and pointed ears when season two premieres in January 2019.
The Irish actor already has experience with someone filled with curiosity and wisdom, having played the titular role in Merlin for five seasons. Although he would be making the jump from magic to science, Merlin’s relationship with Arthur is not unlike one a loyal crewmember would have with his captain, to the point of sacrificing himself for the “needs of the many.” Additionally, in the past few years, Morgan has had his own handling of different species, with a leading role in the AI-focused AMC drama Humans.
Kurtzman has cited how the difficulty in Spock comes with creating expression while simultaneously remaining emotionless, given his Vulcan upbringing. Kebbell has a résumé filled with doing a lot with a little. He played the lead role in the Black Mirror episode “The Entire History of You,” running the gamut between crazed, cruel and catatonic. The Brit has even recently gone simian with his role as Koba the bonobo in the Planet of the Apes films, as well as under the mask of Dr. Doom in Fantastic Four.
With his narrow face and sunken eyes, the Canadian actor certainly has the look of Spock on lock. But he has sci-fi experience to boot, with recurring roles on Canadian entry Continuum and most prominently The CW's The 100. In the latter, he plays with someone who is a bit more rough-and-tumble than the logic-forward Spock, but he certainly shares the independence of someone who can live long and prosper.
Although his name may not be as recognizable as the others on this list, he has by far the most Star Trek experience (with one notable exception). This would not be Haberkorn’s first time putting on the famous ears, having played Spock as part of the long-running Webby Award-winning web series Star Trek Continues, an unofficial continuation of the original series. As someone who has embodied the characteristics of the original Nimoy portrayal while simultaneously making his own choices, his casting would be highly logical.
Hear us out here. Although Kurtzman implied he was bringing in a new actor for Spock, former showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg previously told The Hollywood Reporter that they have too much reverence for both Leonard Nimoy's and Quinto’s performances to tamper with the formula. Would Kurtzman mind meld with his predecessors and decide to bring the star of the J.J. Abrams reboot franchise from the big screen to streaming services? If there were a strategy to assuage Trekkies from raging over recasting an iconic character, it would be understandable to pick someone who has already done it before. After all, computer graphics can do wonders with the de-aging process nowadays. And it’s not out of the question to see Quinto return to television outside of being a guest star, considering his roles in the American Horror Story franchise and currently hosting In Search of… (another classic Nimoy project).