It feels weird saying that the first season of ‘Star Trek: Discovery‘ ended on a cliffhanger. After all, if no further episodes were produced, that season would still leave us with a complete, satisfying story. It certainly wouldn’t be akin to cancelling ‘The Next Generation’ after the first part of ‘The Best of Both Worlds’ or if the last we’d seen of ‘Deep Space Nine’ had gone ‘Call to Arms’. But in closing the season on a meeting between the Discovery and the Enterprise, they’ve nonetheless managed to leave fans on the edge of their seats, especially given the characters we know to be serving aboard the Enterprise at this time.
There’s been some teasing of the fans in that regard in recent weeks, with the announcement that Anson Mount has been cast as Captain Pike. But of course, that still leaves an elephant in the room, in the form of a certain half-Vulcan science officer. But now we’ve learned that Spock will be appearing in the second season of ‘Discovery’, though perhaps not in the way some fans expected when the Enterprise whooshed across their screens earlier this year.
The news comes courtesy of ‘Trek’ alumn and ‘Discovery’ director Jonathan Frakes. Speaking at the recent El Paso Comic Con, Frakes confirmed that he would be directing the second and tenth episodes of the new season, adding that episode two will Anson Mount’s Pike. In addition, ‘Trek’ podcaster and convention attendee Justin Orser confirmed on Twitter that Frakes revealed that the second episode of the season will feature a young Spock in flashbacks to his and Burnham’s childhood.
Notably, while Frakes’ comments have confirmed Spock’s appearance in flashbacks (continuing the first season’s trend of dramatizing Burnham’s youth), they have made no mention of the fan favorite character appearing in the present day. And this writer, at least, hopes that it stays that way. Flashbacks are one thing, but with all due respect to Zachary Quinto, recasting Spock is a no-win scenario (or “Kobayashi Maru,” if you prefer). While the same could be said of much of the original series cast (and, indeed, of many actors throughout ‘Trek’ history), Nimoy embodied Spock in a way that few actors can be said to embody any role, bringing the character to life with a sensitivity and a nuance that is seldom matched. While it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that ‘Discovery’ might go down that road, they seem to be sidestepping it for the time being. And wisely so. After all, those are some big shoes to fill.
‘Star Trek: Discovery’ begins production of its second season in April. The new season will feature returning stars Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Mary Wiseman, and Anthony Rapp alongside newcomers Anson Mount and Tig Notaro. Though no premiere date for the second season has been announced yet, it is expected to begin airing on CBS All Access in late 2018 or early 2019.