‘Star Trek’ has always styled itself as “boldly going where no one has gone before.” And as ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ approaches its second season, it certainly seems poised to keep doing exactly that. In most respects, anyway. In others, the show is firmly rooting itself in the franchise’s past. But that doesn’t make the going any less bold, particularly if you’re Ethan Peck, the latest actor charged with the unenviable task of stepping into Leonard Nimoy’s shoes to portray Spock. But while Spock may be the “name among names,” he’s certainly not the only ‘Trek’ icon being introduced (or rather, re-introduced) this season. Among those joining Peck’s Spock is Captain Christopher Pike, here played by Anson Mount. While at New York Comic Con, we had the opportunity to sit down with both Mount and Peck, with whom we discussed their approaches to their respective characters, what they’re looking forward to in the new season, and even facial hair.
What is it like to take on such an iconic character?
Ethan Peck (EP): It’s really scary. And hugely humbling, and I’m deeply honored. I’ve put in a lot of work and I’ve a lot more work to do. That’s what it’s like. How about you?
Anson Mount (AM): Me?
EP: You get to like, invent him.
AM: Pretty much. Yeah. There wasn’t a lot of shoe leather laid down for this character, thankfully. So yeah, it’s. I don’t know. I’ve kind of learned at this point the questions and concerns that are gonna help me and the questions and concerns that aren’t gonna help me as an actor. So I don’t really think about that. Sorry to be boring.
How does it feel, Anson, to know the grim fate that awaits your character?
AM: Well it’s a new thing, to have a beginning and an end and no middle, to a character. And if we ever get to explore that, I think that the fun part would be, “How do you get the character to that point in a way that’s not a tragedy but a triumph?”
When you were cast and started learning about your characters, yes they’re iconic and all that, but what was your first impression of who this person was?
AM: I only knew that he probably had good parents and he definitely had good mentors.
EP: I like to reference this quote from ‘Wrath of Khan’. When Kirk speaks of Spock at his funeral, he says, “Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most human.” And I think on the page that I got, he’s a humanist. And he struggles to make sense of his love and his care for all beings, you know? He’s such a peaceable person, and that’s very important to me in my construction of him.
So the elephant in the room. You brought a beard to Spock.
EP: Oh, man! [laughs] So before I came to film, they were like, “Don’t shave.” And I was like, “What?!” Okay. And I thought it was gonna go… I didn’t know how long it was gonna go for. You’ll see how long it goes for, I guess. But it’s very specific. Our key makeup artist does an amazing job and tends to it every day.
Is there anything you’re especially looking forward to people seeing when the season drops?
EP: I mean, yeah. All of it. I can’t wait to see it. This guy looks amazing [points to Doug Jones]. It’s so cool seeing it. I know what my answer is, but I cannot say it. [laughs]
AM: There’s so much you can’t say with this show.
EP: I’m excited for people to see the relationship between Spock and Michael. I think that’ll be really fulfilling and satisfying.
How do you balance between drawing on what Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto have done as Spock and presenting your own interpretation?
EP: So I’ve mostly focused on Nimoy, because that’s ultimately who I will be come. The Spock that I am. I mean I’ve seen all the ‘Star Trek’ films and I think Quinto’s amazing. But they’re very different, in my opinion. I think there’s a very sort of strength and danger about Nimoy’s Spock, that’s right beneath the surface and very steady, that I have in my brain as kind of a point of direction or projection.
The second season of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ is set to premiere January 17, 2019 on CBS All Access.