The next chapter in the Star Trek story is about to begin when Star Trek: Discovery’s second season premieres on January 17, 2019, exclusively on CBS All Access.
In preparation for that event, Fandom presents a deep dive into the history of the Star Trek universe, celebrating over fifty years of the final frontier and highlighting events from almost every major chapter of the sprawling Star Trek saga, focusing specifically on the one character that has spanned all eras of the series: Mr. Spock!
The half-Vulcan, half-human Spock has not only been one of Star Trek’s most compelling characters, his struggle to understand his own self and shape his destiny speaks to the very heart of Trek’s enduring popularity – the series isn’t just an exploration of the Final Frontier, but of the human condition reflected in Spock’s centuries-spanning quest.
So brush up on your knowledge of Starfleet maneuvers and Federation diplomacy, as well as the exploits of several starship crews, and get ready as we prepare to discover a whole new and previously unknown chapter in the life of Star Trek’s most beloved Vulcan! Star Trek: Discovery returns with all-new adventures in the 23rd century in 2019, only on CBS All Access!
The Original Series /// 2700 BC approx. (past)/2269 (present)
Spock: “You are beautiful. More beautiful than any dream of beauty I’ve ever known.”
In a distant past on a faraway world, Spock (Leonard Nimoy) is thrown back psychologically into the mindset of his primitive ancestors and must control his most powerful emotional drives – not just of his human side, but of his Vulcan psyche now reverted to its earliest form. It is one of the most externalized examples of Spock’s otherwise internal struggle to control his impulses and govern his dual nature by reason and logic.
Enterprise /// 2154
Kirk: “Your Surak is a brave man.” Spock: “Men of peace usually are, Captain.” (“The Savage Curtain,” TOS)
A Vulcan civil war nearly tears the planet apart, jeopardizing the future of the Federation and the Galaxy, but the involvement of Captain Archer (Scott Bakula) and T’Pau (Kara Zediker), among others, sets the Vulcans on a path to logic and enlightenment, and saves them from a forced reunification with their Romulan cousins. One day, Spock will seek a far more peaceful and logical way to heal that painful rift between the Vulcans and the Romulans, inspired by the Syrranites that restored Surak’s teachings during this incident.
The Animated Series /// 2237 (past)/2269 (present)
Spock: “Logic offers a serenity Humans seldom experience in full.”
A journey into the past via the Guardian of Forever gives Spock the opportunity to teach his own younger self a valuable lesson, while learning more about his own divided nature in the process. The spotlight also falls on Spock’s strained relationship with his father, Sarek (Mark Lenard), a contentious connection that will shape both men for a lifetime.
The Original Series /// 2254 (past)/2267 (present)
Spock: “I see no reason to insult me, sir. I believe I’ve been completely logical about the whole affair.”
Spock defies Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and his oath to Starfleet in a seemingly mutinous and illogical attempt to take an ailing Captain Pike (Sean Kenney/Jeffrey Hunter) to the forbidden planet, Talos IV. Spock’s experiences during their first visit there, at a time when his control of emotions was less than complete, deeply affected him, and his resulting unique bond with Pike resonates into his future relationships as well.
Discovery /// 2256
Sarek: “When emotion brings us ghosts from the past, only logic can root us in the present.”
Our introduction to the troubled Michael Burnham not only presents us with glimpses of all-new information about Spock’s early years and the sister we never knew he had, but offers another side of Sarek as he guides his adopted human daughter through a difficult new challenge.
The Original Series /// 2266
Spock: “My mother… I could never tell her I loved her.”
An insidious alien disease breaks down Spock’s emotional barriers, briefly preventing him from controlling an overwhelming flood of emotion, primarily regret for all the things he cannot or will not allow himself to experience. Spock’s stoicism and determination to adhere to logic remain some of his most magnetic and fascinating traits throughout his long life, even as he learns to balance those with his more emotive side in his later years, adopting an almost whimsical detachment about his earlier struggles.
The Original Series /// 2267
Spock: “Mister Scott, there are always alternatives.”
Spock’s first solo command puts his devotion to logic over emotion to the ultimate test, and the tensions that arise between him and his human crewmates lead him to make a fateful choice that opens the door to a more nuanced approach to leadership and life. Spock’s continuing search for balance will last for decades beyond this pivotal moment.
The Original Series /// 2267
Spock: “I have little to say about it, Captain. Except that for the first time in my life, I was happy.”
In another instance of Spock being forced to face his emotions and his submerged desire for connection and acceptance, alien spores awaken the Vulcan’s longing for love and allow him – at least temporarily – to experience that joy with Leila Kalomi (Jill Ireland). Kirk must confront him with anger and hatred in order to bring him back to his balanced self, but at what cost?
“Amok Time ”
The Original Series /// 2267
Spock: “After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.”
An older T’Pau (Celia Lovsky) presides over Spock’s wedding to T’Pring (Arlene Martel), but it’s Spock’s friendship with his captain, and his commitment to Vulcan traditions in the face of corrupted logic, that is tested via a rite of combat to the death. Spock’s emotional outburst at the end of the episode highlights the continuing duality at the heart of his personality.
The Original Series /// 2268
Amanda, Spock’s Mother: “Logic! Logic! I’m sick to death of logic!”
After years of estrangement, Spock and his father are reunited during a mission of political intrigue and dangerous terrorism from within. The core battle of philosophy between these two Vulcans reaches a temporary resolution here, but the ongoing tensions – perhaps further influenced by Sarek’s experiences with Michael Burnham – will last beyond Sarek’s death in 2368.
The Next Generation /// 2368
Spock: “In your own way, you are as stubborn as another captain of the Enterprise I once knew.”
One hundred years after participating in the diplomatic mission to Babel, Spock is on Romulus to clandestinely aid in the inevitable reunification of the Romulans and the Vulcans, only to attract the unwanted attention of scheming half-Romulan Sela (Denise Crosby) as well as Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart). After some “cowboy diplomacy,” Spock at last achieves closure with his late father via Picard’s mind-meld with Sarek.
Deep Space Nine /// 2370
Spock: “Captain Kirk…I shall consider it.” (“Mirror, Mirror,” TOS)
In a long-awaited follow-up to the beloved Original Series adventure that introduced the dark and sadistic Mirror Universe, it is revealed that Mirror Spock’s attempt to overthrow the Empire and follow the path of peace, inspired by our own Captain Kirk, tragically led to the fall of the Empire at the hands of a Klingon-Cardassian alliance. As he had learned once before in another universe, peace was the way for Spock, but in this instance, it was at the wrong time.
Voyager /// 2372
Tuvok: “This flower is a rare hybrid [of] a South American orchid [and] a Vulcan favinit plant. I doubted the graft would take; and indeed, the plant was sickly at first. However, after a few weeks, both plants adapted to their new condition, and, in fact, became stronger than either had been alone.”
Inspired by the negotiations of an older Spock with the Klingon Empire on behalf of the Federation 80 years beforehand, Tuvok (Tim Russ) encourages Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) to seek an alliance with the Kazon. Spock’s legacy of thoughtful, logical deliberation blended with empathy – the result of a lifetime’s search – fortunately lives on well into the 24th century in our own universe…and beyond.
This is only a glimpse of the long journey that has carried Spock beyond the farthest star in his quest for balance, even beyond death itself and back again, and eventually into an entirely different universe. Who knows where exactly we will find Spock when the second season of Star Trek: Discovery debuts? Based on the trailer, we know he’ll be a bit shaggier than we’ve seen him before, but what new details about his youth and early adulthood will we discover, and will we at last learn why he never told anyone, not even James T. Kirk, about his foster sister? Find out starting on January 17, 2019, when season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery premieres on CBS All Access.