The Star Trek: Discovery cast and crew are sharing more about the creation of the much-buzzed-about episode “If Memory Serves.” We have gathered up all the highlights.
Peck talks “If Memory Serves” and nerding out with Jonathan Frakes
Episode 8 offered the first real look at Ethan Peck’s Spock for Star Trek: Discovery. As the guest on the Ready Room after-show, Peck talked about getting the role and how he meticulously studied Leonard Nimoy to prepare, reading his memoirs and even watching TOS during breaks on set.
Regarding how he developed his version of Spock where he is on his arc in “If Memory Serves,” Peck spoke about how he played the sibling rivalry with Michael Burnham:
I spoke at length with Alex Kurtzman about [Spock’s] anger. I think there is a deep resentment that he is human. This is before he discovers that may be his greatest gift, that he is mixed, in that his human half will give him perspective that his Vulcan half cannot. That is such an incredible tool for someone that is trying to understand the universe more deeply. Which I really think is at the core of Spock, because of his deep curiosity. So, I would almost say there is a kind of sassiness from him to Michael Burnham. We discussed how illogical he would get, because he is not fully logical that he would be angry with her. There was an abandonment that occurred, but she did it in the best interest of the family. And he can’t quite get beyond his emotions to see the bigger picture, in this moment in this episode. So, that is pretty unusual for Spock as we know him.
The actor also talked about the importance of the moment revealed in “If Memory Serves.”
That moment in their childhood was the beginning of his shutdown and compartmentalization of his emotions, which is half of who he is and what makes him special as a member of the Vulcan and Human civilization. It is a big cornerstone in who he is qualitatively and his personality.
Discussing shooting the first scene with Spock and Captain Pike in the shuttle bay in “If Memory Serves,” Peck also talked about how his personal admiration for actor Anson Mount has informed his approach to the relationship with Pike and Spock:
It is not spoken about explicitly, but I had decided that he was a sort of older brother figure. And that I had secretly admired him because Spock has been so closed off emotionally for so long, but there was a relationship with Pike. He is teaching him to be human, he is teaching him to be a Human man and not a Vulcan man…so it is maybe a way of life imitating art or vice versa.
Peck also talked about moments this season that stood out as special, like his experience working with director Jonathan Frakes on an upcoming episode (next week’s “Project Daedalus”):
Jonathan Frakes…yeah, meeting him at the first table read I felt sort of I wanted to make him my friend immediately. I wanted him to be my mentor immediately. He is so gregarious…and such a joy to be around. I am sure I weirded him out, but I went up to him and didn’t know how else to communicate that I wanted his approval and his guidance – so I was like “can you sign my script?” And he was like “sure.” And I was “it’s for me.” I wanted it as a good luck token.
Another moment that stood out to Peck was when he was “clapped out” to wrap his work on the season:
The day we finished was hugely emotional for me, because it was a journey…It was just so beautiful – bunch of people gathered, a bunch of crew and the cast. It just was hugely emotional and a big relief. It was such a challenge to me as a person, as an actor. And to have really gone though it and completed it, it is one of my peak life moments.
Peck was careful not to provide any spoilers for the rest of season two, but he did say that three words sum it up:
Faith, family and wonder. You can expect Spock to become more like you have known him to be. This is a big transitional period for him.
Watch the full video below:
Stepping into the role of Vina was Australian actress Melissa George. Speaking to her hometown paper the Sydney Morning Herald, George recognized the significance of the part, saying “Just to be part of history like this is extraordinary.” George said she studied the original part as played by Susan Oliver and contrasted that with her approach:
Her acting was very heightened because it was Star Trek and the very first one. But what I got was the essence of how much she loved Captain Pike. For that reason I kind of wanted to take her and listen to the guidance of producers and the costume designer because it’s modernised in such a way. So you start to put the pieces together from her look, to the way she sounds, to the the way she could walk. After a few days I kind of got the impression of the Vina we were creating today and I slipped into her shoes.
George spoke to Syfy about how she played Vina:
When you first see Vina with that perfect blonde hair and that perfect blue eyeshadow, you think, ‘Oh, she’s a bit off with the fairies.’ But she’s actually got such gravitas and is in fact very strong and grounded. So I decided I was going to embrace being a woman, with all her beauty and the hair, and those high heels, and being comfortable in my own skin. And that’s how I am in my own life, too. I think that women often get perceived in a certain way. If you’re ‘too pretty,’ you’re perceived as maybe not being smart enough. So, no, she’s not a victim. She’s everything, this woman. She’s clearly a woman in love, too. So [I] decided to be comfortable and strong with it.
Mount talks Pike’s return to Talos and Vina
CBS released a brief video with Anson Mount giving a brief summary of “The Cage” and how he felt about picking up on the story:
Dealing with that important part of canon came with a certain sense of responsibility and a sense of “Oh, my God. Seriously?” I get to do this?
— Star Trek: Discovery (@startrekcbs) March 9, 2019
Editor reveals backstory for “Previously on Star Trek” intro
One of the unique elements of the episode was the use of footage from the original Star Trek pilot “The Cage” to introduce the episode. Editor Scott Gamzon took to Twitter to explain how that segment evolved in a series of tweets. Here is the full story:
As I was cutting the episode I was wondering if we would revisit the footage from The Cage / The Menagerie and rewatched both multiple times. [Executive producer Olatunde Osunsanmi] suggested that we attempt some sort of flashback for Pike at the beginning of the episode utilizing the TOS footage in a hyper stylized way. Ultimately, the flashback version, proved a bit too confusing. Upon viewing, [executive producer/showrunner] Alex Kurtzman, suggested creating a recap using the TOS footage. I then incorporated the idea of also making this seem a flashback for Pike by using the match cut from Jeffrey Hunter’s Pike to Anson Mount’s Pike. Finally, I suggested using the original TOS score and Kurtzman came up with the vision of 1960s era transitions which our VFX team then created. This is what I love about my job – the incredible collaboration that leads to some really great and creative storytelling.
A closer look at Talosian makeup
Makeup designer James MacKinnon shared images on Instagram of him and his team doing the makeup for the updated Talosians.
View this post on Instagram
I have to pinch myself every week after watching Star Trek: Discovery. It’s so cool to be part of a show that celebrates what I do for a living. Each week we on top of our regulars we also see new aliens, and incredible reimagined works of the iconic Star Trek makeups that I grew up admiring; makeups that make me the artist I am today! PLUS the work it takes to make all prosthetics at @glenn_hetrick_ Alchemy FX Studios @nevillepage designs… and all the craftspeople it takes each week to get the pieces to us up in Toronto. My set team @mthreefx @versionsofu @nixiepixie13 @chrisbridgesv1.0 (to name a few) deserve a huge congratulations! Well done team!! . Oh and wait there’s more ….. tune into next weeks episode on #cbsallaccess and see! . . . . #makeup #aliens #talosians #makeupartist #prosthetics #Prostheticmakeup #makeupfx #makeupfxartist #creatures #depthead #local_706 #local798 #startrekdiscovery #jamesmackinnon #specialmakeupeffects #space #artists #emmynominated #fxmakeup #startrek #startrekdiscovery #discovery #startrekmakeup #startrekprosthetics #hairandmakeupawards #startreknetflix @actordougjones #2019emmys #deptheadprosthetics #space #discovery #emmys #emmyawards
Cast do Q&A
CBS has also released a couple of videos on Twitter with Anson Mount, Sonequa Martin-Green and Ethan Peck talking Discovery. In this first one, Peck answers a question from a fan about what he takes from Leonard Nimoy’s Spock.
— Star Trek: Discovery (@startrekcbs) March 9, 2019
And Sonequa revealed why Burnham and Tilly are still roomies.
— Star Trek: Discovery (@startrekcbs) March 11, 2019
Sulu approves of new Spock
One last fun thing: Original Star Trek actor George Takei has weighed in on Ethan Peck as Spock on Twitter.
The new Spock on Discovery, Ethan Peck, is quite sexy.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) March 9, 2019
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.