Leonard Nimoy Was A Constant Presence For Ethan Peck During Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Recasting a world-famous and widely influential role is never a simple task, no matter how obvious or easy a perfectly-cast actor may make it seem in retrospect. "Star Trek" has had great success (and luck!) in this department over the years, most famously with Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, and the rest of the cast put together by J.J. Abrams for the recent reboot trilogy. Those movies had an easier time justifying such a wholesale recast, however, thanks to the timeline shenanigans that allowed the 2009 film to serve as a reboot, a prequel, and even a quasi-sequel all at the same time. The presence of Leonard Nimoy's older Spock in the first two movies (along with the touching way that "Star Trek Beyond" incorporated the legendary actor's passing into the plot) helped ease the transition even more.

"Star Trek: Discovery" had no such safety net when the writers decided to set the new series just before the events of "The Original Series" and then brought in Captain Pike, Spock, and Number One during the show's second season. Not only did that risk pay off when viewers immediately embraced Anson Mount, Ethan Peck, and Rebecca Romijn as the new version of the trio, but that eventually led to the creation of their very own spin-off, "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds."

Perhaps nobody in the cast faced more pressure than Peck in terms of living up to the standard left by Nimoy. With "Strange New Worlds" currently airing new episodes on a weekly basis, viewers can practically see the actor growing more and more comfortable in the role. To no great surprise, achieving the balance of channeling Nimoy while bringing his own take to the character was difficult ... but Peck had some help from Nimoy himself.

'The custodian of this character'

When is it ever a good thing to hear voices in your head? Probably when you're an actor tasked with the impossible: stepping into Leonard Nimoy's shoes as the pointy-eared Spock. In an interview with /Film, Ethan Peck once stated that, "...I feel like [Leonard Nimoy's] voice is so inculcated in my mind and my performance when I'm preparing for this. So I feel like I check in still with that voice." While he didn't quite mean that literally, the point is well-taken. Every choice he makes, every raise of his eyebrow or modulation of his voice, comes filtered through the perspective of how his predecessor would've done so.

In a press conference ahead of the premiere of "Strange New Worlds" (via TrekMovie), the actor once again referenced that voice when talking about the challenges inherent in embodying Spock:

"I think I'm more comfortable at this point in time with the onus of being the custodian of this character. But I still read things in scripts that I get, and I'm like, 'I have no idea how I'm going do this, or how it will be true to Spock.'"
"...Constantly I'm revisiting — I say sort of crazily — literally Leonard Nimoy's voice in my head when I'm doing a lot of these scenes. Does this sound right? Does it feel right? I am constantly in with, 'I hope this is in the spirit of his Spock' and am channeling it as well. And then there are things that are written for my iteration of Spock that has not been written before. And that is my privilege as an actor, and as this Spock."

Peck can rest assured that he's done right by Leonard Nimoy in bringing to life the one and only Spock.