Star Trek has a lot of iconic characters, but likely none is more instantly recognizable than Spock. As played in The Original Series (and subsequent films, then reboots) by Leonard Nimoy, the Vulcan science officer was defined by his studied emotionless, dedication to Starfleet protocol, and straight cut bangs. The character has been played by Zachary Quinto since the 2009 J.J. Abrams-led reboot films (or Kelvin timeline, if you’re nasty), and actor Ethan Peck took on the role in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery. The appearance of Ethan Peck as Spock, Anson Mount as Christopher Pike, and Rebecca Romijn as Number One/Una Chin-Riley turned out to be a backdoor opportunity for a new show, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which will chronicle the adventures of the U.S.S. Enterprise prior to the arrival of James T. Kirk in The Original Series. And apparently, a lot of thought went into how Spock’s hair should look. Take a look at the difference between the original flavor Nimoy Spock and the current Ethan Peck variant:
As we can see, the Ethan Peck Spock of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will now have higher bangs than the traditional Leonard Nimoy Caesar-cut fringe. As co-star Rebecca Romijn apparently likes to call them, Ethan Peck Spock has baby bangs. It also looks like the newest version of Spock also has even more stylized pointed sideburns than Leonard Nimoy, but perhaps that is part of the gradual characterization we will see over the course of Strange New Worlds. If there is a subplot on the upcoming Paramount+ show that sees Spock gradually deciding to let his hairstyle be a little less fussily presented, and that when James T. Kirk eventually arrives, he has the classic sideburns, well, you heard it here first.
In several interviews in preparation for the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds upcoming release, Ethan Peck has stressed some of the differences between his version of the character and Leonard Nimoy’s original take. As you can imagine, he has been asked about the hair. Here is what Peck said to TVLine:
There was a lot of deliberation over how they should look [and] how long they should be, and that was largely decided by our hair and makeup team with some input from me…Mostly, I think it was like: What’s the impression that we have of the original Spock? Let’s not copy it because I can’t really be Leonard Nimoy. I’m not Leonard Nimoy.
Peck also has had some thoughts on the essential differences between the original Star Trek actor and himself. Notably, he has spoken about what a different place he is in his life than the older Leonard Nimoy was at the times when they were playing Spock:
Understanding where he’s from, he had a family at the time that he was working. I think he was 33, 34, [and] 35 when he was filming the first seasons of the original series, and he was in a very different stage of development in his life. I mean, I’m the same age, and I’m not married, I don’t have children. I don’t know if that says something about me or about the times, as it were, but yeah, as much as I can know is helpful.
It actually makes a pretty decent amount of sense for Star Trek to cast a younger and less experienced actor to play the younger version of Spock. By the time the character was portrayed in The Original Series, he was generally supposed to be an experienced officer and the coldly logical counterpart to James T. Kirk’s raging id (presumably Dr. McCoy’s perpetual grumpiness was the third part of the equation). Presumably, Ethan Peck’s adventures in the wilderness of space as the younger Spock under the command of Christopher Pike will turn him into the grave and calm version we know and love. We will just have to see what happens with his hair between now and then.