Continuing a series of essays about Star Trek in honor of Discovery’s return this month.
One of the fanboy outcries about Star Trek Discovery relates to series lead Michael Burnham being the hitherto unmentioned sibling of Spock.
“We have never heard of Spock having a human adopted sister before!” goes the cry. “This violates canon! There is no precedent for this!”
An outrage, for certain.
Just like in the second pilot of The Original Series, when it was revealed that Spock had a female ancestor of human descent. But a few episodes later, we found out it wasn’t an ancestor, it was his mother! There, he and Scotty spoke of Spock’s parents in the past tense.
SPOCK: “I regret not having learned more about this Balok. In some manner, he was reminiscent of my father.”
SCOTTY: “Then may heaven have helped your mother.”
SPOCK: “Quite the contrary. She considered herself a very fortunate Earth woman.“
Or in 1967, when Spock’s parents, Sarek and Amanda, were shown alive and well—implying that rather than having passed away happily married, she NO LONGER considered herself very fortunate to be married to Sarek. Also, young Spock had a pet when growing up that his mother equated to a teddy bear—although Spock did clarify (thanks, Jim Espo):
SPOCK: “On Vulcan the ‘teddy bears’ are alive, and they have six-inch fangs.”
And in 1973, when we found out that Spock’s father Sarek had a cousin named Selek that was actually a time-traveling Spock! And Spock’s living teddy bear? It was actually more of a man-bear-pig… with one six-inch fang and one three-inch half job one.
Or in 1981, when we found out that Spock, Sarek, and Amanda had raised and sponsored a half Vulcan half Romulan orphan girl named Saavik from the Original Series times to the Wrath of Khan (It might not be in the final film, but Saavik’s backstory was in the script, scenes explaining it were shot but cut for pacing, and it was all detailed in the novelization)!
And in 1989 when we found out Spock had a half-brother from Sarek’s previous marriage!
.KIRK: “He’s your ‘brother’ brother? You made that up.”
SPOCK: “I did not.”
KIRK: “You did, too. Sybok couldn’t possibly be your brother because I happen to know for a fact that you don’t have a brother.”
SPOCK: “Technically, you are correct. I do not have a brother. I have a half-brother.”
What? Sarek was married before Amanda? To a Vulcan Princess, no less! The outrage! Nevermind that he is married to another human woman named Perrin 100 years later, this is about the 23rd Century, not the 24th.
What did Spock say when he was asked why he never divulged any of this before?
SPOCK: “I was not disposed to discuss matters of a personal nature. …For that, I am sorry.”
KIRK: “He’s sorry. See? He’s sorry. That makes everything all right.”
I mean, those things were all established previously in the pilot episode of the Original Series, right?
…I guess the Sareks just like to take in strays.
Spock is sorry.
Andrew E.C. Gaska
Missing from this family pic—Baby Saavik. Put some pants on, Kid-Spock—you are embarrassing your creepy-faced stepbrother and ‘not sure if want’-faced adopted sister. Also, your teddy man bear pig is high again.
Parody image created by Jonathan Lane at fanfilmfactor.com