Spock’s family grows

First in a series.

By Fleet Capt. Dave Mason
SAN DIEGO — Who knew? Spock has a sister.
The star of “Star Trek: Discovery” discussed that revelation July 22 at Comic-Con International.
“I was raised on Vulcan by Sarek and Amanda,” said Sonequa Martin-Green about her human character, Lt. Cmdr. Michael Burnham, on “Star Trek: Discovery.” The star of the series and other actors and producers talked to a few thousand, cheering fans during a San Diego Convention Center panel.

Set 10 years before Capt. Kirk and company, “Star Trek: Discovery” premieres Sept. 24 with its first episode on CBS and subsequent stories streaming on CBS All Access.

On the show, Spock’s parents raised Michael, a human who graduated from the Vulcan Science Academy before joining Starfleet. Martin-Green called Sarek her character’s “surrogate dad.” She is Spock’s adoptive sister.
As Michael moves ahead in her Starfleet career, Sarek arranges for Capt. Georgiou  (Michelle Yoeh) to guide her.
“I grow tremendously under her tutelage. We are in a very close relationship, similar to mother and daughter,” Martin-Green said.

James Frain talked about playing Sarek, first played by Mark Lenard in the original “Star Trek” series and movies, then by Ben Cross in the 2009 “Star Trek” reboot.
“Well, it’s an exploration of who he was when he was younger. We know where he ends up,” Frain said. “One of the things that was always fascinating is that he married a human, and that was Spock’s back story. Who was this person?
“He’s a mentor to Michael and has taken her under her wings. He has a fully human child to raise,” Frain said. “I find him endlessly fascinating and complex.”
“The whole Vulcan ideal is something they evolved over centuries. The reality is they still have emotions and they have to cope with these emotions. There’s a real struggle that goes on inside Sarek because he has brought a human (wife) into his life and he has a half-human child and a full human child, which is very challenging to him.”
Fans, though, haven’t always responded well to sudden changes in canon, and “Star Trek” episodes and movies never mentioned Spock having a sister.
“I imagine some brains are exploding because Spock has a human sibling that was not mentioned in the beginning,” said Rainn Wilson, the panel moderator who has a recurring role on “Discovery” as conman Harry Mudd.
Next week: “Star Trek: Discovery” embraces diversity, a “Star Trek” tradition, with the first openly gay character in the TV franchise’s history. And a producer explains about meeting the challenge of a creating a prequel to the original series, filmed in the 1960s, with 21st-century sets and effects.

Sonequa Martin-Green tells Comic-Con International fans about the history of her character, Lt. Cmdr. Michael Burnham, on “Star Trek: Discovery.” She’s Spock’s sister!

Dave Mason

Commanding Officer, USS Angeles NCC-71840