Ethan Peck debuted in the role of Mr. Spock in Star Trek: Discovery Season 2. Peck’s Spock looked different from Leonard Nimoy’s original or Zachary Quinto’s Kelvin Timeline version of the character. Peck’s Spock had a full beard when he first appeared onscreen. A new Star Trek: Discovery novel reveals how Spock came to grow the beard.
The presence of the Enterprise in the second season of Discovery raised the question of its whereabouts during the show’s first season. The novel Star Trek: Discovery: The Enterprise War by John Jackson Miller provides an answer. The Enterprise was on a mission to explore the Pergamum Nebula, a region of space notorious for being difficult to navigate.
Capt. Pike tried to take the Enterprise out of the nebula to join the war effort against the Klingons. Starfleet ordered him to continue his mission in the Pergamum. This suited Spock fine as he was eager to explore a certain planet within the nebula anyway. While on the planet, the Enterprise and its crew came under attack by a faction known as the Boundless. Spock was one of a group of Starfleet officers captured and forced into fighting for the Boundless in their war against the alien species called the Rengru.
The Boundless were so dedicated to their fight against the Rengru that they wore their battle armor almost always. For those forced into the fight, such as the Starfleet officers, the armor was a prison they were unable to escape. If they refused to fight, a member of the Boundless could remote control their armor.
The armor took care of all it's pilot’s basic physical needs. It did little for anything not related to the soldier’s ability to fight and kill Rengru. As such, Starfleet officers stuck in Boundless armor didn’t have much time for personal hygiene. That meant no shaving for the entire year that the Enterprise crew spent in the Pergamum before returning to Federation space.
Most Starfleet officers were eager to clean themselves up after reuniting with Enterprise, Spock had a unique journey. He became stranded by himself on a world he dubbed Skon’s World. It was on this snowy planet that he saw the Red Angel for the first time since he was a child, as recounted in the Star Trek: Discovery episode “If Memory Serves.” His encounter with the Red Angel and the vision of the future he received damaged Spock’s mental state. He took leave from Enterprise and sought help at a mental health facility, as told in Discovery.
The book describes Spock as being almost non-functional after his encounter with the Red Angel on Skon’s World. He doesn’t regain his senses until he returns to Talos IV with Michael Burnham in “If Memory Serves.” Giving himself a clean shave wasn’t on the forefront of his mind during that period of time. Thus, he kept the beard until after the threat of Control was neutralized by Michael Burnham and Discovery's jump into the future. Then, feeling himself once again, he shaves and returns to his duties aboard the Enterprise.
What do you think of this explanation for Spock’s beard? Let us know in the comments. Star Trek: Discovery: The Enterprise War is on sale now.