Wednesday, January 18, 2017

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY Casts James Frain as Sarek

I hope this doesn't mean Sarek is going to be a villain...because James Frain.

Deadline has word that the upcoming CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery has cast James Frain as Spock's father, Sarek.  

Frain, 48, has appeared in numerous comics, science fiction and horror projects, including the television series Gotham (as Azrael/Theo Galavan), Orphan Black (as Ferdinand), Agent Carter (as Leet Brannis), Intruders, Sleepy Hollow, Grimm, The Cape, True Blood (as Franklin Mott), FlashForward, Fringe, Invasion, and Threshold.  He was also featured on the Showtime series The Tudors as Thomas Cromwell, and appeared in the films Tron: Legacy, The Lone Ranger (2013), and Water for Elephants.

Set roughly a decade before the events of the original Star Trek series, the series follows the crew of the USS Discovery as they discover new worlds and civilizations, while exploring the franchise's signature contemporary themes.  The season-long storyline will revolve around "an incident and an event in Star Trek history that's been talked about but never been explored."

In addition, the article notes that there may be a delay with the series premiere, with a statement from CBS saying "Production on Star Trek: Discovery begins next week.  We love the cast, the scripts and are excited about the world the producers have created.  This is an ambitious project; we will be flexible on a launch date if it’s best for the show.  We’ve said from the beginning it’s more important to do this right than to do it fast.  There is also added flexibility presenting on CBS All Access, which isn’t beholden to seasonal premieres or launch windows."

Created in 1967 by D.C. Fontana, Sarek first appeared in the original Star Trek series episode "Journey to Babel" as the Vulcan ambassador to the United Federation of Planets, father of Spock, and husband of Amanda Grayson.  Born in 2165, Sarek is the son of Skon of Vulcan.  Sarek was married twice, and had two sons. Prior to his first marriage, he had a relationship with the Vulcan priestess, T'Rei, which produced Sarek's first son Sybok, a character not developed until the film Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.  Sarek later married Amanda Grayson, a native of the planet Earth.  After Amanda's death, Sarek married Perrin, another human, who survived his death.  Sarek and Perrin had no children.

Sarek's second son, Spock, entered Starfleet Academy. Sarek opposed the decision, and the two were estranged for 18 years.  Following an Enterprise mission where Spock helped save Sarek's life, the two reconciled.

In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Sarek", Sarek suffered from Bendii Syndrome, an incurable and terminal neurological degenerative illness that made him lose control of his emotions.  Having established a mind-meld with Jean-Luc Picard, Sarek was able to continue with an important diplomatic mission, but his emotions were expressed privately through Picard, among them his deep love for Amanda, Spock, and Perrin.  Sarek finally succumbed to Bendii Syndrome, dying in the Next Generation episode "Unification, Part I", which was set in the year 2368.

An alternate timeline version of Sarek appeared in the 2009 Star Trek film. Despite being respectful of Spock's ability to make his own choices as a boy, Sarek encouraged him to maintain his logical Vulcan nature.  Sarek maintained that he married Amanda because it was logical to do so, since as the Vulcan ambassador, it would fall upon Sarek to observe human behavior.  Sarek served on the board of the Vulcan Science Academy, and was surprised to learn that his son turned down admission in favor of joining Starfleet.

An insane Romulan captain, Nero, later made his intention to destroy Vulcan, and Spock arrived to transport Sarek, Amanda, and the rest of the Vulcan elders to safety, but Amanda was lost in the attempt.  After Kirk provoked Spock to force him to relinquish command, only Sarek's stern voice calmed the enraged half-Vulcan.  Sarek advised Spock that if he felt anger (at Vulcan's destruction and Amanda's death), then he should not try to hide it.

Frain will be the third actor to portray Sarek in live-action, after Mark Lenard in the television series Star Trek, Star Trek: The Animated Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the films Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; and Ben Cross in the 2009 film Star Trek.

Star Trek: Discovery is currently scheduled to debut on CBS in May 2017, with the remainder of the episodes airing on CBS All Access.

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