1. Spock – Leonard Nimoy/Ethan Peck
It’s ironic that the number one spot on this list goes to the only legacy character where Strange New Worlds decided to take them in another direction, changing the canon and the very nature of the Character. The other characters who they changed got personality tweaks but nothing about them challenges canon.
Especially in season 2, Strange New Worlds has been an origin story for Spock, explaining why he is the way he in The Original Series. Thus, we get a more emotional Spock, more cognizant of his human side. It will be interesting to find out how and why that changes, though the way his relationship with Nurse Chapel is going, I think we’re starting to understand why a life with no emotions might appeal to him.
It’s a new dimension to the character, and it wouldn’t work if we couldn’t see a connection between this Spock and Leonard Nimoy’s. It feels believable that Peck’s Spock will be Nimoy’s Spock in about ten years’ time. If Ethan Peck didn’t have that old Leonard Nimoy Spock vibe, we’d just see two characters with the same name and costume but with different personalities.
What’s incredible about Ethan Peck’s portrayal of Spock is that it’s not simply a straightforward impersonation of Nimoy. Nimoy had an indelible warmth about him that undercut his emotionlessness. We didn’t see much of Spock’s human side in TOS, but that didn’t feel like a plot hole, because that warmth felt human and familiar. Spock had a humanism (for want of a better word) to him, which is what fans responded to, making Star Trek what it is today. Spock’s kind humanist philosophy and respect for all life forms defined the Federation as the utopian organization that makes Star Trek a beacon of hope to this day. And seeing a character who processes emotions differently from the rest was also very meaningful to a certain subset of the audience.
Peck has that same indelible warmth to him. It’s a rare quality, and it’s much more impactful than a look-a-like or impersonator could ever be.