Ethan Peck knows a lot about stepping into big shoes. When the actor came onboard the U.S.S. Discovery in season two of Star Trek: Discovery, he became the third actor to portray Mr. Spock (not counting the various baby Spocks seen in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and 2009’s Star Trek). But before boldly going into space, he almost took a role even older and more distinguished than the Federation’s most beloved Vulcan, that of the Sentinel of Liberty.
Speaking to attendees at DragonCon in Atlanta, Peck revealed that he had been among “a smaller few” Kevin Feige considered for Captain America. Given that the role went to established actor Chris Evans, and that the most well-known almost-Cap was The Office romantic lead John Krasinski, it might come as a surprise that Marvel would look at Peck. After all, before becoming Spock, Peck’s most prominent role was in the TV series based on the movie 10 Things I Hate About You. But as the grandson of legendary To Kill a Mockingbird‘s Gregory Peck, the actor brought pedigree that earned consideration.
According to The Direct, Peck nearly became another superhero, one very different from Captain America. “I came pretty close to the role of The Deep in The Boys,” Peck told the crowd, referring to a part that ultimately went to Chace Crawford. And after some of the more shocking scenes in the season three episode “Herogasm,” it’s hard to picture anyone else in the part.
It’s hard to argue that things have gone badly for Peck. So successful were he and co-star Anson Mount, who also debuted in Discovery as original Enterprise captain Christopher Pike, that they spun off into Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Even with only one season down, Strange New Worlds has proven to be a fan favorite, thanks in large part to its mix of classic Trek hijinks and compelling character work. Peck’s measured performance is part of that appeal, as his younger Spock struggles with emotions, is given to fewer outbursts than his immediate predecessor Zachary Quinto in the J.J. Abrams reboots, but is not quite as solemn as originator Leonard Nimoy often was.
Star Trek stories have even given fans a peek at Peck in superhero (or supervillain) mode, most notably the Strange New Worlds episode “The Elysian Kingdom,” which finds Spock transformed into a rogue wizard in an alien being’s fairy tale. Furthermore, Peck played Spock as mentally unstable in his first Discovery performances, fighting against a larger force.
While he may have missed out on the chance to fight baddies all day or romance an octopus, don’t be surprised if Peck one day joins the world of superheroes. With the MCU continuing to expand and DC likely headed for a reboot, the demand for actors to put on capes and tights only grows. And given the popularity of Strange New Worlds, Peck and other spacefaring stars could easily make the tradition to the other genre, carrying their popularity with them. The role may not come with a star-spangled shield or gills, but it likely won’t require him to wear pointy ears anymore.