Spock’s dad has a surprisingly major role in Star Trek: Discovery. The main character, Starfleet officer Michael Burnham, lost her parents at a young age and was raised in the Vulcan tradition by Spock’s parents.
James Frain plays Spock’s father, the Vulcan diplomat Sarek. He appears prominently in the trailers, depicted as one of Burnham’s key mentors. Presumably, his human wife Amanda Grayson was involved as well, but where is she?
Amanda Grayson first appeared in the Original Series episode “Journey to Babel” as a cheerful and charming counterpoint to Sarek’s stern Vulcan nature. Played by Winona Ryder in the 2009 reboot movie, she was killed off halfway through—another casualty of Hollywood’s obsession with dead moms and distant dads. In a similar vein, plans for the next Star Trek movie suggest the return of Kirk’s dad, ignoring his mother entirely. So, there’s reason to be worried that Discovery might sideline Amanda Grayson in favor of more paternal tension with Sarek.
Fortunately, it sounds like that won’t happen. Discovery‘s creator Bryan Fuller said last year that he wanted to include Grayson, and while he was replaced by new showrunners, Grayson is still part of the story. She just isn’t in the trailers because they only include footage from the first few episodes.
At Comic-Con, James Frain said he’d just filmed an episode with Amanda Grayson. “In the last episode I shot, she had just been introduced,” he told TV Guide. “So I’m pretty sure we’re going to be finding out about that. But I haven’t read the last five episodes.”
Intriguingly, CBS hasn’t revealed who plays Amanda Grayson. Could it be someone famous, or are we massively overthinking a simple casting announcement? (Probably the latter.) Whoever it is, this highlights how little we know actually about Discovery. Unlike the episodic nature of most Trek shows, Discovery is highly serialized and may involve a more changeable cast. Even if we haven’t seen anything from Amanda Grayson yet, Sarek’s role suggests she’ll appear more in later episodes.