Why Star Trek's Spock Was Supposed To Look Different

Spock, first portrayed on "Star Trek" by Leonard Nimoy, is one of the most iconic characters in the history of science fiction. As any Trekkie will enthusiastically gush (per Heavy), he is a real series stalwart of "Star Trek," making his debut in "Man Trap," the first ever episode of "Star Trek: The Original Series." A crucial member of the Enterprise crew, this calm, collected, and logical part-Vulcan learned from the human crew just as they learned from him.

According to the BBC, Nimoy himself had the fantastic idea of Spock's trademark ear shape, which would go on to become synonymous with the character. As familiar as the chief science officer's look is (whether you've seen "Star Trek" or not), here's something that may come as a shock: Spock was originally intended to look very different.

Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the show, reportedly had a unique vision for the character, some elements of which just wouldn't have translated very well to the screen. Most notably, according to Comic Book Resources (CBR), the enigmatic officer was intended to have red (or at least red-tinged) skin. This, reportedly, would have served the dual purpose of reflecting Spock's intended past — he would have been from Mars, rather than the planet Vulcan — and highlighting his difference from, but also his shared bond with, the rest of the Enterprise crew.

Spock would have had red skin and absorbed energy

This outlandish idea had to be abandoned, because the televisions of the time would not have been able to do it justice. As the Los Angeles Times reports, "Star Trek" was first taking shape during the 1960s, a time when color televisions were still something of a novelty.Per Science + Media Museum, color television was a tricky, expensive technology. In the United Kingdom, for instance, black-and-white televisions continued to be more popular than color sets until 1976. In a 2000 interview for the Archive of American Television Project (per the Los Angeles Times), Nimoy pointed out that his red makeup would have appeared "black on a black-and-white set," and so it was not to be.

Red Shirts Always Die states that other dramatic design decisions were considered and ultimately rejected for Spock. He would have been played by a person smaller than the rest of the cast, further differentiating him, and he was also intended to have a plate-metal stomach of sorts that would see him imbibing energy instead of eating or drinking. The now-defunct Star Trek History website also found some obscure concept art (via CBR) revealing that Spock was intended to wear a skull cap.

It's fascinating to think just how different this beloved character was planned to be, compared to the Spock beloved by popular culture.