Spock in "Where No Man Has Gone Before"

The beloved half-human/half-Vulcan Mr. Spock will appear in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery, but perhaps not exactly how fans might expect. Famed Star Trek: The Next Generation actor and director — Jonathan Frakes — revealed this weekend that Spock will be “seen in flashbacks,” in the second season of Discovery.

On Saturday, speaking at the El Paso Comic Con, in El Paso, Texas, Frakes told Trek expert and fan Justin Oser that he’ll be back to direct two episodes of Discovery in season 2. Earlier this year, Frakes directed the epic mid-season premiere which brought Star Trek: Discovery into the Mirror Universe. And now, he’s confirmed that in addition to Captain Pike, Spock will indeed show up in this new season, but that it will likely be in flashbacks with a young Michael Burnham. So this means, we could potentially see what it was like when Spock and Burnham grew up together, a fact which was mentioned several times in the first season of Discovery.

This statement from Frakes seems to indicate that Spock won’t appear in the “present” of Discovery, which is actually the past of the original series. At this point in the Star Trek timeline, Discovery is in the year 2257, which has essentially created a blank slate for the show to do whatever it wants with both Pike and Spock. Because the events of the original series still don’t happen until 2265 or 2265, there’s a lot of wiggle room for how Spock and Pike are depicted. Plus, if Spock only appears in flashback, there’s even more wiggle room.

The question is now, how will Spock appear in flashbacks from a technical standpoint? Will Discovery do a de-aged digital Leonard Nimoy? Will Zachary Quinto make a comeback? Or, if Spock and Burnham are still children in these flashbacks, will Spock, in fact, be totally recast? We’ve already seen Burnham as a child, played brilliantly by Arista Arhin in season 1. Now, it seems possible she’ll be back for season 2.

Star Trek: Discovery season 2 is currently filming in Toronto. It is rumored to debut either in the Fall of 2018, or early 2019.

Photos via CBS