Star Trek: Strange New Worlds can right one of the franchise’s biggest wrongs by revisiting Sybok, Spock’s half-brother introduced in Star Trek V.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2 can fix one of the franchise’s biggest mistakes by revisiting Sybok, Spock’s half-brother who was introduced in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Played by noted stage actor Laurence Luckinbill, Sybok was a Vulcan revolutionary, rejecting the teachings of logic in favor of embracing emotion. He was exiled from Vulcan and never mentioned by Spock before the events of The Final Frontier.
Sybok had enhanced telepathic abilities that he could have used to force people to relive traumatic events, ostensibly to relieve them of their pain. In actuality, Sybok used these powers to recruit followers on his quest to find Sha Ka Ree, a location from Vulcan mythology where all of existence was said to have begun. Sybok was able to convert most of Kirk’s crew to his cause and commandeered the USS Enterprise-A before he eventually realized he was pursuing a false god. Sybok sacrificed himself to save Star Trek‘s Spock and his friends from the malevolent alien entity.
Star Trek V Let Down Sybok
Luckinbill’s performance as Sybok is one of the few positive takeaways from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Directed by William Shatner, the film endured a troubled production from the start. Upon release, the film was a critical and commercial bomb, very nearly ending the TOS film franchise on a decidedly sour note. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was never shy with his criticisms of the movie franchise, but he was unusually vocal in his disdain for The Final Frontier, even suggesting aspects of it were apocryphal.
The film’s shoddy overall quality is a shame, because Sybok is a genuinely interesting character played with messianic charm by Luckinbill. The relationship between Spock and Sybok is the movie’s most intriguing subplot, one that the film would have been smart to concentrate on more than it did. There isn’t much worth salvaging from The Final Frontier, but Sybok is a clearly missed opportunity.
Strange New Worlds Already Teased A Better Sybok Story
The action-packed Strange New Worlds season 1 episode “The Serene Squall” set the stage for Sybok’s return in an unexpected way. A group of pirates led by the duplicitous Captain Angel take control of the Enterprise, with only Spock and Nurse Christine Chapel escaping capture. Captain Angel demands the release of their romantic partner, a resident of a Vulcan rehabilitation center named Xaverius.
Spock manages to outmaneuver Angel, who escapes the Enterprise at the last second. Through a handful of context clues, Spock is able to determine Xaverius is an alias for Sybok. How Sybok factors into the future of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is yet to be revealed, but the character is in much safer hands now and could potentially be redeemed three decades after his debut story crashed and burned.