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Memory Alpha
Multiple realities
(covers information from several alternate timelines)

For the TNG episode of the same name, please see "Sarek".
For the alternate reality counterpart, please see Sarek (alternate reality).
For the mirror universe counterpart, please see Sarek (mirror).
For additional meanings of "Sarek", please see Sarek.
"He was a great representative of the Vulcan people and of the Federation."
– Spock, 2368 ("Unification II")

Sarek was a male Vulcan from the planet Vulcan. He spent most of his life in service of the Vulcan people, as an ambassador and representative on the Federation Council. He was also well known as the father of noted Starfleet officer (and fellow diplomat) Spock, the foster father of the first Starfleet mutineer Michael Burnham, and the former husband of the Earth woman Amanda Grayson. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello", "Battle at the Binary Stars", "Lethe"; TOS: "Journey to Babel"; TAS: "Yesteryear"; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; TNG: "Sarek", "Unification I")


The son of Skon, Sarek was born in 2165 and was willingly tutored by his own father. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; TNG: "Sarek"; TOS: "Journey to Babel") He had a pet sehlat named I-Chaya. (TAS: "Yesteryear")

Sarek's first child, Sybok, was conceived out of wedlock with a Vulcan princess. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; SNW: "The Serene Squall")

Later, Sarek, while serving as ambassador to Earth, wed a Human named Amanda Grayson in the late 2220s. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; TOS: "Journey to Babel"; TAS: "Yesteryear") A later recollection of Sarek's was that he had married her because, "at the time, it seemed the logical thing to do," but in actuality he loved her. (TOS: "Journey to Babel"; Star Trek)

A line in an early draft of the script for TOS: "Journey to Babel" suggested that Sarek and Grayson were married in 2229. (Star Trek Chronology, 2nd ed., p. 28

Sarek and Spock, The Final Frontier

Sarek, holding his newborn son Spock in 2230, in a vision created by Sybok

Three years after their marriage, in 2230, the two were in the city of ShiKahr where Amanda gave birth to Sarek's second son, Spock. (TOS: "Journey to Babel"; TAS: "Yesteryear") In a vision, created by Sybok to manipulate Spock, upon first holding him, Sarek remarked that the newborn Spock was "so Human." (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) Sarek passed his pet sehlat I-Chaya on to Spock, and raised him and Sybok as brothers. (TAS: "Yesteryear"; Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

Sarek, 2237

Sarek in 2237

In 2237, when Spock was aged seven, Sarek was involved in arranging for him to wed T'Pring, later in life. (TOS: "Amok Time") Sarek also gave Spock his first lesson in computers. (TOS: "Journey to Babel") However, as a seven-year-old, Spock was occasionally bullied by Vulcan children who claimed that Sarek had brought shame to Vulcan by marrying a Human. (TAS: "Yesteryear")

In an alternate timeline created by the death of Spock at an early age, Sarek separated from Amanda Grayson, and did not remarry after Grayson died. Also he had been Federation ambassador to seventeen different planets between 2237 and 2269. (TAS: "Yesteryear")

When the Human parents of Michael Burnham were killed by Klingons, Sarek took her as a ward and raised her on Vulcan, where she became the first Human to ever attend the Vulcan Learning Center and the Vulcan Science Academy, the latter of which she entered in 2245. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello", "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry") When Burnham was a child, the Learning Center was bombed by logic extremists and Burnham was rendered medically dead. Sarek came to her rescue and initiated a mind meld with Burnham, in order to revive her. As a result of this, a portion of Sarek's katra remained inside her mind, which later allowed him to communicate with her across interstellar distances. (DIS: "Battle at the Binary Stars", "Lethe")

Sarek and Burnham

Sarek with Michael Burnham on board the USS Shenzhou in 2249

After Burnham's graduation from the Vulcan Science Academy, Sarek was forced to choose between Burnham and Spock on who should join the Vulcan Expeditionary Group. Sarek chose Spock over Burnham for this; he then arranged with Captain Philippa Georgiou of the USS Shenzhou that Burnham would serve on her ship after graduation. In 2249, Sarek transported from Vulcan to the transporter room of the Shenzhou with Michael Burnham, and scolded her for being too rigid, refusing to follow Human niceties by giving her hand to Georgiou; quietly he told Burnham to "behave" just before he departed from the ship. (DIS: "Battle at the Binary Stars", "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry", "Lethe")

However, he later regretted his favor to Spock; the latter decided to apply to Starfleet Academy instead of the Vulcan Science Academy, whereas Sarek wanted Spock to follow his father's teachings, just as he himself had followed the teachings of his own father. In 2250, Sarek broke off his relationship with Spock and, for years to come, the two were estranged. (TOS: "Journey to Babel")

Role in the Federation-Klingon War[]

Right before the Battle of the Binary Stars in 2256, Michael Burnham called Sarek over a subspace channel seeking information about how to handle the Klingons. Sarek narrated to her how the Vulcans had handled them after their first contact in 2016: by firing first, cautioning her this solution was unique to them. Further, he cautioned her from letting the fact that Klingons killed her parents affect her judgement. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello")

During the Federation-Klingon War, Sarek travelled from Vulcan to a secret meeting on Cancri IV with a supposedly dissenting Klingon faction which could end the war. However, his Vulcan cruiser was disabled by the pilot V'Latak, who was actually one of the logic extremists and attempted to assassinate him by turning his own body into a bomb; though Sarek survived, the ship was disabled inside the Yridia Nebula. Gabriel Lorca of the USS Discovery launched an unauthorized rescue mission; Sarek was too injured to continue and Admiral Katrina Cornwell went in his place. However, the meeting was actually a trap orchestrated by Klingon General Kol to capture Sarek, and Cornwell was captured instead. (DIS: "Lethe")

Sarek, 2257

Sarek in 2257

In 2257, after the Discovery returned from the mirror universe, Sarek met the mirror counterpart of Philippa Georgiou, who offered her help with the war. Sarek and Cornwell (who had been liberated from her captors) wished all information regarding the crossover to be buried. He then negotiated with the Federation Council, received approval of Georgiou's plan, and it was decided that they had no choice but to proceed. (DIS: "The War Without, The War Within")

After the end of the war, Sarek, with Amanda, visited Paris for the victory celebrations, where they met with Michael, now reinstated as a commander and appointed science officer of the Discovery. (DIS: "Will You Take My Hand?")

Control crisis[]

After the appearance of the red bursts in 2257, Sarek left the Discovery to return to Vulcan and was assigned to the Federation task force investigating the mysterious signals. (DIS: "Brother")

Sarek in sacred crypt

Sarek confronting his family in the sacred crypt

After discovering Spock had disappeared in that same year, Sarek began to search diligently for him, to no avail. As it turned out, Spock had secretly returned to Vulcan, with Amanda hiding him in a sacred crypt and was shielded from telepathic searches due to the presence of Katra stones. When Burnham returned to Vulcan to join in the search for Spock, Amanda led her in secret to the crypt, but Sarek followed them in secret. Sarek confronted his wife about her deception and was able to convince them that the best course of action was to turn over Spock to Captain Leland. (DIS: "Light and Shadows")

Later that year, when the crew of the Discovery was planning to escape to the future as part of a plot to escape Control, Sarek was able to pinpoint the location of the Discovery using Burnham's katra. There, Sarek and Amanda said their goodbyes to Burnham, expressing their love for each other. Sarek agreed to look out for Spock, albeit from afar, at Burnham's request. Following this farewell, Sarek and Amanda returned to Vulcan. Following the Discovery's nine-century voyage, Sarek swore to never speak of Burnham or the Discovery again, using his status as an ambassador to avoid interrogation. (DIS: "Such Sweet Sorrow", "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2")

Reminisces by Spock[]

In 2266, his estranged son Spock was serving in Starfleet aboard the USS Enterprise. That year he noted Balok as being reminiscent of his father, even stating – at one point early in the first contact between the First Federation and the Enterprise – that he regretted not having learned more about Balok. (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver")

This likeness wasn't stated in the final draft script of "The Corbomite Maneuver" (dated 3 May 1966). In the second revised final draft of that episode's script (dated 20 May 1966), Spock said that what had specifically reminded him of his father had been "some aspects of his [Balok's] face."

While affected by polywater intoxication later that year, Spock remembered that he had respected Sarek and their Vulcan traditions but had been ashamed of his Human blood. (TOS: "The Naked Time")

In 2267, while Captain James T. Kirk was attempting to aggravate Spock by making up false insults, he insisted that Sarek had been "a computer." (TOS: "This Side of Paradise") Later the same year, Spock evoked the authority of his father (as well as their male ancestors), while making an unsuccessful attempt to persuade T'Pau to prevent him battling Kirk in a kal-if-fee. (TOS: "Amok Time")

Coridan involvement and reconciliation[]

Sarek, 2268

Sarek in 2268

Sarek's accomplishments as an ambassador of the Federation included the Coridanite admission debate of 2268 before the Federation Council. Sarek's involvement in the Coridan admission debate included attending multiple council sessions, at least one of which was before the conference on a neutral planet. (TOS: "Journey to Babel")

Shortly before he left Vulcan with his wife and a group of aides, Sarek suffered two heart attacks. He did not inform his wife of these incidents, though his physician prescribed Benjisidrine for the condition. During the council session en route to the Babel Conference Sarek met and debated with Tellarite Ambassador Gav, winning their argument. He did not speak with Spock until Sarek survived a series of heart attacks and surgery, and they talked again only after a transfusion of rare T-negative blood from his son. This event resulted in a brief retirement and a rekindling of their relationship. (TOS: "Journey to Babel") The conference finalized the admittance of Coridan into the Federation. Despite several minor quarrels, Sarek cast the final vote in favor of Coridan's admittance. (TNG: "Sarek")

A scene cut from the final script of "Journey to Babel" established that Sarek was previously an astrophysicist before becoming a diplomat. (Star Trek Compendium, 4th ed., p. 89)

Sarek and Spock remained on good terms as the Klingon détente bloomed in the 2280s. In 2285, Sarek was briefed on Project Genesis and the report from James T. Kirk on the recent activation of the Genesis Device. That year Spock was left for dead on the Genesis Planet after sacrificing his life to save the USS Enterprise. Sarek, believing that Spock had put his katra in Kirk before he died, traveled to Earth to convince him to retrieve his son's body. It turned out it was Leonard McCoy who now possessed Spock's katra. On Vulcan, Sarek pushed for a fal-tor-pan, a fusion of Spock's katra and body; although aware of the dangers and complications of the ritual, Sarek stated that his logic was uncertain where his son was concerned. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

This line of dialogue was originally to have been "My logic fails me where my son is concerned," though "fails me" was ultimately changed to "is uncertain." (Starlog, issue #117, p. 49)

Three months later, Sarek finally apologized to Spock for his original opposition to Spock's decision to join Starfleet, recognizing Spock's friends as people of good character. Sarek attended a meeting of the Federation Council that had put the Enterprise crew under accusation; he witnessed the controversy over the Genesis Device, especially the arguments from them that Kirk be extradited. Sarek defended the Enterprise, accusing the Klingon Ambassador that his navy had attacked the Enterprise, citing Kruge's attack on the USS Grissom and the death of Kirk's son; he was shocked that the ambassador proudly admitted his men indeed did so. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

In 2287, Sybok manipulated the starship USS Enterprise-A and reunited with his brother Spock. He caused an apparition in Spock's mind of his own birth; Spock saw his father holding him, commenting that the baby resembled a Human rather than a Vulcan. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

Later career[]

Among Sarek's later accomplishments were his effort to bring about a Federation-Legaran treaty, which began in 2273, and concluded in 2367, early treaties with the Klingon Empire (Treaty of Alliance), and the Treaty of Alpha Cygnus IX. (TNG: "Sarek")

Sarek, 2293

Sarek in 2293

In 2293, Sarek suggested that Spock initiate negotiations for a proposed Federation-Klingon Alliance with Chancellor Gorkon, hoping to bring together the two lifelong enemies after the destruction of the Klingon moon Praxis. That almost didn't happen, for Gorkon was assassinated. Captain Kirk and Doctor Leonard McCoy were arrested by the Klingons, having been framed for the chancellor's murder. Sarek was present in the Federation President's office when several attempts to stop Kirk and McCoy being tried in Klingon territory were outlined, but he had to concede that the Klingons were within their legal rights and that the Federation could not interfere in their due process. Kirk and McCoy, with Spock's assistance, eventually escaped from imprisonment on Rura Penthe, and they arrived at the Khitomer Conference in time to prevent the assassination of the Federation President. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) Afterwards, Sarek was involved with the Khitomer Accords, and further helped the Federation and Klingon Empire establish their almost one-hundred-year peaceful co-existence. (TNG: "Sarek")

Sometime after the Khitomer Conference, Spock left Starfleet and became an ambassador and representative of the Vulcans to the Federation. The two, however, split again over the Cardassian issue of the 24th century. Sarek was also dismissive of Spock's friendship with Romulan Senator Pardek, who he had met at Khitomer, and the prospects for a lasting Federation-Romulan peace. (TNG: "Unification I") By that time, Amanda had died, and Sarek had married another Human woman, named Perrin. Sarek was present at his son's wedding before they again stopped speaking to each other; it was at that event that Sarek first met Jean-Luc Picard. Soon after, Sarek studied Picard's career, describing his service record as "satisfactory", a choice of words Picard recognized as high praise from a Vulcan when he and Perrin later spoke of it. (TNG: "Sarek")

Later years[]

Sarek and Picard

Picard meeting with Sarek, shortly before his death in 2368

In 2366, Sarek was diagnosed with Bendii Syndrome en route to the Legaran Conference. As his emotional control became very weak, he mind melded with Captain Picard at the suggestion of his wife, Perrin. Sarek was then stable enough to conclude the negotiations for a treaty with the Legarans. He told Picard, "we shall always retain the best part of the other inside us." (TNG: "Sarek")

In 2368, Sarek was visited by Captain Picard. Picard, who had been assigned to investigate Ambassador Spock's disappearance, came to see Sarek and ask if he had any knowledge of a person Spock might contact on Romulus. During their brief conversation, Sarek regained a measure of control over himself and told the captain about Spock's Romulan friend Pardek. Before leaving, Captain Picard gave Sarek the traditional Vulcan salute and the first half of a phrase often accompanying it: "peace and long life." Sarek tried to respond but was overcome by his illness. Shortly thereafter, he died at the age of 203. (TNG: "Unification I")


When meeting with Ambassador Spock on Romulus, Picard learned that Spock and his father had never mind melded, and offered Spock the chance to share what Sarek had shared with him. The meld passed along Sarek's true feelings of love and admiration for his son that he had never allowed himself to convey in life. (TNG: "Unification II")

In 2370, after Julian Bashir told Elim Garak, "Before you can be loyal to another, you must be loyal to yourself," the Cardassian attributed the quote to Sarek, but it was actually Bashir's own. (DS9: "Profit and Loss")

The 24th century starship USS Sarek was presumably named in honor of Ambassador Sarek. (DS9: "Favor the Bold")

Alternate timelines and realities []

In the mirror universe, Sarek was member of a multi-species rebellion against the Terran Empire in 2257. (DIS: "The Wolf Inside")

Sarek following Amanda's death

Sarek in 2258 of the alternate reality.

In an alternate reality created by Nero's incursion, in 2258 Sarek was rescued by Spock when Vulcan was destroyed, but his wife Amanda Grayson was killed. (Star Trek)

Sarek's skull

Sarek's skull in Q's alternate timeline.

In an alternate timeline where Humans ruled the totalitarian Confederation of Earth, Sarek served as director of the Vulcan Science Academy. According to Q, after an encounter with General Jean-Luc Picard, at some point before 2401, Sarek was "decapitated on the steps of the Vulcan Science Academy in front of a crowd that included his wife and son." Q found that to be a "nice touch." Sarek's skull was later mounted on display in General Picard's library at Château Picard. (PIC: "Penance")

Key dates[]

Memorable quotes[]

"Isn't it unusual for a Vulcan to retire at your age? After all, You're only 102."
"102.437 precisely, doctor. Measured in your years. I… had… other concerns."

- McCoy and Sarek, discussing the latter's early retirement (TOS: "Journey to Babel")

"Tellarites do not argue for reasons. They simply argue."

- Sarek, rebuking Gav on his need to know Sarek's vote at the conference (TOS: "Journey to Babel")

"It does not require pride to ask that Spock be given the respect which is his due…not as my son, but as Spock."

- Sarek, to his wife, Amanda, after being accused of having pride in his son, Spock (TOS: "Journey to Babel")

"Threats are illogical. And payment is usually expensive."

- Sarek, after Gav threatens to make him pay for his accusations (TOS: "Journey to Babel")

"Emotional, isn't she?"
"She has always been that way."
"Indeed. Why did you marry her?"
"At the time, it seemed the logical thing to do."

- Spock and Sarek, teasing Amanda about her outburst (TOS: "Journey to Babel")

"What you seek has not been done since ages past, and then only in legend. Your request is not logical."
"Forgive me, T'Lar. My logic is uncertain where my son is concerned."

- T'Lar and Sarek, on the request of fal-tor-pan for Spock (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

"Kirk, I thank you. What you've done is – "
"What I've done, I had to do."
"But at what cost? Your ship. Your son."
"If I hadn't tried, the cost would have been my soul."

- Sarek and Kirk (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

"We demand the extradition of Kirk! We demand justice!"
"Klingon justice is a unique point of view, Mister President."

- Klingon Ambassador and Sarek on Kirk's extradition (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

"Your vessel did destroy USS Grissom. Your men did kill Kirk's son. Do you deny these events?"
"We deny nothing. We have the right to preserve our race!"
"Do you have the right to commit murder?"

- Sarek and Klingon Ambassador, on the deaths of the Grissom crew and David Marcus (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

"Your associates are people of good character."
"They are my friends."

- Sarek and Spock on the Enterprise crew (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

"Do you have a message for your mother?"
"Yes. Tell her I feel fine."

- Sarek and Spock (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

"These walls are too bright!"

- Sarek, on the Legaran's conference room on the Enterprise (TNG: "Sarek")

"I have been accused of many things in my life, never an excess of emotion."

- Sarek on being accused of showing emotions (TNG: "Sarek")

"I saw you crying."
"I did not cry."
"I was there, I saw the tears."
"You exaggerate, captain. I recall only one tear."
"So you were emotionally affected by the music."
"That is not possible."
"You still haven't answered my question, Sarek. Is it logical for a Vulcan to cry?"

- Picard and Sarek on Sarek's "crying" (TNG: "Sarek")

"The Legarans trust only me. They will not meet with any other member of the Federation. I must be allowed to complete my mission. There are no other logical solutions."

- Sarek (TNG: "Sarek")

"I will not be spoken to in such a manner!"
"Do I hear anger in your voice?"
"It would be illogical for a Vulcan to show anger! It would be illogical! Illogical! Illogical! Illogical!"

- Sarek and Picard (TNG: "Sarek")

"A mind-meld can be a terrible intimacy, captain."

- Sarek to Picard (TNG: "Sarek")

"My wife, you will leave me now. I require solitude."

- Sarek, to Perrin (TNG: "Sarek")

"No! It is… it is… wrong. It is wrong! A lifetime of discipline is washed away, and in its place… (laughs briefly then grunts) Bedlam… nothing but bedlam! I am so old! Nothing left but dry bones… and dead friends. Tired. Oh, so tired."

- Sarek, in Picard's mind shortly after the mind meld (TNG: "Sarek")

"I will take my leave of you now, Captain. I do not think we shall meet again."
"I hope you are wrong, Ambassador."
"We shall always retain the best part of the other inside us."
"I believe I have the better part of that bargain, Ambassador. Peace and long life."
"Live long and prosper."

- Sarek and Picard (TNG: "Sarek")

"Sarek, you will listen!"
"Go from me!!"
"Picard is here."
"No more chaos!! No more."
"I will leave you alone with him. He will either acknowledge you, or he won't."

- Perrin and Sarek near his death (TNG: "Unification I")

"Sarek, I have come a long way to see you."
"I will not answer!!"
"I must talk to you about your son."
"I wish no one with me!!"
"About Spock."

- Picard and Sarek (TNG: "Unification I")

"I never knew what Spock was doing. When he was a boy, he would disappear for days into the mountains. I asked him where he had gone, what he had done, he refused to tell me. I insisted that he tell me. He would not. I forbade him to go. He ignored me. I punished him. He endured it, silently. But always he returned to the mountains. One might as well ask the river not to run. But secretly I admired him, the proud core of him that would not yield."

- Sarek, about Spock (TNG: "Unification I")

"Sarek… We're a part of each other. I know that he has caused you pain. But I also know… that you love him."
"Tell him, Picard…"
[Sarek struggles to perform the Vulcan salute. Picard assists him, then returns the hand gesture]
"Peace and long life."
"Live long and… and… Live long and…
[starts sobbing]
Spock… my son…"
"…and prosper."

- Jean-Luc Picard and Sarek's last moments together (TNG: "Unification I")



Background information[]

Identifying actors[]

Sarek was primarily played by Mark Lenard, except in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, where young Sarek was played by Jonathan Simpson, though voiced by Lenard. In a deleted scene from 2009's Star Trek, the character was played by Ben Cross, who played his alternate counterpart in the film. In Star Trek: Discovery, Sarek is portrayed by James Frain.

Casting and first episodes[]

The first canonical evidence of Sarek was a very vague reference in "Where No Man Has Gone Before", an allusion that was specifically Spock mentioning "one of [his] ancestors" who had married a Human female. From then on, Sarek was usually referred to in a more direct fashion, consistently described as Spock's "father" in later episodes of the first season.

A description of Spock in an early-1966 publicity booklet released by NBC (and reprinted in Inside Star Trek: The Real Story) suggested that his father not only was an extraterrestrial who had married a woman from Earth but also was possessed of "a precise, logical turn of mind" which Spock inherited.

During the run of the series, Sarek was referred to in the past tense in all but one episode; in "The Squire of Gothos", Spock tells Trelane, "My father is from the planet Vulcan." Sarek's occupation as an ambassador was first established in "This Side of Paradise", whose teleplay was written by D.C. Fontana. This reference was a prime motive for Fontana later writing "Journey to Babel". (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 2, p. 84) While she did so, Fontana conceived the rift between Sarek and Spock, including it in the episode. (Starlog issue #118, p. 18) It was also in that installment that Sarek was finally named.

Sarek's name was inspired by a memo in which Robert H. Justman proposed to Gene Roddenberry that Vulcan names should be no longer than five letters, begin with "S", and end with "k". (I Am Spock, hardcover ed., pp. 72 & 73)

The script of "Journey to Babel" included the following description of Sarek: "Because of Vulcan longevity, it is impossible to tell Sarek's age. He appears no more than late forties. He is actually one hundred two – middle age for a Vulcan […] Sarek's speech is almost without inflection." (Star Trek Magazine issue 155, p. 40) A scene cut from the same episode's final draft script would have established that Sarek's father was himself a well-renowned Vulcan ambassador, named Shariel. (The Star Trek Compendium, 4th ed., p. 89)

Mark Lenard was cast in the role of Sarek apparently because he had made a good impression with the producers by playing the similarly pointed-eared Romulan commander in "Balance of Terror". (I Am Spock, hardcover ed., p. 71) D.C. Fontana recalled, "When we were casting in second season for 'Journey to Babel' and I was then the story editor and I had written that script, Gene said, 'What do you think about Mark Lenard for Sarek?' and I said, 'Whoopy-do! Let's go!' You know, I was all for it. He was perfect, again." ("Balance of Terror" Starfleet Access, TOS Season 1 Blu-ray) Lenard was forty-three when he was cast for the part in "Journey to Babel". (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, p. 218)

Mark Lenard was artificially aged to play Sarek for the Vulcan's introductory appearance. "In those days," he reflected, "they needed to fix my hair up with a little grey and they put wrinkles around my eyes, and then, of course, the ears." (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home - The Official Poster Magazine, p. 56)

By way of research before playing Sarek, Mark Lenard quizzed Spock actor Leonard Nimoy, shortly after they first met. "Mark was very curious about Vulcans and wanted to know as much as he could about them," Nimoy recalled, "so we discussed this at length on the set." Lenard found it easy to perform the Vulcan salute and helped devise the intimate ritual of Vulcan finger-touching. (I Am Spock, hardcover ed., p. 71) He also developed a large degree of knowledge about the character of Sarek. In a 1987 interview, Lenard mused over Sarek's personality and his reaction to Spock opting to join Starfleet rather than the Vulcan Science Academy, commenting, "Sarek, like many people of strength and societal importance, believes in the superiority of the Vulcan way […] And the fact that Sarek's son, whom he nurtured and taught, the one who expresses the best that is the Vulcan society, should go off and share all this knowledge with others hurt him deeply, I think." (Starlog issue #117, p. 46)

The fan response to Sarek was immediate and, for two weeks after the initial telecast of "Journey to Babel", Mark Lenard's fan mail was even more numerous than that being sent to Leonard Nimoy. (The World of Star Trek, 3rd ed., p. 146) Nimoy himself also approved of how Lenard portrayed Sarek in Star Trek: The Original Series, later stating, "Mark had a real sense of the dignity and authority the character needed." ("To Boldly Go… Season Two", TOS Season 2 DVD & Blu-ray) Nimoy also expressed, "The great dignity that he brought to the role of Sarek earned him a permanent place in the hearts of Star Trek fans." (I Am Spock, hardcover ed., p. 71)

In a deleted scene filmed for "Elaan of Troyius", it was revealed that Sarek was an accomplished musician. He placed first in an all-Vulcan music competition; second place was awarded to Spock. (The Star Trek Compendium, 4th ed., p. 197; [1])

The character of Sarek proved so popular that D.C. Fontana intended to bring him back for the third season, and included the Vulcan ambassador in her original story outline for "The Enterprise Incident". In this version, Sarek was escorted by the Enterprise for a diplomatic mission, and later helped in negotiating with the Romulan commander (who, in this outline, was a male), gaining time for Kirk and McCoy (both being surgically altered to look Romulan) to perform their covert mission. However, comments made by Robert H. Justman regarding the outline made Fontana realize that Sarek didn't serve much purpose in the story, on the contrary, he was taking attention away from the main storyline and the other characters, especially Spock (whose relationship with the commander, soon to be turned female, became a pivotal point in the episode), and was basically there only for "fan service". Hence, Fontana soon eliminated him from the episode. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Three)

Finally, Fontana was able to bring Sarek back for her 1973 Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "Yesteryear". (Star Trek Magazine Special 2015, p. 72) In the script of that installment, Sarek was initially described as "distinguished looking". The same teleplay later characterized him as having a "deceptively quiet, unhurried voice" that Spock "would recognize in an instant anywhere." The "Yesteryear" script went on to further describe Sarek thus; "He is a tall, broadshouldered Vulcan, obviously in physical trim. His sharply planed, strong features and deepset eyes make him attractive." Before Mark Lenard was available for that animated episode, James Doohan recorded the character's lines of dialogue for the installment. It was intended that his voice would serve as Sarek's in the episode, though Lenard's voice was thereafter looped over Doohan's recordings. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 119, p. 78)

Initial film appearances[]

In a story written by Jon Povill and proposed to become the first Star Trek film, a societal upheaval on Vulcan included one of the Vulcans arguing that Sarek should be confined. (Lost Voyages of Trek and The Next Generation, p. 11) Sarek was also to have been mentioned by name during the Kolinahr scene in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and was included in the shooting script for that movie, though not in the film's final version. [2]

Sarek's inclusion in Star Trek III was arranged by Harve Bennett. (Starlog issue #117, p. 49) In an early story outline that Bennett wrote for the film, Sarek was a prime minister on Vulcan during a politically critical situation, as a Vulcan faction had reverted to the primitive behavior of their ancestors. Upon the Enterprise visiting the planet, Sarek rescued a landing party from an attack by the rebellious faction, though his attitude toward the newcomers was somewhat cold and angry. Sarek told Kirk, in the prime minister's quarters, that many Vulcans were unhappy with the Federation having such a powerful weapon as the Genesis Device; though elected prime minister as a peacemaker, Sarek was barely retaining order. It was also at this point, rather than on Earth, that Sarek admonished Kirk for not returning Spock's body to Vulcan and inquired as to how Kirk had known Spock had not been in a transcendental state. Sarek finally instructed Kirk to bring him Spock, and advised the admiral to hope that he would still be there when Spock arrived. [3] Although Sarek additionally appears in the film's conclusion, this was not true of the outline. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 8, p. 30; Trek: The Unauthorized Story of the Movies, p. 84)

Mark Lenard was very happy to reprise his role of Sarek in Star Trek III. He later reminisced, "I was given a wonderful part in the film […] [As director, Leonard Nimoy] really gave me some great opportunities to bring my character to life; I got to play an equal part in giving ideas for Sarek." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 137, p. 48) With Lenard having become a frequent guest at Star Trek conventions by that point, fans rejoiced when he reappeared as Sarek in the movie. (Star Trek Compendium, 4th ed., p. 89)

In reprising the role of Sarek, Lenard explained, "When I came in for the makeup tests for Star Trek III, nobody really knew how to do Sarek's look. They had a few general ideas. I brought a picture in to show them what the hair looked like. The original makeup artists from the TV series are gone; Fred Phillips has retired. We had to dig up 'Journey to Babel' and run it, just to see what the makeup was like, to look at the angle of the eyebrows." Regarding his new look, Lenard continued, "You may have noticed that the ears have changed. They used to be much bigger; now, they're more delicate […] I like the new look. Aesthetically, it fits the face a little better. Also, the movie screen is so much bigger than the TV screen that you can be more delicate, things don't need to be emphasized so much." Finally, Lenard added, "Agewise, I had been made to look older back during 'Babel', but when I came in for tests this time, Leonard Nimoy thought I looked just about right. But then they did the makeup test. Leonard looked as it and said, 'Mark, you look more like my brother than my father!' So, they whitened my hair some more, applied a stronger age makeup – all in the name of fatherhood." (Starlog #86, September 1984)

Spock and Sarek Federation council

Spock and Sarek at the Federation Council in 2286

Sarek's chat with Spock in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was conceived a little differently from how it turned out. In the earliest version of the discussion, Sarek basically admitted that, though he would never understand Spock's half-Human nature, he nonetheless accepted him. "It was originally much more bonding, but they [the producers] removed about half a page of dialogue, which changed things quite a bit," related Steve Meerson, who was originally assigned to co-write the film's script. (The Making of the Trek Films, 3rd UK ed., p. 64)

Sarek was talked about amid a story conference in which William Shatner, Harve Bennett and David Loughery tried to work out the details of the plot for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. At one point, Shatner voiced interest in Sarek's motives for marrying Amanda, following the death of Sybok's mother. Even though Loughery reminded Shatner that this event had been commented on in the series, Loughery did not consider this usable story material for the film, finding it superfluous to the storyline. Despite this, Shatner again briefly mentioned Sarek's relationship with Amanda as a potential element of the movie's backstory. The group briefly contemplated that Sarek may have fathered Sybok during his marriage to Amanda, bearing the child out of wedlock to another woman, but the team then opted for Sybok having been born before Sarek married Amanda. Sarek was also considered as having motivated Sybok's departure from Vulcan, out of fear regarding Sybok's influence on Spock. An alternative to this involved both of Sarek's children choosing to leave but Sarek then confronting Spock with an implied threat that, if Spock did decide to depart, he would be completely disowned by his own father. (Captain's Log: William Shatner's Personal Account of the Making of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, pp. 64 & 65) The film's eventual backstory concerning Sybok and Sarek's relationship with a Vulcan princess has long been considered apocryphal by some sources, which included Gene Roddenberry. (citation needededit)

Depictions in TNG and final film[]

In "The Big Goodbye", an illustration of Sarek was seen when Data was assimilating the Dixon Hill novels. This illustration was from the FASA RPG module The Federation.

Sarek's initial reappearance on Star Trek: The Next Generation originally came about because Gene Roddenberry – having at first been determined to separate that Star Trek series from the original one – became confident to try a character crossover between the series. This was due to The Next Generation gaining popularity by its third season. In hindsight, Mark Lenard reminisced, "I was in Gene's office and he said, 'You know, it's about time that Sarek comes back. After all, Vulcans age very slowly.' I thought that was a good way to put it, not that they live a long time, but that they age very slowly – because it took them another year and a half before they found a script for me to play!" (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., p. 136)

Although Sarek's previous appearances in the third and fourth Star Trek films could have been the last times he was featured in the franchise, Marc Cushman had other notions in 1988, when Gene Roddenberry heard his idea for a plot involving the character. Cushman pitched Roddenberry a story in which the Vulcan ambassador had to be brought out of retirement for one final mission but was, unbeknown to those around him, in the initial stages of a debilitating neurological illness. (Star Trek Magazine Special 2015, pp. 72 & 74) Early in TNG's second season and six months after the 1988 Writers Guild strike began, Roddenberry notified Cushman that, although he wanted to do something with the story, he was reconsidering whether the plot's main character was to be Sarek. "He asked me to take Sarek out of the script," said Cushman, "and make it a different Vulcan, or a member of a different race that has telepathic abilities." Roddenberry's interest in excising Sarek from the story was because he wanted the plot to focus more on the regular characters of TNG and had changed his mind about linking the two Star Trek series together at such an early stage in the series run of TNG, still wanting it to stand on its own. "I didn't see where removing Sarek was going to improve the story, or get me more work with the show," continued Cushman, "so I handed the outline off to Jake Jacobs, who was a writer I'd done some work with in the past." Though Jacobs submitted a revised version of the plot to Roddenberry, neither Sarek nor the story he was to have been featured in were included in TNG Season 2. (Star Trek Magazine Special 2015, p. 75)

Sarek was present in an initial form of the story for third season installment "Yesterday's Enterprise", written by Trent Christopher Ganino and Eric A. Stillwell. Recalled Stillwell, "Gene Roddenberry had circulated a memo saying […] that Mark Lenard might be interested in making a guest appearance." [4]

This early version of "Yesterday's Enterprise" began with Sarek arriving at the time planet aboard the Enterprise-D. As a dignitary, he planned to rendezvous with a Vulcan archaeological team that had been using the Guardian of Forever, on the planet, to study ancient Vulcan history at the time of Surak, known as the Time of Awakening. Sarek not only intended to congratulate the archaeologists but also personally escort them back to Vulcan aboard the Enterprise, but before they could leave the planet's surface, the team accidentally altered the timeline so that Surak died before his time. (The Making of Yesterday's Enterprise, pp. 29-31) After being captured as a spy, Sarek convinced a wary Captain Picard – fundamentally altered by the changes in the timeline – to let him travel back in time, via the Guardian, and replace Surak during the Time of the Awakening, in order to restore history. In this way, the story would have accounted for Sarek's name being so similar to the name Surak.

However, Michael Piller vetoed the use of Sarek (as well as the Guardian of Forever) in this instance. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 1st ed., p. 117) This was because Piller considered the character to be a gimmick from the original series that he'd rather avoid. [5] Eric A. Stillwell later reflected that Piller rejected the inclusion of Sarek while "telling me he had no interest in doing a story about Spock's father," though this attitude was to ultimately turn out to be "rather ironic." (The Making of Yesterday's Enterprise, p. 34)

At the start of TNG's third season, Michael Piller, taking on the responsibilities of running the show due to Gene Roddenberry's health failing, actually wanted to return Sarek to the story which had been pitched by Marc Cushman. (Star Trek Magazine Special 2015, p. 76) Sarek was reincorporated into the story after the writing staff decided that the guest character in that episode would be a member of Starfleet Command or of the Federation. In order to make the premise fit more easily into the science-fiction genre, someone suggested that a Vulcan experiencing psychological difficulties, due to some form of disease, might have extreme telepathic impact. "From that point it was really short-stepped to, 'What about Sarek?'" remembered Michael Piller. "Sarek is an extraordinarily honorable character who we felt obliged to protect and deal with in a very respectful manner." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, UK 3rd ed., p. 197) In this case, the use of Sarek maximized the extent to which the story had an impact on and involved the audience. Piller noted, "It brings home the idea that even the greatest of men is subject to mental illness." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 127) The episode's script, written by Peter S. Beagle without any of the changes Jake Jacobs had made to the story (though his name remained in the screen credits), introduced Sarek with the description, "Sarek is indeed old, but immensely commanding. A genuinely regal figure." (Star Trek Magazine Special 2015, p. 76; [6])

After the episode "Sarek" was green-lit, the character of Sarek was the subject of a discussion between Marc Cushman and D.C. Fontana when they met. Cushman apologized for having recently "stolen" the character and transferred it to TNG. Though Fontana seemed surprised because she had invented Sarek, she was also polite and gracious about the issue. "She said, 'Well, he belongs to the fans now,'" Cushman relayed. (Star Trek Magazine Special 2015, p. 77)

For Michael Piller and others working on The Next Generation, there were parallels between the ailing Sarek of "Sarek" and Gene Roddenberry at the time of the episode's making, which Piller described as "what I remember most about that episode." He went on to relate the similarities between Roddenberry and the character; "Gene was beginning to go into decline. Not that he was uncommunicative, but it was clear that he was not the same man that he had been. We all respected him so much, and he had been such an important, strong leader of the franchise and everything it stood for. But here is this great man – and I've only known him for less than a year at this point – here is this great man going into decline, and I immediately felt a very strong connection to the premise of 'Sarek' […] If you go back and look at 'Sarek' closely, what that character is, is Gene Roddenberry." (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 119) Piller also noted that this was the intention at the time the episode was written. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 8, p. 66)

The makeup for Sarek in the episode of the same name was much as it had been in the previously produced films. "Because Vulcans have an extreme longevity, the years between Sarek's appearance in the motion [pictures] and his first appearance on TNG didn't present us with any problems in designing his makeup," commented TNG Makeup Supervisor Michael Westmore. "We decided not to age him, and the studio agreed, suggesting that we use the natural lines of his face as contours." (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 78)

Leonard Nimoy had been appreciative of how Mark Lenard played Sarek in the episode of the same name as the character, describing this portrayal as "a beautiful performance." (I Am Spock, hardcover ed., p. 325) Likewise, Ronald D. Moore thought the predicament Sarek finds himself in, during the installment which shares the character's name, made for an appealing episode. "Here was a respected, venerated figure in our Trek lore, and he had a problem," Moore observed. "And it wasn't a problem where we were going to give him a hypo and solve it by the show's end." (The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 13, p. 24) Moore clarified, "Mark Lenard has a chance to do some solid acting [in 'Sarek']." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 197)

Sarek painting

The painting of Sarek in Star Trek VI

For Sarek's makeup in Star Trek VI, Jerry Quist, a makeup artist from TNG, agreed to join the film's makeup team – since the series was on hiatus while the film was in preproduction – and he alone concentrated on the character's prosthetics for the film. Makeup Supervisor Michael J. Mills recollected, "I just let Jerry take care of that, and he came up with an intermediate look for Sarek – something between what we'd seen in the previous features and what people would be seeing him as on TV." (Cinefex No. 49, p. 45) Also in Star Trek VI, a painting of Ambassador Sarek was hung in the USS Enterprise-A's dining room.

The writing of Sarek's death in "Unification I" was inspired by the fact that, while the episode was being written, the writers were aware that Gene Roddenberry didn't have long to live. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 8, p. 66) Ronald D. Moore commented that killing Sarek off took courage and, despite liking the character's final scene, he stated, "It wasn't pretty." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 2/3, p. 54) Michael Piller approved of the depiction of Sarek in the "Unification" two-parter overall, enthusing, "I liked the stuff with Sarek, it was very moving." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 233) Concerning Sarek's final canonical appearance, Michael Westmore reflected, "We had to show the effects of the degenerative illness that had afflicted him. We again used the basic design and lines of Mark Lenard's face, but this time we aged him and showed him looking gaunt and drained. We used deeper shadows and placed rubber stretching around his eyes to show fatigue." (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, pp. 78-79) Although Lenard enjoyed his small role in "Unification I" (saying, "It was a bit like King Lear"), he was unaware, during the making of the episode, that it contained a reference to Sarek having died. He explained, after-the-fact, "They only sent me part of the script." (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., p. 136)


The realization that Sarek had apparently died in "Unification I" came as a sudden shock to Mark Lenard. "I was at a convention somewhere when the episode aired and I was surprised," he reflected. Following the installment's broadcast, Lenard received mail from concerned fans, which he found emotionally moving, but he reckoned he might still reappear. "Jimmy Doohan, who was at that same convention with me, said to me, 'Well, did anybody see him die? Was anybody there?'" Lenard reported. "I said, 'No.' 'Well, then,' he told me, 'you're all right!'" (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., p. 136)

Ultimately, the role of Sarek was highly important in Mark Lenard's life. Mere months before he died in 1996, Lenard commented, "I suspect that even though I've died on the screen, I will live and die as Sarek of Vulcan. There's no getting away from it anymore." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 137, p. 48)

Despite Sarek making no appearances on Star Trek: Enterprise, the writing staff of that series at one time discussed the possibility of including a young version of the character on the show. (Star Trek Monthly issue 103, p. 18) "We always thought that […] Sarek was one of the assistants to Soval and that sort of colored his view of the Humans," revealed Judith Reeves-Stevens. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 55, p. 17) However, this would have contradicted previously established canon which places Sarek's birth several years after the timeframe depicted in Enterprise.

Sarek and Amanda, 2230

Sarek, Amanda, and their newborn son, before the timeline diverged (Star Trek deleted scene)

Sarek was so integral to the origin story of Star Trek that, in one form, he once again made a movie appearance; his alternate counterpart was featured in the 2009 film Star Trek. (Star Trek Magazine Special 2015, p. 77) Mark Lenard's portrayal of the role provided a basis for Ben Cross' performance in the movie, as the alternate reality Sarek. As such, a sampling of Lenard's presentment of the character was supplied to Cross by Paramount, to prepare Cross for his own take on the character. (Star Trek Magazine issue 145, p. 67)

In the aforementioned deleted scene from the film, involving Ben Cross portraying the prime-universe Sarek, he arrives home in the aftermath of Spock's birth. The scene in question takes place before Nero's incursion – dated, on screen, as 2230 (which later became canon in Star Trek Beyond) – thereby making the scene's depiction of Sarek, in fact, "this" character. The movie's script described Sarek, in this scene, as "late 40's," rather than sixty-five (which is how old he would be in 2230 if he was born in 2165) – by comparison, the script for "Journey to Babel", set thirty-eight years later, also said that he appeared "no more than late forties." The script also established that he deliberately arrives after Spock's birth, explaining that Vulcan tradition excludes the father from actual childbirth, despite Amanda Grayson having wanted him to be there. [7] However, Sarek's absence from Spock's birth is not spoken about in the final version of the scene, leaving the reason for his late arrival unknown. The scene, both as scripted and ultimately edited, showed Sarek as being responsible for naming Spock, taking the name from "one of Vulcan's early society-builders."


James Frain described Sarek as "endlessly fascinating, and complex, and ambivalent." (Star Trek Magazine Discovery Collector's Edition, p. 36)


The episode "Sarek" stated that Sarek's first wife was from Earth; clearly, this was intended to be a reference to Amanda and that Sarek was not married to the Vulcan princess spoken about in Star Trek V, which admittedly never explicitly says that Sarek ever married the princess, only that she was Sybok's mother.

Mark Lenard was highly impressed with the actresses who were cast to play Sarek's wives. Shortly after appearing in the episode "Sarek", Lenard stated, "As Sarek, I've been graced with my wives so far. They've all been good-looking and charming women." (The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 14, p. 28)

In "Journey to Babel" and "Sarek", Sarek introduced Amanda Grayson and Perrin respectively as "she who is my wife."


The novel Ishmael gives his full name as "S'chn T'gai Sarek".

FASA's RPG sourcebook The Federation claims that Sarek was born in Remsusala, Vulcan.

In the Thirteenth UK Story Arc, Spock had a cousin named Horek. If Horek was Spock's first cousin, this implies that Sarek had a sibling, one of Horek's parents.

In the comic story Star Trek: The Next Generation - Perchance to Dream, the crew of the USS Enterprise-D was attacked by a telepathic weapon called the Chova, which forced its victims to experience dreams and hallucinations focused on their personal failures. However, it was discovered that people with multiple personalities could render the Chova inert (since the Chova could only attack one personality at a time). Picard was deliberately infected with the Chova, since his mind meld with Sarek, the probe that gave him the memories of Kamin, and the remnants of his memories as Locutus of Borg still in his mind all gave him the makings of a multiple personality disorder. The four defeated the Chova, but Locutus then attempted to regain control of Picard's body, nearly 'killing' Kamin and Sarek before Picard gathered the mental strength to stop Locutus.

The novel Avenger revealed Sarek's "Bendii condition" to be actually caused by a poison or special pathogen used by members of the Symmetrists, a Vulcan terrorist group, to murder him without causing suspicion. Spock was also poisoned in this way.

In the novel Engines of Destiny, Sarek became the leader of a resistance fighting the Borg in an alternate timeline where the Borg conquered the Alpha Quadrant during the events of Star Trek: First Contact. However, Sarek retained some memories of the original timeline, which allowed him to recognize Kirk and Scotty when they arrived in 'his' timeline; even having never met them, he knew that he could trust the two of them. In the end, Sarek sacrificed himself to buy time for the temporally-relocated Enterprise-D to return Kirk to the Nexus, as Kirk's presence was required for Picard to survive in order to defeat the Borg's time-traveling experiment.

In the Myriad Universes short story A Less Perfect Union, in which Terra Prime was successful and the Federation-like Interstellar Coalition was formed without an isolationist Earth, Sarek was kidnapped by the Romulans before a conference discussing Earth joining the Coalition, and replaced by Keras (Mark Lenard's Romulan character from "Balance of Terror") – who, being so similar in appearance that this required no cosmetic alterations of any kind, concluded that the two likely shared a common ancestor from before the Vulcan-Romulan schism.

His mirror universe counterpart appeared in the novel The Sorrows of Empire and was mentioned in Dark Mirror and Spectre, all of which exist in separate continuities.

External links[]