Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha

For the ship of the same name, please see T'Pau (starship).
"All of Vulcan in one package."
– James T. Kirk, 2267 ("Amok Time")

T'Pau was a Vulcan diplomat, judge, and philosopher who became one of the leading figures in Vulcan history. One of the most logical minds among her people, she had also been "absolutely ruthless in the application of her logic." (VOY: "Darkling")

Birth and early life

T'Pau was born in 2122 on the planet Vulcan. (ENT: "The Forge") During the mid-22nd century, she was one of the leaders of the Syrrannite movement, which helped to reform Vulcan society by bringing forth the true teachings of the ancient Vulcan philosopher Surak. In 2154, T'Pau was falsely accused by the Vulcan High Command of the bombing of the United Earth Embassy, which had killed many Humans including Admiral Maxwell Forrest. The High Command falsified DNA evidence to indicate that T'Pau had planted the bomb. She became the de facto leader of at least part of the Syrranites following the death of Syrran. She was certain of her path and would let nothing stand in her way.

Syrran was killed in a sandfire storm while leading Captain Jonathan Archer and Commander T'Pol to the Syrrannite base, and before he died, he transferred the katra of Surak, through a mind-meld, into Jonathan Archer, who was investigating the alleged connection between T'Pau and the bombing of the United Earth Embassy on Vulcan. At first, she distrusted Archer and T'Pol, who accused her of the bombing. She accepted them once she found out that Syrran had transferred Surak's katra into Archer. She was willing to risk the death of Archer in an attempt to remove Surak's katra from him, whether or not he was willing to take the risks the extraction might pose to a Human brain. T'Pau attempted to transfer the katra from Archer, but due to Surak's resistance, could not do so. Later, the katra guided Archer to recover an artifact, the Kir'Shara. T'Pau also cured T'Pol of Pa'nar Syndrome by mind melding with her and undoing the damage done by a previous mind meld.

T'Pau was instrumental in helping Archer and T'Pol return to the High Command with the artifact, which contained the original writings of Surak. Their goal was to demonstrate, with the artifact, that the Syrannites were not violent, and that Vulcan civilization had strayed from the teachings of Surak, whose philosophies had brought peace to a war-torn Vulcan 1,800 years earlier. These events led to the dissolution of the High Command and the dismissal of the traitor V'Las from his post as administrator. (ENT: "Awakening", "Kir'Shara")

T'Pau later became a high-ranking minister in the new Vulcan government. One of her first acts as minister was to deploy twenty-three ships to aid Captain Archer in detecting a Romulan drone ship. (ENT: "United")

Later life

T'Pau officiating at Spock's wedding

By 2267, now at the age of one hundred forty five, T'Pau was well known on Vulcan and was (at that time) the only individual who had ever turned down a seat on the Federation Council. Captain James T. Kirk and Doctor Leonard McCoy met her, that year, in her capacity as a priestess officiating at Spock's formal wedding. She at first did not approve that Spock had brought outsiders to the ceremony but allowed them to stay when Spock explained that they were his close friends. She later saved Captain Kirk's career, as he had diverted course to the planet against direct orders, by telling Starfleet she had requested his visit to Vulcan. (TOS: "Amok Time")


T'Pau hologram in 2373

The 24th century Vulcan transport T'Pau was named in her honor. (TNG: "Unification I", "Unification II")

A holographic simulation of T'Pau was among several historical personality profiles studied by The Doctor in 2373, while he was making an attempt to expand his personality subroutines. In the simulation, T'Pau played kal-toh against Socrates as The Doctor conducted his interviews with the other historical figures. (VOY: "Darkling")

In the late 32nd century, the NSS T'Pau, a starship operated by the Ni'Var Government, was also named in her honor. (DIS: "The Examples")

Memorable quotes

"I'm here to find the person who bombed the Earth embassy. Her name is T'Pau, and she looks a hell of a lot like you!"

- Jonathan Archer, to T'Pau, on their first meeting (ENT: "Awakening")

"You have a lot to learn about Syrrannites."
"You have a lot to learn about Humans! We don't sit back and do nothing while our people are attacked."
"No, you traverse vast wastelands based on false information."

-T'Pau and Archer, on each other's species (ENT: "Awakening")

"I've had my fill of mind melds."
"The prospect doesn't appeal to me, either. I've never melded with a Human before. Your... unchecked emotions will, no doubt, prove distasteful."

- Archer and T'Pau, before she attempted to confirm that he was carrying the katra of Surak (ENT: "Awakening")

"Your technique has improved."

- T'Pau, on Archer's use of the Vulcan nerve pinch (ENT: "Kir'Shara")

"It's time for Earth to stand on its own."
"We're ready."

- T'Pau and Archer (ENT: "Kir'Shara")

"What thee are about to see comes down from the time of the beginning, without change. This is the Vulcan heart. This is the Vulcan soul. This is our way."

- T'Pau, as the Vulcan ceremony begins (TOS: "Amok Time")

"It is said thy Vulcan blood is thin. Are thee Vulcan? Or are thee Human?"

- T'Pau, before Spock accepts T'Pring's challenge (TOS: "Amok Time")

"All of Vulcan in one package."

- Kirk to McCoy, describing T'Pau (TOS: "Amok Time")

"Spock chose his friends well."

- T'Pau, as Kirk and McCoy insist on staying on Vulcan while Spock is in the throes of Plak tow (TOS: "Amok Time")

"Live long and prosper, Spock."
"I shall do neither. I have killed my captain and my friend."

- T'Pau and Spock, before Spock returned to the Enterprise (TOS: "Amok Time")



Background information

Introduction and legacy thereof

T'Pau was one of several characters which were added to the story of "Amok Time" by the episode's writer, Theodore Sturgeon, in an effort to address NBC's Stan Robertson feeling that more Vulcans than T'Pring had to be included in the episode. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Two) In the first draft script for "Amok Time", T'Pau explained to the Human visitors why, on Vulcan, the Vulcans used English to communicate with them. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 11/12, p. 68) Other examples of T'Pau acting differently in the first draft script than she does in the episode's final version were tolerating numerous interferences during the fight between Kirk and Spock, such as Stonn throwing a rock at Spock. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 11/12, p. 97) Not written into this first draft script was T'Pau's involvement in justifying Kirk's recent diversion to Vulcan. (The Star Trek Compendium) "Amok Time"'s depiction of the matriarch T'Pau was one of numerous aspects which, though introduced by Sturgeon, were then refined in a script rewrite by D.C. Fontana. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Two) In the final draft of the script, T'Pau was introduced with the following description: "Inside the sedan litter is T'Pau, an 'Elder,' a great force in the land. She is a woman of immense dignity, and her authority is obvious." (Star Trek Magazine issue 155, p. 36)

The original T'Pau was played by actress Celia Lovsky. She was cast by Director Joseph Pevney. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 53) Noted Leonard Nimoy, "As a result of his theatrical background, Joe had previously worked with Celia [...] and decided she would be perfect for the part." (I Am Spock, hardback ed., p. 67) Originally from Vienna, Lovsky played the character with a strong Viennese accent. The act of giving the Vulcan salute to Nimoy as Spock proved to be one difficulty that Lovsky faced in portraying T'Pau. (I Am Spock, hardback ed., pp. 69 & 232) While setting-up scenes in which Lovsky was to play the character, Jeannie Malone was the stand-in for the actress but wore a less elaborate costume. ("Billy Blackburn's Treasure Chest: Rare Home Movies and Special Memories, Part 2", TOS Season 2 Blu-ray)

Leonard Nimoy ultimately concluded that Joseph Pevney's evaluation of Celia Lovsky as "perfect for the part" of T'Pau had proven to be correct. (I Am Spock, hardback ed., p. 67) He called Lovsky's depiction of the character a "marvelous" and "great" performance. (I Am Spock, hardback ed., pp. 67 & 227) Nimoy also enthused, "[T'Pau] was a very dignified, regal, wonderful lady. Celia Lovsky, the actress, played her beautifully. Great stature and importance." ("To Boldly Go... Season Two", TOS Season 2 DVD & Blu-ray) During the making of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, the way in which Lovsky (who was deceased by that point) had portrayed T'Pau influenced Nimoy's casting of Dame Judith Anderson in the part of High Priestess T'Lar. (I Am Spock, hardback ed., p. 67) Anderson was initially rumored to be playing T'Pau herself, but this obviously proved untrue. (Starlog #77) Nimoy speculated that the routine of having "T'P" at the start of Vulcan female names was "perhaps in honor of that grand matriarch, T'Pau." (I Am Spock, hardback ed., p. 73)

In 1986, the name "T'Pau" ended up being adopted by a music band led by Carol Decker, who took the inspiration from "Amok Time" playing on a television she was watching while doing some ironing. Decker recalled, "I just thought it was a really snappy onomatopoeic word and I ran it by the band." [1]

Shortly after being cast as T'Pol on Star Trek: Enterprise, actress Jolene Blalock revealed a fondness for the character of T'Pau. "There was something about her that I've always loved," commented Blalock. "It just made an impression on me." The introduction of the character on the original series influenced the portrayal of Vulcans on Enterprise, including how Blalock played T'Pol. (Star Trek Monthly issue 84, p. 40) Writer Garfield Reeves-Stevens noted, "The reticence that T'Pau has and her disdain for Humans, that actually fueled the depiction of Vulcans in the era of Enterprise, where that was the main view – that was how all Vulcans looked upon Humans." (Starfleet Access for "Amok Time", TOS Season 2 Blu-ray)

Later portrayals

The holographic simulation of T'Pau in "Darkling" was played by actress Betty Matsushita. She received no credit for this appearance but is listed on the call sheet for the episode. She filmed her scenes on Wednesday 11 December 1996 on Paramount Stage 16.

Originally, the main character of T'Pol on Star Trek: Enterprise was intended to be a younger version of T'Pau. "It was discussed as a possibility," remembered Executive Producer Rick Berman. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 134, p. 76) Executive Story Editor Phyllis Strong added, "It was hoped that we'd get a little kick out of [it]." ("To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise, Part II: Boarding the NX-01", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special features) In the series bible for Enterprise, T'Pol was called T'Pau and "a special note to fans of the original Star Trek series" suggested they were "perhaps" the same character. The note referred to the original T'Pau as "a powerful, ancient Vulcan." Due to some legalties, though, reusing the name T'Pau for a regular character was difficult, as the creative staff realized. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 134, p. 76) Strong commented, "Unfortunately, we couldn't get the rights to do that. It was prohibitively expensive." ("To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise, Part II: Boarding the NX-01", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special features) As Executive Producer Brannon Braga more specifically explained in 2010, the ENT character's name was changed to avoid having to deal with the "legal component" of the original TOS writer who had invented T'Pau (and because "T'Pol" was thought to be an easier name to pronounce). [2] The change was listed as one of six revisions of character names in a one-page "script note" at the start of the final draft script of ENT pilot "Broken Bow" (the page was dated 1 May 2001). The option of including T'Pau in the series nonetheless remained a viable one. Shortly after co-creating Enterprise with Berman, Braga mused, "We could still find out T'Pol is related (to T'Pau). I mean, who knows? ... We might, I dunno." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 135, p. 21)

Even before Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens had a story for the episode that became "The Forge", T'Pau was one of two elements (the other being a sehlat) that the writing duo knew they wanted to include in the episode. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 55, p. 15) T'Pau was ultimately portrayed in the episode as "a dynamic young Vulcan female," which was how she was described in the script for the installment. Though a line of dialogue identifies her as a thirty-two year-old in the final version of the episode, the script left her age in the story vague, with the same line stating, "T'Pau's current age is (TECH) standard years" (using the word "tech" as a temporary placeholder). In the script of "Awakening", she was described as "a striking young leader of the Syrrannites (and future matriarch of Vulcan, as established in 'Amok Time,' The Original Series). T'Pau is an intense, zealous, and ruthlessly logical woman."

A publicity image of T'Pau, as played by Kara Zediker

The young T'Pau was played by actress Kara Zediker. At her audition with the producers of Enterprise, Zediker was uncertain about what the role would entail. "When I got hired to play T'Pau, I had a week to cram, so I was renting everything Star Trek that I could," recalled Zediker. The episode "Amok Time" featured prominently in her preparation process, largely due to its Vulcan setting and previous depiction of T'Pau. "What's funny is when I called in to meet the producers for this, T'Pau was who I was modeling after, but I didn't realize that she was the actual character I would be playing," Zediker offered. "She's the one I remember most from ST:TOS, and after I was hired I thought, 'Thank God my instincts were right on.' Because she's exactly who I was thinking of. The producers had described her in the script that we used to audition as 'ruthlessly logical' and 'deeply distrustful of Humans.' I thought, 'Okay, I get that.'" (Star Trek Magazine issue 121, p. 96)

The task of "originating" the role of T'Pau, though, gave Kara Zediker pause and she later admitted, "Playing T'Pau was a daunting privilege." Indeed, regardless of how challenging she found the task of assuming this persona, she was delighted to appear on Star Trek: Enterprise. "It's so nice to see that this little person – I'm kind of tiny – was able to command respect right away," she remarked. "This was such an honor, and such a great role to be stepping into. I had such a good time." (Star Trek Magazine issue 121, pp. 96-97)

The opportunity to help show the character of T'Pau at such an early, pivotal stage in her history was especially appealing to Kara Zediker. "I thought it was a really interesting place to first be introduced to her," the actress observed, "before she has the benefit of the teachings of the Kir'Shara [....] I don't think that T'Pau would have become the benevolent creature in ST:TOS had she not had the experience of Surak refusing to allow his katra to be transferred to her. I think that was a big wake-up call for her. She still has some learning to do. She learns that not every Human is to be completely mistrusted; through Archer and T'Pol, she learns to have some respect for other people's opinions." (Star Trek Magazine issue 121, pp. 96-97)

One element that inspired how Kara Zediker, a former dancer, portrayed T'Pau was prior commentary from Jolene Blalock expressing how feline she felt T'Pol was. "I could relate to that, that sort of feline [movement and attitude]," related Zediker. "I have a cat, and just watching how she processes information [helped]. It sounds silly to use an animal [as a model], but that word 'feline' that Jolene uses was a nice jumping on point for me." Latex ears, dark yellow make-up and a wig completed Zediker's physical transformation into T'Pau. (Star Trek Magazine issue 121, p. 97) The actress was thankful for these appliances, thinking the latter was particularly remarkable. "When I first put [the hair] on I thought, 'Am I Jane Fonda in Klute?' because it was more like a shag haircut. It certainly reads as a mullet when they put it behind my ears so you can see them. It was fortunate, actually, that I ended up having that shag wig, because my left ear sticks out more than the right one. So when I didn't have my wig on I looked like some bizarre, weird, fairy elf! For a Vulcan, I thought they did a good job; they made me look like a sort of hot elf. [My publicist] called me 'an elegant elf.'" (Star Trek Magazine issue 121, p. 98)

It is also notable that T'Pau's previously-established strong Viennese accent was mostly absent during her youthful appearance on Enterprise. "Believe me, I had that in my back pocket in case they wanted it," Kara Zediker enthusiastically attested. "I was really fortunate in my preparation, because one of my coaches is a huge Trekker. He knows it all, and was a great resource for me. And when we worked on the scenes before we started filming, I did several passes with that accent, just in case." (Star Trek Magazine issue 121, p. 97)

Amid breaks from filming some of Kara Zediker's scenes as T'Pau, the character's name featured in some light-hearted banter between Zediker and Archer actor Scott Bakula. The actress remembered, "I turned to Scott and I said, 'I'm sure you've noticed that I turn to the camera only when you're talking and then scream 'T'Pau!' into the lens. Is that okay with you?' And he said [mock-seriously], 'Yes, and I wish you'd do that in our fight scenes as well.' It would have been like in those old Batman fight scenes, when they'd use 'Kapow!' and things like that, shouting 'T'Pau!' into the camera whenever I'd kick someone. In between takes I'd say, 'So when you're saying your line, just know again I'm going to scream 'T'Pau' over your line.' And Scott would say 'Okay, please do.'" (Star Trek Magazine issue 121, p. 97) A laughing Zediker similarly concluded an interview – simultaneously referencing the original depiction of the character – by exclaiming, "Kroykah!" (Star Trek Magazine issue 121, p. 98)

During the filming of the episode "Kir'Shara" (the last episode to feature T'Pau), Diana Lee Inosanto was Kara Zediker's stunt double, momentarily appearing as T'Pau.


In The Lives of Dax short story "First Steps", Ambassador T'Pau travels to Trill to assist the Trill after the L'Dira attack the planet.

T'Pau appears in the novel The Vulcan Academy Murders, where she assists James T. Kirk with his investigation into a series of mysterious deaths at the Vulcan Science Academy, and also presides over the "trial" of one of the murder suspects.

According to the Enterprise novel Last Full Measure, T'Pau is one of the three Vulcans who signed the Federation Charter in 2161. The others were Soval and Solkar.

In the novel Spock's World, T'Pau dies of an illness in 2276, but lives long enough to pass her katra to Amanda Grayson and reveal to Sarek the truth behind T'Pring's vengeful scheme to have Vulcan secede from the Federation, which Sarek makes public, resulting in the secession vote failing miserably.

However, in the novel Vulcan's Heart, T'Pau is present at Ambassador Spock and Saavik's wedding in 2329 – which, as a nod to her apparent death in Spock's World, comes as quite a surprise to McCoy.

In the novel The Pandora Principle, Cadet Saavik is interviewed by Starfleet Admiral Nogura. When Saavik suggests that Nogura contact T'Pau for further information, he seems disinclined to do so, and Spock wryly reflects that T'Pau is perhaps the one being in the entire galaxy capable of intimidating the famously tough Nogura.

In the Star Trek: New Frontier novel Renaissance, T'Pau is shown to be alive as late as 2376. The 254 year old Vulcan officiates over a ritualistic duel between USS Excalibur crew members Burgoyne 172 and Dr. Selar, over the right to parenthood of their child.

T'Pau's mirror universe counterpart (β) appeared in the novella "Age of the Empress".

External links