Yesterday’s panel at Comic-Con International added some more details to what we know about Lt. Cmdr. Michael Burnham. The panel revealed that Burnham was raised as Spock’s adopted sister after her parents were killed.
Sonequa Martin-Green plays Burnham, the lead character in Star Trek: Discovery. We previously learned that she had a close relationship with Ambassador Sarek (James Frain), Spock’s father. We now know that she was actually raised alongside Spock by Sarek and Amanda.
The trailer, also revealed at Comic-Con, includes a shot of Frain approaching an injured girl. This is presumably a flashback to her rescue.
We also know that Sarek has an important role to play in the series. From the trailer, it looks like Burnham and Sarek have some personal issues to sort through. In the nearly 50 years since the character’s first appearance he has been shown to be a somewhat difficult father figure.
Burnham’s relationship to Spock will be explored later in the series, according to producers speaking at the panel.
During the time period in question, Spock and his father were not speaking. The TOS episode “Journey to Babel” shows their first reunion in 18 years. Discovery is set about 11 years before that episode.
Spock’s expression of his mother’s human ancestry was a source of conflict for the character during The Original Series. The fact that he was apparently raised with an older human sister may inform that conflict and help explain his rather human reactions in the original pilot, “The Cage,” which takes place a year or two before the first episode of Discovery.
This is not the first time we have learned of a secret older sibling in Spock’s family. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier introduced the emotional Vulcan Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill), who was Sarek’s son from an earlier marriage and Spock’s half-brother.
The fact that neither sibling was ever mentioned in the series is consistent with the Vulcans’ preference for privacy in family matters.