Star Trek: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Vulcans

All this talk of the Vulcans is sure to raise an eyebrow or two.

vuclans star trek t'pol spock tuvok
CBS Media Ventures

No doubt the most famous alien species in sci-fi history next to the Klingons, the Vulcans have entered the cultural collective imagination. Their Boimler-ready, fully cosplayable pointy ears and eyebrows, impeccable (if often exasperating) logic, and life-affirming LLAPs are immediately recognisable to even the most novice non-Trekkie.

The only character that made it from pitch to (second) pilot, Spock arguably is Star Trek, or, at least, there wouldn't be much of a show without him. When The Original Series began to air, his popularity soared, to the dismay of the man in the captain's chair.

Moreover, the Vulcan IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations) might well have been introduced by Gene Roddenberry so he could sell a few medallions — in fact, Leonard Nimoy initially boycotted the idea — but it soon came to represent the very ethos of Star Trek.

Later, the fully Vulcan Vulcan Tuvok provided us greater insight into the culture, and in Star Trek: Enterprise we got a look at Vulcan interstellar politics pre- (and post-) Kir'Shara revolution.

57 years after Star Trek first aired, the Vulcans remain as popular as ever. Each week we learn more and more about the species through Spock on Strange New Worlds, with a Vulcan set to join the Lower Deckers.

It's perhaps high time, then, that we did a little revision on our fellow Federation founders. Fire up those fancy holographic skill domes — here are 10 things you should know about the Vulcans!

10. Satanic Panic

vuclans star trek t'pol spock tuvok
CBS Media Ventures

Gene Roddenberry's 1964 pitch for Star Trek gave us our earliest glimpse at a Vulcan (or "half-Martian" as he is then described). For "Mr. Spock," "The First Lieutenant," Roddenberry wrote:

The first view of him can be almost frightening — a face so heavy-lidded and satanic you might almost expect him to have a forked tail. […] [H]e has a slightly reddish complexion and semi-pointed ears.

The devilish half-alien creation didn't appeal to everyone, however.

Famously unhappy with the "too cerebral" first Star Trek pilot, The Cage, network NBC made the unusual decision to commission a second. Fearing the reaction of the Bible Belt to Roddenberry's 'demonic' demi-terrestrial, they wanted "the guy with the ears" gone before any 'man' could go again.

Roddenberry had to fight hard to keep Spock on the bridge, and even after NBC relented, they remained concerned about a religious backlash. As Herbert Solow, executive at Star Trek production company Desilu Studios, put it:

It was as if they believed that, after Satan had been cast out of the Garden of Eden, he was […] cast into Star Trek as science officer Spock.

The panic over Spock 'satanic' attained strange heights when promotional material was airbrushed to round Spock's ears and straighten his eyebrows. As Star Trek began to air, NBC tried to limit Spock's screentime and kept pushing for a change to 'more regular' make-up.

In fact, the audience had an altogether different reaction to the pointy ears. 'Spockmania' had begun and so had the story of the Vulcan people.

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Jack Kiely is a writer with a PhD in French and almost certainly an unhealthy obsession with Star Trek.