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Star Trek: SNW's Jess Bush Worried About Hitting Ethan Peck Too Hard In A Scene

Ever since the original "Star Trek" series aired in 1966-1969, nurse Christine Chapel (then played by Majel Barrett, who later married franchise creator Gene Roddenberry) has had a thing for the stoic science officer Spock, played by the late Leonard Nimoy. No actual romance ever happened between the two in the classic "Star Trek" series and Nurse Chapel remained a relatively minor character. But she did confess her feelings for Spock during an early first-season episode, "The Naked Time," and other moments during the three-season series referred to her affection for him as something real, even using it as a plot point on occasion. 

In Paramount+'s "Strange New Worlds," which is set before the five-year mission of the Enterprise NCC-1701, the relationship between the two as younger crew members (played by Ethan Peck and Jess Bush) has been getting more development from the start. This includes a flirty moment in "Children of the Comet" that eventually leads to more physical contact between the two, including Christine giving Spock relationship advice in "Spock Amok" and slapping him upside the head for being dense about T'Pring, and a passionate kiss between the two in "The Serene Squall" as she tries to help convince T'Pring not to trade Spock for a Vulcan prisoner.

In a science-fiction show with elements of action, you might consider a slap like that a pretty minor thing. However, it still caused Bush some consternation, as she tried to figure out how hard to deck her co-star. "The first smack I was worried — 'is this too hard?' I didn't want to get to carried away," she told Vanity Fair about the scene.

Bush's favorite part of playing Christine is how dry and sarcastic she is

Nurse Christine Chapel has always had a fair amount of sass to her. And it's clear that Jess Bush is channeling that fun, independent side of Chapel hinted at in the small amount of screen time the character actually received on the original "Star Trek." Fans have already learned a lot more about the young nurse in "Strange New Worlds" — like her previous romances, and the fact that she had a dog who may have bitten someone who called her stupid.

Bush is working to update the character while keeping her spirit. "It was a balance between honoring Majel's Chapel and making her new. Majel's Chapel definitely had a distinct essence about her, but there was still so much room to explore her backstory, what she was like when she was younger, what she might be like in our time as a young woman," Bush told The Hollywood Reporter

She has also said, in an interview with Brief Take, that she and Chapel share certain qualities — like being adaptable, ambitious, curious, and playful in her interactions with others. Bush added that her favorite quality is how dry and sarcastic the nurse was. "She uses that humor to ruffle people's feathers to discover more about them. She's got this sense of humor, and it's driven by curiosity," the actress explained to THR.

As for that scene in which she got to slap Spock, it was memorable to her, and to fans as well. "That was really fun. That was one of the first times Spock and Chapel got to chat and play," she said. Hopefully, the two will be able to do a bit more of that as the Enterprise continues its journey of exploration.