9

In the original series episode "Amok Time", Spock describes the 7-year Vulcan mating cycle:

We are driven by forces we cannot control to return home and take a wife or die.

He cites precedents from nature: the giant eel-birds of Regulus 5 that must return to the caverns where they hatched, and Earth salmon that must return to the one stream where they were born to spawn or die in trying.

Apparently, if a male Vulcan is unable to return to Vulcan during Pon Farr, he will die.

In the new timeline from the 2009 movie, a few thousand Vulcans have survived and started a colony on a planet called New Vulcan.

What will happen to the males when they go through Pon Farr and are unable to return home? Is the Vulcan species doomed to extinction?

11

Later (cannon) references in the Prime universe make it clear that "returning home and take a wife" meant to go where the Vulcan women were and take a wife.

  • In Star Trek III on planet Genesis, Spock's young clone was shown experiencing Pon farr, and survived it nicely with the assistance of Saavik, nowhere near Vulcan.

  • The Voyager episode Blood Fever showed a resolution to Pon farr on the other side of the galaxy.

  • As Richard shows, arguably to undeniably-less canonical sources abound showing that the planet's significance was mainly, if not exclusively, limited to being where the Vulcan women's at.

There is also the issue of the Romulans, and possibly the Mintakans and Rigelians: one or more extant species who split off from the Vulcans in the relatively recent past. If the planet were a biological requirement, it was either one which the proto-Romulans managed to overcome in the wake of a planetary war and exodus, or something requiring as much hand-waving to add to the Amok Time-era Vulcans as it does to remove from Star Trek III and later Vulcans.

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    Ahem, less canonical? The ongoing comics are fully canon, I thank you. – Valorum Apr 18 '15 at 21:19
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    Star Trek III and "Blood Fever" are definitely canon; whether the comics are canon is another question. This definitely seems like a retcon; Spock's statement in "Amok Time" didn't seem to leave any room for anything other than returning to Vulcan itself. But that's hardly unusual for Star Trek. – Keith Thompson Apr 18 '15 at 21:32
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Based on the fully canon 'Star Trek: Ongoing' comic After Darkness Part I, it appears that Vulcans are just as capable of undergoing Pon Farr on New Vulcan.

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    Is Spock just being coy, or does he actually not know what Pon Farr is? – Jason Baker Apr 18 '15 at 21:28
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    You're assuming Roberto Orci is the judge of what is or is not "fully canon". I'm not taking sides on that question, but it is a question. – Keith Thompson Apr 18 '15 at 21:30
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    @Richard They may not like to talk about it around outsiders, but surely they talk about it to each other? Did Sarek never give him "the talk"? Or he didn't learn about it in the education pits? – Jason Baker Apr 18 '15 at 21:33
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    @JasonBaker: In "Amok Time", Spock says to Kirk: "It is a thing no outworlder may know, except those very few who have been involved. A Vulcan understands, but even we do not speak of it among ourselves. It is a deeply personal thing." – Keith Thompson Apr 18 '15 at 21:38
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    It would be illogically dangerous to not ensure that people know about this "mate or die" business ahead of time. If it's not by explicit instruction, then it's just instinctive knowledge. Sounds like it's the latter. Otherwise, the social taboo of speaking about Pon Farr would be discarded as illogical. – Tim S. Apr 19 '15 at 2:23

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