- For the ship of the same name, see T'Pau (starship)
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 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 transferred the katra of Surak 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 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")
By 2267, T'Pau was well known off 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 by telling Starfleet she had requested his visit to Vulcan. (TOS: "Amok Time")
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.
B'Elanna Torres later noted that T'Pau had been a diplomat, a judge, a philosopher, and one of the most logical minds in Vulcan history, but that she had also been absolutely ruthless in the application of her logic. (VOY: "Darkling")
Introduction and legacy thereof
In the first draft script for "Amok Time", T'Pau explains to the Human visitors why, on Vulcan, the Vulcans use 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 are 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 is T'Pau's involvement in justifying Kirk's recent diversion to Vulcan. (The Star Trek Compendium) In the final draft of the script, T'Pau is 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 returning 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 the High Priestess T'Lar. (I Am Spock, hardback ed., p. 67) Nimoy also 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)
Shortly after being cast as T'Pol on Star Trek: Enterprise, actress Jolene Blalock also 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)
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." 
The holographic simulation of T'Pau was played by Betty Matsushita. She went uncredited for this appearance.
Originally, the 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, "but it was also determined that there were legalities that made it difficult for us to do so we decided against it." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 134, p. 76) The option of including T'Pau in the series nonetheless remained a viable one. Shortly after co-creating Enterprise with Berman, fellow executive producer Brannon 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)
The young T'Pau was ultimately 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 for Star Trek Magazine – simultaneously referencing the original depiction of the character – by exclaiming, "Kroykah!" (Star Trek Magazine issue 121, p. 98)
In the novel Spock's World, T'Pau dies of an illness, 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.
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 the ritualistic duel between USS Excalibur crew members Burgoyne 172 and Dr. Selar over the right to parenthood of their child.