A decade ago, the Star Trek film franchise began a new with 2009’s Star Trek. Directed by JJ Abrams from a script by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the film introduced fans to what is now known as the Kelvin timeline. Despite Zachary Quinto playing a younger version of Mr. Spock, the script still had a vital role for the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy.
In the film, a cataclysm in his own time sends Nimoy’s Spock into the past where he is hunted by the time-displaced Romulan Nero and forced to watch the destruction of his home planet of Vulcan. Nero’s arrival in the past altered the timeline so that Quinto’s Spock and James Kirk were not becoming the friends they were in the original timeline. Spock played a key role in setting them back on the right path.
Speaking to Trek Movie, Orci reveals that the entire plot hinged on Nimoy’s willingness to return to the character and that they didn’t have a backup plan if Nimoy passed. “There was never a plan B for me,” Orci says. “Maybe Paramount had a plan B, but for me and Alex, it has to be Nimoy or bust and that is why that meeting with him was so pivotal. His role had to be essential, otherwise, he wouldn’t have done it. So, to have a plan B would have been disrespectful to him, and the franchise. I didn’t know how else to do an in-canon reboot/sequel original story. If you have a plan B, then your plan A wasn’t so great.”
Nimoy did agree to appear in the film, which helped to cement the film in Orci’s mind as a sequel rather than a reboot. Nimoy returned for a brief role in the sequel Star Trek Into Darkness. After Nimoy’s death in 2015, the decision was made to end the life of the original Spock as well. Star Trek Beyond memorialized Spock and Nimoy, allowing the Kelvin timeline trilogy to serve as a sendoff to both.
Nimoy died of complications brought on from COPD, believed to be the result of years of smoking. His widow recently revealed that Nimoy asked for the assistance of his nurses in ending his life.
What did you think of Leonard Nimoy’s role in Star Trek? Let us know how you feel about it in the comments. Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Star Trek Beyond are available on home media.
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