Entertainment Weekly had a Comic-Con round table discussion with Star Trek director J.J. Abrams and his Spocks: Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto. When asked why to include Nimoy in the film, Abrams gave some insight into the film’s story:
The story needed his participation for a number of reasons. One, the plot. In many ways, the story revolves around the character of Spock. Two, I think it’s critical if we’re going to look at reintroducing these characters — I didn’t want to disrespect what had come before, for those who care about that. But we’re making this movie for people who don’t care about Star Trek too. This isn’t about pleasing the fans, this is about making a great film. And to do that, you have to both please the fans and please the people who’ve never seen Star Trek. So having Leonard in the film shows that this film exists in a continuum of Trek history, as opposed to an absolute, page 1 reinvention.
Abrams was also asked if he was ready to take on this project and such a big franchise…
I’d like to think so. But again, I’m not looking at it that way. If you’re going to climb a mountain, looking at the whole mountain is probably pretty intimidating. I’m just looking at the story and the characters — I’m looking forward to realizing that. The specter of this massive fan base and their expectations… Look, there’s no way you can please everyone. But we’re going to do our best to make a great movie, and I hope fans of the series will appreciate the respect and awareness that we have of the thing they love. One of our writers [Roberto Orci] is a Trekker, so it’s great to have someone who can speak for that world. I feel like this is a world I want to enter, almost despite that kind of level expectation and fandom. But I couldn’t be more excited.
Nimoy and Quinto said many of the same things from their interviews with TrekMovie.com, but did have a couple nice quotes: