Leonard Nimoy Talks About His Return To Spock + Reveals Scene Detail

After two decades, and passing on previous offers, Leonard Nimoy returns to the role of Spock in the new Star Trek movie. In an interview in the new SciFi Now Magazine (#26), the actor talks about the state of the franchise, his approach to the role, the new actors, working with Quinto and more. Nimoy also talks a bit about an interesting scene in the film. See excerpts & spoilers below.


He Is Spock
Excerpts from my interview with Leonard Nimoy in SciFi Now #26. Last quote includes spoilers and is noted with a warning below.

Leonard Nimoy sees a parallel to 30 years ago when Paramount decided to rethink the Trek franchise following their disappointment with the first Star Trek feature film, saying:

After Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the franchise was like a beached whale and Harve Bennett got it back in the water. I think that’s what’s happening now and we’re off on an exciting new start.

For his part, it had been 17 years since he last played the character Spock (in the two-part “Unification” episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation), and that was factored into his performance:

My approach to the character has changed, because Spock has evolved in the sense that a lot of personal experiences have affected him. On the other hand, you’ve got Zachary Quinto coming into this movie, who is even slightly before the Spock I played in the original series. You’re seeing him even before the place I was playing the character on the original series, and you’re seeing me giving a performance that’s totally after all of that. This movie contains a very broad spectrum of the Spock. I had a wonderful time making this movie. It was very close to myself, I felt totally comfortable, very much like I’m doing in my own life now. Having arrived where I am as a person and the place that Spock has arrived I felt very, very comfortable with it.

Last Spock sighting – TNG’s "Unification" in 1991

Having been there in the beginning, one would assume it’s a strange experience seeing new actors step into the roles of the Enterprise crew, but not for Nimoy:

It’s a lot of fun. They’re very talented people and it’s fascinating to watch the roots of the characters that Bill Shatner and DeForest Kelley and myself and the rest of us played. When we started doing the show, we were a crew on the Enterprise going out and doing our missions. In this movie, we see the seeds of those characters being planted; where they came from before the Enterprise, where they came from before they met each other, how they met each other, and what the circumstances were and how they became that crew that we eventually played. It was great fun to watch.

And is the new movie the last time Nimoy will be putting on the ears to play Spock? According to the actor, it appears he is ready to pass the role to the next generation.

Never say never, but I would think so. The torch has been handed off to a wonderful new cast and a new actor playing Spock. Would I consider being the alter ego again and coming back in some form to play a scene with Zachary Quinto to exchange ideas with him? Might be interesting, but it’s not up to me. If I got that call, I would certainly listen.

Nimoy ready to pass the torch of Spock to Quinto





One of the more surreal moments for Nimoy was doing a scene where the two Spocks meet. Nimoy explains what it was like acting across Zachary Quntio playing Spock.

That was so weird, standing there and talking to him. We have a scene together that’s a mind twister. We’re both the same person, each coming from a different time frame. It’s pretty remarkable to stand there and talk to him and listen to him and interact with him. And by the way, he happens to be a terrific, talented, intelligent actor. It was wonderful. I admire him. I think he’s got a very interesting task and did a wonderful job of it. I think he’s special and I think very highly of him. Not just him, but I have a personal connection because of the role he’s playing.

[Editor’s note: Nimoy first talked about this scene with Quinto at last year’s Vegas Trek convention: see articles HERE and HERE]




For more of my interview with Nimoy, pick up a copy of SciFi Now #26 (available for to purchase online).



Visit Ed’s new websites: The alien Visitors are back! Learn about “V” both past and present at VisitorsAmongUs.com. Also, looking for some sci-fi in your superhero adventures? Keep up to date on the film adventures of Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corps at GreenLanternFilm.net.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Now, I believe Quinto will be good.

“We have a scene together that’s a mind twister. We’re both the same person, each coming from a different time frame. ”

I’d see the movie for this scene alone. ;)

Can NOT WAIT for this movie to come out!!!

Nimoy is just so great; thanks for the interview!

I was curious if the two Spocks would meet in the movie.

This just makes it more interesting and increases my desire to see the movie.

I am really grateful to read Mr. Nimoy’s very positive attitude toward this new vision of Star Trek. Gives me a lot of hope for the franchise!

OKAY — Now I can say it, despite past concerns!!!


Good to hear, Sam!

“…contains a very broad spectrum of the Spock.”

Oh, the Spock. How I love the Spock.

#2 – I wonder if Roberto and Alex wrote in the script that elder Spock introduces himself as young Spock’s cousin, “Selek” (from TAS episode “Yesteryear”), or if young Spock will know exactly who elder Spock is….? Actually, this may be somewhat akin to how Spock and Data interacted in TNG episode “Unification–Part 2” (which is quite astonishing to watch and listen to).

This is gonna be good!

Once more… the vibe on the new film is powerful. The two Spocks scene is giving me a chill just thinking about it.
Nimoy’s view on JJ’s Trek makes me even more excited!
Only 46 days to go…

The question is… Will Quinto want to be the “new Spock” from now on…?

To make a movie is one thing… To re-create so strong a character and be successful is another. But to go on and on in the same type of movie and the same character… What would Quinto think about being type-casted?

My guess is that TODAY actors are not so susceptible for being type-casted, but it happens… or at least one can think it may happen… So, what would be the best decision?

Maybe we discover in the (probable) next movie cast release…! ;o)

Wow. Seriously.

Is this movie only about a month and a half away?

Spock Rocks! I am so pumped about this movie. I can’t wait to see this scene between the two Spock’s. Geez, I wish time would go faster! I want it to be May 8th.

I wrote a funny parody to Queen’s we will rock you. It’s called- we will Spock you. hehehe.



“Can NOT WAIT for this movie to come out!!!”

I thank you for this information

The spoiler is what I had hoped for months :D

Ditto everything everyone has said.

Let’s get this puppy into cinemas and start watching it!

Wow… okay that is cool *gg* So I am going to sleep the month through *gg*

^11. I think type-casting is still a reality for TV actors in long-running series, who literally don’t have time to appear elsewhere, but it’s easier to avoid in movies as long as actors take care to be seen in other, heavily advertised roles between big-franchise sequels.

Leonard Nimoy is the coolest.

His faith in the new movie is giving me hope that, although completely ignoring canon, it will at least honour the Roddenberry ideals.

To me Nimoy will always be Spock and no one else. So although Quinto will probably be good at Spock, he will never ever take the place of Leonard Nimoy. Not only did Nimoy create one of the most iconic characters ever but he also helped define the Vulcan race as well.

His comments give me faith it can still be Star Trek but I have given up on the film being canon.

Really nice interview with Nimoy, he is such a classy guy.

I’m definately intrigued about the scene with the two Spocks, I suppose it will be sort of like the TNG episode with the two Rikers, and as stated above the dialogue will probably be similar to that of Spock and Data in Unification part two.

The more I hear about this movie the more excited I get… lol as sad as it sounds, I’m even having dreams about it!

Nimoy: After Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the franchise was like a beached whale and Harve Bennett got it back in the water.
That is little funny if we remember 2 main characters in TVH were 2 whales and a whale probe(whaaatttt). Is it me but i am noticing that Nimoy doesn’t like The Motion Picture!. Also i find it odd comparing The Motion Picture not only the most successful Trek movie at the box office but ranked 2-3th most popular movie in 1979 as a beached whale.

#19 canon…canon…canon…If I keep hearing that word I think I am going to scream!!!

Has anybody here that Leonard Nimoy is in the running to the voice of the Fallen from Transformers Revenge of the Fallen?


#21 I think Star Trek the Motion Picture was a success at the box office because people wanted, and lobbied for Trek in some form. Add to that the fact that it had the original cast, and cutting edge special effects (for it’s time). it did leave a lot to be desired, however. Character interaction just did not feel right. I’ve never been able to quite put my finger on it, but they seemed almost robotic. Something was seriously off. There was one scene where we got to stare at the V’Ger cloud, for what seemed like an eternity. There was no dialogue at all. So I would agree with Nimoy that the film, while a triumph financially, was not a triumph to the actors who I am sure knew they could do better. Just my opinion. I will say this (again my opinion) of all the Trek films, I liked TMP less, and that includes Nemeses, and V.

The restored Director’s Cut of TMP takes care of most of your criticisms, although it’s attempt to channel ‘2001’ is what it is.

Of course, what Nimoy implies, or I infer, is that Quinto’s Spock will be less reserved emotionally.


#25 I will agree the Director’s Cut was an improvement, but the movie still was missing something

That scene where the two Spocks meet sounds really, really good. Yet another thing I’m looking forward to seeing about this film.

I really can’t wait! :)

THORSTEN!!!! Great to hear from you! This is a surprise the 2 Spocks meeting, I did not think this was going to happen based on the initial reports. The one hint that I got was when they first started showing images of the toys from the movie — on the bridge toy set, you clearly see Spock Prime on the bridge by the main viewer.
Thorsten — did you see Watchmen????
Best Regards :-)

its funny to remember that Kirk of ST Generations never got to meet the crew of the Enterprise D

AHHHHH 46 days…these last few weeks are going to drag on forever. I am dying to read the last countdown comics as well.

“#27 All Trek movies are missing somethink.

Leonard Nimoy sees a parallel to 30 years ago when Paramount decided to rethink the Trek franchise following their disappointment with the first Star Trek feature film:
I don’t entirely agree with Nimoy because i see more ,,positive,, parallel between The Motion Picture and XI as if XI can capture the TOS spirit and the excitement and the hype of the Motion Picture before it came out without repeating it mistakes(unfinished script & rushed production).

Mr Nimoy, you probably shan’t ever see this, but — you’re first rate! Thanks so much!

Im really interested in knowing what Leonard Nimoy’s previous offers were !

#23 I just heard that rumor today! Im hoping he does it, and Frank Welker will be Soundwave!

Sorry Trekmovie.com. but you guys overdid with the SPOILERS INCLUDED thing. Theirs no bloody spoiler in this page. Its common sense to presume spock and old spock meet.

Very cool, and good to read. I am glad to see him portray this role again, he does it so well.

Mr. Nimoy, I hope the Lord will bless you in many wonderful ways. It’s good to see you on the silver screen again. God bless (live long and prosper).

If old Spock mindmeld with New Spock, the possibilities are endless. It could be a whole new timeline if the new Spock has the insights.

I miss the good old days of reading news of Star Trek Remastered. Did I miss it, or was there supposed to be a review of the remastered version of The Cage?

#24 and 21

TMP was a weird one… I watched it quite recently, and there were moments where it felt like a real Star Trek adventure; mostly the scenes at the begining and the scene at the end.

The crew interaction was bizarre though, it felt fake and robotic, there was no charisma and I think that the whole movie suffered from the same problem as the Star Wars prequals; too much green screen.

In many ways TMP was the apitomy of ‘Star Trek’ in its various themes, it had some classic scenes, some of which are my personal favourites, like the scene when Scotty guides Kirk around the Enterprise, and the scene where Spock cries, Decker and Ilia ‘quantam leaping’ and of course the begining with Spock’s attempt at attaining the Kolinaar. The theme music remains my favourite followed closely by TWOK, GEN and NEM. I also quite enjoyed the ships interior look and can see many parallels with the new movie.

However, TMP had many failings – The dialogue was weak, robotic and without emotion, it was like watching a bunch of Vulcans performing Shakespeare. The uniforms looked…. stupid and the ‘Villain’ was a cloud!

It was all style and very little substance… however I do appriciate it for what it was, a curious journey into the unknown. I also like how the video game ‘Star Trek: Legacy’ attributed V’ger with having something to do with the origins of the Borg… a truly inspired idea.

Just my little film review…


Jay (UK)

i don’t understand them saying the last time Nimoy played Spock was in the TNG episode in 1991.

I distinctly remember that Star Trek VI came out on December 6, 1991. That would be after the TNG episodes aired, correct?

Unless they are referring to the last time Nimoy played Spock in the timeline, this is wrong.

Sounds good but there’s still one thing I dont quite agree with. They keep talking about this movie showing us where these people come from, but since its an alternate timeline movie, this isnt where the crew of the 1701 we know came from. The James Kirk we know was born in Iowa, now space, and from what we know of the movie had a much different childhood. Seems like the Spock from the movie might have had an altered start to, especially given that we hear his father telling him that he must choose his path. Sarek of the normal timeline knew what he wanted Spock to do with his life and his going into Starfleet formed a rift between the two. I dont think all of this will detract from the movie, but they need to be real about it being an alternate timeline is all.

#41 … TUC was filmed in the spring/summer of 1991, IIRC. The TNG eps were probably shot later that fall.

42.- Sarek could make that statement and still be displeased with his son’s choice. Kirk’s backstory, however is definitely playing fast and loose with canon…

Wait, Nimoy AND Quinto are playing Spock? Oh, gosh I have been under a rock! Next, you’re going to tell me they have multiple other actors all playing Spock at different ages!


I like to think that the new movie is still the same timeline, it’s just sort of like how Kyle Reese had to come back in time to father John Conner in Terminater, Spock would come back in time to unite the crew of the Enterprise for the first time.

Of course we won’t know until the movie actually comes out

Nimoy rocks. Here’s hoping the movie’s good.

42, 46, etc…

I think that we *really* have to wait to see what happens in this film to know what is going on with the canon, the timeline, etc. etc. and so on and so forth. There are so many assumptions that people are holding which may or may not turn out to be true.

I for one found it extremely interesting the way that Mr. Nimoy phrased some of his statements in this interview in that he said at least twice that in this movie we see the origin of the characters that he, Mr. Shatner, and DeForest Kelley played. While it may simply be that Mr. Nimoy is taking it for granted that the characters are the same despite a reboot, the way he chose to make the point suggests to me that perhaps, as some (including myself) have predicted for some time now, the end result of the film will be the *same* universe and the *same* timeline and the *same* “canon” that we are familiar with from 1966 onward.

For example, one possibility is that in the end, Nero is defeated and the timeline is restored except that in some way and for some reason, some of the characters – at least Spock and Kirk – retain their memories of the alternate timeline. We’ve seen this sort of thing happen a few times before in Trek, perhaps most notably in the case of Sela who, though springing from an alternate timeline, still existed in the “prime” timeline.

Of course, that’s just a possibility. The point is, for every indication that this will be a reboot there is another that it will in some way lead into the story exactly as we are familiar with it from 1966, most interestingly to me Mr. Nimoy’s comments from this piece. I think until we see the final product, it’s rather silly to make assumptions about how it will turn out.

RE: 42:

Ahh, but how do we know that the timeline we have seen all these years isn’t the altered timeline that this movie will actually create?

Think about it.

#41 yeah I do remember TNG coming out before the movie and I remember spock talking about “cowboy deplomacy” and what his actions in the past caused his crew.