Leonard Nimoy Defends New Star Trek Movie Universe + Doesn’t Expect Sequel Return + more

Tomorrow Leonard Nimoy turns 80, and in an extensive new interview  the original Spock looks back at his time with Star Trek and more. In his involvement in JJ Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek film, Nimoy defending the creation of a new Star Trek universe, but also said he does not expect to be making any more appearances in it. That and more from Nimoy below.


Nimoy defends new Star Trek movie universe – says has "closure" for Spock

In his interview with the official Star Trek website, Leonard Nimoy talked about his life in and out of Star Trek over the last four decades and more. One of the more interesting bits came in a discussion about the sometimes controversial element of creating a new timeline for the 2009 Star Trek movie. Nimoy strongly endorsed it, saying the team really didn’t have a choice:

I think the alternate universe was necessary. I think it was a very solid idea and necessary because, although it broke canon in a certain kind of way, if they didn’t do the alternate universe, they would have broken canon in other ways. It was constricting. There was so much history to be dealt with that if they did not do the alternate universe it would have been so constricting and it would have been very, very difficult to tell an exciting story without stepping on some toes somewhere. So, by doing it this way, I think they gave themselves a new canvass to work with. I think it was a very wise idea.

Although he had a "great time" with the 2009 Star Trek film, he also feels it game him "a real good sense of closure". Therefore the actor says even if they "say please" he doesn’t plan to be back for the 2012 Star Trek film:

I’m really not expecting it to happen. I think I was useful in the last film and I think for me it really was the last film. I think the torch has been very successfully passed to a bunch of very talented young people, and not just Zachary, but Chris Pine and all of them. I think they’re very talented and will have a lot of fun, and I wish them well.

Nimoy happy with new timeline of "Star Trek" and ready to pass baton to Quinto

Nimoy on Spock smiles, unsung heroes, turning down 70s Trek TV series & more

  • Is "fully recovered" from last year’s surgery and has returned to conventions as a "thank you" to the fans and a feeling of "obligation to be out there for them", but wont be "doing it indefinitely"
  • Explains that Spock smiles in Star Trek pilot because it was "what the director told me to do"
  • Lists Bjo Trimble, producer Bob Justman, producer/writer Gene Coon, and directors Joe Pevney and Marc Daniels as "unsung heroes" of Star Trek.
  • Reveals Roddenberry offered deal to play Spock in 2out of every 11 episodes of 70’s Star Trek Phase II TV series, but turned down because "didn’t feel comfortable being hired on as a part-time player."
  • Accepted idea of Spock dying in Star Trek II because he thought it would be final Trek film, found response "very touching"
  • Was "very comfortable" as first time director of Star Trek III, but admits "Maybe, in retrospect, we might have found a better story or construct"
  • Attributes success of Star Trek IV to making "big commitment" to developing story and having "more freedom" 
  • Thought Star Trek VI "served its purpose" as final TOS film but felt exploration of Klingon culture was not "realized" enough – hoped would find out something about the Klingons that would surprise us all"
  • Came up with idea of appearing in Star Trek: The Next Generation to make a "connection to the Star Trek films"
  • Most prized Star Trek item is pair of ear tips wore the last of original Star Trek.
  • Says big difference between himself and friend Shatner is Bill’s need to "be working, working, working, working, working."
  • Hopes to "stay creative" in the future life but will keep personal life "at the forefront"

For much more it is worth reading the full interview: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Nimoy just following director’s orders to smile in Star Trek pilot

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Though others have shared the thought, Mr. Nimoy has offered up the best rationale for how Trek 2009 was brought to the screen. Thank you, sir, and happy birthday.

He is Spock….

@Driver (#1): TWICE! :)

Could not agree with Nimoy more on the reasons for what JJ Abrams HAD TO DO for Star Trek to evolve and move forward.

no. 5 here here!

I’m sure Chris Pine will appreciate Nimoy’s sincere compliment as to his talent.

Pine did a superb job in playing James T. Kirk.

Mr. Nimoy Happy Birthday,,,,,,
Live Long and,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Well,,,,,,,,,, you know the rest.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Nimoy.

I respectfully disagree with being unable to tell an exciting prequel story in the existing universe.

Happy Birthday, Leonard Nimoy. Thank you for Star Trek. You shared the original dream with Gene Roddenberry and was as determined to make it a reality as Gene R was. You also helped find the right man to play the inimitable Captain James Kirk of the prime universe. Very cool. Very cool. I bet nobody would have believed that long pointy ears could also look sexy…

In the end I agree, end on a high note. Spock was standing over the crew at the end of the movie, and he knew, that everything was going to be alright.

I can’t wait to get one, just one little taste of a tidbit from the new movie.

Happy Birthday Leonard, all the best!

Happy birthday Mr. Nimoy! A universe without you just wouldn’t be…logical.

Please, Please, Please…Get over it, Mr. Roberts! Like it or not it had to be done, and Thank God JJ did it well. Live Long and Prosper, Star Trek!!

I think Star Trek II and Star Trek III together make a terrific single film that tell a complete story (and the two together are probably still shorter than Titanic or Dances With Wolves…)

Thank you so much for being such an enduring inspiration in my life. I have followed your career since the 60’s in the first series and am thrilled to be able to wish you a Happy 80th Birthday. Much love and admiration and Congratulations for a job well done – very well done indeed…

I don’t feel very comfortable with anyone referring to TSFS as needing a better story or construct! What it needed was a budget! I love this film, and it is my absolute fav of the TOS film series! (ST6:TUC is a cloooose 2nd)

Others have said it and I concur that the emotional element of TSFS was very reminiscent of the TOS! The crew sacrificing everything to save one of their own.

“What I’ve done, I had to do.”
“But at what cost? Your ship. Your son.”
“If I hadn’t tried, the cost would have been my soul.”

– Kirk and Sarek

Harve Bennett: Unsung hero of TOS film series!

Happy Birthday Mr Nimoy. You are the Cornerstone of Star Trek and Bill is the Lead. While De Kelley was the Hart of Star Trek. I have stated many times that even though I’m a Hard core Trek fan that I was really good with the new movie and endorsed it. With Mr. Nimoy himself and Majel Roddenberry endoresing Trek 09 that was all I needed. Trek 09 while a different timeline is a great timeline and I for one am so glad that Mr Nimoy gave us Spock one more time for the Big Screen. I do hope that we can see the Shat and Nimoy in Trek 12 one last time for the big and grand finale for there career as Kirk and Spock as they pass the torch to Pine and Quinto.

#7- Harry Ballz


:-) :-)

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…

Happy Birthday, Mr. Nimoy. Surely, the best of times.

Mr.. Nimoy is a man of great class! :-) :-)


I don’t know . . .

I feel that might take away from the seriousness of the story. Spock prime in 09 was fine, but Shatner in the sequel would so obviously, just be a cameo for the actor, and besides the original character died in Generations. We must accept this, the TNG era of writers/producers decided to kill him off forever. Whatever their reasons may have been, it doesn’t matter now cause it happened and that’s that.

Also am one of those strongly against Kahn resurrection because there’s so many original ideas to come up with and instead to go back to focusing on old villains, ‘individual’ villains, and not a more complex set of incidents that would present the ‘big challenge’ for the characters in the story, for me personally I find the idea very unsatisfactory, but then I’m a Star Trek fan so my standards are pretty high. ;)

Leonard Nimoy is still so awesome. I see the rationale (but still very much dislike ST09. Too Star Wars, and too much blowing up of Vulcan and killing of Amanda. And way too much Spock and Uhura *gags* )

interesting about his feelings on Trek VI – and i agree, that film could have used some kind of interesting sci fi twist. it was too much of a straight political thriller

i wonder what the big mystrey/revelation about the klingons could have been?

that they were an off shoot of early man? (like the romulans are to Vulcans). hence why they were so aggressive and all that stuff – they are a more ‘pure’ version of human?

All due respect to what’s been before…A) Shatner is NOT in a place in his career where his presence in Trek would be anything but unnecessarily comical. B) The torch has been passed. Nimoy passed it. C) For Orci & Co. to shoehorn these guys in would not be honoring their legacy but placating to Shatner’s ego and fan pressure and would detract from their primary goal which is to write a solid script the builds on and improves upon what they’ve done so far. It’s time for the new crew to take center stage and move us forward.

The Scene that Bob Orci wrote for Shatner in Trek 09 would be a perfect way to start the new movie. Using the shat in a Holographic recording just before he went abord the Enterprise B would be a great way for Nimoy and Shat to end there Star Trek legecy as Kirk and Spock. Then the rest of the movie. Pine and Quinto take the torch and take us on a Grand Trek Adventure.

“I think the alternate universe was necessary.”

In the words of Spock himself, the new movie resides in an ALTERNATE universe, totally separate from the original, not a replacement of.

# 25

Totally agree with you. I wonder what Mr. Orci thinks. I wonder if the team would “say please”. Maybe he’ll post his thoughts about this on the thread .

I fully concur that making a new universe was the only way to go. A prequel, much like Enterprise, would just step on too many toes. A sequel to TNG would have the opposite problem in that it would most likely only appeal to past Trek fans and thus do as poorly as Nemesis and Insurrection did.

RE: Nimoy not in Trek 2012…I agree with that as well. This crew needs a movie to stand on their own and they don’t need Shatner or Nimoy to carry any screen weight with them. Nimoy was necessary for ’09 but for 2012 I think they can do fine on their own. They have a great cast of actors (evidenced by the fact that all of the main cast have gone on to have a good presence in other movies since then).

That being said, lets recap:

Nimoy then: “I’m retiring from acting after the Fringe finale”

Nimoy now: “I’m going to return to Fringe!” He’s also in a TV commercial isn’t he?

Nimoy then: I”m not doing anymore cons after 2010″

Nimoy now: he’s in HOW many cons this year?

So we’ll see if he sticks to his word.

My problem is not so much the alternate universe concept per se, but with just how shallow and frivolous that universe ultimately turned out to be, a shift of the Trek timeline from Forbidden Planet territory to that of Top Gun and Star Wars. And I’m sorry to say I can’t agree with Mr. Nimoy on the necessity of this sort of reboot in the first place, given the potentially fascinating screenplay that could have been constructed around the background details we already knew about these characters. (And what we didn’t know about them, e.g. the details of Uhura’s African background, could have been just as compelling.) Kirk, caught up in a planetary revolution at fourteen, shy, bookish and put-upon by upper classmen–now that would have been the basis for a story both epic and consistent with what had gone on before, while being every bit as counter-intuitive and “fun” as the film we got instead.

Thank you, TrekkieJan and Michael Hall — it’s nice to have a voice of reason pop up every once in a while. Just because a parody’s been released through official channels doesn’t mean it isn’t a parody, or that we’re all required as Trekkies to like it.

I agree with what Nimoy is saying, the new team creating a new universe allows them to not worry about canon and keeps it separate from what came before but at the same time loosely still part of it.

However, being a lifelong fan I just have a preference for the prime universe.

Leonard Nimoy is always such a class act. He may be 80, but he has the vigor of someone no older than half that age.

I hope he lives long and prospers!

Also, I had no problems with Star Trek III whatsoever. I thought it was wonderful fun.

30. You guys ain’t the only ones to think that. I grew up with the Prime Universe and it’s going to take a lot more than Trek 09 to replace it in my heart. It was fun but it was also lightweight and didn’t quite capture the essence of what attracted me to Trek. The biggest sticking point for me was Kirk’s character arc, though Pine did a very fine job in portraying the material he was given.

But what’s done is done. Regarding the new alternate timeline? “Let’s see what she’s got!”

And a happy 80th birthday to “The Neem” (well, we call the other guy “The Shat”, don’t we?)

Agree completely, 33! I’m not sure what or how you would have executed that story any better – it was the unintended final third of a trilogy, it dealt with having to bring Spock back to the universe, and had to integrate Vulcan mythology in some substantial way. It was infinitely better than the rumored story I once heard that Spock’s “spirit” was “haunting” the Enterprise, entering random crew bodies and killing them off. Ugh!

Nimoy’s explanation of the practical necessity of the alternate timeline is one of the most sensible ones offered to date. Aside from the needless destruction of Vulcan, I have no problem with it.

Sorry Leonard. The new movie sucked and the alternate universe crap was just lip service.

I understand that tastes will vary in terms of which version of the Star Trek they like – if some one prefers DS9 to the TOS, or STV to ST 09, that is their choice. Is it too much to ask from those armchair screenwriters who just seem to know that had we just stuck to the origonal universe everything would be okay to lay off the snotty asides? Fine, we get it, you think the last movie was a parody, shallow, frivolous. Most of this thread has been thanking Mr. Nimoy for his contribution to the franchise on the occasion of his birth. There will be plenty of other threads where you can whine about how horrible the last movie was.

As a Hard Core Trek Fan. I love them all. From Tos to Trek 09. I have seen ever Ep of every Series and all of the Movies many times over. If you have not done that. Then I do not consider you a hard core fan.
1. Hard core fan. Seen all of the Trek series and movies including the Animated many times over. Own all of the Tos Series and all of the Movies either on bluray and or DVD.
2 large Trek Fan. Seen all of the Tos and movies and Tng.
3. Trek Fan. Only seen one series and all of the movies.
4. Casual Trek Fan.
Seen all of the movies and some of the series.
5 Light Trek. Seen a few eps and a movie or two.

nothing in that interview is really being revealed for the first time, he discussed all those points in great detail in “I AM SPOCK”

Nimoy and Shatner will be back at some point, most likely in the third film. You heard it here first.

Its a shame that Russel T Davis didn’t helm the last film. Look what he did for DR WHO. Move it forward with respect for the past. Now, compare that with JJA did to Trek. Disgracefull!

43. Robert Paulson

Actually, there is an interesting through-line that can be drawn between J.J. Abrams and Russell T. Davies: Both took over long-time sci-fi franchises and successfully revived them & both drew flack for their handling of their work in certain fan quarters.

38. Phil
Not on this website, Phil.

Oh, we would have messed up anyway so why not this way since it was also the easier route to take.
Great excuse. Really proud of what you have become.

@38: Mr. Nimoy made a point with which some of us disagreed, and we said so (with varying degrees of snark). That doesn’t mean that we respect him any less as an actor, as a person or as one of the formative members of Star Trek; nor was it particularly off-topic, since Nimoy’s comment had to do with the creation of ST09’s “alternate universe” as a way to wriggle free of the bonds of canon.

Mr. Nimoy is living long and prospering. Happy Birthday!
I agree that the alternate universe was a good idea for Star Trek 2009; I just wish it would have been done better. (There is already a movie called Star Wars >;>})
And since they just had to destroy Vulcan, I hope the effects of that destruction are a major part of the sequel, i.e. the effects on the stability of the Federation and a perceived opportunity for its enemies. A lot of dramatic opportunity that I hope the writers take advantage of.

Nimoy is right on the rationale. I agree that this is something they had to do.

#47…Yeah, the effects of the destruction of Vulcan *SHOULD* be part of the sequel no matter what. But is this what Orci and Kurtzman have in mind? I don’t know. They could just easily dismiss it and shrug it off. I mean, any good writer would probably want to capitilize on the aftermath. Heck, as JMS of “Babylon 5” said, the aftermath of the war can be more interesting and exciting than the war itself!

“Fine, we get it, you think the last movie was a parody, shallow, frivolous. Most of this thread has been thanking Mr. Nimoy for his contribution to the franchise on the occasion of his birth.”

Well, sheesh. I was under the impression that the subtitle to this thread was “Nimoy defends new movie universe” when apparently in actuality it was “Fans take this opportunity to thank Nimoy for his contributions to Trek and wish him a happy birthday.” My bad, then. Happy birthday, Leonard, and my sincere thanks for the impact you’ve had on my life.

To # 39. You’re absolutely right, I love your definitions on being a trekkie. I wish everyone would follow your definitions. There would be the last confusion in the world would be a better place.