I stayed home from work sick today, and was just lounging in bed and resting when I got a text from my dad — and fellow “Star Trek” fan — to let me know that actor Leonard Nimoy had passed away today. I had heard that Nimoy was ill, but that doesn’t really make the announcement easier to take. Nimoy played Mr. Spock, arguably the most iconic of the “Star Trek” characters, in numerous TV episodes and films, and it’s a loss that will certainly be mourned by the community of science fiction fans.
I haven’t always been a “Star Trek” fan. “Star Wars” was my first love, and when I was younger, for whatever reason, “Star Trek” didn’t really click for me. I went to see J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot film with some friends who were Trek fans, and the film took all of five minutes to win me over, and when I went back to watch other Trek episodes and films, I fell in love with them too. I admire Nimoy’s willingness to appear in that reboot film. It was a risk, of course; nobody knew if Abrams would successfully reboot or ruin “Star Trek,” but Nimoy had enough confidence — or faith? — to appear in the film as the older version of Spock. Even though the reboot film made the gutsy move of altering the classic Trek timeline, having Nimoy there made it seem legitimate. He was, in a way, passing the torch to a new generation of actors, as well as saluting long-time fans of the series.
Nimoy was great as Spock — a character who valued logic above emotion, and yet was willing to sacrifice everything for his friends. Kirk and Spock are the ultimate odd couple, two beings who “logically” shouldn’t be friends but realize they can’t function without each other. Admit it, Trek fans — we all teared up when Spock sacrificed himself to save Kirk and the Enterprise at the end of “The Wrath of Khan.” In Nimoy’s hands, Spock was both alien and accessible; he was different enough to fascinate us, but still “human” enough to be relatable.
Although the character will live on in the continued Trek films, thanks to a strong performance from Zachary Quinto (whom Nimoy praised), there will always be a special place in the hearts of Trek fans for Nimoy as the original “Mr. Spock.” He helped launch a sci-fi show that in turn helped to launch a genre.
Thanks for being a part of “Star Trek,” Mr. Nimoy — live long and prosper.