Leonard Nimoy shared his thoughts regarding the first six Star Trek movies; what worked, what didn’t and what he wishes had happened in the final original series movie.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture wasn’t very well-received by fans, but was successful enough to warrant a second film. “The feeling was, after that first movie, there was something to be done with Star Trek,” said Nimoy, “that the first movie hadn’t done what was available to be done, that there was still an audience, still an interest, but that it didn’t satisfy the audience in terms of content.”
In Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Nimoy had a specific reason for going along with Spock’s death. “…When they came to me with the idea of doing that second film, I thought they were just trying to squeeze one more movie out of the franchise,” he said. “I thought that it would be the end of Star Trek and that’s why I accepted the idea of Spock dying at the end of Star Trek II.”
But Spock’s fate wasn’t necessarily final, as Nimoy found out when filming the scene. “When we came up with the idea of doing a mind meld on Dr. McCoy, on DeForest Kelley, I was asked if I could say something in that mind meld that would give us a hook for the future, in case there was a possibility of continuing,” said Nimoy. “And I came up with the word ‘Remember,’ which I thought was broad enough and interesting enough that we might be able to use it as our hook in the future.”
One film was a bit of a disappointment to Nimoy, who had hoped for more revelations regarding a familiar Star Trek foe. In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Nimoy wanted to know more about the Klingons and what made them tick. “…What I was hoping for was that once inside the Klingon Empire we would find out something about the Klingons that would surprise us all,” he said. “Why are they so angry? Why are they so hostile? Why are so warring? Why are they so bent on conflict and paranoia and suspicion? What’s going on in their minds? What’s inside that Empire that we don’t know that would surprise us? We never quite got to that. We never quite did. We did do an interesting story about the political faction within the Klingon’s structure, but we didn’t quite get to that amazing revelation about what the Klingons were really all about.”
The movies weren’t the end of Star Trek for Nimoy, who appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation. “I went to the producers at Next Generation with the idea that we could do a crossover, that I could do an appearance on The Next Generation that would, in a sense, be a connection to the Star Trek films that we were making,” said Nimoy. “They wrote a script which I thought served that purpose. I went and gladly did it. And yes, it was my idea. I went to them with the idea, and we did it.”