Whether you’re a Trekkie or not, the news that Leonard Nimoy is saying goodbye to the convention scene is actually fairly sad.
The fans have kept Star Trek alive all these years, and you can definitely feel the genuine sadness with Spock the last time he told the Trekkies “Live long and prosper.”
This takes me back to the summer of 1982, when Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan came out, and there was so much hullabaloo about the death of Spock. It certainly was a big selling point of the movie, but writer / director Nicholas Meyer made a great Trek flick regardless, and it’s odd to think that Spock’s passing helped revive the franchise on the silver screen.
When Meyer was offered the film, he said, “I’ve never watched Star Trek, I don’t even know what it is. It’s a guy with point ears, yeah?”
But he met with producer Harve Bennett, they got along well, and after watching some episodes, Meyer was sold. And it’s amazing the Star Trek movies were allowed to continue, considering the first one was a crashing bore.
Barry Diller, who was the head of Paramount, told Meyer that one of the most gut churning experiences of his life was seeing the lines to get into Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and knowing the movie didn’t deliver.
“It’s very easy to criticize the first movie, but I don’t think the other Star Trek movies would have been as good (without it),” says Meyer. “I certainly don’t think my first Star Trek movie would have been as good if I hadn’t been able to watch the first one, and sort of learn things you shouldn’t do.”
Before Meyer came aboard, there were five subsequent scripts for the second Star Trek film, and Spock died in one of them.
“I just remember we all thought it was a good idea,” Meyer continues, and Spock wasn’t supposed to come back in the third one either, but Paramount obviously had second thoughts. ”At the end of the movie, my feeling was Spock is dead. Then when Paramount and various other people saw the movie they thought, ‘Well, maybe we should leave it more open ended.’
“At the time, I didn’t like that at all. I was young, I was maybe naïve, and I just thought it was unfair to manipulate an audience like this. People have a lot invested in this character, and I thought if we’re gonna kill him, kill him. Don’t jerk the audience around. People said, ‘Oh you can’t kill Spock.’ And I said, ‘You can do anything…but you gotta kill him well! It has to feel organic and not like we’re working out the clause in somebody’s contract.'”
As far as the Trekkies who have kept Star Trek alive all this time, Meyer says, “I’ve always had a good time with the fans. I have not spent a lot of time with them, I don’t typically go to the conventions, but one thing I’ve learned is that to simply dismiss them as geeks is unwise and unfair. There are so many of them, there’s all kinds of personalities of fans. You can find minutia obsessed fans, and you can also find people that are working at NASA.
“It’s all out of love, and if it lead them to becoming scientists, fine. If it lead them to wearing antenna on their heads and attending conventions, I suppose there’s gotta be room for that too. There’s no question it crosses over to a lot of people, even people who think they wouldn’t like it or wouldn’t get it are sort of drawn in by some kind of universal accessibility.”