Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy - The Soul of Star Trek

I have been lost in contemplation after this morning's news that Leonard Nimoy passed away. From his recent emergency hospital visit, the signs were there that this might not be far off, but it was still quite shocking. I'm not sure how long it will take to truly process this, but one thing I quickly realized was the Nimoy was the soul of Star Trek.

Leonard and his son Adam, from a blooper reel

I guess to make sense of that I'd better first explain a few things. Gene Roddenberry had a unique vision of the future. It is one where racial and gender barriers are dissolved and humanity lives at peace with the other species in the Federation. This is best shown in the series by the Vulcan IDIC emblem. It stands for Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. Roddenberry strove for this from the first pilot, filmed over 50 years ago. He cast a woman first officer and an alien science officer. While he was not able to keep the woman first officer, science fiction made keeping the alien an achievable task. So Spock stayed on.

Through the series, the character of Spock challenged viewers with his alien attitudes and logical outlook. He was a constant comment on humanity and Roddenberry's vision of our future. But in all the banter between characters, the differences between Vulcan and Human were never a cause for discrimination. A Vulcan stood in for all the differences in our own society that Roddenberry did not dare comment on, but since Spock was alien, he could, and in the way he wanted.

So while Roddenberry was the creator and dubbed the Great Bird of the Galaxy, it was Spock and the actor who portrayed him that were really the soul of Star Trek. The superior quality of the two movies he directed and had a hand in writing really speak to how in tune with Star Trek Nimoy was.

So today, with his passing, Star Trek has lost its soul. But he is not gone. He lives on in all the performances he gave, all the scenes he directed, all the lines he wrote or altered. Leonard Nimoy, the soul of Star Trek is gone, but Spock Lives.

And I just wanted to close with a message of condolence to his family and close friends. Especially to his wife Susan, daughter Julie, and son Adam, as well as his castmates, Bill, George, Nichelle, and Walter. Although Spock rarely smiled, Leonard had a very nice smile that was often captured when the cameras were not rolling. He will be greatly missed.

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