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Nimoy Declined Role in Star Trek Beyond Due to Health

Star Trek Beyond was released in theaters last week (read our review here), and took the number one spot in the box office in its first weekend. The film celebrates what came before and does a more than admirable job of honoring the 50 year legacy of “The Final Frontier.”

Spock In Absentia?

Conspicuously absent though, is Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed from day one while filming that first Star Trek pilot in 1964. Nimoy passed away last year after a long struggle with COPD. The COPD Foundation defines COPD as:

“Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis.”

Nimoy, a smoker of much of his life, suffered from this debilitating disease. As the Huffington Post notes, he spent many of his later years working to convince others to quit smoking. He was a big presence in social media and in his last couple of years, he tweeted frequently about the cause.

Nimoy Star Trek SmokingNimoy Star Trek Smoking

Ill Health Prevented Spock’s Return

In a recent interview with Yahoo Movies, Nimoy’s son Adam, whose documentary, For the Love of Spock, is debuting this fall, revealed that his father was offered a role in Star Trek Beyond, but had to decline because his heath was failing. He says:

“I know, because I talked with Dad extensively about it, that he was very happy to be a part of this reincarnation of Star Trek, to be participating. It was very hard for him when they came with the third installment, Star Trek Beyond, and they wanted him involved, but he had to say no because of his health. He didn’t think he could physically do it. So that was difficult for him. … But he was very pleased and very happy to end his career as Spock with those cast members.”

Adam says that his father was pleased to pass the torch onto Zachary Quinto.

“Dad was very comfortable with Zachary continuing the tradition of playing Spock. So he’s got a professional connection with Spock and the family, but he’s also got a personal connection. He’s been like a member of the family.”

Nimoy’s Spirit Resounds

While Leonard Nimoy may not appear in Star Trek Beyond, he is present. It was promised early on that Nimoy’s Spock would be memorialized in some way. Zachary Quinto had this to say about it, again in an interview with Yahoo Movies:

“I think Leonard’s very much a part of this — with me, for me.… I feel him with me in a very powerful way all the time. And doing this film, I feel he’s a part of it for all of us. Everybody feels his absence. We want to honor him with continuing to tell these stories with integrity.”

In an interview with Film Journal International, Director Justin Lin confirms that Nimoy’s presence will be felt in the film:

“It’s something you’ll see in the film. It obviously affected everybody, because he’s been a big part of our lives. There’s an attempt to acknowledge that in some way.”

So while Leonard Nimoy may not have been able to reprise his iconic role of Spock in Star Trek Beyond, it is safe to say he’ll be included in a way that pays homage to his monumental contributions to the world of Star Trek.

Star Trek Beyond, in Theaters right now.

Have you seen the film? What did you think? Did it do justice to Star Trek’s Legacy? Please comment, LIKE and SHARE to encourage dialogue. LLAP.


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About the author

Tim Piland

Timothy Piland is a classically trained tenor and opera singer. He was born and raised in the Springfield, Mo. Area.

He has performed Roles for Springfield Little Theater, Vandivort Theater, Springfield Regional Opera and Mobile Opera. He has also worked for the Puccini Festival, and the Kansas City Lyric Opera.

In his performing career he has performed roles in: Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Man of La Mancha, Die Fledermouse, La Fanciulla del West, Gianni Schicchi and many other shows.

In 2007, he toured the United Kingdom with the Church of the Incarnation out of Dallas, Texas. This included a week long engagement at Westminster Abbey, as well as a 9 day engagement at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In 2009 he originated the role of the Priest in "Frankenstein, Monster" by Le Wlhelm at the Gilloiz Theater.

He appeared onstage as Rupert Giles for, "A Class Act productions," in their ongoing presentation of Buffy The Vampire Slayer: A Reader’s Theatre Parody, from March 2010-July 2013.

In November 2011, he made his directoral debut, directing "Star Trek Live Onstage: The Trouble with Tribbles," also for "A Class Act." He went on to direct 14 of the next 17 episodes of that live stage show.

Each Christmas you can also catch him at the historic Pythian Castle where he performs in a, "Night of the Dueling Santas," a Christmas dinner show of his own writing. He has been the Ghost Tour Guide for the castle since 2010.

He has been featured on The Discovery Channel, SYFY Channel, The History Channel, NPR.

He is the founder of Harvest Moon Productions and oversees events ranging from concerts to straight plays. He is currently writing a book called "Ghostly Tales From Pythian Castle," which hopefully will see production at some point in 2014.

In 2013 he was cast as Dr. Howard Lagrasse in the 5 episode silent Horror web series SHADOW BOUND, for Arcane Productions. Most recently he was cast in a role in the feature film EVERYTHING, for Parallax Studio.

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