I remember I was only eight when I first watched Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I picked this particular movie after gazing at the cover for 10 minutes, at a man with large, pointy ears, who I then mistook for a space elf of some sort. I had caught snatches of the Star Trek show previously, but it had failed to make any lasting impressions at the time.
Wrath of Khan was easily, the best film out of the Star Trek franchise to date, the film managed to turn an unsuspecting 8-year-old into a science fiction fangirl. And it all boiled down to one man: Leonard Nimoy and his portrayal of Spock. After I watched Spock give up his life to save the Enterprise fleet in the final scene of the film, I cried myself to sleep.
Spock’s stoicism and spartan discipline (especially when pitched against Captain Kirk’s exuberance and total disregard for protocol) made him instantly special. The gravitas that Nimoy managed to give that character, whether it was with that instantly calming voice of his, or the amount of detail he brought into Spock’s mannerisms — calm and commanding, the scientific vigor he managed to convey, and just his dependability. And there was the Vulcan salute, something Nimoy himself designed (after a Jewish orthodox blessing that he saw as a child), along with the ‘Live long and prosper’ dialogue. It just goes to show how much of Nimoy really went into making Spock — perhaps they were always one.
Over the years, Nimoy’s presence remained steady. Even if it was for a TV show like Fringe, Nimoy’s portrayals of these characters instantly made everything interesting. And apart from his acting, Nimoy effortlessly managed to come across as a most kind human being. Perhaps this can be attributed to his inability to say no to people. He was all over the place at all times - running charities, helping people struggling with alcoholism, taking brilliant photographs, directing films, talking about space exploration and much more. Take JJ Abrams 2009 Star Trek outing, for example. Without Leonard Nimoy’s help, Zachary Quinto could have never pulled off Spock. Filling those shoes is next to an impossible task.
I have read Leonard Nimoy’s very last post on Twitter several times since last Sunday, and it goes thus: “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.” Nimoy has managed to give us several perfect moments over the years, and we are grateful that we have been given the chance to not only preserve these cherished moments, but celebrate them through the legacy of Spock.
For as long as there are children, who will look up at the night sky with wonder and a deep longing to reach for the stars, Spock will endure. And so will Leonard Nimoy. Live long and prosper.