In 2009, Leonard Nimoy was the only original Star Trek cast member to reprise his role for the highly anticipated Star Trek reboot. Nimoy's Spock, fondly referred to as Spock Prime in the reboot, played a crucial role in the first film and even returned for a brief cameo appearance in the sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness. Sadly, though, Nimoy died in in March of 2015, just before production began on Star Trek Beyond, the latest film in the reboot franchise. It goes without saying, then, that Nimoy does not appear in the new film, but his character is still very much a part of the story. And so fans are wondering: does Spock Prime die in Star Trek Beyond?
Spoilers ahead! In an effort to honor both Nimoy and the character he originated, Beyond co-writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung decided to integrate Nimoy's death into the script. "We knew immediately we wanted to pay tribute to him in some way," Pegg said in an interview with The Daily Beast. "Then we thought, wouldn't it be good to actually make Leonard's passing — or the passing of his character, Spock [Prime], part of our Spock's arc?" The death of Spock Prime in Star Trek Beyond does, in fact, play a huge part in Spock's character development in the film.
Early in the film, Spock gets news of Spock Prime's death, leading him to question where his place in the world should be. At the end of Star Trek, Spock considered leaving Starfleet to help establish New Vulcan, but Spock Prime told him not to, as he would be there to help the surviving Vulcans. But now that Spock Prime is dead, Spock considers leaving the U.S.S. Enterprise to carry on the Vulcan race. Spock's dilemma quickly becomes a secondary concern after the real conflict in Star Trek Beyond unfolds, but it does weigh heavy on all of Spock's actions. "We all carried him with us through this production for sure. ...But I think he was very much a part of it in spirit, and certainly in the film now, and will be a part of anything we do moving forward, for sure," Zachary Quinto, who plays the new Spock, told People.
According to Quinto, Spock Prime's death was directly informed by Nimoy's passing. "If Leonard was well enough to be a part of this film, I'm sure he would have been," Quinto said in his interview with People. And while fans would have jumped at the chance to see Nimoy play Spock one last time, it's nice to see that his impact on the Star Trek franchise be incorporated into the script.
Filmmakers did not stop their tribute to Nimoy with Spock Prime's death, though. After the film, before the credits, a title card insert dedicated the film to Nimoy, reading, "In loving memory of Leonard Nimoy." Live Long and Prosper.
Images: Paramount Pictures; Giphy