Sunday, August 05, 2007

Star Trek XI: The Life of Spock

(This post contains a major but well-known spoiler for Star Trek: Generations.)

I've mentioned that Heroes' Sylar, Zachary Quinto, has been cast to play a young Spock in the upcoming Star Trek film, which is creatively named Star Trek. What I haven't mentioned is that Leonard Nimoy is also in the film, playing an older Spock. Meanwhile, there's been a bit of hubbub surrounding James Kirk's nonappearance in the eleventh Trek film. This particular move makes sense to me:
  • Kirk gets trapped in the nexus sometime after Trek VI and then dies in the seventh film, so he's effectively unavailable for any other stories.
  • William Shatner has aged poorly and swollen considerably since his last appearance.
Anyway, two facts about this film's casting have got me thinking:
  • Young Spock seems to have been the first character cast.
  • Old Spock* has, according to Nimoy, "more than one scene in the film."
As a big fan o' Spock, I can't help but speculate that Spock, not Kirk, is the central character in the plot and that the story is told from Spock's perspective. I'd really enjoy seeing a story following one of Young Spock's first missions** after graduating from the Academy (perhaps struggling with being the only Vulcan in a Starfleet run by those illogical and prejudiced humans while going where no man has gone before) which somehow relates to and affects what Old Spock is doing in the TNG/DS9/VOY era (perhaps trying to reunify the Vulcans and the Romulans). Regular readers know I really enjoy nonlinear storytelling, so if the old-Spock and young-Spock threads could be interleaved in some interesting way, without resorting to time travel, so that the meaning and ramifications of each Spock's actions aren't clear until the end, I'd be quite pleased.

Do any trekkies/trekkers in the readership have thoughts or opinions on this topic?

* I'm sure Nimoy would prefer to be called "Classic Spock."
** Let's not forget the time he spent under the command of Christopher Pike.


  1. I am troubled by the presence of Spock Classic in the new movie. Star Trek desperately needs to cut as many ties as possible to the overwrought post-Next Gen era, where years of poor QC have resulted in such a steaming pile of comntradiction and implausability that it's nigh-on impossible to tell a credible story there anymore, and focus on more fertile ground. A story that centers on the early career of New Spock has tons of potential, and can be appreciated by people (such as myself) who have more or less mentally de-canonized Enterprise, Voyager, and much of later DS9. Tying the story of New Spock into that of Spock Classic just reminds the jaundiced-eyed viewers of all of the twaddle that they are trying to forget.

    Zachary Quinto is a genius casting choice, though, and I'd imagine that Spock will be the star of the movie. Think about it: Kirk was an arrogant and abrasive pig as a "mature" adult in his 30s and 40s; is he gonna be more or less sympathetic in his early 20s?

    Personally, I think the whole stretch of time from the discovery of warp drive to the end of Voyager is completely mined out, and that the proprietors of the franchise should consider launching new stories set a hundred years or so after anything so far depicted. This would let them blur over the problems with their milieu as built and recast everything to bring it into line with more modern SF storytelling concepts. I'm not sure that there's much of a market for televised post-human SF, but at least it would be interesting.

  2. Hey Nick. Good comments. I agree that most of the storytelling possibilities between Enterprise and Voyager has been exhausted. 40 years of established "canon" does make it difficult to tell a decent story, as you say. But, rather than jumping forward to the late 25th century, by which time the Federation will have dominated half of the Galaxy and Starfleet will have godlike powers, I think that a complete re-imagining, a la Battlestar Galactica, would be a good idea.

    It's clear, however, from Classic Spock's presence, that we're not going to get that, so I'm hoping for the next best thing: a time-interleaved Spock-centric story.