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Leonard Nimoy said this Star Trek movie “derailed” the franchise

Star Trek legend Leonard Nimoy, who starred in the sci fi series and movies as the Vulcan Spock, revealed the one film in the franchise that almost ruined it.

Leonard Nimoy as Spock in The Motion Picture

Leonard Nimoy, who played one of the best Star Trek characters ever with the Vulcan Spock, has some strong feelings about one of the movies in particular. Nimoy starred as Spock in Star Trek across the entirety of the first TV series in addition to the TOS-era Star Trek movies, alongside the likes of William Shatner as Kirk and Deforest Kelley as Bones.


Within the movies, the actor’s influence would grow and Nimoy would even sit in the director’s chair for The Voyage Home, which is undoubtedly one of the very best movies in the franchise. But, it wasn’t all so smooth going, and there were plenty of ups and downs.

Speaking back in 2009 following on from the release of the JJ Abrams reboot movie, Nimoy reflected back on the cinematic legacy of the Star Trek franchise saying that it was “derailed” right at the very start, before eventually finding its feet.

“The second Star Trek movie put the franchise back on track. The first one derailed us, it didn’t do us any good,” said Nimoy, speaking with TrekMovie.

The first Star Trek movie is the infamous The Motion Picture. Dubbed ‘The Motionless Picture’ and ‘The Motion Sickness’ by its detractors, the movie was a far cry from the fun adventure movies which later installments would become.

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Thankfully, it was followed up by The Wrath of Khan which is regarded as one of the best movies of all time, period. “The second one put us back on track,” continued Nimoy, “and what happened, unintentionally, we didn’t realize that we were at the beginning of a trilogy.”

“The three films, II, III and IV, told a story that had an arc… III was obligatory, we had to get Spock back and IV was the completion of that cycle. After that, the films became somewhat of ‘toss something in the air and see what happens.’ And were not so grounded in continuity.”

Nimoy’s reflection that The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock, and The Voyage Home constitute a trilogy is very keen-eyed, and viewed that way the three films surely make for one of the best science fiction movie trilogies of all time. It just took one less-successful movie to get there in the first place.

For more on Star Trek, check out our ranking of the Star Trek captains.