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Leonard Nimoy said The Voyage Home was inspired by TOS’ “best episode”

Leonard Nimoy, also known as Mr. Spock, argued that one of the best Star Trek Movies, The Voyage Home, was inspired by his pick for the best TOS episode.

Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner in Star Trek The Voyage Home

The list of the best Star Trek episodes is about as long as the length of the Enterprise-D (641 meters, if you’re wondering, which is twice the length of Kirk’s Enterprise) and includes some absolute classics from each Star Trek series. According to Leonard Nimoy, TOS’s best episode helped to inspire Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

The Voyage Home is generally considered, including by us, to be one of the best Star Trek movies ever made. Some even rank it ahead of The Wrath of Khan, arguing that its lighter tone fits more neatly within the Star Trek universe. It sees the crew of the Enterprise travel back in time, after the resurrection of Spock, to the 1980s in an attempt to bring whales from the past into the future to appease an alien probe.

It’s about as wild as it sounds, and it’s 100% amazing, glorious fun. Speaking about how it came to be, Leonard Nimoy (who directed the movie) argued that it was steeped in Star Trek tradition.

“We did do some very successful time travel stories [in the series],” said the actor, reflecting on why they had decided to take the Star Trek cast back in time. “One that I remember in particular was one where we went back to the 1930s during the depression in Chicago. It was love, a love story between Bill Shatner and Joan Collins.”

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The episode that Nimoy is referring to is the classic The City on the Edge of Forever, which debuted in 1967. The story follows Kirk, Spock, and Bones, who travel back in time and accidentally cause a rupture in the Star Trek timeline, which prevents the creation of the Federation and changes the course of World War 2, leading to millions of further deaths.

“I always thought this was one of our best episodes,” concluded Nimoy in a resurfaced clip from CNN, and many Star Trek fans and critics would agree. Part of the episode’s draw is its tragedy, which centers on the growing romance between Kirk and a woman named Edith Keeler before Kirk realizes ‘Edith Keeler must die’ in order to preserve the flow of time.

It’s an all-time great, which evidently stuck with Nimoy. While The Voyage Home is much lighter, the central conceit of going back into the past and interfering with time remains the same.

While most contemporary critics raved about The Voyage Home (It’s currently said at 84% on Rotten Tomatoes), not everyone liked the film, most notably, New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael who described the cast as “ancient tortoises who had to get their heads out and up before they could say anything.” Yikes…

For more on Star Trek, check out why we don’t care that the latest time travel adventure broke canon. Or, read our Star Trek Strange New Worlds season 2 review before seeing our interview with Anson Mount and Rebecca Romijn. If you want more from Nimoy and Shatner, take a look at our ranking of the Star Trek captains and our picks for the best Star Trek characters.