Monday, May 4, 2009

Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto: The Two Faces of Spock

The makers of Star Trek can thank their lucky stars that the spacetime continuum isn't thought to be very continuous these days. The new Star Trek film turns its back on everything that Back To The Future ever taught us about time, and embraces the possibilities of infinite alternate universes that come along with the relatively recent science of string theory.

In the domain of string theory, the paradox issues created by time travel are resolved by a split in the fabric of time, with new offshoots creating alternate futures. This non-linear vision of temporal theory, which is now favored by many scientists, has conveniently allowed Star Trek director J.J. Abrams, and writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (who worked with J.J. on Alias and Fringe), to reboot the series and open Star Trek up to a whole new world of possibilities.

The character of Spock lies at the dramatic center of the alternate universe depicted in the new Star Trek movie, with Leonard Nimoy's original Spock traveling back in time to aid a United Federation of Planets inhabited by his younger self, played by Heroes' Zachary Quinto. In this timeline, which was created by the elder Spock's leap through time, the young Spock (and not Kirk) gets to kiss Uhura (played by Zoe Saldana).

In an otherwise utterly brilliant film, it's this one storyline that may have hardcore Trekkies and Trekkers up in arms. Science fiction fans might need to remind themselves that the word "science" comes before "fiction" in this genre, where multiple alternate timelines/universes are (quite literally) the way of the future. Fans can also console themselves with the fact that a Spock/Uhura relationship is perhaps not without precedent in Star Trek's hallowed canon -- as actor Karl Urban (who play Dr. Leonard "bones" McCoy) points out in the group discussion with Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto below.

Click HERE to read on.

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