As part of its public relations campaign to help retire the space shuttle program, NASA pulled out the red carpet and invited all the media for the arrival of its experimental shuttle Enterprise to New York City on Thursday.
The shuttle, which had never made it to space, is being moved from its home at the Smithsonian in Washington to New York City, and NASA piggy-backed the shuttle in a very public event that included some of New York City’s landmark sights.
On hand were some major dignitaries, including Leonard Nimoy who — along with most of the “Star Trek” cast as well as creator Gene Roddenberry — were on hand when the shuttle was first unveiled in California in 1976. Nimoy’s job was to talk about how fans worked hard to convince then President Gerald Ford to change the name of the experimental vehicle from Constitution to Enterprise, and talk about how Star Trek — and NASA — are helping to realize dreams for the future.
While mainstream media was amused about the geek connection to the space program, genre fans — especially those anticipating J.J. Abrams’ upcoming “Star Trek 2” film — had something to be distracted about. In an interview before the Enterprise’s landing in New York, Nimoy talked to CNN, and implied that he was in talks to appear in the upcoming film.
Nimoy was being interviewed by CNN reporter Jason Carroll, communicating with anchor Carol Costello in the cable channel’s studio in Atlanta. Carroll was listening to Costello through his earpiece, so anything the anchor said to Nimoy — which wasn’t too much — had to be relayed through Carroll.
The interview started out simple enough:
JASON CARROLL: You think about it’s [the Enterprise] going to a museum. but you can’t help but think about the future. When you watch Star Trek, it’s always about this vision of what the future might be. What do you think the future will be in terms of NASA …
LEONARD NIMOY: Well, Star Trek was always positive about the future, that was one of the great things audiences always enjoyed. It was always a very optimistic future, very positive. And I think one of the most important things Star Trek had to offer was to explain to young people what the possibilities of science were. To excite people about the idea of being scientists, engineers and so forth. We need those kind of people who have a vision for the future like that.
Soon after, Carroll wrapped up the interview, but back in Atlanta, Costello couldn’t help but stargaze a little bit.
CAROL COSTELLO: Could I just say that I admire you? And in the new Star Trek movie [the 2009 version] you had a very prominent role, Leonard Nimoy, and I enjoyed it very much. You’re fantastic.
CARROLL: In fact, Carol, we were talking about that … [to Nimoy] Carol, Carol Costello, the anchor … remember we were talking about the new Star Trek movie. It was great, you did a great job in it. And we were just about talking about that just before … will you be in another Star Trek movie?
NIMOY: Uhh, we’re talking. We’re talking.
CARROLL: Talking, Carol. [laughs] Hopefully.
Will Nimoy make a return for “Star Trek 2”? The script is done, and Nimoy has said before that he was done acting. Yet, we have word that Nimoy is going beyond voice acting (like he did in recent episodes of “Fringe” and CBS’ “Big Bang Theory”) and could be back on screen again for “Fringe” — possibly by the end of the current season.
Could he be talking about making another appearance in a Star Trek film?
As open as he might have been answering Jason Carroll’s question, he isn’t talking since. He only had a few Twitter posts from the event in New York, and only one after the event was over, sharing images of the Enterprise shuttle flying around New York City.
Nimoy turned 81 last month, but there may be no stopping him. Sometimes, even for actors who simply play Vulcans, retirement is not an option.