Leonard Nimoy Explains How Science Fiction Has Improved Since The 1950sS

Star Trek and Fringe star Leonard Nimoy got his start in the 1952 serial Zombies Of The Stratosphere. We talked to him on a conference call the other day, and he raved about how science fiction has improved since then.

During the conference call with reporters, someone asked Nimoy how he felt science fiction had changed during the nearly 60 years of his acting career, and he responded:

Science fiction has become much more sophisticated and complicated than the science fiction that I worked in many, many years ago. My first science fiction work was in a series of short films called "Zombies of the Stratosphere" in which three of us came from Mars, landed on Earth, and stole a pick-up tuck and a couple of revolvers and announced we were going to take over Earth and knock it out of its orbit because Mars has an orbit of lesser equality. We want the orbit that Earth has. It was a very simplistic, fantastic notion.

What we're dealing with today is much more nuanced, and much more sophisticated. The writers are doing fascinating work. The scripts show it. The production values are much more complex and much more sophisticated than what we used to be able to do, because of the advancement in the technology.

Most of the call, of course, was about Fringe, which has its season finale on Thursday featuring Nimoy in his most prominent role to date. We had heard that the producers had planned a much bigger arc for William Bell this year, but had to scale it back dramatically when Nimoy was cast in the role, because Nimoy was only willing to do a few episodes. We asked Nimoy if this was true, and what sort of things the writers had originally pitched for Bell to do. He responded:

This is actually news to me. I haven't heard this before. I don't think it's accurate. I was asked to do five episodes. I did. So, I don't know where that information is coming from. It's true that, in the first three episodes that I did for them, or even the first four, I would say that my involvement was minimal. In this final one, coming up next week, I'm heavily involved. I don't know of any other plans that they had, or anything about scaling back. I don't think it's accurate. They asked me to do five episodes, and I did.

Nimoy was very excited about Thursday's episode, because he gets to go toe-to-toe with John Noble for a lot of the episode. There are "very strong scenes" between William and Walter, and a really terrific resolution to their relationship. And he talked a bit about William Bell's character:

He's disarmingly unpredictable. He keeps saying, "Trust me," but then you're not quite sure if you should. That is probably the most interesting thing about him. He's obviously a man of great intelligence and a powerful figure, but most intriguing is what his intentions are. What is his agenda? What is he really after? What's he trying to accomplish? We'll find out more about that next Thursday.

And no, he's definitely not going to be in the next Star Trek movie — or anything else, since he's retired from acting.

The Fringe season finale airs on Thursday at 9 PM on Fox.