Star Trek Beyond, the third iteration of J. J. Abrams' reboot of the original TV series, arrived at a poignant time, a year after the sad passing in 2015 of one of the franchise's veterans, Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy, one of the biggest names in Sci-Fi, will forever live long and prosper in the form of Spock, the boundlessly logical half human-half vulcan, at home aboard the U.S.S Enterprise alongside Captain Kirk, Scotty and Mr Zulu. In recognition of Nimoy's contribution to both Star Trek and Sci-Fi, Star Trek Beyond includes a touching tribute and a send off worthy of the man and his talent.
The man who has taken up Nimoy's heavy mantle and the role of Spock in the newest Star Trek film series is Zachary Quinto, who has repeatedly proven himself to be a worthy successor. In Beyond, Quinto is also afforded the opportunity to deliver the aforementioned tribute to Nimoy as his character lies, gravely injured, on an alien planet next to his crew-mate Leonard McCoy (played by Karl Urban, another inspired casting choice). It is wonderfully measured and wisely self-contained scene, a singular moment in a larger picture, a moment of peace which does not distract from the rest of the film and in turn is not intruded on. In this stillness, whilst suffering from a decidedly 'unvulcanish' existential crisis, Quinto (as Spock) softly divulges to McCoy news of the recent passing of 'Ambassador Spock', Nimoy's cameo role in the reboot series. What follows is a poignant nod to Nimoy's career of almost 7 decades in the form of a bittersweet phrase.
"When you've lived as many lives as he... fear of death is illogical."
Spock goes on to tell McCoy of his future plans, in a delicate line which symbolizes the final handover of the role from Nimoy to Quinto.
"I want to live as he did. That is why I have decided to redirect his efforts and continue his work... on New Vulcan."
In between 'work' and 'on', sits a small pause - a brief moment perhaps purposefully left, a space in which the viewer can contemplate Nimoy's legacy and his portrayal of the iconic character. It is delivered as brilliantly as it has been written, as direct as anything that would have been uttered by Nimoy's Spock, a true homage to his character's logistical nature, and all the more fitting a tribute because of it.
Lastly, it would be wrong not to consider the second loss suffered by the cast, crew and fans of Star Trek - the also sad passing of Anton Yelchin in 2016, who passionately reincarnated the Russian prodigy Pavel Chekov. To Yelchin, Beyond provides another tribute; as Kirk (Pine), during the film's final moments, says "to absent friends", the focus is left on Yelchin, a tender and thoughtful toast to their much loved friend and co-star.
Beyond may be a film marred with tragedy, but its handling of these two losses has been exquisitely done, products of fantastic writing and respectful delivery, and the franchise is rightly continuing with the same passion and energy employed by two of its own. Beam them up, Scotty.