CLOSE

‘Star Trek’ fans, rejoice! The franchise’s beloved classic ‘The Wrath of Khan’ is returning to the big screen.
USA TODAY

 

William Shatner has developed a cynical view of Mr. Spock’s (Leonard Nimoy) dramatic death in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Shatner believes his longtime friend Nimoy, who died in 2015, plotted to dramatically kill off his beloved character in 1982’s Wrath of Khan, only to have the half-Vulcan return in the next movie, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

More: How William Shatner’s famed ‘Wrath of Khan’ cry became ‘Star Trek’ legend

He suspects Nimoy schemed Spock’s spectacular demise and return with producer Harve Bennett for leverage, allowing Nimoy to insist upon directing The Search for Spock.

“I believe it was all planned — I now believe (Nimoy) and Harve cooked this up,” says Shatner, who had this realization long after Wrath of Khan, which Fathom Events is bringing back to theaters on Sept. 10 and 13 for the movie’s 35th anniversary.      

“I suddenly realized that I, as well as many other people, had been taken in by the death of Spock,” the actor says. “Leonard was so marvelous at working the territory that he got a directing job out of it.”

Shatner says he was “genuinely moved” filming the famed Wrath of Khan scene in which Spock, dying from radiation poisoning after saving the Enterprise from villain Khan (Ricardo Montalbán), says a final goodbye.

“I was thinking my good friend Nimoy is in essence saying goodbye to the whole part,” Shatner says. “No one told me they were thinking otherwise.”

The Captain Kirk actor, who himself later directed a Star Trek film (1989’s Star Trek V: The Final Frontier), has no hard feelings about Nimoy’s alleged maneuver.

“But I would have enjoyed being in on it,” he adds. “I get the secrecy. But it’s all great.”

Wrath of Khan director Nicholas Meyer stands by the historical account that Nimoy asked to have Spock killed off because he truly intended to leave the franchise and the character.

“Here’s what happened,” Meyer says. “Leonard was very ambivalent about doing another Star Trek movie. And Harve Bennett lured him with the promise of a terrific death scene,…