Deepfake technology allows young Leonard Nimoy to meet his older self in a new Star Trek video bringing together two versions of Spock.
Star Trek deepfake video puts the young Leonard Nimoy in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot. The super-logical counterpart to William Shatner’s emotional Captain Kirk, the pointy-eared Vulcan Starfleet officer Mr. Spock first appeared on Star Trek: The Original Series with Nimoy in the role. Nimoy would reprise the iconic Spock role in later Star Trek movies and in an appearance on the show Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Indeed, Nimoy’s name became so synonymous with the Spock character that for a time it was unthinkable that anyone else could ever play the role. But, Abrams made the unthinkable happen in his 2009 Trek reboot, casting Zachary Quinto as Spock – with Nimoy also making an appearance as an older version of the character. Spock was later recast again for the show Star Trek: Discovery, with Ethan Peck becoming the third man to take on the famous Vulcan (not counting actors who’ve played the character at earlier ages in previous shows and films). And Peck will now get to hold onto the role for awhile, as he’s set to return in the upcoming series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, a show that promises to return to the episodic approach of original Trek.
As well-received as Quinto and Peck may have been in their respective stabs at playing Spock, for many fans Nimoy’s version remains the only real take on the character. For those folks, YouTube user Jarkan has created a deepfake video that swaps out Quinto for a young Nimoy, giving the youthful TOS-era Spock a chance to interact with his much older counterpart. See the video in the space below:
As fans well remember, in Abrams’ Star Trek, old Spock becomes part of the action after being transported 129 years back in time via black hole, allowing him to bear witness to the destruction of Vulcan at the hands of the Romulan bad guy Nero. Controversially, the entire plot line involving Vulcan’s annihilation and Spock’s time travel resulted in the creation of an entirely new Trek timeline, referred to as the Kelvin timeline, and in Spock’s pre-Abrams incarnation being referred to as Prime Spock.
Fans can and will argue whether Abrams’ Kelvin timeline is in fact canon, but there’s no denying the emotional poignancy of seeing Nimoy as Kelvin Spock in 2009 Star Trek, and the above deepfake arguably adds even more emotional punch to the meeting of young and old Spock by replacing Quinto’s face with Nimoy’s. Of course, Quinto’s performance as Spock is not bad either, so it’s perhaps unfair to erase him from the scene even in favor of Nimoy (it’s still Quinto’s voice and physical performance after all). All in all, there’s fun novelty value to these deepfakes, but they do raise a lot of ethical issues that make them feel dodgy.
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