TNG producers wanted Leonard Nimoy for opening of second season
There is no question that “The City on the Edge of Forever” is one of the greatest episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series. Some fans would even call it THE greatest and not just in TOS but in the entire franchise. So when the producers of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) came to writer, Tracy Torme, and told him they thought they could get Leonard Nimoy to be in the first episode of the second season and asked him to come up with something cool, Torme turned to the greatest episode.
Torme called the sequel, “Return to Forever,” and the premise had the TNG crew forced to violate the rules about non-interference which opened up a Pandora’s box that only the Spocks from two different time periods could resolve. Excited, Torme, who was quoted in The Fifty Year Mission The Next 25 Years from the Next Generation to J.J. Abrams by Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross, said he’d figured out a way where “classic Spock and the Spock from the Next Generation would actually both end up together at the same time using the portal, and they could both be on the episode, and that was the twist to it.”
TNG didn’t get Leonard Nimoy for the second season
As Torme began work on the sequel, which he said was off to a fast start, he received word that the deal with Leonard had fallen through and that the actor wasn’t going to be in the second season premiere. The writer was disappointed, but probably not anymore so than the viewers now that we know as, instead of getting Spock in the season opener, we got “The Child,” an episode which has been consistently ranked as one of the worst of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
When the second season premiered on November 21, 1988, production was already underway for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier so Nimoy could have passed on the opportunity to appear on TNG because of time constraints. Nimoy did eventually guest-star on TNG in the fifth season of the series in “Unification I&II.” Needless to say, this two-part episode has ranked consistently in the top episodes of the series. In 2016, Empire even ranked it the 29th best out of the top 50 episodes of all the 700 plus Star Trek television episodes, which doesn’t surprise any Star Trek fan.