Leonard Nimoy took the lead on the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Galileo 7”
By the middle of the first season of Star Trek: The Original Series, it was clear that Mr. Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy, was one of the most successful characters on the show. The powers-that-be thought it would be a good choice to focus mostly on Spock for an episode and chose to put him in command of a vessel and set him and other crew members out on a journey. Though viewers liked the episode, as do fans to this day, Leonard Nimoy wasn’t such a big fan of it.
According to a quote by Nimoy included in The Fifty-Year Mission The First 25 Years, the actor said he experienced the episode as a failure and overall had a tough time with it, mainly because of the loss of William Shatner’s character, Captain Kirk. He was so used to being able to play against Shatner that he missed the driving force when he was put in charge.
Being the central character was tough for Leonard Nimoy
Nimoy called Shatner’s performance “the energetic, driving force” of the series and said “Spock could kind of slipstream along and make comments and offer advice, give another point of view.” But that was taken away when he was leading the charge in “Galileo 7.” He no longer had Shatner to play off of, and it made a difference.
"“Put into the position of being the driving force, the central character, was tough for me, and I perceived it as a failure.”"
Though the episode remains popular and is often ranked high in lists of “best of” or “essential episodes,” it clearly left a mark on Nimoy who missed having Shatner as his scene partner. The two men were incredible opposite one another on the screen, and the friendship of Kirk and Spock was one of the best friendships ever played out on the movie screen. Both Shatner and Nimoy worked perfectly together, bringing raw emotion and subtle humor to their characters in a way that has kept fans enamored for the past 55 years.
Nimoy started the series working alongside Shatner so it’s understandable why he felt the loss when his character was in command. But while there are episodes that fans consider failures, “Galileo 7” isn’t one of them. And most of us will always consider Mr. Spock to have been a central character.