But -- as anyone who saw "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" can attest -- you can't keep Leonard Nimoy down for long.
On Thursday, just five days after he celebrated his 80th birthday, Entertainment Weekly reported that Nimoy would be returning to acting in this summer's "Transformers: Dark of the Moon." And appropriately, it's a role that returns him to outer space.
Nimoy will be providing the voice of Sentinel Prime, the giant robot seen lying dormant on the surface of the moon in the first trailer for the movie. Sentinel Prime was discovered by the Apollo 11 astronauts on their secret mission during the first moon landing (according to the movie). The character of Sentinel Prime was introduced in the original Marvel Comics as the previous Autobot leader who passed the Matrix of Leadership to Optimus Prime before he died. Sentinel reappeared in several different incarnations in subsequent comics and animated shows, sometimes as a predecesor to Optimus and sometimes as his contemporary. In "Dark of the Moon," Sentinel is a "big brother and mentor" to Optimus, according to Empire Magazine.
It won't be the first time Nimoy has provided the voice for a Transformer. He also worked on 1986's animated "The Transformers: The Movie" as the voice of Galvatron. Nimoy was also rumored to be up for a voice-over role in 2009's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." Director Michael Bay told MTV at the time that he was hesitant to ask Nimoy to do a role because he couldn't offer much money for the job. Bay said, "I just feel kind of bad about asking him. Like 'I can't pay you that much? But would you do this voice?'"
Bay apparently got over his reservations (or found more money in his voice-over budget) and was able to lure Nimoy out of retirement. Though Nimoy didn't appear to be too committed to staying out of the spotlight. He said last year that he would also be retiring from the Star Trek convention circuit, but he had already gone back on that statement. He appeared earlier in March at a con in San Francisco, and he is scheduled for more in Dallas and Phoenix this May.
Although, it might have been familial and not financial motives that brought Nimoy to "Transformers." Nimoy is married to Susan Bay, who is a cousin of director Michael Bay.
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" opens in 3D on July 1. Watch the teaser trailer revealing Sentinel Prime below. And, of course, live long and prosper.
- Sentinel Prime