Monday, June 10, 2013

TWITrek Character Insight No. 54: Nero

This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe.  An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight!  This week, we begin a series of segments reviewing the characters of the Abrams timeline to celebrate the release of Star Trek Into Darkness. Fair warning, this segment is going to have some <> for the next few weeks.

Let's start with Nero, the Romulan villain from Star Trek 2009.

Nero is the captain of a Romulan mining vessel from around the year 2387, which follows nearly 10 years after the return of the U.S.S. Voyager and 20 years following the end of TNG. Nero is on a mining mission on his vessel the Narada when a supernova caused the destruction of his home planet Romulus. Nero stood helpless as he watched his pregnant wife and unborn child die with the rest of Romulus, as Spock did not arrive to form a black hole to stop the supernova in time.

This causes Nero to seek vengeance against all those who did not help his home planet, including Spock and the Federation.  Nero is pulled through the black hole with Spock back in time to the 23rd Century, where he waits until he can effect the same planet-destructing fate on Spock's home world Vulcan. This time travel leads Nero to destroy much of the Federation fleet on the day of Jim Kirk's birth, altering the timeline of the original Enterprise crew to the Abrams timeline.

Unlike other Romulan villians we have seen, Nero's face is tattooed heavily and this is explained as a modified mourning ritual in the prequel comic Star Trek: Countdown. Romulans would paint their faces with their grief on the death of loved ones and as the paint fades away, so does the time for grieving. Nero contorts this to tattoos because he believes his grief will never go away.

Nero is actually the second Romulan movie villain in a row, following Shinzon in Nemesis. However, while Shinzon had significant political aspirations and purposes to his villainy, Nero is simply a demented angry survivor of a natural disaster.

Although the character of Nero is provided much interesting backstory in the comics associated with Star Trek 09, most of the material this backstory was based on was cut from the movie, including imprisonment by Klingons on Rura Penthe following damage to the Narada caused by George Kirk's suicide attack. That's a shame, as it causes this character to be pretty undeveloped and poorly written compared to other villains like John Harrison and Khan.

Our notable quote this week comes from Star Trek 09:
"Kill him? I'm not gonna kill him. I'm gonna make him watch."
Actor: Eric Bana played Nero, and his other interesting roles include an anchor on Finding Nemo and Bruce Banner on the highly-panned 2003 Hulk movie. He will star in upcoming movies Closed Circuit and Lone Survivor.

Until next time, live long and prosper...

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