LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Leonard Nimoy returns to U.S. television this week in his new guise as a mysterious mastermind on the show "Fringe," but doubts that his Mr. Spock will head back to space, the final frontier.
Nimoy, 78, reprised his role as Spock, playing an older version of the character in director J.J. Abrams new movie take on "Star Trek" this year. But he told reporters on Wednesday he does not think there will be a role for him in the sequel, slated for release in 2011.
"I think I was useful in this last film to help bridge between the original actors and this new cast," Nimoy said.
"They have a wonderful new cast in place... and I don't see why they would need me in this next film. But if they called me, I would be happy to have a conversation about it," Nimoy said in a conference call.
"Heroes" star Zachary Quinto played the younger version of Spock in the latest "Star Trek" movie, and Nimoy and Quinto acted together in one time defying scene, as old and young Spock met face-to-face.
It was the connection with Abrams that led to Nimoy's brief appearance in May on "Fringe" -- the Fox science fiction TV show created by Abrams that explores the existence of a parallel universe.
Nimoy said viewers will learn more about his character William Bell, the founder of a mysterious corporation called Massive Dynamic, when they see him again in an episode airing on Thursday, and in at least one more episode this year.
Discussions are under way regarding further appearances.
Nimoy described Bell as a "master of the universe" character who is "brilliant, wealthy and very powerful." As for whether Bell is good or evil, "time will tell," he said.
"The character was somewhat a blank slate and therefore attractive, because there is an opportunity to build an interesting and unpredictable character," he said.
Nimoy all but gave up acting for photography 10 years ago, but said he is enjoying his comeback.
"I am very flattered that people are still finding me useful," Nimoy said. "I still feel strong and healthy and active, and as long as there is interesting work to do, I'll probably keep on doing it."
Reporting by Jill Serjeant: Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis