Leonard McCoy (AOS)

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Name: Leonard Horatio McCoy (aka "Bones")
Occupation: Starfleet Officer
Relationships: Wife (unnamed in canon) (divorced)
Father Dr. David McCoy
Fandom: Star Trek Reboot
Other: played by actor Karl Urban
photo art illustration of Reboot!Bones made by girlnamedpixley for fanfic War Games by seperis
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Dr. Leonard McCoy (nicknamed "Bones") is a main character in the Star Trek reboot series and has appeared in Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness, and Star Trek Beyond. He is the younger alternate timeline counterpart of Leonard McCoy of Star Trek: The Original Series.

Reboot!McCoy is played by New Zealand actor Karl Urban, previously known to fandom for his appearances in Xena: Warrior Princess and the LOTR films.


According to the semi-canonical Star Trek Ongoing comic series, McCoy spent at least a portion of his childhood in Mississippi with his mother and his father, David McCoy, a doctor who ran his own medical clinic. McCoy had early dreams of becoming a basketball player, though his father encouraged him to follow in his footsteps. McCoy later attended the University of Mississippi and became a doctor, at one point working in pediatrics. He married fellow Ole Miss student Pamela Branch, but their marriage grew strained after several years, ending in divorce around the same time he lost a young patient to an incurable disease, and not long after his mother had passed away as well. (Star Trek Ongoing #17).

Star Trek (2009)

He is a character full of compassion and pain. He has an amazing personal prime directive to help and heal others, whether friend or foe. That’s his calling in life.[1]

Canonically, in 2255, McCoy meets and befriends Jim Kirk, a fellow new recruit, on the shuttle on their first trip to Starfleet Academy. McCoy has apparently lost everything in the divorce except "my bones" -- giving rise to Kirk's nickname for him. The two remain close friends throughout the three years of their Academy training, McCoy even serving on Kirk's bridge crew for his third Kobayashi Maru exam at Kirk's request. Assigned to the U.S.S. Enterprise at the rank of Lieutenant Commander for the emergency mission to Vulcan (despite his not having graduated yet), McCoy uses his medical authority and a fabricated illness to smuggle Kirk (who is on academic suspension due to his creative exam-rigging) aboard the ship, unable to leave him behind.

Upon the death of Chief Medical Officer Dr. Puri in a Romulan attack on the Enterprise, McCoy takes over as CMO. He nevertheless spends time on the bridge (as TOS McCoy was noted for doing) during lulls in the crisis, contributing to discussions on what course of action to take to stop Nero's rampage. At first respecting Acting Captain Spock's authority over the ship and decision to remove the disruptive Kirk from the bridge, he later criticizes Spock for marooning Kirk on Delta Vega. As CMO, McCoy has the final word on crew members' physical and psychological fitness to perform their duties; he accepts the emotionally compromised Spock's voluntary relinquishment of the captaincy.

McCoy is permanently assigned to the U.S.S. Enterprise as CMO following the main events of the film, where he remains at the beginning of Star Trek Into Darkness and continues on in Star Trek Beyond.

Reception of Reboot McCoy

Karl Urban's performance was received positively by the majority of Star Trek fans, who applauded his efforts to pay homage to DeForest Kelley's McCoy through his interpretation. Leonard Nimoy, after having watched the film, commented:

When Karl Urban introduced himself as Leonard McCoy and shook hands with Chris Pine, I burst into tears. That performance of his is so moving, so touching and so powerful as Doctor McCoy, that I think D. Kelley [DeForest] would be smiling, and maybe in tears as well.[2]

McCoy in Fanworks

McCoy is a very popular subject of reboot fanworks. Fandom at large holds the view that McCoy was born and raised in the U.S. state of Georgia (as was TOS actor DeForest Kelley, a fact incorporated into McCoy's biography in the TOS writers' bible). His ex-wife's name is generally given in reboot fanfiction as Jocelyn, the name used in several TOS novels, rather than Pamela (as in Star Trek Ongoing). There is no indication that McCoy and his ex-wife's young daughter Joanna exists in the reboot timeline (episodes involving Joanna were planned for TOS but never came to fruition; her only mention is in Star Trek: The Animated Series). However, she is still a common presence in McCoy-centered fic.

In slash fiction, McCoy is most often paired with Kirk (Kirk/McCoy), a rare pairing in TOS fandom but an immensely popular one in reboot fandom, eclipsed only by Kirk/Spock. Other pairings include Spock/McCoy, McCoy/Chekov, and the threesome of Kirk/Spock/McCoy. In het fiction, he is sometimes paired with Christine Chapel (head nurse of the Enterprise in TOS, and referred to but not seen in both reboot movies), Nyota Uhura (often as the result of a Spock/Uhura breakup to make way for Kirk/Spock), and occasionally with Gaila, Uhura's Orion Academy roommate.


Meta/Further Reading



  1. ^ Urban on his affinity for McCoy. SciFi Now interview with Karl Urban (excerpt), scifipulse.net, 4/09. [1]
  2. ^ Why Abrams' Star Trek Brought The Original Vulcan To Tears. Interview with Leonard Nimoy, io9.com, 4/28/09. [2]