Nero was portrayed by Eric Bana.
Nero was married and was about to become a father, but his wife and their unborn child were killed when Romulus was destroyed by a supernova in 2387. Nero was off-planet when the disaster occurred, but he witnessed the event firsthand. Grief-stricken and madly seeking revenge, Nero placed the blame for Romulus's destruction on Ambassador Spock, who had promised to prevent the disaster, and the Federation, which he believed did nothing while Romulus was destroyed. Spock, piloting the Jellyfish, was able to extinguish the supernova by using red matter to create a black hole which absorbed the supernova, but before he could escape, he was intercepted by Nero, now in command of a technologically-advanced Narada. Both ships were pulled into the black hole, with the Narada going in first.
The Narada emerged 75,000 kilometers away from the Federation-Klingon border 154 years in the past, on stardate "2233-04". There, the Narada encountered, attacked, and severely damaged the Federation starship USS Kelvin. Seeking information as to the whereabouts of Spock, Nero had his second-in-command, Ayel, contact the Kelvin and demand that the ship's commanding officer, Richard Robau, board a shuttlecraft and come aboard the Narada. Robau was unfamiliar with Spock, however, and when he informed Nero of the current stardate, Nero killed Robau with his Teral'n spear.
Nero then launched a second attack on the Kelvin, now under command of Robau's first officer, George Kirk. Kirk used the Kelvin's weapons to prevent Nero from destroying the shuttles departing the Kelvin, ultimately sacrificing himself by ramming the Kelvin into the Narada. Kirk's actions saved eight hundred lives, including his wife, Winona Kirk, and their newborn son, James, but he was unable to destroy the Narada or Nero.
Nero spent the next twenty-five years awaiting the arrival of Ambassador Spock, plotting his vengeance against him and the Federation. Near the end of those twenty-five years, Nero was involved in an attack on a Klingon prison planet and, using the Narada, destroyed 47 Warbirds. During his time on the prison planet, Nero sustained an injury to his right ear.
Nero's goal was to ensure a future for Romulus that was completely free from the Federation. When Spock arrived through the black hole in 2258, Nero was waiting for him. He captured Spock's ship, which still had an entire compartment full of red matter. Rather than kill Spock, however, Nero marooned the elderly ambassador on Delta Vega so he could witness the destruction of Vulcan from the planet's surface.
With the red matter now in his possession, Nero attacked Vulcan, using the Narada's extending drill platform to burrow through to the planet's core. A fleet of seven Federation starships arrived to assist Vulcan, unaware the planet was under attack. They stood no chance against the advanced Narada, however, and Nero easily destroyed them all. When another Starfleet vessel arrived, Nero ordered that it be destroyed as well. However, after a brief attack, Nero recognized the vessel as the Enterprise. Knowing that a younger Spock served aboard the Enterprise, he ceased his attack on the vessel, wanting this era's Spock to see the destruction of Vulcan as well. He contacted the Enterprise and demanded that its captain, Christopher Pike, come aboard the Narada via shuttlecraft – the ship's transporters were inoperable as long as the drill was active. Pike complied, but only to allow a team consisting of James Kirk, Hikaru Sulu, and Chief Engineer Olson to space-dive onto the drilling rig and disable it so the Enterprise could get a signal through to Starfleet, informing them of the attack.
Kirk and Sulu were successful in sabotaging the drill (Olson had been killed), but not before the drill reached Vulcan's core. Nero released a canister of red matter into the planet's core, creating a black hole at the center of Vulcan which devoured the planet and killed the vast majority of the Vulcan race, as well as Spock's mother, Amanda Grayson. Following the planet's destruction, the number of remaining Vulcans was estimated to be less than ten thousand. Nero had turned the once-thriving Vulcans into an endangered species.
Nero's next target was Earth, the core of the United Federation of Planets. Before he could attack Earth, he required the Starfleet codes which would allow him to disable the planet's defenses. He had captured Captain Pike for this purpose, and although Pike refused to cooperate willingly, Nero forced him to talk with a Centaurian slug.
With Starfleet's defenses no longer a problem, Nero set a course for Earth. As Nero prepared to attack Earth, however, Kirk and Spock were able to beam aboard the Narada from the Enterprise, which used the magnetic field of Saturn's rings to remain invisible to the Narada's sensors. Nero confronted Kirk, who was searching for Captain Pike. While fighting Kirk, Nero told the young officer that he recognized him from Earth's history and that the Jim Kirk he read about "was considered to be a great man... but that was another life."
Nero was preparing to kill Kirk when he received word that Spock had stolen the Jellyfish and used it to destroy the drill, which had already begun boring into Earth. Furious that his plans to destroy the Federation were falling apart, he called out Spock's name in anger. Nero left Kirk to Ayel and went to the bridge of the Narada. There, Nero hailed Spock and said he should have killed him back at Vulcan. Incensed at Spock's response, he quickly ordered all weapons to fire at the Jellyfish. The fact that the ship's destruction would have ignited the red matter didn't matter; he wanted nothing more than to kill Spock. Spock took the Jellyfish to warp to get out of the Sol system, and Nero quickly followed.
In an isolated area of space, Spock set the Jellyfish on a collision course with the Narada. Nero desperately ordered his crew to "fire everything", but the torpedoes they launched were destroyed by the Enterprise before they could impact the Jellyfish. After Kirk (who had killed Ayel), Spock, and Pike were transported back to the Enterprise, Nero watched in despair as the Jellyfish collided with the Narada, igniting the red matter.
The resulting black hole ripped through the Narada, cutting it in half. Aboard the bridge, Nero answered the hails of Captain Kirk aboard the Enterprise, who offered his assistance. Embittered and enraged that the people he loathed above all offered him "assistance", Nero furiously refused the offer, saying he would rather watch his homeworld be destroyed a thousand times and die in agony than accept the assistance of the Federation. Kirk obliged and ordered the Enterprise to fire on the Narada. Nero remained on the bridge as he observed the ship collapsing around him and closed his eyes as he resigned to his fate. Within seconds, the Narada was consumed by the black hole, taking Nero and every remaining crew member aboard with it.