...Now we get to see how they became those characters only they aren't those characters, they're alternate universe versions...
Exactly my point.
I think the fact that I see AbramsTrek as mostly a reboot makes me able to feel connections with ST2009's characters that are totally separate with the connections I feel for the TOS characters.
I cared about what happened to Shatner's Kirk and Nimoy's Spock...AND I care what happens to Pine's Kirk and Quinto's Spock. However, I don't relate Pine's Kirk to Shatner's Kirk (nor do I the two Spocks). Of course I realize that Pine is "Kirk", just like Shatner was "Kirk", and I know what the idea of "Kirk" is supposed to be in the overall mythology known as "Star Trek", but I can still keep separate the specificities of the two versions.
...That is to say, I can have a memory of everything TOS Kirk went through as the character grew and developed over the years and still care about how Abrams' re-imagined version of Kirk may also grow and develop.
I still don't understand why caring about TOS Kirk means I can't care about the different things that may happen to this different AbramsTrek Kirk. This may sound like a paradox, but I can separate the two specific interpretations of the character while still knowing they are generally the same character.
I mean, these characters are works of fiction that are virtually in the public domain (although I mean figuratively, not legally). Different interpretations of the same character can enhance the overall mythology/establishment known as "Star Trek". The character of Kirk has a certain catalogue of personality traits, and the character is hanging out there for future story writers to use. I don't care about the specific history of the character, as long as the character continues to have those traits.