Warning: possible spoilers ahead!! Do not read further if you want to be surprised!
The true identity of Benedict Cumberbatch's villain in the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness has been driving fans nuts for months. Ever since the British thespian was first cast, people have been wondering which iconic role he would be bringing to the screen. Would it be someone new, or a new spin on an old favorite? This week, Entertainment Weekly may have accidently let it slip that the true identity of Benedict Cumberbatch is none other than Khan.
EW's website features a picture of Cumberbatch and Chris Pine (reprising his role of Captain Kirk). The tag line says "Voyage Into The New Star Trek Kirk & Khan."
(Above, someone at EW losing their job)
Once you've stopped swearing and taking the name of J.J. Abrams in vain, please feel free to read on.
There is no way to know whether this is true. Director J.J. Abrams is famous for misleading fans again and again so that they are constantly guessing until the movie's release. I for one was firmly in the "No New Khan" camp until my recent epiphany: "It worked for Batman."
When I saw the end of Batman Begins and realized they were going to redo The Joker (otherwise known as the "Khan" of the Batman world), I was at first really let down. Didn't Jack Nicholson already do the Joker? Why can't they do something new? Why do they have to rehash everything?
Then I saw the first trailer with Heath Ledger and realized that they weren't redoing Nicholson's Joker. They were doing something new. The same character can be done more than once, and in more than one way.
(C'mon! Have an open mind!)
Different universes sometimes need something to tie them together. The Joker worked twice because there was so much you could do with the character. Could Khan be the same thing for Star Trek Into Darkness? Benedict Cumberbatch certainly has the chops to pull it off.
While we're on the subject, let us not forget that the upcoming Superman reboot Man of Steel features what is arguably that universe's greatest villain, General Zod. Sometimes if you want to make a good impression, you put the best thing out there.
There are certain things, however, that contradict this revelation. On February 5, Benedict Cumberbatch spoke about his character in Star Trek Into Darkness, once again calling him John Harrison, and referring to him as a terrorist who is easily relatable to audiences these days. A slew of new pictures were also released from the upcoming edition of EW, one of which shows John Harrison surrounded by red shirts (probably all one day away from retirement. Oh well!).
Harrison could have been another augment, like Khan, released from the SS Botany Bay or some other place. Paramount and others are still holding fast to the description that Cumberbatch is playing John Harrison, and not Khan, Gary Mitchell, Robert April, Harry Mudd or anyone else. Harrison, a one-man weapon of mass destruction, is said to be the man who will force Captain Kirk to earn his chair.
So, will we see one of the most notorious and evil villains make an appearance once again in Star Trek Into Darkness? Has J.J. Abrams been screwing with us all along? Is he screwing with us now?
It is also worth mentioning that it could have been an accident. All it takes for something like this to happen is for one overzealous intern to post something up. One person screencaps it, and boom! Everyone goes nuts. For now, Paramount is holding firm.
Whether the villain is Harrison, Khan or someone else entirely, what is important is that we enjoy ourselves as fans. Some people will not accept change. Some can only take in what they grew up with, and everything else is garbage. Certain fans have been incredibly vocal about how the current cast and director have ruined it all. (Perhaps they’d prefer we shot on 35mm as well?) J.J. Abrams said they were following the standard set by The Dark Knight when it came to sequels. Maybe that also includes bringing back the franchises best villain. One thing for certain is that no one knows for sure.
No matter what happens, I’ll be there watching! Live long and prosper!