J.J. Abrams Admits 'Star Trek Into Darkness' Villain Secrecy Misguided
In the months leading up to the release of Star Trek Into Darkness, there was always some article diving into the secrecy of what villain Benedict Cumberbatch was going to play in sequel. Early rumors pegged the "Sherlock" star as playing the iconic villain Khan from one of the most revered films from the original film franchise, but many key cast members and director J.J. Abrams constantly refuted those claims, despite continued rumors and evidence to the contrary. But of course, we now know that Cumberbatch was indeed Khan, and now in hindsight, Abrams doesn't think they should have been so secretive. More below!
Speaking with MTV about his villain mystery box, Abrams said:
The truth is I think it probably would have been smarter just to say upfront ‘This is who it is.’ It was only trying to preserve the fun of it, and it might have given more time to acclimate and accept that’s what the thing was. The truth is because it was so important to the studio that we not angle this thing for existing fans. If we said it was Khan, it would feel like you’ve really got to know what ‘Star Trek’ is about to see this movie. That would have been limiting. I can understand their argument to try to keep that quiet, but I do wonder if it would have seemed a little bit less like an attempt at deception if we had just come out with it.
Many people did seem to get annoyed with the fact that Abrams was trying so hard to keep the villain a secret, when in reality, it didn't really matter all that much when the film was released. Honestly, though it might not have been necessary to go to such great lengths to keep the villain secret, we still think people were far too nosy when continually trying to spoil the "surprise."
Abrams also talks a bit about how the crew not knowing Khan's identity until halfway through the film came into the decision-making process, but at the end of the day, the revelation only matters to the Star Trek fans they were trying to keep it from in the first place. It's a toss up as to whether non-Star Trek fans wouldn't have been interested knowing it was an old villain, or if longtime fans would have been pissed about touching the iconic villain, but the film ended up being a hit, even if it wasn't critically acclaimed all around.