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J.J. Abrams Admits 'Star Trek Into Darkness' Villain Secrecy Misguided

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December 2, 2013
Source: MTV

Star Trek Into Darkness

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.

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Reader Feedback - 18 Comments

1

Folk love to see the film before they see it. Surely paying $20 to see a film you know everything about is a waste of money?

Carpola on Dec 2, 2013

2

Tom Cruise's cameo in Tropic Thunder would have been an amazing surprise...yet the media destroyed that idea...it seems people demand to be wowed but at the same time whine when something is withheld from them...Abrams had every right to keep the character under lock and key. Screw those who may have been annoyed.

Xerxexx on Dec 2, 2013

3

Indeed. Heard the rumors like everybody else, but was still kind of glad it wasn't in my face that it was in fact Khan. Was still a nice surprise. Keep deceiving us JJ. We like it. Or, maybe just don't comment at all.

avconsumer2 on Dec 2, 2013

4

I like being kept in the dark movie wise.

Xerxexx on Dec 2, 2013

5

What's sad is that I can't remember the last time I had a "Oh my f*ck!!" reaction to a cameo/detail/fan nod (bar some Marvel post-credit scenes).

Ayotunde Afolabi on Dec 2, 2013

6

Same here.

Xerxexx on Dec 2, 2013

7

it's like in politics - you can say "no comment" and refuse to talk about it... but you can't actually LIE about it. you'll get nailed for that.

jin choung on Dec 2, 2013

8

For me it was more that the reveal of the "surprise" was something that I didn't like. I didn't want Khan in the movie. But I could have lived with it, except then they further twisted the dagger by how the plot evolved after that point - copying/reversing Wrath of Khan, Kirk dying, magic blood, Kirk reviving, clunky exposition with tribbles. I was totally tuned out by the end.

SV7 on Dec 2, 2013

9

exposition! Have you ever watched the next generation? I renamed the captain, he is no longer picard, he is capt. exposition!

Jimmy Love on Dec 2, 2013

10

Or maybe just make the character John Harrison, a terrorist fighting Starfleet after they exploited his abilities. Unthinkable?

OfficialJab on Dec 2, 2013

11

ahh but THEN , from their POV , there is no tie-in to any of the Khan schtick or an explanation for said abilities of Harrison ...... your point I guess . take anything Khan out. Altho 1 thing about this version that rings true , is that it would take Spock and his strength to help subdue Khan , not Kirk with a plastic knob in his hand . And it would be Kirk giving up his life for the ship , first ... It , at it's base , was a mixture of Space Seed and TWOK . I liked the way they mixed it up Keep it as secret a you can ! until the reviews trickle in ...

Dominic on Dec 3, 2013

12

I liked the reversal a lot. But those things, the radiation chamber and other Khan references would still have played since its the second in its series so fans would see them. I dont know if Spock should have screamed JOHHHHHHHN but aside from that.... As for his abilities no problem, its SciFi, but after seeing the teaser, my first suspicion was that he was a doctor who discovered a working immortality drug.

OfficialJab on Dec 3, 2013

13

He should have never given in to the fans!...Those people are nuts!

Jimmy Love on Dec 2, 2013

14

The fans didn't want a new Khan either, by and large.

OfficialJab on Dec 3, 2013

15

Not from what I have read all anyone screamed for was Kahn.

Jimmy Love on Dec 3, 2013

16

It's odd that we read such different responses from people. Even before the early reveals and script previews almost every comment on the sites that I go to were begging them not to rehash Wrath.

OfficialJab on Dec 4, 2013

17

Hell if you find the article even just here, right after the first one everyone here was like we want Kahn. But anyway I agree in that we did not need Kahn.

Jimmy Love on Dec 5, 2013

18

I just wish they'd come with some good original story next time instead of trying to "re-imagine" the amazing Wrath of Khan... twice. All the fancy visual effects in the world doesn't make up for weak writing and a derivative plot.

cobrazombie on Dec 3, 2013

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