I wouldn’t call myself a Trekkie, but I’m definitely a fan. I thoroughly enjoyed J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, and as a geeky father to a geeky son I found it to be an excellent way to introduce the kid to Gene Roddenberry’s creation. The boy loved the movie as well, and when I told him that it was in fact based on an old TV show which in turn spawned a bunch of other movies (as well as other TV shows) his curiosity was piqued. He wanted to check out old Trek. I had a brief moment of concern, that he’d like it so much that something like this would happen:
Look, it’s pretty easy to ensure that someone who’s never seen a Star Trek episode does NOT become a raving fanboy – simply show that person the episode where Kirk’s crazy ex-girlfriend swaps brains with him, or the one where the Enterprise visits the planet where two tribes who have been fighting each other for centuries turn out to be the Americans and the Russians or some such:
Or you could just have that person read the comments of any Star Trek-related YouTube post. On the flip side, I wanted the kid to understand that Dad has decent taste when it comes to pop culture, so I decided his intro to the classic crew would be Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. Not only is it hands-down the best Trek movie (it’s actually a great movie, by God), it features Trek‘s best villain, deposed superhuman dictator Khan Noonian Singh. Of course the kid loved it, and of course we both agreed that when Abrams gets around to making the sequel to his Star Trek flick, he should figure out a way to bring Khan back – which, you know, wouldn’t technically be bringing him back as the movies are set before the events of The Wrath of Khan and, since Old Spock messed up the whole space-time continuum by coming back into the past in the first one, who knows what happened to Khan in the past and the future.
Well, nerds and geeks, our prayers, it seems, have been answered. Ever since Benedict Cumberbatch, Britain’s Most British Actor and star of the excellent BBC series Sherlock, was cast as a bad guy in the upcoming sequel, there’s been rampant speculation as to who he’d play. Intergalactic lothario Harry Mudd? A Gorn? Even…Khan? Well, if you guessed Khan, pour yourself a glass of Romulan ale. Both Ain’t It Cool News and the usually reliable (so I’ve heard, ahem) TrekMovie.com are reporting that Cumberbatch will be playing Khan.
Of course, nothing’s confirmed, but this does fits with a couple of things that happened with Abrams’ production. First, on the Star Trek reboot’s DVD commentary, Abrams’ team mentions that they had considered sneaking in a shot of Khan’s original starship after the closing credits. And Benicio Del Toro was being sought to play a villain in the sequel, which was what fueled the Khan rumors in the first place. (In the show, Khan was actually from the Indian subcontinent, so casting Latino actors makes about as much sense as anything else on Star Trek.) There’ve been a couple of leaked photos from the set featuring Cumberbatch fighting Zachary Quinto’s Spock, on what looks like the wreckage of an old and busted spaceship – recall that in the original series, the Enterprise crew finds Khan and his followers adrift in space, exiled from Earth after they tried to take over the planet in the mid-1990s. (The future!)
Personally, I’m stoked if this actually happens. The biggest problem – in fact, the only problem – I had with Abrams’ Star Trek was the lack of a compelling bad guy. Now, it seems, J.J. is making up for that. Big time. Also, there might be Klingons. Klingons, people!
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