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New Star Trek Into Darkness Pic Could Hold More Clues To Villain’s Identity

In spite of finally seeing the first teaser trailer for the much-anticipated Star Trek Into Darkness, we still don’t have conclusive evidence of who Benedict Cumberbatch’s iconic villain will be. The two strongest contenders seem to be either Khan or the psychic Gary Mitchell — indeed, elements of the teaser trailer could be argued to support either possibility. And that’s assuming he’s not playing somebody else entirely and J.J. Abrams is just baiting us. Now a new still from the film has popped up online, and it could provide us some more clues as to who Kirk and company will be squaring off against next year. Check it out, then we’ll talk more below.

Note: There are no outright spoilers in this story, but we do get into some very specific discussion, so if you don’t want to know anything till Into Darkness hits next May, now’s the time to leave.

You can click the image below for a larger version.

The picture’s caption could offer a clue to Cumberbatch’s identity, but if so it certainly isn’t giving up that info easily. The caption for the image reads..

(Left to right) Zachary Quinto is Spock, Benedict Cumberbatch is John Harrison and Chris Pine is Kirk in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions.

John who? That name is either a Trek reference more obscure that I can recognize or — more likely — a red herring to keep us chasing our tails.

So, let’s consider the image itself. We’ve got an apparently imprisoned Cumberbatch, in a dark Starfleet uniform, talking to Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto). The “cell” Cumberbatch is in could be the Enterprise brig, an abnormally scenic airlock, or something else entirely. At the very least, the image suggests that Cumberbatch’s character is dangerous enough to keep locked up — and that certainly fits with the official synopsis calling him an “unstoppable force of terror” and a “one man weapon of mass destruction.” Those are some pretty bold claims, so what does it suggest that he can apparently be held inside a glass-walled cell? (Maybe it’s transparent aluminum.) Have Kirk and crew managed to “power him down” to where he can be held captive? Maybe he’s weaker or more powerful at different points in the movie. It’s also worth noting that the image of Cumberbatch in a cell definitely evokes a similar moment from the original Gary Mitchell episode. That cell didn’t work out too well for anybody…

The glass itself could also be a huge clue. When the teaser trailer came out last week, much was made of a shot that was included in the Japanese version, but not the domestic one. That moment can be seen below, with two people pressing hands on either side of a pane of glass.

That image will immediately bring to mind Spock’s sacrificial death at the end of The Wrath of Khan, and many argued that the shot strongly suggested Cumberbatch was indeed to be playing Khan. I, however, had a strong hunch that it was an intentional misdirect on Abrams’ part. After all, the longer he can keep us arguing about whether Khan is the villain, the longer our attention will be off of whoever Cumberbatch is really playing. And whether you love or hate Abrams’ take on the Star Trek universe, I don’t think he’s crazy enough to reveal his hand in that way. Showing a recreation of one of the most powerful and iconic moments in Trek canon would only give credence to the angry fans who think he’s arrogantly trying to remake the best Trek movie, one which does not need a reboot.

But here we have a shot of Cumberbatch, Kirk, and Spock on opposite sides of a glass wall. Can we just chalk that as a coincidence? I really don’t think so. Look again at the “hands” picture above. One hand is most likely Spock, given the Vulcan salute and the blue uniform. Most of us assumed that the hand on the other side of the glass was Kirk, either echoing or outright replicating Spock’s death scene from The Wrath of Khan. But the unidentified hand is wearing a dark shirt, very much like the one Cumberbatch is wearing in the trailer and the new photo. We have absolutely no context for that photo, but Abrams likely knew exactly how people would react to it. Many Trek fans took that bait, hook, line, and photon torpedo.

So, if that “Khan” shot is indeed just intended to reference, not out, Khan, that leaves Gary Mitchell as the frontrunner. His Starfleet background and incredible psychic powers fit perfectly with the things seen in the trailer and described in the synopsis. The nine-minute preview that our sister site got to check out also suggests that Cumberbatch’s character may have some sort of healing powers, and that definitely ain’t a fit with Khan. It might very well fit with Gary Mitchell, however.

It’s also worth noting that the trailer contains what appears to be a “missing man” flyby, as well as Kirk standing before a somber gathering. Perhaps a belated memorial service for Gary Mitchell? As some have pointed out, the official comic — confirmed as canon by the Trek writers — has already killed off Gary Mitchell. But this is Star Trek we’re talking about here…dead at the moment doesn’t always mean dead permanently. Especially if you’re a former Starfleet officer with a vendetta against Kirk and the powers of a god…

Comments

  • http://www.djjarak.tumblr.com/ DJ Jarak

    Okay, so it’s not Khan or Mitchell but he does have a vendetta against Kirk. That doesn’t really narrow it down. He has faced many godlike beings in the past but that was before the timeline was altered.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=592830787 Vereno Koenderink

      maybe not a vendetta against kirk…more maybe vendetta against starfleet as a whole? and kirk just happens to be the one to try and stop him so he focuses his rage onto him?

      • Antheron

        Garth of Izar? Kirk did foil his plan to escape the insane asylum.

    • http://www.facebook.com/briancmckinley Brian C McKinley

      The timeline was not altered, this is a different timeline. Real Trek lives.

      • http://www.djjarak.tumblr.com/ DJ Jarak

        No, it was altered. Nero went back in time and destroyed Vulcan – something which was not supposed to happen and would not have happened if he did not go back. Hence – altered timeline.

  • http://www.facebook.com/terry.l.welch Terry Welch

    Why is it so important to you to unravel this before the movie’s released? I

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=827859671 David Wharton

      Because that’s our job…

  • http://twitter.com/Dirk2112 Dirk Lester

    Ok one more time. Paramount already said his name is Garth of Izar a character (imprisoned shape changing/healing lunatic) from The Original Series … the end.

    • bearnerd

      Sources please

  • http://www.yourpredator.com Hunter Coch

    I’m moving my money on to Garth

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.healey.90 Chris Healey

    Could it be a mirror Kirk or a dark side of Kirk that somehow materialized?
    .

  • Mielipuoli

    I’m betting it’s Sybok from Final Frontier. Spock’s apparent reaction and connection to him, reaching out to what appears to be the Mystery Hand…and well, if you think of the opening of ST V when you watch the opening nine minutes…

    So does that mean we get Chris Pine climbing a mountain? (Why is he climbing the mountain?)

    • plan99fromouterspace

      Please god no and no.

  • john

    The title leads one to believe that it will be loosely based on book “Into The Heart Of Darkness,” which is the book that “Apocalypse Now” was based on. Given that, John Harris may just be playing a minor character warning the Earth about Petter Weller’s character, Garth of Izar.

  • http://www.facebook.com/patrick.j.shay Patrick James Shay

    I say Colonel Green. Maybe the years aren’t correct,but hey, it’s Star trek. Colonel Green would make an excellent villain!

    • BebopHitchhiker

      Hmm. Colonel Green. Despotic leader of a faction in a genocidal war on Earth in the 21st century. That could explain the image of a destroyed city in the background. Oh terrific. Now we have ANOTHER possibility. lol

  • Wifi

    Posted a thread about a John Harris here… http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread933102/pg1
    He claims the The star trek villain is the demonisation of his name….