A Khan spinoff in the Star Trek universe? A recent report not only claims that this is in the works, but that the project already has an actor in mind.
The idea of a Khan spinoff is not actually a new one. Back in 2018, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan director Nicholas Meyer was working on a miniseries idea called Ceti Alpha V. The idea would be to fill in the gaps between Khan’s first appearance in the episode “Space Seed” and his eventual return in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The miniseries would also explore even more about Khan’s backstory, likely through the use of flashbacks.
If Ceti Alpha V is still the plan for a Khan spinoff, this new rumor states that it is back in active development and that Dev Patel is being eyed for the lead role of Khan Noonien Singh. Considering Khan’s heritage in the Star Trek canon, it is surprising that the role has yet to be played by an actor of Indian descent. Casting Dev Patel would be a way to explore Khan’s heritage in a much more representative way than we have seen in other iterations of the character.
Exactly how much of Khan’s origins would be explored in the Khan spinoff is worth speculating about. In the regular canon of the Star Trek universe, Khan’s immediate origins have been kept vague. There is lots of fertile ground to explore with the character. Eventually, he became the supreme leader of more than a quarter of Earth’s population in the 1990s. He was part of a genetically-engineered superhuman race known as Augments. This means Khan possesses enhanced strength and superior intellect in comparison to other humans.
The idea of a miniseries for the Khan spinoff does sound like the best option. Trying to anchor a series about a character that is stranded on a deserted planet seems like it has a short shelf life. However, if the show were to be retooled in order to focus more on Khan’s time on Earth, that could lead to some really interesting stories that could propel a longer series run. It would also be an enticing opportunity for Star Trek fans to see more of Earth’s societal structures before they became a part of the Federation.
It is pretty clear that the Star Trek franchise is trying to branch out in a number of different arenas. An animated children’s show is on the way while the future of Star Trek on the big screen is up in the air. A Khan spinoff sounds like the kind of show that would fit in with the franchise’s recent direction, but that direction might not be working for more mainstream audiences.
Regardless, Dev Patel is a phenomenal actor and would be a check in the “Win” column for a potential Khan spinoff. Star Trek is at a pivotal point in its storied history and this new series could be a new chapter in the ever-expanding legacy of the iconic franchise.