Star Trek has weathered some pretty awful villains over the course of its run. Most of them never get another shot at the spotlight. However, if a new rumor is to be believed, a highly controversial and widely disliked villain from the film series is about to get another shot in some form.
According to insider Daniel Richtman, Paramount is considering bringing back Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan in an upcoming Star Trek project. There is nothing else substantive about this claim so that is all we have to go on. It sounds pretty out there at first glance, but there is reason to believe this claim a little bit. Benedict Cumberbatch is still one of the most in-demand blockbuster actors of our day. Landing him for a project is a certified get, and having him return to the franchise would be not unsubstantial.
However, it is worth debating why Paramount would resurrect the character after Star Trek Into Darkness is widely considered to be one of the most disliked entries in the entire franchise. Fans ranked it the worst film in the series back in 2013 and it does not seem to have gone through any period of reevaluation and re-appreciation. If anything, its reputation has only become sourer over the years.
So what does this mean if Paramount is seriously contemplating bringing Cumberbatch back for another round as Khan? We have heard that a Khan spinoff is in the works, but that sounds to be connected to the prime Star Trek timeline. It’s doubtful that Cumberbatch would be involved in that project. Richtman says that Paramount wants Cumberbatch back in the film series and to give him a spinoff. Could that potentially take the place of this other rumored series?
It all sounds so unnecessary and will likely convolute the Star Trek canon even more. And to be perfectly honest, this rumor sounds like it does not have a lot of weight to it. We know that Paramount is definitely trying to figure out what they want to do with the franchise as a whole, and it might be possible that this is just an idea that got thrown out during a pitch meeting. It seems like the least likely project to manifest considering all the other rumors we have been hearing about future Star Trek projects.
If Benedict Cumberbatch does return as Khan in some form, it would be quite a surprise. But, it would seem to be another case of the Star Trek franchise being unable to untether itself to its past. So much of the new era of the franchise has been dictated on rebooting or reiterating characters or ideas that we have seen before. There has been very little in the way of true innovation for the series. Bringing back Cumberbatch as Khan would just double down on this ethos.
We will have to see if this rumor has any merit, but if we are going to resurrect a Star Trek villain, we would rather see some more Pah-wraith action than another adventure with CumberKhan.