A few days ago, J.J. Abrams admitted that keeping the identity of the Star Trek Into Darkness villain a mystery was a big mistake. While the secret didn’t really add anything to the movie’s story, it also didn’t help that audiences weren’t intrigued enough to go to the movie theater to find out for themselves. Into Darkness was one of the biggest hit films of the summer movie-going season, but it wasn’t as big as Paramount Pictures or Bad Robot Production would’ve expected from a sequel film to the widely popular Star Trek reboot from 2009. Now the man who played the Into Darkness villain speaks out.
Although a majority of film journalists, pundits, and fans figured out that Cumberbatch was, indeed, playing Khan, Abrams and the cast of Star Trek Into Darkness insisted they were all wrong. When told about Abrams’ comments, Cumberbatch said:
‘What a dickhead,’ chuckled Cumberbatch when informed of Abrams’ comments. ‘The amount of times we had to lie for him… the amount of times I had to talk about it not being my character! No, I love him,’ continues the star, ‘but I don’t know if it was a bad or a good thing… the intention was to have a reveal in the audience that was going to be thrilling. That worked to an extent. Not everybody knew what they were in for when they went into the theatre… for those people it was a good thing… There was a verbal and physical reaction to it [in theatres I saw it in], so it kind of works.’
If Benedict Cumberbatch wasn’t such a good sport about Abrams’ comments, you could almost read his above quote as being visibly pissed at the 47-year-old director. If you remember back in April, Entertainment Weekly accidentally revealed a “Kirk & Khan” headline, referring to Chris Pine and Benedict Cumberbatch, on their website. After the mistaken leak, J.J. Abrams still said that Star Trek Into Darkness‘ villain wasn’t Khan, but rather “John Harrison.” Which was technically true, from a certain point of view. Does Abrams really need to have a central mystery in every single one of his films? It just seems that Into Darkness had to have a twist for twist’s sake.
Meanwhile, Benedict Cumberbatch is having a killer 2013. Despite the box office and critical failure of The Fifth Estate, Cumberbatch was featured in some top-tier films and delivered some amazing performances, including in Star Trek Into Darkness. He was in a few smaller films like 12 Years A Slave and August: Osage County, while also continuing his menacing streak in a dual role in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug as the evil dragon Smaug and the mysterious Necromancer. Cumberbatch will also continue with the BBC series Sherlock, with his Hobbit co-star Martin Freeman, in early 2014.
Considering all the hullabaloo surrounding Into Darkness and Khan, it’s unlikely that Paramount Pictures and Bad Robot would do the same thing with the villain’s identity for Star Trek 3. Seeing how Into Darkness mirrors The Wrath of Khan, maybe Star Trek 3 will take its cues from The Search for Spock. Who can Bad Robot get to play the evil Klingon Kruge? Jared Leto? Vincent Gallo?