Disquieting News about Khan and the Upcoming Star Trek Sequel

Wil Avitt
Wil Avitt's picture

With the recent announcement that Benicio del Toro was in negotiations to appear in the sequel to JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot (which has been pushed back from 2012 to 2013), negotiations which broke down when Benicio and the producers couldn't come to an agreement on salary, the internet has been all abuzz about Khan Noonien Singh being the villain of said sequel. If this turns out to be true, I will be highly disappointed.

Many Khan supporters are claiming that using Khan is no different than using General Zod in Man of Steel or Joker in Dark Knight. First of all, this argument breaks down immediately. First of all, Joker and Zod are characters who have been around for decades and have been used in many different stories. These characters lend themselves to being placed in many different situations, thus creating new stories never previously told. Khan, on the other hand, has a single story and any attempt to use him would be nothing more than a re-hash of the previous story he's already been a part of. Sorry, folks, but the Joker argument doesn't hold water. Using Khan is more analagous to EON Productions announcing that the villain of a future 007 movie would be Auric Goldfinger. That could be nothing more than a remake of Goldfinger.

There can be some benefits to using Khan, to be sure, but the bad far outweighs the good. While, if they left the movie open to be continued into the Star Trek 2 we already have, it could be used to reconcile the Chekov/Khan connection mentioned in WoK. But we've been there and seen it already, twice, and I would much rather see something new and go on ignoring the fact that Chekov wasn't on the Enterprise during "Space Seed". I've already been greatly disappointed by the re-hashes going on in IDW's current Star Trek ongoing series (based on issue 3, the new "Galileo 7" storyline isn't going to be any better than the previous "Where No Man Has Gone Before" storyline) and I don't want to have that same dissatisfied feeling when leaving a movie it took me four years to get to.

Personally, although they have been done to death, I would like to see the Klingons as the antagonists. Based on the deleted scenes from the last Trek film, JJ and Co. had a unique and new vision of what the Klingons could be, while still staying true to what they've always been. I would also like to see the big reveal where the Klingon leader (whoever that may be) takes of his helmet which sports the familiar forehead ridges that scream Klingon to show that they are the genetically mutated Humanish Klingons we saw in TOS (remember, Enterprise should still be canon as the timeline skewed after that show would have taken place). I liked the helmets the Klingons sported in the deleted scenes and the genetic mutation would be a perfect reason for why they wear them.

I would, of course, accept any antagonist except Khan. I would even accept Harry Mudd as a villain, for two reasons: 1.) Harry Mudd is a versatile villain and they could put him in any number of stories, and not have to retread his earlier appearances and 2.) I would like to see a more hardcore pirate version of Harry Mudd. He could be a unique character, not unrecognizable as Harry Mudd, but a bit more menacing and evil than the comic relief villain he has been in the past. Khan does not afford these opportunities. Plus, a second Star Trek 2 to feature Khan is more than a re-hash, it's downright unimaginative and I would expect better from JJ Abrams and his partners.

I would like to say that if it turns out that Khan is going to be the villain (JJ Abrams has denied that Benicio will be playing Khan, but not the existence of Khan in the film and Bob Orci has been very coy on the subject over at trekmovie.com) that I will be boycotting the film, but to be honest I can't stick to that threat. The fact is, I'm going to be there with bells on, probably at the inevitable midnight showing and almost certainly in full costume. I have no willpower when it comes to Trek. That's a shortcoming, but I am who I am. I will say this, though: while I will see the movie and I will buy the DVD no matter what, I am not above tearing the movie a new one in my review next year if they do use Khan, so that's something the Trek haters hear can look forward to.