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J.J. Abrams Regrets Lying To Us About Khan. No Sh*t, Sherlock.

By Joanna Robinson | Trade News | December 2, 2013 | Comments ()


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In a recent interview with the great Josh Horowitz, J.J. Abrams admits they might have made a bit of a mistake doubling down on the secrecy around who Benedict Cumberbatch was playing in Star Trek Into Darkness. Though several people guessed that Cumberbatch was reprising the role that Ricardo Montalban’s pecs made famous, Abrams and everyone else involved denied it. Coming on the heels of the great Talia Al Ghul gambit of 2012, not many people believed the Khan lies, but the Star Trek camp continued to tell them. Abrams has a somewhat reasonable explanation as to why. He says:

The truth is I think it probably would have been smarter just to say upfront ‘This is who it is.’ It was only trying to preserve the fun of it, and it might have given more time to acclimate and accept that’s what the thing was.

The truth is because it was so important to the studio that we not angle this thing for existing fans. If we said it was Khan, it would feel like you’ve really got to know what ‘Star Trek’ is about to see this movie,” he said. “That would have been limiting. I can understand their argument to try to keep that quiet, but I do wonder if it would have seemed a little bit less like an attempt at deception if we had just come out with it.

That studio pressure explanation makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Word to the wide, Hollywood, here’s a thought about keeping the lid on your plot twists without lying. WRITE SOMETHING THAT’S NOT A REMAKE OR REBOOT. I’m just saying. Here’s the rest of the interview.

(via MTV)



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • One of my friends came up with what would have solved this whole problem (not every problem, but this one): at the end of the movie, the camera pans over to one of the other torpedo/casket/cryogenic tubes, and zooms "through" the cover, and inside we find ourselves looking at the CGI'd face of Ricardo Montalban.

  • DeaconG

    I'm still waiting for my Star Trek: Deep Space Nine movie.

    Get on it, Paramount.

  • rocky

    Deep Space Nine. Boldly not going anywhere.

  • DeaconG

    At least, not without the Defiant :)

  • maureenc

    "Also, I was hoping that if we kept it on the down low that a white English actor was playing a South Asian character we wouldn't have massive protests outside of theatres."

    (Yes, Ricardo Montalban was a white Mexican, but that was in 1967.)

  • Colleen Griffin

    His greatest regret should have been a) cutting the Khan shower scene and b) using Alice Eve as a brainless prop meant only to lure teenage boys to the film in her underwear.

  • Todd Sikkema

    I'm 56 and I really was OK with the blond prop in her underwear.

  • Colleen Griffin

    LOL I have no doubt! However I expect more of JJ. That scene was spectacularly stupid. I picture it going down thusly:

    JJ: OK, Paramout execs, I need to add about 1000 more lens flares to the film.

    PARAMOUNT EXECS: You have enough lens flares. We can barely see the actors' faces for half the film.

    JJ: MY FILM NEEDS MORE LENS FLARES!! *pouts*

    PE: Oh, all right. You'll have to add gratuitous boobies, though.

    JJ: DONE.

  • k op

    The first Abrams ST raised my hopes for the franchise. It had so much promise with the reconfiguring of the basic characters into brave NEW territory.

    I haven't seen this second one, mainly because of the Khan angle and the shelving of a fascinating Uhura in favor of a topless, disposable, vacuous blond prop to secure youthful male interest.

    It's obvious this franchise is now controlled completely by a studio expectations. Pity.

  • Todd Sikkema

    Doesn't bode well for the J.J. Star Wars sequel.

  • JJ

    It's called "playing the long Khan."

  • Jenn TheYellowDart

    The slowest of claps to you, madam/sir.
    *stands in corner chuckling to self for rest of the day*

  • TK

    Bravo.
    Bra-fucking-vo, sir.

  • jthomas666

    Well played!

  • And of course if we'd have had official word of Cumberkhan's true role that would've completely turned the film around and totally stopped it from being an exercise in stratospheric bollocks.

  • Here's what I still don't get: why bring Khan back? Cumberbatch is a great actor and he could have done any villain great. So, why not device a new villain? Why not let it be Lt. John Harrison, genetically-modified human who has decided that Starfleet must fall for its crimes and has partnered with various other factions to make that happen?

    Did that movie need the Khan angle at all? No.

  • Tatertot

    Agreed. I was more interested in it when I thought the main antagonist wasn't Khan, but was a former Starfleet super-spy gone to the Dark Side.

    Sorry! Wrong franchise.

  • DataAngel

    "WRITE SOMETHING THAT’S NOT A REMAKE OR REBOOT."

    If only. I'm waiting for the Live-Action "Speed Buggy" or "What's Happenin': The Movie".

  • Todd Sikkema

    ^Can I add SOMETHING THAT ISN'T IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE/TIME? Physics, multiverses, and string theory are all fine and dandy, but every single sci-fi show and movie? It would be different if writers were coming up with truly mind-blowing stuff, but it just seems like laziness to me.

    Sorry, I'm grouchy today--ho-ho-ho and all that stuff.

  • BWeaves

    The Banana Splits: Never on Sundae

  • Alice: The Grits Strike Back

  • Andrew

    This explanation is nonsense, and that includes studio worries.

    Star Trek 2 is called The Wrath of Fucking Khan, so everyone knows what's going on before the movie even starts. But that doesn't stop it from being one of the highest grossing and best regarded Star Trek films out there.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Yeah, but that was an original movie, not a remake.

  • Andrew

    Tatertot says it all.

  • Tatertot

    It was an original movie, but it used a character from TOS and referenced events from that episode. The studio didn't seem too worried about "appealing to existing fans" then.

  • Alex Kuhn

    I'm just here to say that I needed that header pic right now. My 4–day weekend high is wearing off.

  • emmelemm

    It made me laugh, and that's all that matters.

  • emmalita

    I was also coming down to say - "well done on the header!"

  • jthomas666

    One of the reasons that I embraced the first movie is that it posited a way to do NEW stories with these same characters, free from the chains of continuity. Instead, they took a classic, bastardized it within an inch of its life, napalmed that last inch, and then pissed on the smoldering corpse.

    You want to drop nods to TOS? "We still got that runabout from the Mudd affair?" was perfect. Leave it at that kind of stuff.

  • Carey Adams

    Nailed it. You spent hundreds of millions of dollars to set up a universe where everything is once again possible. So what do you do? Of course, you go out and do the one thing that's been done before. Bravo.

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    One might even say, boldly going where every man has gone before.

    Sorry - could not resist.

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