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.