J.J. Abrams Regrets “Into Darkness” Twist?


Though it made a stellar $467 million worldwide, “Star Trek Into Darkness” has divided critics and earned the ire of the Trek fandom. One reason for the latter was the reveal of the identity of Benedict Cumberbatch’s character as classic Trek villain Khan.

While the actor was praised for his performance, the character himself was slammed for a resemblance in name only to Ricardo Montalbahn’s villain from both the original series and the classic 1982 second film.

It was ultimately a useless twist as well, Cumberbatch’s version was an empty cipher and him being ‘Khan’ had no real impact on the story. This is in stark contrast to ‘Wrath of Khan’ where events were entirely driven by the personal motives of Khan and Kirk, and their antagonistic relationship with each other.

The filmmakers and actors were obviously under orders to deny repeated news reports of the character turning out to be Khan, and did so left and right.

With several months now passed though, the film’s director J.J. Abrams has reflected on the decision and questioned the way the reveal was handled. He tells MTV:

The goal was to not ruin it for anyone who wanted to go see it, but the fact is it ended up I think coming off like we were being coy and we trying to like act like more clever than we are or something. All it really was an attempt to not ruin the thing.

The reason why, when you watch the movie you know it’s Khan and after one screening everyone knows whatever it is. But, the idea was that for the first hour of the movie the characters in the film don’t know. It felt like if we go out with it and we have articles where it’s like “KHAN!” and we make it all about him, does it take away from the story.

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. 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.

Follow the link to hear Abrams answer to a question about Joe Cornish coming onboard the next film as director. From the sounds of it Abrams wants him, but Cornish may not have decided yet.