Following on from director J.J. Abrams admission of some fundamental storytelling problems with “Star Trek Into Darkness” and the mess up of the big reveal of Khan, the film’s co-writer Damon Lindelof has also copped to the latter saying it was a mistake to hold off on revealing the bad guy.
Part of the problem is one which a certain other major franchise sequel this season has also had. For those unfamiliar with the franchise the name meant nothing, for those familiar with said franchise it was not only not a surprise but often a letdown – the reveal not having any impact on the story and the new take on the character not living up to the legacy of the previous one – and in both cases taking it in a new direction that doesn’t work.
Speaking with Variety about the second season of “The Leftovers,” a season which has seen Lindelof’s previously often criticised writing actually being praised for its proper handling of both cliffhangers and reveals, the scribe admits to the problems with the Khan reveal and how audiences are now much smarter and so filmmakers have to adjust to compensate:
“When we did Star Trek Into Darkness for example, we decided that we weren’t going to tell people that Benedict Cumberbatch was playing Khan. And that was a mistake, because the audience was like, ‘We know he’s playing Khan.’ That was why it was a mistake. But J.J. [Abrams] is telling us nothing about the new Star Wars movie and we love it. I’ve not come across a single person who’s like, ‘I wish I knew a little bit more.’ We are like, ‘Thank God he’s protecting us from all the things that will be revealed in the movie theater.’
We’re in a media culture where the audience is so sophisticated and they can crowdsource and Reddit this information – if they get a twist, you know, like the Edward James Olmos [twist] on ‘Dexter’ or what happened recently on ‘The Walking Dead,’ the audience basically crowdsourced exactly how [that twist could have happened] within hours of it airing. By the time it airs a month later, the audience just goes ‘Duh!’ That’s not the storytellers’ fault. It’s just the sophistication [of the audience’s ability] to figure things out. It’s like, we’re up against this incredible creative algorithm.”
The second season finale of “The Leftovers” airs Sunday December 6th.