Over the last week, a lot has been said about Star Trek Into Darkness‘ main villain played by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch. Well, actually, a lot has been written down, but very little has actually been said, seeing as how for every clue to his identity that we get, another mystery rears it’s head.
So here’s some more, clues and mysteries that is, straight from Cumberbatch and director JJ Abrams themselves.
As you may recall, we learnt the other day that Cumberbatch’s character is named John Harrison, the same name of a Star Trek – The Original Series season 1 extra, whose only claim to fame was being choked out by Khan Noonien Singh, probably the original Star Trek timeline’s most famous villain. This, combined with elements of the last trailer, of course led to speculation that the Harrison name was just a pseudonym and that Cumberbatch was actually playing Khan.
Prior to that, the likeliest scenario was that Cumberbatch was actually Gary Mitchell, another season 1 villain, who in fact were it not for scheduling changes would have been the very first villain in Star Trek history.
But checking out an interview that Cumberbatch gave MTV where he talks about John Harrison’s motivations, I think that something else is afoot here.
“He’s a terrorist; he operates as a terrorist. He has extraordinary physical powers, but also mental powers. He can sow an idea, which is as powerful as gunshots or close-hand combat, which he’s masterful in. He tears into the fabric of both the world and the Enterprise family, and he leaves behind him a trail of devastation. It’s quite exciting to watch.”
“Giving away the full motivation would ruin it, but it’s personal. It’s also political, I think. He’s somebody who, at some point in the film, you should feel a certain amount of empathy towards his cause, if not his means. … There’s no two-dimensional obstacle he presents purely and simply by the fact that he’s opposing our hero”
“He has an interesting relationship with Kirk, and with Spock in a way. He very much plays them off against each other. There’s an element of shadow to him and Kirk.”
Both physical and mental powers, personal and political motivation, relationship with Kirk? I’m starting to think that our own Darryn may just have called this one correctly when he predicted that Abrams had just thrown elements of both Khan and Mitchell into a blender to create a new character in John Harrison.
MTV also spoke to JJ Abrams about the character, where he did his typical JJ Abrams evasion dance, but still managed to say some interesting things about him.
“Rather than answer anything that would give away the fun of the movie, I would say that the character that Benedict plays, he brings such an incredible power to it. His voice alone, I actually as a joke should have had him read the lunch menu. He makes anything sound great and brings such a force to it that hopefully when you see the movie, this character, all speculation aside, will be really compelling, not because of any connection to anything past, but because of who he is and what he brings to it.”
“The whole thing, not just his backstory, but his agenda, his plan, his secret, all that is what, for me at least, makes him such a frightening and cool villain,” Abrams said. “Also, the real villains — when they’re not just two-dimensional, angry vengeful types — don’t see themselves as the bad guy. They are the good guy and have complete rationale and motivation. So true to form, the character that Benedict plays has an absolute sense of right and wrong, and he’s on the right side.”
Once again, all these attributes fit the profile of both Khan and Gary Mitchell. Damn, Darryn, you actually may have done something right around here for a change. Personally, I would much rather see a Khan-Mitchell as the villain, than vanilla (or is that caramel) Khan again. The Star Trek universe has such a rich mythology, that it’s definitely not necessary to just copy what has come before.
My only problem is that a guttural scream of “HARRISOOOOOON!” or “MITCHEEEEEEELL!” just doesn’t quite roll off the tongue quite like….