At this point, the “Star Trek” crew has got to be enjoying the way people are going berserk over any tidbit of information that leaks out of the production, because so far, almost nothing solid is known about the film.
We know for sure that Klingons are involved, but only because of the game that Paramount and JJ Abrams played during the MTV Movie Awards.
We know that Benedict Cumberbatch is in the film, but we don’t know who he’s playing, and no matter how many times people insist that he’s the new Khan, until we actually hear that confirmed, I’m not buying it.
Tracing back the story that has popped up everywhere online this evening, it appears that it all began with Roberto Orci during an appearance on “Ask Mr. Kern” this weekend. Little wonder it was a good interview, since Hercules The Strong, one of the co-hosts of the show and an associate and friend from Ain’t It Cool going back many years, has had an ongoing journalistic relationship with Orci since at least the days of “Alias.”
Orci ended up agreeing to name four characters from the original series of “Star Trek” that would not appear in the sequel that is due out next summer. Obviously, it would be big news if he or Abrams or Lindelof or Kurtzman said outright, “Khan is not in this movie,” but that would be making it easy, and I get the feeling right now that the “Star Trek” team is perfectly happy to let people think it’s Khan, whether it is or isn’t. If it’s not, then I salute them for the fake-out that they’ve been waging simply by being quiet.
Both Janice Rand and Gary Mitchell are characters I’d like to see show up down the road somewhere, in some form. Rand only appeared in a handful of episodes in the first season of “Star Trek,” and there was a suggestion that she could develop into a love interest for Captain Kirk. The problem is that the show envisioned Kirk as a sort of space-faring Hugh Hefner, and that meant they couldn’t have his ongoing love interest riding around with them. Grace Lee Whitney later played the character in three of the feature films, and she’s one of those minor forgotten characters that fandom resurrected. Mitchell was the guest star in the third episode of the show, which was originally shot as a sort of do-over pilot for the series, and he was a good template for later “Star Trek” villains. I think Cumberbatch might have been a great choice for that role, so I hope whatever he’s playing is going to be even better.
Charlie X was another being with wild mental powers that threatened the safety of the Enterprise, and he also appeared early on in the series, as did Ruk, the last character named by Orci. Ruk was a dangerous android encountered by Kirk and the rest of the crew, and if you look at the sort of thing that each of the characters was known for, it would seem like there’s a pattern. I wonder if Abrams and the writers went looking for an antagonist that was wildly powerful, but that isn’t already wildly well-known.
We’re not getting answers any time soon, so for now, it’s fun to speculate. It could be that we’re in for something no one’s published yet, a character that hasn’t been speculated about, something that’s sort of under the radar, and I’d love it if that were the case. We’ll all find out soon enough.
“Star Trek 2” opens May 17, 2013.