JJ Abrams Regrets Keeping Khan Secret For ‘Star Trek Into Darknes’
After the disappointing fan response of Star Trek Into Darkness, which included voting it the worst Star Trek film of all time, director JJ Abrams says he regrets lying to the fans about Khan.
Speaking to MTV, Abrams admitted that he regrets keeping the true nature of Benedict Cumberbatch’s character secret and even directly lying about it. Originally, Abrams went on record telling fans that beloved villain Khan would not appear in the new film. After the casting of Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch, Abrams assured that Cumberbatch wouldn’t be playing Khan, but a character named John Harrison. When we all saw the film, Abrams kept his word at first and Cumberbatch was introduced as a rogue Starfleet officer named John Harrison, only to later be revealed to be Khan. There was immediate backlash due to Abrams deceiving fans, which he now says he regrets,
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.
However, Abrams doesn’t accept responsibility for deciding to keep Khan a secret, instead saying it was a decision made by the studio, who were intent on the film not being made for the existing fan base,
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.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s a major mistake to remake any established franchise but not make it for the existing fans, the people who made the franchise a success in the first place. Who do you think are going to be the first people in line to see it? Were there really that many people who didn’t like the original Star Trek films complaining that there wasn’t a Star Trek movie for them?
What Abrams doesn’t seem to understand is that the fans, me included, weren’t upset about being lied to, but that Khan was used in the first place. His presence made no sense in the overall structure of the story, he was used only as a way to appease the already frustrated fans, and he’s from India but played by the whitest British man alive. The whole film felt like a poor spoof of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, widely considered one of the greatest science fiction films of all time. All we can hope now is that Abrams has learned his lesson before he starts filming on the new Star Wars.