And we can all relax again! J.J. Abrams has told Hitfix that Benicio del Toro won’t be playing Khan in the new Star Trek movie that begins filming next month. He is playing the villain (if he agrees to Paramount’s offer anyway)… but the Puerto Rican born actor won’t be stepping into the intimidating shoes of the late Mexican Ricardo Montalban who played Kirk’s best known enemy in the original series episode ‘Space Seed’ and then followed up with a kick-ass turn in Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan.
Ever since word broke that del Toro was being offered the villain role in the Trek sequel, the internet has speculated and believed (or were ‘concerned’ if you were us) that J.J. Abrams was going to re-tell the Khan Noonien Singh story again. Fanboys are usually feverish with such speculation but it didn’t really help matters when writers Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman previously cited Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan as a huge influence to them and a movie they were looking at for potential story ideas for a follow-up. Or that on the DVD commentary for the first movie the other writer Damon Lindelof said they had concerned a post-credits scene for the 2009 film that would show Khan’s ship, the SS Botony Bay.
Then yesterday Latino Review, who are usually on the ball with scoops, reported with a large amount of certainty that del Toro was going to reprise Khan and we were gutted. However Drew McWeeny has since spoke to Abrams who quickly denied the story with a “Not true.” response.
Thank God for that. This massively widespread belief that every Star Trek sequel must have Khan as the main bad guy because somehow he has become the Lex Luthor, the Daleks or The Joker of the Star Trek universe isn’t really healthy for the franchise and I fear that the longer this goes on, the worse it is going to get. Star Trek 3, 4, 5 or 6 shouldn’t include Khan either. And remember… the power of the revenge story from Wrath of Khan is all derived from the events of the Space Seed episode and in this universe that hasn’t happened. You would have to do that build up and then somehow age Kirk/Khan to a more appropriate timeline to make it have 1/10th of the power of the 1982 movie.
In other words, just don’t go there. Ever.